Two teams of four from York entered the National Universities’ Chess Championship which took place last weekend in West Bromwich. The tournament was divided into two sections for the first time, with a record twenty-five teams entering from twenty-five universities. Each team would play five others over the course of the weekend, with York 1 seeded fifth of all entries. The York firsts came up against UCL 1 in their first round match, winning 2.5-1.5. Their run of good form continued in the next round, defeating the Durham first team 3-1, before beating the tournament second seeds, Edinburgh, 2.5-1.5. Unfortunately, the reward for the good results was a match-up against Imperial College, the top seeds for the tournament, where we consequently lost 2.5-1.5.
A win in their final match would have guaranteed York second place in the competition, but York managed to lose from a drawing position in one player’s game, and slip from a winning position to a drawing one in another. Obviously a weekend’s worth of chess was taking its toll. The resultant 2-2 draw against LSE 1 meant that we finished third, on the chess version of goal difference, behind Cambridge. Imperial came first.
The York second team had two wins and three losses in the second section of the championship, beating the second teams of Bristol and Nottingham, but losing to Durham 2 and the first teams of Birmingham and Swansea. Individually, James Adair and Martin Brown, boards one and two for the first team respectively, won prizes for their individual performances throughout the tournament. James had the best tournament of any board one, effectively making him the best player of the whole tournament, with four wins and one draw from five games. Martin also had 4.5/5, but came second to the person he drew with, due to them facing higher ranked opponents overall.
First team: James Adair, Martin Brown, Chris Bak and Alex Freeland
Second team: Joel Wagg, Jakub Brezonak, David Rowland and Ben Rothwell