I have unilaterally decided to take over the captaincy of Daventry Chess Club. This decision has been accepted by the people (club members) on the promise of holding fair and free elections at the AGM (hahaha, how little they know!).
The incumbant dictator... sorry... captain, Alan Eley is fast approaching his one hundred and seventy eighth birthday and was therefore considered too feeble to continue in what had really become a "figurehead" post. Unfortunately for Alan, his rating (122) has now slipped well below his estimated age and since he wasn't playing in the team anyway, I ousted him on the pretence of "helping out by rearranging some fixtures".
Anyway, this set me to thinking - what can I introduce to "motivate the troops" for a) the rest of this season and b) next season (okay, let's assume my "election" goes unopposed!).
We're basically a modest second division team that punches well above our weight (and when you consider some of the portlyness present, boards 1 through 4, you'll realise that's no mean feat!). I'm thinking of trying to get us promoted into division one - whereby we will undoubtedly punch even higher above our weight (maybe not in the first season but who knows?? The point is that you will never know unless you test yourselves, yes?)
Realistically, we need to win all of our remaining matches to get promoted this season and it may well be a season too early for us anyway. For the Brits among you, that's the equivalent of the sixth placed team in the championship lucking through in the playoffs only to be given a rude awakening in the top flight!
Personally, I have faith in our team and think we could eventually become a team other than "whipping boys" in division one. But.... I think realistically, taking a more steady approach will be better. This is only our second season in division 2 and I think we have acquitted ourselves very well so far. There is no reason why we can't push on and have an excellent finish to the season (I will be disappointed if we finish outside of the top 3!)
Another season of "consolidation" in division 2 might well see us improving further as a team - the more you play the better players, the more you should improve (that's my theory anyway). Whilst it would be great to have a slightly stronger team (i.e. improvement from within and also, perhaps, one or two strongish players joining the club), we are a friendly club and welcome players of all abilities.
As for our B team, this might even expand enough for us to have a C team next season as well. The ideal would be team A in division 2 (at least for next season), team B in division 3 and a C team in division 4. We are already bringing through other players and getting them vital experience without compromising the B team and that's great news too. We still need more players though and a stronger attendance (i.e. not just turning up for matches, but regular attendance).
The new club championship format has helped in this regard as well, so things have changed at the club over the last couple of years and all for the better.
Back to my "motivational" items - any ideas? At the Northampton club I played at, we looked at Endgames during the summer and were lucky enough to have some excellent tuition from an experienced player. Perhaps this is something I can do this summer if I can persuade more members along during the "off season".
At the moment though, it's full steam ahead for the rest of the season!
League results here :-