Fear not, the Club Organiser has not started speaking total gibberish - well, no more that usual, at any rate - but has merely used an abbreviation or two for (mildly!) comic effect. Hopefully everyone who is reading this knows what KCC stands for, but you may be less familiar with BOCC. This is the British Online Chess Championships, which were held in late December/early January on the chess.com platform. And which produced two new British Champions for Kenilworth!
So many congratulations to Jude Shearsby, the new British Under-12 Rapid Champion and - pause for incredulity - Joshua Pink, the new British Under-2000 Rapid Champion.
Despite a first round loss, and giving away up to 2 years against older opponents, Jude made a mockery of his 7th seed status to emerge victorious on 5.5/7. Not only did this secure a British title, it also got him a place in the actual British Online Championship, where he got to compete with the likes of Mickey Adams, Mark Hebden and Matthew Turner over 9 rounds of 60 minutes + 15 secs. A fantastic achievement for one so young.
Meanwhile Joshua went half a point better than Jude, by scoring 6/7 (no draws, of course!) to annex first place in the U-2000 tournament. (Which was rather bizarrely played at the rate of only 1 game of 10 mins + 5 secs per day, with a break for several days over Xmas. Whoever thought that was a good idea?) A last round win for number one seed Josh was coupled with a last round loss for the previous leader (Josh's conqueror in Round 5), and this catapulted him from half a point down, to half a point clear. Ben was also in action in this event, and scored a respectable 4/7 to finish in 8th place.
No intra-KCC encounter occurred in the U-2000 Rapid, but it would be remiss of me not to mention the two such games which were played in the various Blitz Championship Qualifiers between myself and Joshua. Purely for the record books, I have to report that I won both. Well, Blitz is a young man's game isn't it?!
I briefly caught up with Jude while he was playing in the British Online Bullet Championship, and in the space of a couple of minutes I watched him absolutely destroy IM Matthew Wadsworth and then win a whole rook off GM Nick Pert! But a couple of moves later he tragically blundered his own queen and missed out on a very famous scalp. Despite that unfortunate reverse, Jude scored an incredible 10/15 in this event, taking out a lot of very highly rated opponents, and not losing to anyone rated under 2370. He added around 30 points to his chess.com bullet rating, so he was clearly playing very well. Ben rashly tried to keep up with the kids by playing in this painfully fast event, and came out with a 50% score, while Josh managed half a point more (8/15). Really, they are both old enough to know better than to torture themselves like this!
It would have been nice to report on a third BOCC for KCC, but regretfully I failed to deliver when it mattered in the 65+ Rapid Final and finished 4th, although in my eyes I was actually 2nd=. Those tie breaks can be very annoying. I made the mistake of peaking too soon and winning the qualifier the previous day, but against an almost identical field I played one terrible game in the final which booted me off the podium. Ed was also in action in this event, and qualified comfortably for the final, only to discover that Sunday play didn't agree with him! More successful had been his participation in the 65+ Classical Championship, where he made an excellent 4/7 to finish in a tie for 5th.
If things had turned out slightly differently for me in the 65+ Rapid, this would of course have been the lead story in this report. Instead, let's just reflect again on the amazing fact that we have two more British Champions in the club. That is pretty good going!
Other than the 5 names mentioned above, I don't think anybody else from the club participated, but if these championships come around again, I would urge more people to give it a go. You can get as much or as little ECF online rated chess as you want for a very modest outlay, and can select whatever time limit and strength of opposition you want. And admit it - you haven't got that much else to do have you?!