Wednesday, December 12, 2012

There's a fine fine line

For those of you who have seen the hilarious Avenue Q Musical you will be aware as to how this article's title has been chosen. For those who haven't a clue take my word it is one laugh after another and unashamed political in-correctness!

So my story begins a couple of months ago at Norton Radstock school on October 6th 2012. Norton Radstock chess club was celebrating its fortieth anniversary and decided to ask Grand Master Matthew Turner to show us how chess should really be played. He played against 27 chess players drawn from Radstock and other local chess clubs including Frome, Trowbridge and Bath. I was the only delegate from Trowbridge that could attend, but I noted a few respectably rated players including Tim (187) and Fenella Headlong (161) from Brown Jack and Witney.

Arriving at the venue I was informed that there would be certain rule changes that would make this different from other simultaneous displays. Here we go I thought, this would surely be be to our detriment. Then to my astonishment I am told about the changes:

Firstly, every single competitor could chose their own colour! Wow I had never played in a Simul before where I could be white....but just hang on a minute I have studiously prepared the previous week against 1. e4, 1. d4, 1. c4, 1. F4, 1. Nc3 1. G6 etc...What do I do now just 15 minutes before battle commences? Make up my mind to choose the white bits of wood of course (I had already swapped a couple of plastic pieces from the board next to me I have to confess!), but what if...? No white will do.

Secondly, we were all allocated 1 hour 15 minutes to make our moves, and GM Turner had 1 hour 45 mins - fair enough as GM Turner has to wander around in a big square to reach every player whilst we have the luxury to sit around and relax without resorting to our phone or ipad software of course!

Thirdly, we could elect to 'pass' as many times as we liked during a game. Again this was quite unusual as normally you would be limited to a maximum of three passes. Of course if you went down this route too many times early on, your 1 hour 15 would soon be eaten away.

After a quiet opening which Matthew Turner had gained just under a point advantage (-.83 according to one of my trusty software partners Hiarcs 14 - btw at move 12 I am apparently 0.5 ahead against a GM..awesome) the following position was reached......

[Event "Simultaneous Norton Radstock"]
[Date "6 Oct 2012"]
[White "Me"]
[Black "GM Matthew Turner"]
[Result "0-1"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 b6 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. O-O Nbd7 10. Rc1 a6 11. h3 c5 12. Re1 Rc8 13. Qe2 c4 14. Bf5 g6 15. Bb1 b5 16. a3 Ne4 17. Bf4 Nxc3 18. Rxc3 b4 19. Rc2 bxa3 20. bxa3 Bxa3 21. h4 Be7 22. h5 Bc6 23. Bh6 Re8 24. Ra2 Bb5 25. hxg6 hxg6 26. Bf4 Bf6 27. Qc2 Kg7

There followed 28. g4 to uproarious laughter from Matthew "ah the other pawn" he said unable to suppress his mirth, "actually its quite a nuisance" he said probably thinking I might have been offended. Earlier on move 21. h4 I had made a point about how my h-pawn had been the lone attacker). Now this wasn't necessarily the best move but it was 'only' a simul......!

The game continued for another 14 moves or so when the position outlined in the second diagram was arrived at: I had sacrificed a knight a few moves earlier in a desperate bid for counterplay.......but my attack has effectively lost steam and my resignation is imminent:((

There are nearly forty moves available for black three clearly winning, many levelling the sides, but many more could/should lose outright for black despite being a piece to the good. I know that I make a point about knowing when to resign but sometimes don't follow my own advice!

Then Matthew played.............Qb7??

This was an unbelievable stroke of luck a total miscalculation on his part, - now ok he had been playing 27 games at a time having just won 23 out of 24, now ok he had also given the choice of colours to all-comers, (nearly all chose white, including me), he had just beaten Tim Headlong after a tough game and had Fenella and one other game left, but he had given himself 105 minutes against our 75 mins for each game - lol!

I looked at my clock knowing the next move was obvious.....30 seconds or so and counting (my count) Matthew had just 25 minutes! Surely now Bd5 and it cant go on much longer..make the move BE4.. BE4 BE4.. I did, and at this point Matthew Turner said, and I quote...."I suppose the uninitiated would assume I have brought your piece into the attack". 'You might say that" I said with a smirk. Exactly well played G, A chill ran down my spine surely this is a winning position? Well it certainly looks that way.

Indeed it is is clearly winning, +6 or +7 whichever software variant you use, there are some very interesting continuations but with just a few seconds left on the clock I could not find the winning moves and resigned just as the flag was about to fall, even missing an opportunity to get my piece back! It transpires that instead of Bd5 by white - Fxg6 is an unavoidable mate in 11 for black, that would have been an awesome way to lose!! By the way final result Matthew 26 the rest 1 his one loss to Norton Radstock chess player Andrew Gredziak current grade 113. Nice scalp.

Friday, October 26, 2012

TCC KO Round 1 (part 3)

1st Qualification Round (continued)

Dave Marshall won against Nigel last night to take the remaining qualification spot.


3Nigel Crucefix0-1Dave Marshall12


Qualified to the Quarter Final (Jan/Feb 2013)

Gareth Williams
Mark Leonard
Derek Rothwell
Tim Woodward
Dave Marshall

Through to the Second Round of Qualification (29th November)

Anthony Ransom
David Weston
Louis Burton
Roy Ludlow
Arthur Hibbitt
Nigel Crucefix

Friday, October 5, 2012

July 2012 ECF Grades

It's time for a look at the latest grading list, before this season's league chess gets under-way (for Trowbridge at any rate).

Player Jul 2012 Jan 2012 League Results (2011-12)
Leonard, Mark 164 151 +8 =2 -3
Marshall, Dave 158 143 +11 =1 -2
Hibbitt, Arthur 156 156
Weston, David 154 155 +4 =2 -3

Williams, R Gareth 142 129 +3 =4 -2
Rothwell, Derek 139 147 +5 =1 -5
Woodward, Tim 139 137 +3 =1 -4
Ludlow, Roy 115 111 +4 =5 -4
Burton, Louis87 91 +3 =4 -7
Ransom, Tony 6475+0 =2 -5
Crucefix, Nigel 68 67 +1 =3 -5
White, Richard56n/a+1 =0 -8

The top four players are graded over 145 and are therefore not eligible to play in the lower divisions.

Second spot is taken by Dave Marshall, who has made very good progress in the last couple of years, and is now deservedly promoted to the first team following a superb season (with only the odd aberrant result).

I'm pleased to report that Arthur Hibbitt is now a fully fledged member of the club, with all that this honour entails. I'm looking forward to playing alongside him in my first league game of the season.

David Weston's grade continues to improve steadily despite a difficult season last year, where he was oddly promoted from board 4 to board 1 in the Wiltshire 4-a-side league. With any luck David will find himself on one of the middle boards for a change.

Gareth's grade is also on the up. Presumably those Roman videos are proving to be beneficial. If he continues to improve we could see a new personal best (rating).

Man of leisure Tim looks to be somewhat under-graded currently. He was 155 back in July 2011 which is probably nearer the mark. Tim has been a lot more active recently and is looking sharp. I feel sorry for any opponents on the lower boards.

Derek's grade took another dent this year but he seems to be finding his feet again after a sticky patch.

Roy was graded 131 in 2011 but had disappointing results in 2011-12. Some serious summer study sets him up for the season. I expect success.

TCC KO Round 1 (part 2)

1st Qualification Round (continued)

Tim and Arthur contested an exciting game tonight, and Derek beat Roy on the second attempt.


5Derek Rothwell1-0Roy Ludlow7
11Tim Woodward1-0Arthur Hibbitt4


Qualified to the Quarter Final (Jan/Feb 2013)

Gareth Williams
Mark Leonard
Derek Rothwell
Tim Woodward


Through to the Second Round of Qualification (29th November)

Anthony Ransom
David Weston
Louis Burton
Roy Ludlow
Arthur Hibbitt

Sunday, September 30, 2012

TCC KO Round 1

1st Qualification Round

The first round of the inaugural Trowbridge Chess Club Knockout Tournament was attended by nine players on Thursday the 27th September. Each player selected a pairing number at random, as listed below. Two club members (Dave M and Tim) could not play on the night but had entered the competition beforehand. Richard did not attend.

Tony elected to take a bye to the second qualification round. The remaining entrants were paired at random, using the traditional "shuffle a pack of Gareth's business cards" method.

# Player
1David WestonEnters 2nd qualification round
2Richard WhiteWithdrawn
3Nigel CrucefixGame postponed
4Arthur HibbittGame postponed
5Derek RothwellTo be replayed
6Mark LeonardQualified
7Roy LudlowTo be replayed
8Anthony RansomEnters 2nd qualification round
9Louis BurtonEnters 2nd qualification round
10Gareth WilliamsQualified
11Tim WoodwardUnavailable
12Dave MarshallUnavailable



1David Weston0-1Gareth Williams10
6Mark Leonard1-0Louis Burton9
7Roy Ludlow½-½Derek Rothwell5
3Nigel CrucefixP-PDave Marshall12
11Tim WoodwardP-PArthur Hibbitt4


Qualified to the Quarter Final (Jan/Feb 2013)

Gareth Williams
Mark Leonard


Through to the Second Round of Qualification (25th October)

Anthony Ransom
David Weston
Louis Burton

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Somerset League Fixtures 2012-13

Here are the new season's fixtures (subject to change). Please refer to the Somerset County Chess Association fixtures page for any official updates.

Somerset Knock-Out
In the annual 8 board Somerset Knock-Out Cup holders Taunton once again receive a bye directly into the semi-final. The other fixtures are identical to last season's; therefore Trowbridge find themselves away to Frome. However this year could feature a much changed line-up.

Mon12 NovemberGlastonburyNorton Radstock
Tue13 NovemberFrome
Thu15 NovemberSedgemoorYeovil
Semi11-15 February 2013

Final25-29 March 2013

Somerset Division 2 East
Trowbridge are once again hopeful of winning back the Charles Marsh (East) trophy from Frome. To achieve this we will need to avoid last year's heavy defeat away to Bath in the opening match.
The maximum 145 average ECF grade over 6 boards shouldn't be difficult to manage.

Wed10 October BathTrowbridge
Thu8 NovemberTrowbridgeNorton Radstock
Tue11 DecemberFromeTrowbridge
Thu10 January 2013TrowbridgeBath
Thu21 February 2013Norton RadstockTrowbridge
Thu21 March 2013TrowbridgeFrome

Somerset Division 3 East
In Division 3 no player graded over 145 is eligible and the sum total for the team must not exceed 500. Players graded under 95 are deemed to be 95 ECF. Ungraded players are considered to be graded 110.
This means that we will be unable to play Gareth, Tim and Derek all in the same team (at the same time).

Tue23 OctoberFromevsTrowbridge
Thu22 NovemberTrowbridgevsBath
Thu6 DecemberNorton RadstockvsTrowbridge
Thu17 January 2013TrowbridgevsFrome
Wed13 February 2013BathvsTrowbridge
Thu7 March 2013TrowbridgevsNorton Radstock

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ECF Membership 2012-13

Historically the majority of local league players have been happy to forego full membership of the ECF and instead they opted to pay game (and/or congress) fees. Actual ECF membership was only necessary for those playing in FIDE rated events. Excepting the Yeovil Major (last year) this wasn't an issue for most club players (unless they were also featuring in the 4NCL).

The 2012-13 season, however, is a different story. Although membership is still optional (at least for non-FIDE events) the game fee (for grading administration) has risen to £2 from last season's 58p. However this fee will be waived for ECF members. This is clearly intended to incentivise membership. Full details can be found on the ECF website, but here are the salient points:
  • The new scheme starts Saturday the 1st September 2012.
  • Basic ("Bronze") individual membership is £13 for adults, or £12 if registering online.
  • Annual membership expires 31st August 2013.
  • Bronze membership allows you to play any number of club/league/county games with zero game fee.
  • Silver membership costs an additional £6 but this (theoretically) entitles you to a discount of £6 (for an adult) for each congress entered. (The £6 is a levy charged by the ECF to the congress organisers for each non-member entrant in the event.)
Clearly it will prove cost-effective to join the ECF (online) for any individual playing 6 or more games in a year. Silver membership is similarly a no-brainer for anyone wishing to enter a congress during the season. The option to pay for 3 years membership ahead of time also looks to be a very sensible choice.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

British Championships Round 7

David Howell (5.5/7) drew with Gawain Jones (6/7) today and Arkell (4.5/7) lost to Stephen Gordon (6/7).

On the top board it looked like Jones was playing for a win, but he found it difficult to create clear chances against White's solid play. Gordon impressively outplayed Arkell in an endgame, but appears to have blundered badly with 36...Nxa4? as 37.Be4+ Kh8 38.Rf7 Rg5 39.Qf1 was clearly winning for White.

Stephen Gordon has won 6 of his 7 games, losing only to Jones, but has faced weaker opposition (on average). In the next round he has to face Howell, whereas Jones has played (and beaten most of) the top scoring players. The only GMs left for him to play are Gormally (5/7) and Conquest (4.5/7). In fact, Jones has the higher-scoring IM Hawkins (5/7) next round. Hawkins lost to Howell in round 3, but otherwise has faced untitled opposition. Any result (except a loss!) against Jones tomorrow would certainly shake things up.

On 6 points: Jones (TPR 2726) and Gordon (TPR 2621)
On 5.5 points: Howell (TPR 2627) and Hawkins (TPR 2480)
On 5 points: Turner (2480), Gormally (2418), Hanley (2354) and Rudd (2272)

Rudd's (unintentional, I'm sure) Swiss Gambit has paid off as he has followed his two initial losses with five straight wins. Rudd has been playing some exciting chess, as has Hawkins. We can only hope that these two will play each other in a future round.

Turner played a rather old-fashioned continuation (8. Ne5) in a KID / English and appeared to choose an inferior move (13. Bg5 instead of 13. Ndxc5) but nevertheless achieved a clean win in good positional style. Walker should probably have played 13...Ne6

Also deserving of a mention is Charlie Storey, who avoided using his patented Sniper (with Black today) and instead went in for a Sicilian against GM Danny Gormally. His move 9...d5 seemed slightly dubious, leading to a French-style position with a knight offside on b6. However, this was all theory and presumably followed Storey's preparation. Gormally deviated with 11.Ne2 (taking the square e2 away from his queen).

After 11...Bd7 12.Nf4 Storey reacted with 12...h5?! and continued to play aggressive moves, showing no fear as he followed up with ...g5, ...g4 and ...f6 (a move that no-one in Andrew Martin's analysis room predicted). Gormally sacrificed a pawn in an attempt to catch Black's king in the centre. Black gave the pawn back and sacced another, bravely castling kingside. Sadly the lack of pawn cover proved too much of a liability and Gormally found a sequence of accurate moves to create a mating attack.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

British Championships Week 1

Here's a round-up of the web coverage of the event:

1Turner vs StoreyHolland vs HouskaTWIC
2Jones vs ChapmanGawain Jones
3Howell vs HawkinsJones vs Arkell
4Weller vs Hanley
5Gordon vs Osborne
6Jones vs Turner

Soanes Weekender

The long awaited results for the Soanes have been posted.

We can see that Tim Woodward started with two draws and a win (against George Horne, to whom I lost at Blackpool in 2011). Sadly Tim then lost to David Gilbert in round 4 taking him out of the running. Mr Gilbert scored 4/5 (including a full point bye in the first round).

Pos Name
ECF Score
Colour Float Result
34 Espinosa, Monica
104e  0.0 w ½
28 Crouch, Timothy J
129 0.5 b ½
3 Horne, George H
148 1.0 w v 1
18 Gilbert, David J
137 2.0 b ^ 0
30 Bonnello, Chris J
122 2.0 w ½


Saturday, July 28, 2012

British Championships Weekender

It may be a rest day for the Championship contenders tomorrow, but not for Trowbridge's own Tim Woodward, who is currently competing in the Soanes (under 150 ECF) 3 day tournament. 3 rounds have completed, but the results are not currently available on the official website.

However some kindly soul has uploaded this image of the pairings for round 4. From this we can see that Tim is on 7th board (from 18), and tomorrow morning has Black against David Gilbert (joint winner of this year's Blackpool Intermediate section). Hopefully this means that Tim is still in the running for a prize of some sort. We wish him the best of luck.

British Championships Day 6

The top seeds played to their ratings today, overcoming lesser graded opponents.
Jones beat Matthew Turner, Howell beat James Holland (who was unable to achieve a 3rd draw against GM opposition), and Gordon got a point against Marcus Harvey.


Rating TPR 16
1GM Jones, Gawain C

2655 2784
1 1 1 1 ½ 1
2GM Howell, David W

2620 2627
½ 1 1 ½ 1 1
3GM Gordon, Stephen

2539 2564
1 1 1 0 1 1

Gordon has lost to Jones but won his other 5 games (albeit against untitled players). So presumably Howell and Jones will play each other on Monday.

IM Jonathon Hawkins and GM Keith Arkell are each on 4.5 points. Arkell has played Jones and Hawkins has played Howell.

Jack Rudd beat Robert Shaw in another quick tactical affair. He joins a pack of players on 4/6 that includes GM Stuart Conquest who is the 3rd player (after Jones and Howell) to remain unbeaten in the tournament.

Yorkshire Chess have yet to publish a review but I expect round 6 will be covered here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

British Championships Day 5

As reported by Yorkshire Chess, round 5 featured another superb result for James Holland who held leader Gawain Jones to a draw. As a reward for his score of 1 out of 2 against GM opposition he has White against second seed Howell tomorrow.

Another untitled player defying expectations is Marcus Harvey, who scored a fine win against GM Danny Gormally and goes on to face Stephen Gordon.

Matthew Turner won again to go 4/5 but now has to face Jones on Saturday. The other "local boy" Jack Rudd had to work harder for today's win and his next opponent is FM Robert Shaw. Perhaps Rudd is playing a form of Swiss Gambit? If he keeps winning I'm sure he'll get a GM soon.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

British Championships Day 4

Yorkshire Chess have published their round 4 report. On board 1 Stephen Gordon spurned a draw by repetition against Gawain Jones and tried to continue attacking a rook down. Jones is now the clear leader on 4/4. Only one player, his next opponent James Holland, is on 3.5/4. There's only a 455 grading point difference in this round 5 match (and Holland is performing 500 above his FIDE rating!).

Matthew Turner seemed to be content to draw (in a slightly worse position) against unbeaten Marcus Osborne (who is getting tough pairings - hence the 2575 TPR). Turner should be favourite to win against untitled James Hanley next round. Osborne gets to play Stephen Gordon. Can his excellent form continue?

IM Jack Rudd had another trademark fast win that featured a rook sac on f7. IM Hawkins also won quickly (with a passive rook sac) to go 3/4 but somehow avoids facing a GM in round 5: he has Black against James Jackson (who defeated Rudd in round 2).

IM Richard Palliser played a rather dubious knight sac. White took that, then Black's rook, and calmly held on to the material for a straightforward win, even offering a knight back to rub it in.

For yesterday's Game of the Day, IM Andrew Martin has chosen Howell vs Hawkins. Also The Week In Chess has the current standings and previous games. For an alternative to the official live feed you can visit chessdom.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

British Championships Day 3

Only 2 players are on 3/3 - GMs (and 1st and 3rd seeds) Jones and Gordon, who will play each other in round 4. The accelerated pairings are producing some interesting early encounters. 2nd seed David Howell is half a point behind the leaders, having defeated IM Hawkins. Howell will have Black against Gormally tomorrow.

James Holland won a nice tactical game against FM Dave Eggleston, and is also on 2.5/3 but avoids meeting another Grandmaster: instead he is paired with FM Robert Shaw. Matthew Turner beat James Adair by first picking up a pawn, then another, and converting to a rook ending. Chess can be made to look very simple by good players.Turner now faces Marcus Osborne, an untitled player I've not come across previously.

Amy Hoare lost quickly to IM Jack Rudd (who apparently used only 11 minutes in total). A dubious (time-wasting) excursion with a knight gave Rudd an advantage based on a pin. White tried to break this but ended up with her queen trapped in the middle of the board.

One of the last games to finish was Foo vs Houska, with the IM (and highest rated female player in the tournament) unable to force through a win in a long ending that had draw written all over it. Somehow it got to 130 moves before the point was split. I guess that's called tenacity.

Remember that the games are being broadcast live, with commentary from IM Andrew Martin starting at roughly 3 PM (14:00 GMT).

P.S.We appear to have some genuine press coverage (finally):

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

British Championships Day 2

Today the West Country's adoptee Matthew Turner drew with Black against FM David Eggleston to give himself an "easier" 3rd round pairing. While GMs Arkell and Jones face off on board 1, Turner has White against James Adair, a slightly less formidable opponent according to his 2262 FIDE grade. I'm sure Adair would disagree, having drawn with 259 (2620 FIDE) rated David Howell in round 1 and having beaten an IM in round 2.

An even more surprising result (at least on paper) was the draw (with White) by GM Daniel Gormally against 17 year old untitled James Holland. However Holland, graded 213, is clearly a very strong player and one to watch for the future.

Somerset's IM Jack Rudd again failed to secure a point (or even a half) in a complex game and now faces Sussex junior Amy Hoare (with whom yours truly once agreed a draw in the final round of the Frome Congres).

Charlie Storey bounced back from his loss against Turner with what appeared to be a reverse Sniper turning into a reverse Benko. Trowbridge's own Snipers take note.

The most exciting game of the round was arguably Stephen Gordon's win against Simon Roe, which featured a rook sac to bring out Black's king. Please read the Yorkshire Chess Association's excellent comments on round 2.

However, Andrew Martin has decided to go with Gawain Jones' win against Terry Chapman for his Game of the Day.

British Championships Day 1

It's been a while since any content was posted here, mainly owing to work commitments. I intend to remedy this starting right now.

Readers may be aware that the 2012 British Chess Championships are underway. The Yorkshire chess website has some coverage of the round 1 results. It also has an excellent overview of the Yorkshire-based competitors.

IM Andrew Martin has a video introduction to this year's competition, and has already posted his "Game of the Day" for Round 1 which features GM Matthew Turner (of Millfield School) beating Sniper expert Charlie Storey.

The South-west's IM Jack Rudd got off to a poor start, losing to Jim Burnett. Jim now has to face even tougher opposition in the form of IM Jonathon Hawkins.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Frome Congress 2012

A timely reminder of the annual Frome Chess Congress held on the 11th - 13th May this year.
It's not too late to enter.

There is a significant Trowbridge presence with at least 8 of the 10 regulars in attendance.
Namely: David W, Mark, Dave M, Tim, Gareth, Roy, Louis, and Nigel.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blackpool Congress 2012

Here are the results for the Trowbridge players at Blackpool this year:

Player Section Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Score
Dave Marshall Median 1 0 1 1 ½
Mark Leonard Median 1 1 1 ½ 0
Gareth Williams Intermediate ½ 1 1 1 0
Steve Williams Minor 0 1 1 0 0 2
Louis Burton Standard 1 1 0 0 ½

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Horne vs Leonard: a Minor Piece Ending

The following position occurred in a Somerset Division 2 East game played last week. White has just (correctly) retreated his bishop from b2 by playing 38. Ba1. What moves would you consider here?

3k4/8/1b4pp/8/n2NpPpP/P3P3/5K2/B7 b - - 0 38
3k4/8/1b4pp/8/n2NpPpP/P3P3/5K2/B7 b - - 0 38
P. Horne vs M. Leonard
Black to move

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 2012 ECF Grades

As you are no doubt aware, the preliminary grading list has been published, with the welcome inclusion of the underlying game results data (from 2003 onwards) and a snazzy chart to boot.

In-form David Weston deservedly climbs the Trowbridge table, and he is now the highest graded of our currently active players. Also improving is Dave Marshall, whose grade now more accurately reflects his playing prowess. Louis Burton continues his inexorable climb to the world of 3 digit ratings and Anthony Ransom is also up a couple of points. However everyone else has suffered a set-back. Roy Ludlow in particular appears to have been hard done by. He had below-par results in 2011 and I'm sure he will bounce back in the next grading list.

Indeed it is surprising how easily a handful of results can affect the rating calculations. So that you may judge the accuracy of the ECF's new grading assignments, I have reproduced the January figures below. In the right-most columns I have compared the January 2012 grades with the known performance of each player, using the data available on the Trowbridge website (up to and including the 26th of January).

2011 Standard ECF Performance  Diff
David Weston 149 155 162 -7
Mark Leonard 153 151 154 -3
Derek Rothwell 152 147 144 3
Dave Marshall 141 143 149 -6
Tim Woodward 155 137 143 -6
Gareth Williams 131 129 128 1
Roy Ludlow 131 111 120 -9
Louis Burton 82 91 92 -1
Anthony Ransom 73 75 73 2
Nigel Crucefix 71 67 64 3
Richard White ung 59 56 3

Of the 14 games I've played this season, 11 took place in 2011, but only 6 have been submitted for grading. For some reason the Wiltshire league and the Frome internal club games do not appear in the list of interim results. The grade given to me by the ECF happens to be 3 points less than my actual performance over the last 30 games.

I think the conclusion we should draw is that the ECF grades should be taken with a pinch of salt. They are just numbers, after all, and are not meant to be viewed as an absolute indicator of someone's playing strength. I've long held the opinion that the values should carry a confidence interval of ±10, and this fits the numbers above rather well.