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We will follow Slough Sharks

Ben Purton reports on Slough Sharks' performance at the recent European Club Cup in Fuegen, Austria

Hi all, sorry for this belated report. I would have emailed each day, but internet cafes in Fuegen were comparable to Strip Clubs in Saudi Arabia (non-existant, at least to my knowledge). Fuegen was a beautiful place, but maybe a little too quiet for our team. The organisers did a good job.

Our Aims were in the following orders: 1) Get above seeding, 2) get a Norm(s), and if feeling really ambitious, 3) Get top English team. I’m proud to say we achieved the first 2, but were 1 place below Hilsmark on the game points. The rivalry is a pleasant one and it was good to have another English side at the event.

We Scored 3 Wins out of 7 Matches.

Most notable performance was clearly Gawain Jones, who scored a GM norm and 2650+ performance. He didnt play for himself and played for the team, he deserves the norm as he did work very hard for it, none of his opponents gifted him points. In fact I believe he had a very hard draw, his one loss came to Hannes Stefansson who is a GM from Iceland who was a regular in the 2600 club and clearly was underrated at his 2550 rating. Gawain Beat Horvath who is a GM who rarely loses when he plays In Hungarian tournaments such as First Saturday. He also played former Slough player Mehmeti, who is 2395, but has gained rating nearly every time he touches a piece and I remember him beating Murray Chandler at 4NCL when clearly underrated at 2300, he is still underrated. So like with Liverpool Chess congress , Gawain played nothing short of exceptional this week.

To the match reports:

Round 1

In this match we played a team from Bosnia called Siroki Brijeg. Seeded 18th, they were a tough, tough tie. Gawain beat IM Brkic Ante 2541, a player who then went and drew with a 2700 in the next round (by the name of Radjabov). Gawain won the exchange down but with clear play with the double bishops in the ending. Malcolm Armstrong, Ben Edgell and Graeme Kafka all lost to opponents rated around 400 points above them. However mine and Tweedie’s games were still going on at 3-1 and I was winning vs. a 2450 FM player and missed a Queen sac for the clear point only to play like an idiot and lose. Tweedie had the better of an ending vs. a player who drew with a former world champion in the next round. So we lost 5-1, however definitely gave them a good run for their money and I would say in fact my best game was one I had lost.

Round 2

In round 2 , we got drawn with a Dutch side called LSG. Now finally we had a good chance in this match we felt. We were not wrong. Gawain beat a 2414 IM, in a nice game. I drew with Rudy Van Wessel FM, Tweedie on 2 was out prepared by his opponent who seemed to know what he was doing very well in the Ruy Lopez. So we had 2 Whites left playing as it stayed 1.5-1.5 and Malcolm was drawing and Ben Edgell, a young lad from Somerset, was 2 clear pawns up against the 2250 on bottom board and Graeme Kafka "couldn’t lose" his ending. However Ben slipped half a point by losing a pawn and agreeing a draw , Malcolm followed suit and lost, and Graeme lost the ending very unluckily. So we lost 4-2. However we played very strong and there captain told me "A very 50-50 match" when we shook hands. So that was testament for our efforts......0/2 But time for a consolatory beer.

Round 3

A "Home" tie with Belfast was next, a match we were favourites in and we followed through with a 4.5-1.5 victory and a happy captain as everyone got off the "mark" in this game.

Round 4

No rest for the ....Wicked? Jakies? Whatever you want to call it, Hellir chess club are a very strong side. Stefansson ground down the in-form (3/3 so far) Gawain on board 1 for his only loss. However Board 2 got the result of the match for us , with Steven Tweedie winning with the Black pieces against IM Bragi Thorfinnsson. Board 3 for Hellir sought brotherly revenge with Black winning against Kafka. I drew with Bjornsson on the Black side of a Najdorf. Ben and Malcolm both got ground down by players who clearly wanted blood. So 4.5-1.5 loss, however unlike the LSG match, we got truly shafted and our opponents were deserved winners.

Round 5

Next up were the Albanian team Butrinti, now before you think this is like getting a bye, they had disposed of a high seed and had 5 unrateds, who were certainly not unrated because of lack of strength. Gawain disposed of Mehmeti on 1 and "Razors" Edgell on bottom board sealed his first win outside Britain. 3 draws was enough to scrape a 3.5-2.5 victory and another 2 match points!

Round 6

Ok, Ok, who is doing this draw? No mercy seems to be given with us being drawn with Hungarian side Csuti Hydrocomp Zalaegerszeg. We looked at their family-based (Horvath) team and knew we were in trouble. Denes Boros their board 2, had "only" scored 16/19 with White vs. 2450 Average, a record even Gawain "Jesus" Jones would be proud of. However “Razors” Edgell drew with a 2300 player (300 points higher than his rating) and Gawain kept the steam train going with a win vs. GM Horvath; he now needed a GM in the final round to seal the norm, if the GM was over 2500, he would just need to turn up for the norm. We lost 4.5-1.5 vs. the Hungarian outfit. "Pasted".

Round 7

We got Kilkenny. Heavy drinking followed as celebrations of Jesus's GM norm and it became apparent he would face Black against Wood Green’s / Kilkenny's only daily chess bulletin player Alexander Baburin. This was a massive match for us , with them out rating us on the top 4 boards and their board 5 having beaten Jovanka Houska (ECF Player of Year 2006) earlier in the tournament, we were clearly slightly worried about the outcome. Again we didn’t lose a board and myself and Razors Edgell’s wins combined with 4 draws was enough to win the match 4-2 and seal our place as 37th, compared to our 48th seeding.

So that’s all about the chess. I’m sure most of you will find your way to my website update on this tournament which will include extensive pics and more "Banter reports".

Thanks again to Friends in Chess and to Rupert Jones for helping with half the entry fee.

Here is the "Best of the Pics" from Fuegen.

Off we go, Salzburg Station for our trip To Fuegen.
Photo – Ben Purton

Off we go, Salzburg Station for our trip To Fuegen.

The view from our Chalet
Photo – Ben Purton

The view from our "Chalet"; Yes, we are on the top of a MOUNTAIN!!!

Hard at work preparing for our games, Steve Tweedie, Board 2.
Photo – Ben Purton

Hard at work preparing for our games, Steve Tweedie, Board 2.

Hungarians v. English; Not something you usually see when wearing the Slough Sharks Shirts.
Photo – Ben Purton

Hungarians v. English; Not something you usually see when wearing the Slough Sharks Shirts.

Boards 2, 3 and 1 Preparing / Playing Blitz chess in this photo.
Photo – Ben Purton

Boards 2, 3 and 1 "Preparing" / Playing Blitz chess in this photo.

Our Board 6 is scarier than yours!!!
Photo – Ben Purton

Our Board 6 is scarier than yours!!!

The Legendary Ulf Andersson of Hilsmark Chess team, with Ben Purton and Steven Tweedie.
Photo – Ben Purton

The Legendary Ulf Andersson of Hilsmark Chess team, with Ben Purton and Steven Tweedie.

Karl McPhillips (Kilkenny), The already Legendary and soon to be even more Legendary Mamedyarov!!!, Ben Purton (Sharks) and Steven Tweedie (Sharks).
Photo – Ben Purton

Karl McPhillips (Kilkenny), The already Legendary and soon to be even more Legendary Mamedyarov!!!, Ben Purton(Sharks) and Steven Tweedie(Sharks).

Kind regards, All


Division 1

Pride and Prejudice
Barbican 4NCL 1
White Rose 1
Guildford-A&DC 1
Cambridge Univ. 1
The ADs
Barbican 4NCL 2
Oxford 1
Pandora's Box Grantham
S. Wales Dragons
Guildford-A&DC 2
Poisoned Pawns 1
Jutes of Kent

Division 2

Sambuca Sharks
Warwickshire Select 1
e2e4.org.uk 1
Barbican 4NCL Youth
AMCA Dragons
Kings Head
Poisoned Pawns 2
Anglian Avengers
Wessex 1
Celtic Tigers 1
Bristol 1
White Rose 2
Brown Jack
Guildford-A&DC 3
FCA Solutions 1

Division 3

Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg
Sambuca Black Sheep
Cambridge Univ. 2
Wessex 2
Warwickshire Select 2
KJCA Kings
FCA Solutions 2
The Full Ponty
Sussex Smart Ctls.
e2e4.org.uk 2
Nottinghamshire 1
Nottinghamshire 2
Oxford 2
AMCA Rhinos
Braille Chess Assoc.
AMCA Hippos
Glos. Gambits
Bristol 2
KJCA Knights
Guernsey Mates
Bristol 3
e2e4.org.uk 3
Beauty and the Beasts
Celtic Tigers 2
Oxford 3
Guildford-A&DC 4
AMCA Cheetahs