Apr 152014
Lightning strikes for Halifax 'A' and Belgrave. This image is used under Creative Commons terms and is sourced form gleasonmj's Flickr photostream

Lightning strikes for Halifax ‘A’ and Belgrave. This image is used under Creative Commons terms and is sourced form gleasonmj’s Flickr photostream

Congratulations to Halifax ‘A’ who lifted their first Calderdale Evening Chess League 1 title since 1985-85! They defeated a strong Courier ‘A’ side 2 – 3 at the Belgrave Club to take the crown. At Todmorden their ‘A’ team beat Huddersfield by 3½ – 1½which means that Courier finish as runners up on board count ahead of Huddersfield. Todmorden ‘A’ finished fourth.

Hebden Bridge ‘A’ finished off their season with a convincing 4½ – ½ win over Todmorden ‘B’ whilst Hebden Bridge ‘B’, with nothing to play for forfeited their away game to Brighouse. Both those teams go down whilst Hebden ‘A’ finish fifth and Tod ‘B’ finished sixth.

Congratulations too to Belgrave who won League 2 by defeating Hebden Bridge ‘C’ at the Trades Club last night. Halifax ‘B’ join them in League 1 next season.

A more detailed report and game will follow later this week.

  57 Responses to “Newsflash: Halifax lift League 1 title”

  1. It was an exciting match last night and the match was already decided at 3-1 for us with me still playing against Phil Watson with both of us having same number of pawns and on a rook knight vs rook and bishop end game with both players with under 3 minutes left on the clock. I finally blundered due to time pressure and finally suffer my first loss. What a season! The league is getting more exciting every year! Thank you for doing us a favour by beating Huddersfield !

  2. Thank you, we couldn’t have done it without you – or Todmordon, Hudderfield, or Courier for that matter. I have never known a season like it. Carlos was so happy; I swear he was in tears as he and Darwin did the Conga around the Belgrave Social Club car park.

  3. Awww! Thats nice to hear! Congratulations Halifax, i know how carlos and you all feel from when we beat halifax last season when i beat bill with it all on the line! Congrats to you all.

  4. Gents,

    Congratulations! You worked hard for it and the league was as tough this year as it’s ever been. Halifax are worthy Champions and, taking a neutral’s point of view, it’s not too upsetting to see the recent Huddersfield / Hebden Bridge run broken.

    Funny how one perception of individual results from earlier in the season can look very different at the end of it. How much will Huddersfield regret losing to Brighouse at home in November? At the time it didn’t appear to be an issue for them but now… Also your draw with them in the first match might have felt like a point lost but in fact it was a critical point gained.

    Huddersfield are tough and cunning opponents. they’ll be back next year and will probably be even stronger. Kudos to Todmorden for losing just a single board at home all season (!) and to Courier for getting so very close this time around.

    Darwin, ’bout time you lost one to give us all a chance to catch up! I think I’ve had my best ever season in Calderdale (79%) but I was still miles behind you. Hands up who thinks Darwin should be barred from competing in the best performing individual competition next season!

    On another note, I’d very much like to collect some candidates for “Game of the Season” to put into an end of year review. I’d like nominations from all parties and clubs. It doesn’t have to be your own game or games (but it does have to have been played in the Calderdale League or the Calderdale Individual) so please feel free to nominate anything that you saw which was memorable: emails to hebdenbridgechessclub@gmail.com



  5. Game of the year? Well personally my game against winston, not many games go for a 130 moves…I thought mitchells escape against john kerrane was very memorable, i also liked pete leonards game against tony slinger, cutting edge theory.

  6. All good choices Matthew. I won’t pick out any of my games but I also enjoyed Darwin and Mitchell’s titanic struggle in round four of the individual. Also, how can we overlook Matty Webb’s singular achievement of beating a Todmorden ‘A’ player with Black? He made that one look easy against Martin Hamer. There has to be a win from Hebden ‘D’ vs. Belgrave in there. Probably Carl’s just for sheer joyous surprise value. I suspect I might want to add in the Syrett vs. Webster King’s Gambit from last night as well once I’ve studied it. There’s plenty to go on with. Does anyone from outside Hebden Bridge have a view?

  7. Bill: “Carlos was so happy; I swear he was in tears”

    True! 🙂 Tears of joy from the sense of job done from a captain’s perspective and happy that we got the title back after so many years. Happy for everyone in the team who made it all possible. I was 13 and watching “Back to the Future” at the cinema the last time Halifax won the title. I was determined to get the Halifax name engraved on that beautiful trophy.

    Earlier in the night I had the feeling that the title was slowly slipping away from our hands. I had drawn my game, Winston looked like a draw too. Bill was ahead but Sam was a piece down. Darwin’s game looked complicated and I did not want to guess the outcome when he was playing against Phil Watson. Did not look like he could get the win we needed to guarantee the title, and we did not know how Huddersfield was doing against Tod A.

    Not for cardiacs! A right roller coaster of emotions over the 3 hour period.

    Dave: “Hands up who thinks Darwin should be barred from competing in the best performing individual competition next season!”

    He just does not know how to lose. Just look at his name Dar – WIN!!! 🙂

  8. Yes, I dubbed him “Draw-Win” that season he played for us 🙂
    Who’d have thought that just two years after Halifax had no teams in League 1 that you’d win the title. Some great focus and rebuilding from all concerned.

  9. Not only win the title but get 2 teams in D1 next season. Question is, can we maintain both

  10. Well I beat Darwin the last time I played him and as such will never play him again.

  11. Matthew – I’ll just have to pair Bill against you 😉

  12. Just realised I was reading chess blogs and posting on them too. The word geek sprang to mind LOL!

    Then again, geeks make the world go round so I do not mind the tag 😀

  13. You guys are so funny suggesting to barred me in the individual performance but to be honest it means nothing if Halifax fails to win the title, but because we did it is so sweet to have both the individual and the the team title, plus I was able to keep my promised to my kids that they will see my name again engrave on the shield for the third time.

    The real winner here is the league as we are start attracting stronger players from other league and make the league more interesting . So to all of us in Calderdale league….CONGRATULATIONS!

  14. Dave- I think one of the best game to be voted for was your game against Andy Leatherborow in the individual championship, that was awesome for me.

  15. Darwin please don’t make anymore promises to your kids about this kind of thing. It’s clearly motivating you far too effectively! 🙂
    I agree that the League is getting better because the teams are strengthening. This has to be good news especially as the trend is spreading across more clubs now.
    Carlos, you make the point about Halifax having two teams in League 1 next season… It can make a difference but it depends on how your club chooses to prioritise and plan. Certainly Hebden struggled greatly to field two teams in league 1 this season and Todmorden seemed to have decided that keeping two teams in league 1 was more important than fighting for the title as the chose to field a ‘B’ team to beat Brighouse last week rather than an ‘A’ team to play you chaps. There’s no right and wrong but it does make for some interesting decisions. One of the secrets to your success this year was your ability to get the same team out round after round. If you can get your core players to do that again next season then you’ll be fine.

  16. Revenge will be mine – and i could have mated bill on h4 in that game, but if is a big word….

  17. Plus if i move to halifax as planned i may end up playing for you guys!

  18. Matt, you should annotate that game for the website, it is a good lesson in attack, keeping the initiative alive, and accurate(ish) defence. You should definitely play for Halifax next season, of course, we may lose Winston who is yet to decide whether he plays again – this season was a taster. It would be good to see Matty W, Ig L, Andy B, and Phil W turn out a bit more than just replacements and crunch matches too. Courier would probably run away with the league with Phil playing regularly.

  19. Oi! You play for us and I end up in the B team!!!! LOL!

  20. Bill – dont know if you have analysed our game – but its amazing, if i dont play, bb5 to force rook off back rank, (i thought back rank was more important than 7th) i can force queen vs rook and minor piece or you end up mated. Not obvious moves mind you, but still beauty of chess.

  21. Chance due to work will be moving to central halifax, if so i’d possibly end up coming to halifax cc.

  22. Well done Halifax on breaking the mould congratulations from down under !
    I played in the Calderdale league a few years ago, for Hebden Bridge , I relocated to Australia a couple of years ago, I have loved reading all the comments and reports and game studies provided thankyou guys (Dave), what a fantastic couple of close run in seasons they have been, I really enjoyed it from afar , I too think that the epic 130 move game nvolving Mr Parsons was an tremendous and prime candidate battle for game of the season, keep the banter going (p.s on my last calderdale individual I think I took out messrs Shapland & Velosa..ha)

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for commenting and giving your opinion on game of the season – a good choice. It’s great to hear we have some readers from further afield than Todmorden and Huddersifled! You were very canny to beat a few of us in the Individual and then emigrate to avoid any potential revenge encounters! 😉
      I hope you’ll continue to enjoy the coverage. I fear my last round report will be a little delayed as I have so much material to pull together. I hope it will be worth the wait.

      Best regards,


  23. Well Done Halifax

    Hope next season is just as competitive!

  24. Not related to the topic but I think it is the right place to start debating in readiness for the next league AGM.

    How does everyone feel about aligning D1 and D2 match days? This would mean all teams would be playing on the same night regardless of which division they play in.

    This would address:
    – having teams using players across teams as they saw fit (a B or C team recruiting from an A or B team for a key match)
    – not having teams falsely inflating team strength (a D2 team could be promoted using A team players only to be relegated straight away as their team is not competitive enough for D1)
    – free up at least 12 weeks in the season which could be used for a cup competition.

    I like the last one best. There is no real cup competition in Calderdale. Many other leagues have it and it allows teams to rotate players in a competitive environment. Would not need to be a knock out cup but maybe a handicap one, allowing weaker teams to be able to at least compete for victory.

    Bradford league for example runs a knockout cup and a handicap one. We could easily implement the same 2 cups.

    I’m sure this idea came about before but pushed back for reasons unknown and most likely unjustifiable as it was only addressing 1 or 2 teams concerned.


  25. Congratulations for a great win Halifax and, Carlos for leading them … the 1st Division was great fun this season for many reasons;new players,differing styles,theoretical battles and,indeed,a fair amount of “luck” … all played with great sportsmanship and some humour .

    ps. Carlos, my first reactions to your suggestion for the AGM are that 1.rapidly improving players under the current system do not have to wait a whole season before getting a shot at a 1st Division game (equally,some might feel like stepping back for a breather) and,2 the flexibility of the current system means less defaults due to players being ill or otherwise unavailable … this is very important I believe as we don’t want to put clubs off from trying to have a second team or even third as that both keeps the divisions buoyant and,means new players who join the club mid-season can still get a chance to play … hope that helps

  26. To respond to your points Carlos. I wouldn’t be in favour of playing all league matches on the same night. It would be fine for clubs with one or two teams but if you have three or four it’s a nightmare. Hebden Bridge really struggling to get 20 players out on the few occasions when we do have to play the league 1 and 2 matches together. On these occasions we are more, rather than less likely to bring in players that we wouldn’t use for much of the rest of the year. In addition, there are some players who it suits very well to play on low boards in division 1 and high boards in division 2. I don’t see what the problem is with that. The current rules prevent top board players from playing down and that’s fair enough. I fear your proposal would lead to less teams in division 2.

    Now, if you want more weeks in the season for a competition why not just extend the season later into April and May? I never understood why we finish over a month before Bradford and Leeds conclude their business. Or… Run the individual from April to August and use those weeks for a cup comp. What say you?

  27. Rules. – I propose this.

    All players to play for a team must be registered at the start of the season. To stop a club from just registering every single player they can think of only 10 players can play for a team in any one season. So ten players for hebden a and ten players for hebden b, though there can be crossover there. If a player does not play in the first half of the season they cannot play in the second. I think this would avoid the problems have come up this year whilst maintaining the quality of competition.

    I would also like to suggest we put a limit on the average rating of a team to say 160 or around there.

    Congratulations to Halifax, but I feel and I know a lot of other people do as well that the league was pointless this year due to the strength of that team, and it led myself and others to be less interested than normal.

    I also think that division 2 should do away with 3hr games. The games in that division are nearly always over in no more than a hour and I don’t think it does anyone any good. So many of the players in that league especially new players to the game or junior players just want to play more chess and I would suggest that the fixtures change to allow for more than 1 game to be played each night. Maybe 2 games with 30mins each or 45mins each for all moves, reverse colours same opponent, you would still get a graded game for those that are bothers are about such things, and this would be more beneficial and more fun for players, which ultimately is why we all play, right?

    • Matthew – “I feel and I know a lot of other people do as well that the league was pointless this year due to the strength of that team, and it led myself and others to be less interested than normal.”

      I don’t quite follow you on this one. The league was wide open right to the wire, with any of 3 teams capable of winning it. Go back to round 13 and 4 teams were still in it. GO back another 2 and 5 teams we all contenders.

      The top 5 teams were all very competitive and the results prove it.

      Even Tod B, Hebden B and Brighouse were all capable of pulling out some susprises.

  28. Hello gents,

    Let me say my views in this topic, first , I agree with Mike Huett and Dave, the current format really help both division 1 and division, as it helps to avoid default games and matches. But it really depends on how the team captains can complete a team to play for a match. It’s also the clubs discretion if they want to have a weaker A team or b team or to default their match( e.g Tod A vs Halifax A rnd 13) so meaning to say the current format should remain .

    Second, regarding Matts proposal to put an average team grade of 160 is somewhat detrimental to the future of the league. Are we saying here that players in Calderdale league are average chess players or Calderdale league are only for average chess players? I don’t know why people are so fuss about a strong teams average grade? As far as I remember, when I played for hebden bridge two season , our average grade was around 155-158 or lower than that, we won the title against a very strong Huddersfield and Tod A, last season hebden A again won the title against a very strong teams such as Huuds, Tod A, And Halifax. This season we saw Brighouse beat Hudds A, Tod B drew against courier, hebden beat halifax, Hudds beat halifax, Tod A beats halifax. Does grade really matters in winning a game or a match? Or grade is just a number that means nothing if a player, whether strong or weak , made a wrong move or blunder?
    Calderdale league at this very moment is a weaker league compare to Bradford league, Leeds league Manchester league and Yorkshire league but we are going to a direction where in someday Calderdale league will become a strong league where in masters, master caliber and future masters will play. So why are we going to put a standing block on that direction by implementing average grade per team? What makes you get motivitated to play chess, is it to lord above weaker opponents or to be on top against both strong and weak opponents? Or just to enjoy the game. This year the league was just pointless to someone who does not believe in his team and his team mates capabilities and worst, to his own capabilities . Personally, I don’t care if one team has an average grade of 200 or average grade of 50, what matters to me is to play the game that I love and enjoy it.

  29. Matt, I think you are not looking into the figures right. Limit to 160?

    Lets look at the some team averages:

    Huddersfield – 178.8
    Hebden A – 178.4
    Courier – 170
    Todmorden A – 169.6
    Halifax – 168.2
    Tod B – 154.8
    Brighouse – 149.4
    Hebden B – 142.8

    These averages are taken using the top 5 grades for each team, regardless of how many matches they played.

    As you can see, the top 5 team grade averages are very similar and that was proven during the season. The weaker team averages were for the two relegated teams.

    It is all down to player’s availability and Halifax was lucky to have a strong core, week in week out. The top 3 boards helped but boards 4 and 5 also brought in the bacon.

    I would be happy to play against whatever grade. It does not put me off playing against a stronger opponent. It makes me want to beat them and get that sense of achievement.

  30. Yep I totally disagree with the above.

    The calderdale league has not been made stronger this year. Taking players from other leagues does a disservice to local players and creates a situation where teams are full of players who are not really members of the club and ultimately leads to clubs closing as the people who actually contribute to a club staying active are those who come to club night, contribute to the internal runnings of a club and promotes the development of the club. This is how the caldedale or indeed any league in the long term prospers.

    Bringing in players from other leagues for short term wins does nothing but a disservice to the club and the league. This is one of the reasons huddersfield club night has become non existent due to the fact that players who support the club on a regular basis on club nights would never get a game.

    Let me say that I don’t just apply this to Halifax, but huddersfield, courier and indeed hebden bridge.

    As I’ve said before whilst I have nothing personally against Matthew Webb,Andrew bak, or Ihor lewyk, and whilst I understand the reasons they were picked, I don’t believe players who don’t regularly come to club night should be picked.

    You can say the league was competitive this year but I don’t really believe it was.

    Halifax winning the league is a good achievement for those players who played for that team but I don’t believe it’s a good success for the club.

    Imagine I arranged for Peter Shaw, Matthew Webb, Roger keely, say James Adair, hey why not Nigel Davies to all play for hebden next year. That team would clearly win the league. Is that a success for hebden? Of course not, it’s a total farce. Hence my reasoning for an average grade limit.

  31. I also would do away with chess grades full stop… But that’s another discussion.

  32. Think I’m disillusioned with the league anyway. Winning the individual this year was nice but really big deal. It wasn’t that challenging and the amount of players not entering or worse entering them simply not turning up or withdrawing after one loss was ridiculous.

  33. Hey our game was VERY close and I never felt I was going to lose (until I did :-))
    I take offence at you saying it wasn’t challenging! 🙂

  34. Matthew if sound to me like you need to play in more congresses!

  35. Lol Nick, that’s why it wasn’t ‘that challenging’ as opposed to ‘not challenging at all.’

  36. Carlos, I must take some issue with you last comment where you work out the average grades of the teams in league 1. You can’t just take the grades of the top 5 players. In our case you’d be using Matthew Webb who only played for us twice, Ihor who played for us once and Andy Bak who played four games. Hardly representative. Instead look for the five players who appeared most frequently for each team and work out their average ratings. That will give a truer representation of average strength through the whole season…

  37. Matthew- if ever Hebdenbridge will have, Shaw, Webb, keeley, Adair and Davis, I will be very happ to play against them and try to grind out a win. It will be more fulfilling to win against them rather than to win against weaker opponent . Hope you will have them next season . Lol!

    Lastly, I think leagues are created not for the chess clubs but for the chess players. So it only means everyone are welcome to any chess league and to any chess teams they preferred to play.

  38. Dave, of course(!) 🙂 the average figures I presented can be interpreted in many ways and include several assumptions like players being available for all matches. The figures are based on potential line-ups. I could not base figures on most used players as it gets too complicated. Some players only turned up for key matches for example so I could not take them out of the equation as they had an influence in the overall picture.

    Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that Matt was wrong in his comment saying that the league was pointless this year. I saw the exact opposite with 5 teams all with a chance to win it, and it all went down to the wire.

  39. Interesting reading, though tempers are getting a bit frayed and some of what has been written is nonsense, IMHO.
    First I’d like to add my congratulations to Halifax for an excellent achievement in winning the League. I thought it was a very interesting season, with some close and unpredictable results. Of course, the whole tournament is meaningless in the wider context of world poverty, global warming, etc. but WTH it’s a game, which gives most of us a great deal of satisfaction and intellectual exercise.
    Second, I too would not favour a switch to playing both division’s matches on the same week. To be parochial about it, Hebden Bridge are going to have a struggle to field three teams in D2 next year; having to find 20 players at a time would instantly put the kibosh on the D team. This would be a thoroughly bad thing IMO, as the D team is giving a number of juniors experience of serious competitive chess. Take away the D team and few of them would get a game.
    Third, I’m not sure about the point of a cup competition as well as the League. We already have 14 League matches and five Calderdale Individual games in a season of about 32-35 weeks (reckoning in my head). Take away Christmas and New Year (assuming the League organisers don’t make that mistake again) and there aren’t many weeks left for “ordinary club nights”. Requiring that players must turn up to club nights in order to qualify for the teams doesn’t make much sense in those circumstances.
    Fourth, I agree that trying to limit the grades of players in any team is likely to be counter-productive. One can have too many rules.
    Fifth, I agree that there is a problem with the number of drop-outs from the Individual competition. I must admit to a particular interest in this season’s tournament; I was scheduled to play three of the top four players (though one didn’t turn up) in my last three rounds, whereas Matthew, the worthy winner, played no-one higher ranked than myself. Indeed he whitewashed the remainder of the regular HB A team, only dropping half a point to a B team player. I’m not criticising the draw, but it was affected by no-shows. How do you “make” people turn up?
    Finally, I suppose you can make a case for extending the season slightly. HB A played our last two matches within the space of five days; now there’s another suggestion for discussion: should all teams play their matches on the same, Monday, nights?

  40. Hi all,
    Ok, because I’m a bit of a spod about these things, I’ve done some number crunching and can now show the average ratings for the season by team where the average rating of the 5 most used players is calculated. This means that you get a fairer picture of team strength across the season in my view. Here we go then:

    Halifax A = 169 (last season = 156)
    Huddersfield A = 169 (last season 165)
    Todmorden A = 166 (last season 161)
    Courier A = 161
    Hebden Bridge A = 155 (last season 155)
    Todmorden B = 140
    Brighouse = 138
    Hebden Bridge B = 130

    These are quite interesting. Darwin is spot on in saying that the strongest teams don’t always win the league but in general (looking back at 7 or so year’s data) generally they do. Hebden Bridge winning the league last season was statistically very unusual. This year the strongest teams finished at the top.

    Here’s another interesting set of stats. Look at the number of players used by each team during the season:

    Halifax A = 8 players (last year 11)
    Huddersfield = 12 players (last year 11)
    Todmorden A = 9 players (last year 9)
    Courier A = 9 players
    Hebden Bridge A = 11 players (last year 9)
    Todmorden B = 10 players
    Brighouse = 8 players
    Hebden Bridge B = 12 players

    Looking at this it would seem that Halifax benefitted from a smaller pool of players as well as a stronger average line up. I really believe this to be a key factor. Hebden Bridge A on the other hand were less cohesive than in previous years in terms of numbers. Huddersfield always have a high number of players in their team as well as a high average grade but in the recent years when they’ve won the title they’ve succeeded in bringing their total players used down to 10 or less.

    I have more statistical analysis to do for a future post but I think these two lists do reveal something about the characteristics of recent title winning sides.

    More generally, I don’t agree that we should fix an average rating for teams in the league and I agree with the majority that a stronger league is producing more exciting competition and better quality chess in general. That has to be a good thing. However, I do also think that, generally speaking, there aren’t enough clubs bringing in new local members to sustain the league in the long term. The strengthening of the league over the last few years has been primarily down to players from further afield coming into the competition. I welcome that but if we are to sustain our game we need more local players too.

    • I agree with you Dave, team cohesiveness is one of the key to win a championship and it is a proven formula. Not the grade! If you will also analyse our losses , most of them were not played by our regular five board players.

  41. OK, so there are valid reasons to keep division 1 and 2 match days apart. I now agree. 🙂

    Good and interesting analysis Dave.

    Regarding the health of the Calderdale league, I think the only way to improve it in a sustainable way is with local talent. Unfortunately it is not something that can or will happen overnight. In the meantime, we are plugging the hole with players from further afield and I am all for it. The alternative is having a smaller number of players in Calderdale, and as each season goes by and players drop out, the league would only become less interesting, less competitive, and have much less quality.

    We need new talent to come from junior ages but many are more interested in playing on their Xbox than over a chess board. Hebden Bridge leads the way with their juniors club (something to give appraisal for). I do not think any other teams are doing this.

    I am all for schools introducing chess to all their pupils. To me, the way forward into getting youngsters interested in the game. Maybe each club should “adopt” a local school. The problem is of course, having someone in each club available to run it.

    Regarding a cup competition, I still think it would be possible to implement one without much impact. A knockout one would only need 4 extra weeks in the season. Club nights can run between seasons and during the season too as div 1 and 2 play on different nights. Our B and C team guys meet when the A team is playing for example.

    My previous post may have sounded a bit blunt (my apologies if they came across as that), but all I wanted was to get some discussion going as to how we can improve our league. I am passionate about chess and if we can do something to make more people feel the same, we would be going in the right direction.

  42. I have to confess that I am astounded at the goodwill, passion, inventiveness of ideas and over-all passion from all the contributiors. I have forwarded this page to the Halifax Courier’s Sports Editor, such is the degree of the pleasure I have in noting the response of players.
    Let me first of all thank Carlos for doing a splendid job as Captain (most do not know how much it meant to him). Second I would like to congratulate Darwin for a sterling performance (again). Third I would like to thank Winston, Bill and Sam for their availabilty and good play. When Dave Patrick and I played in a team that won the National Club Championships in 1988,89, 90 and 92 (we won the Plate in 1991), we played like a band of brothers, keeping the same team and playing for each other. There was no chance of bringing in stronger players because the competetion was grade restricted.
    However, on a different note, I also recall there was a Ripponden team playing in the Calderdale Evening Chess League that was made of very strong players: Phil Siddle and Ray English, to name but two, whos grades were 204 and 180 respectively. They came from the Manchester League and when I asked them why they came to play in our League, the said it was because the players were much more friendly and there was none of the back-biting that went on in Manchester. Maybe there is a lesson to be learnt, maybe not.
    In the discussion that has taken place above , there have been some very interesting ideas put forward by many local (and not so local, given John’s lol. Good luck mate) players. I would hope that some of these ideas will transfer themselves to this year’s AGM, which I hope will be well attended.
    This has been the most fantastic season in living memory, full of surprises and not diminished in any way by the introduction of stonger players. Weaker players, such as myself, have everything to gain from playing against stronger opposition, as I did when I played against Mr. Siddle.
    Once again thanks to one and all for your kind words regarding Halifax’s success; Dave for producing such an excellent website where such ideas can be aired and to the Halifax players. The one thing I would urge players to do is respect that the biggest winner here is CHESS – truly a sport that mankind can be proud of!

  43. So in response,

    An amazing level if discourse above. Its great to players so passionate about the league.

    I am sure there are others who are just as passionate who don’t have the ability to comment on here as well, so its not just 5-6 people.

    I maintain my view that I don’t believe the league was competitive this year. Individual results are in my opinion not evidence against what was a very predictable season.

    Predictable – pointless, ah the meaning and analysis that is given to one word used in comment in a quick response.

    I’m pleased that I provoked such analysis by what I said above, but please don’t think that I therefore consider every single element if the season to be ‘pointless,’ there were indeed many good games, hard fought matches, and good captaincy from many involved.

    There were however, also the negatives, which have been discussed above, I would also add however that something really needs to be done about defaults. Defaulting an entire game, I’m sure those involved had their reasons, but still this a real shame.

    I would also like to raise something in reply to Darwin above. Now firstly well done to Darwin this season, you essentially beat who was in front of you, however I would raise these facts with you from the evidence.

    You started the season a 184 rated player. You scored 10/12 in the games you played with 2 defaults. The average grade of the players you played was 155.

    Now I would argue that stats like that back up my point about the league being predictable, again perhaps pointless was the wrong word.

    You can only beat those in front of you, but I would say that darwins results are entirely predictable.

    Nick once asked me if I get any enjoyment out of beating people over and over you are expected to beat, I was unsure of my answer.

    So I put it out there, is that competitive chess? 30 points is about a 150 at FIDE level, a big big difference.

    I ask Darwin the same question nick asked me.

    Now I’m sure other evidence can be raised in counterpoint and I welcome it. No changes will happen without it.

    I would also point out that I’m not trying to ‘get’ at anyone! Just raising some points.

    I stopped putting sarcasm into text messages ages ago, alas ones inflection does not come across so well in the written word.

    • Well Matt I think it is only who believe that this league season is pointless? What if it’s Hebden Bridge have won the title not halifax, would still believe it’s pointless?

  44. I’d have the leagues play on the same night with a smaller number of teams. Part of the problem with defaults is too many teams spread over too few clubs. With the free weeks I’d have a quick play league starting at 7pm, two games per night, three players, finishing at 9pm and hope to attract more juniors into the league in that way. Perhaps some schools could even be tempted to raise a team of three.

  45. This is my reply Matt , I don’t enjoy beating people I already beaten over and over again because what I enjoy is the sports itself , I don’t even rejoice beating strong player because playing the sport that I love I already give me enjoyment. And if you say that my results are all predictable because I played opponents lower than my grade well I think that’s your own point of view. But for me , I don’t predict result because I believe that everyone have the ability to beat anyone. I may have won most of my games but some of them are hard earned wins ,ask Mike Hewitt and Dave Patrick and even Nick. Not because I was not in the mood playing chess but because they prepared really well and they raised their level of game because they want to beat me. Have you predicted that too? Or is there anyone here predicted these 3 people will give me a hard time or predicted that I will win easily against them. Sport is not a game of prediction that is why there is word called UPSET and no one is exempted to experience it. I believe that grades are just numbers , that in chess only one wrong move or one excellent move will determine the result of the game and even GMs are not exempted in making a blunder, what more a club player like us.

  46. In reply, if hebden bridge had won the league i would have been suprised.

    As ive now said above – pointless was the wrong word, i should have said predictable.

    Halifax winning the league was entirely predictable i believe.

    And yes i agree with you that wins against lower rated opponents are not guarranteed (sure ive spelt that wrong…) but they are again somewhat predictable – and i find it hard to motivate myself and concentrate properly against people who arent my grade or higher, hence my grade being lower than my practical strength.

    This is one of darwins main strengths btw, and something which makes him a very difficult opponent to play – concentration and desire to win.

    So thats what i mean – predictable – against pointless was the wrong word. The games are still worthwhile but are they enjoyable?

  47. Would also like to say that i think all this discussion is brilliant btw!

  48. That is why Predictable should never exist in every sports because there is a word called SURPRISE and UPSET. Who would thought Hebden bridge will win the league 2 seasons ago with a strong teams such as Halifax, Hudds and Tod A? Who would have thought Hebdenbridge would win the league 3 season ago when I was playing for hebden beating Hudds and Tod A? I believe that the only one who could motivates you and demotivates you to enjoy the game is yourself and not who your opponents are or what your opponents grade. I play with the same level of enthusiasm whenever I play strong and weak opponents , strong or weak, they will receive the same treatment of respect, sportsmanship , difficulties and enjoyment. Strong or weak, I would remain focus and motivitated to try to win to remain on top and I never ever predicted to win every games against weak opponents or else it would be hard for me to accept defeats.

  49. Hi all,
    I have finally posted the season’s end report (well I have posted 4 articles on the Yorkshire chess website in the last week as well!!) and suggest that we move our discussions over to that post. I’ve started us off with a couple of comments to stimulate further feedback.

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