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Surbiton A team in the Thames Valley Division 1 and Knock-out Competitions
Season 2011-12 Review

Another season gone and time for a look back at the TV Division 1 team’s season 2011-12.

Here is the final Division 1 League table:

 

P

W

D

L

U

BD

De

Pts

Wimbledon A

14

12

1

1

0

31

0

12½

Ealing A

14

9

2

3

0

16

0

10

Surbiton A

14

8

1

5

0

11

0

Maidenhead A

14

7

0

7

0

-16

0

7

Richmond A

14

5

2

7

0

4

0

6

Kingston A

14

5

2

7

0

-5

3

6

Harrow A

14

5

0

9

0

1

0

5

Ealing B

14

1

0

13

0

-42

0

1

We finished third, one place higher and with one extra match point to our name than a year ago.

I purposely took some time before producing this report because I wanted to reflect and get a proper perspective on our performance as I will be totally honest and admit that the end of the season finish was a disappointment to me. The reality is that we had the potential to do even better than we did as we started out like a train with 5.5/6 and got to 7.5/9 before we lost several matches towards the end of the season. A combination of a dip in form (especially mine at a critical time against Kingston and Maidenhead) and an inability to field sufficient of our strongest players eventually cost us a higher finish. Wimbledon thoroughly deserved their title. They had a deep squad and they were able to regularly field very strong teams.

Our four strongest (190+) players played in 58% of the matches on average between them so we roughly fielded 2 out of 4 of them per match. This pulled the rest of the team up two boards which made a significant difference to the whole team’s prospects. The reality is of course that many of our players balance very busy lives with playing chess and sometimes the chess comes second for good and unavoidable reasons. Ultimately it is my responsibility as captain to try to field the strongest team I can muster so I will continue to strive to see if there are new ways to improve the strength of the teams I field.

In any case, now that I have given the season proper time to sink in, my overall feeling is that we should be very proud of last season’s efforts, we have something good to build upon and we should aim to try to step up a further level next season.

As well as the league we also competed in the Thames Valley knock-out competition where we were eliminated in the first round away to Hammersmith. Hammersmith showed the form that ended up winning them the Division 2 title at a canter and we were a bit below par on the day.

As last season I thought I ought to present a summary of our individual performances:-

Click Here for the statistics table.

As last season I feel the need to suggest a few “awards”

Most loyal player award goes to Ian Henderson for playing in 14 matches (I don’t count for the purposes of this award of course!). It is an absolute joy for a captain to get a “yes” consistently from his top players. I would like to also give an honourable mention to Stef Bruzzi, who played in 12 matches, as well as Angus James and Paul Durrant for their 11 matches each. Thank you all!

Player with most wins award goes to Paul Durrant with eight. Playing as my specialist bunny-boiler on board 8, Paul really cleaned them out. Fabulous effort Paul! ……………. I shall come back to Paul again later.

Player with most losses award goes to your captain with five! To have landed this award twice in a row is not what I was hoping for! Apologies that I played like Mr Hyde when I was captain, with an average 165 grade, and saved my Dr Jekyll persona for my games for other captains/myself last season where I averaged close to 200 over 18 games! As you will have observed, I did not produce individual match reports this season in an effort to concentrate better on my own game but that was obviously not sufficient. I will try my best to bring Dr Jekyll to the board for my team next term!

Mr Solid award once again goes to Stef Bruzzi who drew eight games out of his twelve. Thanks to Stef for his continuing support to the team, which I greatly appreciate.

Highest % scorer award goes to Paul Durrant, with 82% achieved over eleven games. What a fabulous performance from Paul!

Most points award goes to, you guessed it, Paul Durrant who scored 9/11. I would also like to give honourable mentions to Ian Henderson who scored 8.5/14 and Angus James, one of our most improved adult players last season, who scored 7/11.

Highest grading performance award I think deserves to be shared and goes to Edgar Flacker for his 196 and Chris Briscoe for a 195 performance. Very good, solid, efforts at the top of the team. Well done Edgar and Chris!

Finally, the Punched Above His Weight award goes to ………Paul Durrant! who, graded 154, produced a 174 performance. Paul’s award collection this year resembles the performance of the London 2012 Olympic Team GB Cycling team! Paul Durrant is the heart and soul of Surbiton Chess Club, has been a wonderful support to me over the last two seasons and long may his follies and gambits boil the bunnies (and the odd IM)!! Thanks Paul!

I would like to invent further awards so that I can give one to every player but that might seem a bit contrived! I would like to thank every one of my players for your loyalty and support last season, which I really appreciated. It is a challenge to play on any board in what has become an increasingly competitive league and you all deserve great credit.

Thanks also to those who were prepared to be reserves, which again meant that we did not default a single game thereby giving due respect to our opponents as well as giving ourselves the best possible chance in our matches.

Next season?

Let’s try to get better! The themes I identified last year are still very relevant:

1. Get the best players out as often as possible.

If I can do a better job of planning for matches or with fixture arrangements at the beginning of the season then please let me know. If you have any personal issues that impact your ability to play, please talk to me about them as early as possible. The key to this issue I believe ought to be good, open, communication as well as a desire by all of us to see the team do as well as possible.

2. Improvement.

We can all improve of course. I hope our Special Event club nights can make an additional educational impact over and above what we do in terms of individual study and practice of the greatest game on the planet.

Within this category I would like to observe that the art of making or deciding upon draw offers is worthy of further consideration. An example of this was against Kingston at home last season. We had a situation where I was clearly losing very early on but still five relatively short draws were agreed. This left just two of our team fighting to turn the match around from level/inferior positions. I am sure many draws are perfectly justified based on the board position and I also recognise that over-pressing can lead to a zero. I just ask that you check that a draw on your board really does make sense to the team if there is scope to play on.

Conclusion

Once again, thanks to each and every one of you for your efforts last season. I look forward to us doing even better next season and wish you all a great Olympic summer until then!

Paul Shepherd 8 August 2012

Links

2014-2015 Season's review for 4NCL Team

2013-2014 Season's review for Thames Valley 1st Team

2012-2013 Season's review for Surrey Ellam Trophy 2nd Team

2012-2013 Season's review for Thames Valley 1st Team

2011-2012 Season's review for Thames Valley 1st Team

2010-2011 Season's review for Thames Valley 1st Team

Into the Black!
Wimbledon B 1.5-6.5 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 9 May 2011

Captains' delight!
Richmond A 4-4 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 14 Apr 2011

Slipping on our own Banana Skins!
Staines 4-2 Surbiton, Thames Valley Knock-out 11 Apr 2011

Perfect Symmetry.
Surbiton A 6-2 Wimbledon A, Thames Valley Division 1 30 Mar 2011

The Origami Game of Doom!
Staines A 1-7 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 21 Mar 2011

Away Day Blues.
Maidenhead A 5.5-2.5 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 14 Mar 2011

Where are you?
Surbiton A 8-0 Staines A, Thames Valley Division 1 9 Mar 2011

We're in the Final
Surbiton 7-3 South Norwood, Alexander Cup Semi-Final 3 March 2011

Tragedy at the end.
Wimbledon A 6-2 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 14 Feb 2011

Staring at the Brake Lights.
Harrow A 4.5-3.5 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 10 Feb 2011

The Champions are Beaten!
Surbiton A 5-3 Ealing A, Thames Valley Division 1 26 Jan 2011

Richmond wheel in the Big Guns.
Surbiton A 2.5-5.5 Richmond A, Thames Valley Division 1 12 Jan 2011

Thanks be to Mark Hogarth!
Surbiton 5.5-4.5 Wallington, Alexander Cup 17 Nov 2010

Running naked down the street?
Surbiton A 5.5-2.5 Maidenhead A, Thames Valley Division 1 3 Nov 2010

It was written in the Bird Excrement!
Surbiton A 2-6 Harrow A, Thames Valley Division 1 27 Oct 2010

Pushing the Champions close.
Ealing A 4.5-3.5 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 5 Oct 2010

Beating the Pink Doll Gambit.
Surbiton 5.5-0.5 Richmond, Thames Valley Knock-out 22 Sept 2010

Surbiton Chess Club End of Season Report May 2010

Surbiton Chess Club Newsletter Sept / Oct 2009