Plus ca change

Article by Phil Morgan

The very first games of the season have highlighted the importance of getting the troops out. In my pre-season Big Hitters post, I was excited at the prospect of West Notts 1 with 3 players graded ECF 200 offering a challenge to Grantham 1.

The two teams clashed in the League’s opening fixture on 11 September. Alas for West Notts, they didn’t have Zhe Kang Law (214) or Alex Posazhennikov. The latter who spearheaded West Notts promotion last season is expected to miss the season. His absence in 2015-16 was a significant contributory factor to the team’s relegation. Jonah and Aditya continue to make significant progress as shown by their very good performances at the British Championship and subsequent results, but the West Notts 1 challenge to Grantham now appears a mirage.

The other West team, Bridgford 1 had a dismal start to last season, losing the first 5 games and gleaning only 2 points before Christmas. They strengthened up and staged a stirring rally to avoid relegation, climaxing in the 5-0 win v Gambit 2 in the final game of the season. This showed the capability of their team at full strength. West Bridgford’s failure to get their troops out in the opening game at Ashfield led to a heavy defeat. The team’s prospects this season will now hang on which team turns up.

An army is as strong as its reserves. This seems to apply equally to chess and other team sports. West Bridgford now lack the strength in depth the club had until relatively recently - with the loss of Tim Walker, Will Place, Harry Croasdale, Terry Nabbs and Hari Solomonides.. To be competitive first teams need more than 5 players. They need to have a solid club base and playing pool..