A* for the B team

Oct 12, 2010, 5:24 PM |

Last week was the University’s “Fresher’s Week”.  You know, that week where all students celebrate the end of an interminably long summer with their family by binge-drinking and possibly some other unwholesome “activities”.  As a postgraduate, this typically passes me by unnoticed and this year would have been no exception apart from two factors.  First, I somehow caught Fresher’s Flu.  I’ve no idea how I got it either, but that was rotten.  Second, I was helping on the Chess Society stall by fishing for new players.  As an attractive, witty and sophisticated reader of my blog, I’m sure you can imagine the pandemonium that ensued.

There were guys there too, though.

Yeah.  Actually it was.  We got the best part of 200 new members!  And we’re a chess club!  We were fighting them off with pointy sticks.  We were the envy of many a less successful society, I can tell you.  The trouble now is finding places for them all on the teams.  The trick that I’ve discovered is to let them all have a quick 5 minute game with me and then rank them on how quickly they win.  I then check that they understand chess notation by asking how to write castling and they’re all set to go.  It’s a brutal system, sure, but it seems to work.

So the first 4 to step up to the figurative chequered plate were faced with a problem.  You see, the University gets a whole season of fixtures rammed into the term times and frankly, they don’t fit.  Added to that, as some form of cruel joke by the chaps organising the fixtures, our first game was arranged to be against Yate’s B team; the winners of last year’s league who have remained undefeated for a little over 18 months.  Naturally, as captain, I didn’t tell anyone this.  They had it bad enough recovering from the debauchery of Fresher’s.


The future is in the hands of people like that.

In any case, the team performed spectacularly by thrashing Yate 3.5-0.5, and to be honest, I think that draw was only out of the boredom of having to face a London game.  Of the decisive games, there were two with some very wild play on all sides, some of which was more accurate than others, and one which was quite positional.  Bizarrely for me, it was the positional game that was my favourite game of the night (and the only game less appreciated than the London game was England’s game against Montenegro, am I right?) and therefore the one I’d like to share.

So there we have it.  The club has lots of new members and some of them are actually quite good.  Excellent!