Bristol University B Promotion To Division 1!

This report has been put off for too long now and with the conclusion of the season, finalisation of team allocations in the League for next year, end of the exam period and, for those of you who know what happened, having got accustomed to being a cripple, I have officially ran out of excuses for not writing this, so here we are! For the first time I have been Captain for Bristol University B from the beginning of the season and was able to organise things with confidence, efficiency and great motivation. I am pleased to say that the members of Bristol University B have worked really hard to achieve the goal which I had set out for us to aim for in the beginning and I am extremely proud of each and everyone of them. Unfortunately, I am not here to write a book so I will have to focus on only a few funny/memorable events and achievements of the players in this team, so if you are not mentioned, please do not be sad as your contributions are what officially got us promoted to Division 1!

Quick Summary Of The Season

I will begin with a quick summary of how the season went as there was a lot of drama this year! If you want to skip to the fun stuff, feel free to skip this and the subsequent paragraphs. We started the first half strong with our strongest players playing regularly and were winning every single one of our matches except for a select few. We drew the champions of Division 2, Horfield & Redland B. Congratulations to them for their well deserved victory! We also drew Bristol Cabot, which sparked so much drama that the LMC deemed one of the games void and further down the line, it led to one of the dumbest back and forths in the AGM, that would take place at the end of the season, that I had ever seen, but I shall not elaborate on it further as to not respark anything. If you wish to read up on the drama from the game I invite you to read Bristol Cabot VS Bristol University B. As the first exam period was approaching, the focus and availability of our top players dwindled and as a result we lost our first match against Thornbury. In fact, this was the only game that I missed this season, and we even had to have a replacement from Bristol University C to not default.

After the Christmas break, a few of our regulars were no longer available until the end of the season, this plus the added fact that a lot of new players joined the team meant that our team was definitely not as it was before the break. For better or for worse, this allowed me to experiment with board orders of the regulars that showed promise in the first half of the season. Unfortunately it also meant that some of the regular lower board players had to sit some games out in order for me to allow the newcomers to play some games having joined halfway through. All in all we were definitely still one of the strongest teams in Division 2, as we managed to only lose to our next year rivals Redland & Horfield B and to North Bristol A. In both cases they brought out the big guns to take us down as Horfield & Redland B had their Board 6 the same strength as their Board 2 the first time we played them and North Bristol A had fielded a team where their previous Board 1 was now playing on Board 4. Nonetheless, apart from these two losses we won every other match bar a draw against Keynsham A in our last match of the season, where we really just came to have some fun having secured the promotion already. Eight wins, three draws and three losses is a solid way to end the season and I want to once again congratulate everyone that’s worked hard to achieve this. Next season we will be taking away the shield from Bristol University A :D!!!

This could be Bristol University B next year!

Now for a quick review of all the *u****i* that the team and I, as Captain, had to deal with this year, as there was barely ever a match that went smoothly. This eventful season we had phones go off, with disputes of incorrect claims. We needed to bring in Bristol University C players on 4 separate occasions due to travel issues to avoid defaults. We had players arriving late due to construction of bridges. In fact, we even caught a bus driver watching TikToks of E-girls on their phone behind the wheel! We had instances of players flagging! We also had tension when team Captain’s refused to sign the Match Result Sheet. We even had an adjournment of a whole match due to fire alarms going off deep into the match. We had Redland & Horfield B and North Bristol A pull a Downend on us. Once, our usual Gromit Room was stolen from us by that pesky Debate Society forcing us to run around the building with staff trying to find a place to play while our opponents, who had come all the way from Thornbury, were standing and waiting. Eventually, we were given access to a usually off-limits part of the building and the match could commence. And finally, we managed to dig up 30 pages of Bongcloud theory in preparation for one of the matches. Wow, what a season, eh? I hope that next one will be less eventful as although it is fun to look back on all these events, chess is already shaving years off of my life and I don’t need more stress that is already guaranteed with being Captain haha.

I will now conclude with various shoutouts and awards, noting particular commitments, moments and event that certain players had. Some of these are good old piss-taking and should not be taken too seriously :P. As such I will begin with probably two of the funniest awards that I could come up with.

Most Consistent Player Of The Season

For those of you who know this story it has become a bit of a meme at this point, which is exactly why it is deserving of an award. The Most Consistent Player Of The Season has to be Stan! He almost played a game this season, and when he finally did sit down to play a game for the team, the fire alarm caused it to be adjourned at which point Stan, once again, was no longer available. Honestly, much love to you Stan, I know you were very busy and your boss did not make your time organisation easy. We still consider you part of Bristol University B <3.

Best Time Manager

For those of you who did not skip the Quick Summary Of The Season, you might know what this award is actually about. We do not like to laugh or make fun of people, rather to laugh and have fun with them. So looking back at this funny, painful and unfortunate mishap I have to award the Best Time Manager to none other than ex-Captain Conor. In our rematch against Redland & Horfield B, Conor was playing with White and after more than 25 moves of equality, an endgame was reached in which he managed to win a piece and was completely winning. The sad truth…. White was living off of the increment for a long while having spent the time to reach such a winning position. And on one of the moves, Conor hesitated a fraction of a second too long, he hit the clock, but his clock already showed the flag. Knowing that we still ended up securing the promotion, this is truly one of the funnier moments to look back on this season.

Next let us look at some individual moves and actual games that stuck out this season.

Move Of The Season

The move of the season was undoubtedly made by Fergus, Mr. Couple Tactics and Win. In the rematch against North Bristol A, he honoured his title to it’s fullest by declining a Queen-trade in order to increase the chances for tactics to appear on the board:

In this position Fergus, with Black, played 40. … Qe8!!!. This pawn sacrifice is more than a brilliancy as it not only keeps the Queen’s on, for the rest of the game, but also immediately allows tactics with 41. Qg7#. The fact that Black found this with low time on the clock is truly awe-inspiring. Unfortunately, the game was lost very very shortly after the brilliancy was played.

Game Of The Season

I was really quite torn between a couple of candidates for this section as I did not know if I should take this section more seriously or not and find the most accurate game, the most flashy one or the one which looked so dumb it would make any elitist chess player cringe. I will let you decide which one of these categories the game belongs to, however I have to award Game Of The Season to, yet again, Fergus, Mr. Couple Tactics and Win. The game was the beginning of a rivalry between Fergus and a Pub Chess regular, Phill, who is a very strong but genuinely enjoyable opponent to play against. It must be said that the way Fergus played was not accurate, but if anyone said it wasn’t beautiful, they just objectively have poor taste. And if I try to put this game into words, I would be doing it injustice. And seeing as there has recently been an update about the Hans Niemann lawsuit situation, let the chess speak for itself:

The Chess Speaks For Itself

1. c4 Nc6 2. d4 e5 3. d5 Bb4+ 4. Nc3 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 Nce7 6. e4 d6 7. Rb1 b6 8. a4 a5 9. h4 f5 10. f3 fxe4 11. fxe4 Nf6 12. Bd3 O-O 13. h5 h6 14. Rh4 Nh7 15. g3 Bd7 16. c5 bxc5 17. Bb5 Nc8 18. Be3 Bxb5 19. axb5 Qf6 20. Qe2 Kh8 21. Rh2 Nb6 22. Rf2 Qe7 23. Nf3 Rf6 24. Nh4 Kg8 25. Nf5 Qd7 26. Qg4 Kh8 27. Qh4 Raf8 28. Ke2 Nxd5 29. Bd2 Ne7 30. g4 Nxf5 31. gxf5 c4 32. Rg2 Rb8 33. Rg6 Qf7 34. Rbg1 Rxg6 35. hxg6 Qf6 36. Qh3 Nf8 37. Bg5 1-0

I would also like to give a quick honourable mention to King Julien’s Immortal Game and Fergus’ demolition of Downend as a couple of close contenders to taking this spot instead.

Swindle Of The Season

The swindle of the season definitely belongs to Yours Truly in our rematch against Thornbury.

In the following position, my desperate intentions with Black, were to try and walk my King to h3 in hopes for a swindle. However, for reasons that I cannot explain other than time pressure and bloodlust, my opponent went 35. Rf1?? pinning my Bishop to my King (or something I guess). As you can see, I was handed the swindle on a silver platter, no King-walk needed. After 35. … Rg2+ 36. Kh1 Rf2+ my opponent accepted my generous draw offer.

Shortest Game Of The Season

For this one no one can accuse me of being biased as the numbers don’t lie. In, yet another rematch, against Downend & Fishponds C this time, some people thought I had gone into some theoretically forced draw with White, after having ended my game in less than 5 minutes. However, the fact of the matter is, that my opponent made three blunders and lost the game in 13 moves and resigned in the following position:

For those of you who are curious the game went as follows: 1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 d5 4. e5 Bg4 5. Bb5 e6 6. Qa4 Bxf3 7. Bxc6+ bxc6 8. Qxc6+ Ke7 9. Qxc5+ Ke8 10. Qc6+ Ke7 11. gxf3 Nh6 12. b3 Rc8 13. Ba3+ 1-0

Draw Of The Season

I have decided that the draw of the season should not go to a particularly accurate and long endgame in which both players played perfectly, or one in which a massive upset occurred, but rather to a very quick draw in a position in which most players would only “begin” playing. Thus, I have to award the Draw Of The Season to Garegin in the match which decisively secured us the promotion to Division 1!

Garegin, with the Black pieces, managed to equalise without even making a move with 1. b4. The game continued until move 20 at which point Black offered a draw in the following position which was immediately accepted:

Let me finish with a more serious award and some final thoughts that I would like to share with all of you.

Best Performance

The best performance of the season, in my opinion, is shared between two people. I really cannot decide which one it should go to as the existence of a default victory, according to my calculations, change the outcome depending if it is included as a victory or not. What makes this especially difficult is that I am one of the people in question and I do not want to sound like a narcissist. So, I shall award The Best Performance Of The Season to King Julien! With 8 wins, one of which is a default, 1 draw, 3 losses and a consistent attendance, Julien was an integral part of our team and got us many of the points that led to promotion. He started off on the lower boards and worked his way up until in the last game of the season he even got to play on Board 1!

As a couple of honourable mentions we have Asha and Samson who actually performed even better than Julien. However, Asha only played 4 times getting 2 wins and 2 draws in the first half of the season, at which point she had to leave Bristol as part of her course (as if that’s more important than chess or something). And Samson is actually a Bristol University C player who bravely stepped up twice so that we would not default. In fact, not only did he save us from defaults, he also got a win and a draw! Also, I heard a little rumour that Samson might be next year’s Captain of Bristol University C. If that is the case, they will definitely be in safe hands. Finally, for those of you who are curious about my dilemma, I ended the season with 7 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses for Bristol University B.

Final Words

Finally I would like to thank every single player who played for Bristol University B this year. Getting this promotion would not have been possible without the hard work and the dedication that each and every one of you showed. I would like to thank Julien for helping me with some of the Match Reports and travel organisation when I was struggling with workload and life in general. I would also like to thank the people who took over my duties for the Thornbury away match when I was unable to attend. I would also like to give a huge thanks to Samson for stepping up twice to cover for our defaults and to congratulate him for the great results throughout those two games!

For next season our goal shall be simple – not to get relegated back to Division 2 XD. As a “side-quest”, we will, of course, try to win the League and The Shield. I am very excited to play players way stronger than me and grow as a chess player in the process, and I hope that all the members of Bristol University B share this passion. I cannot wait to read the report of when Bristol University A and Bristol University B will have to face off against one another! I shall see you all next season in Division 1 with new motivation and excitement! Thank You all for an amazing year!

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