2017 4NCL Rapidplay
Despite there being no club 4NCL team this season (though I am strongly in favour of a largely junior team crushing Division 4 next year), Jerry resolved to bodge together a formidable team for the annual pre-season rapidplay event:
Nevertheless, we weren't bottom seeds. In fact, we were seeded 11th out of 17 and that meant a difficult first round. Naturally, this required a few pre-match caffeine boosts in the hotel room where Morris had his first attempt at making coffee.
The pairings gave us the Met Police Service. For the first round, Jerry graciously stepped aside. Chris, probably the most jazzed to be playing was facing a grandmaster. Unfortunately, the GM was less jazzed to be facing Chris' appalling play a didn't show, defaulting the game. My opponent and I attempted a mid-game knight's tour and my pawn found itself running to d7 in the midgame. Once I had converted the point, Morris and Daniel decided to really grind out some drawn endings, being the last in the room to finish. Our surprise result against the coppers was best summarised by Chris as "really throwing the cat amongst the pigs".
Of course, a good result like that is often the opposite of a Swiss Gambit and we were paired with another strong team. For the second round, Jerry graciously stepped aside.
This match we drew 2-2 and Jerry declared solemnly that we had peaked too soon, though the sentiment was that we would have absolute rocking tie-breaks should they be needed.
Alas, Jerry was right and after super-subbing in for Morris we were hacked apart (0-4) by local rivals West is Best though the score was perhaps a little unrepresentative of the play. For the fourth round, Jerry graciously stepped aside and despite some board-swapping to restore colour balance we were unable to do any better than a ½-3½ loss against Sussex Martlets. Our double whammy of disappointment was capped when we were given the bye for round 5, though Jerry assured us that he had planned to graciously step aside for that one too.
Having gone on full tilt, Round 6 (for which Jerry graciously stepped aside) saw us lose to the West is Best second team, largely due to poor play.
Knowing that we could do with a morale boosting win, Jerry graciously stepped aside for Round 7, which saw us earn a few points against a lower-rated team, to salvage the situation and finish 11th overall, exactly matching our seeding.
After some excessive eating on the Saturday night, there was also a Sunday rapidplay in which there was some more successes (Morris in particular finishing on 5/7, gaining 66 rating points, and very nearly winning the rating prize). Unfortunately, what with it being rapidplay, I saw very little of the games including my own and couldn't possibly comment on what actually transpired. Fortunately, one of my opponents did notate our game and allowed me to 'Tipper' his scoresheet:
Meadows, Michael (1770) vs Hadi, Justin (1993)
If you reckon you could've polished me off after winning a pawn (and you'd be right), make sure you attend the Chipping Sodbury Rapidplay on October 28th!