Ashwin wins the Website Trophy

Team captain vacancies for 2024-25

Season 2023-24 review

Ashwin GopiKrishna of Wanstead has won the ECA Website Trophy for 2023-24, awarded to the player with the highest points score in matches for the County, with a score of 7 points from 10 matches, 5 wins, 4 draws and just one defeat. Ashwin is a product of the Wanstead Junior Club and this is just the latest of a host of trophies he has won this season.

Leading averages per team

U2050 – Ian Hunnable (Wanstead), 5½/7, 78.57%
U1850 – Jef Page (Ilford), 4/5, 80.00%
U1650 – Vladimir Chtym (Barking), 4/6, 66.67%
U1450 – Nigel White (Wanstead), 6½/7, 92.86%

By Essex standards, 2023-24 was one of the quieter seasons with only one team, the U1450 squad reaching the ECF Finals where they had to bow to a rampant Middlesex team. However, in many ways it was a most successful season; remarkable even, given that in September 2023 we had NO team captains at all.

Yet, 119 players represented the County during the season, with Michael Spurr stepping forward to captain the U2050 team (lost to Cleveland in the ECF Semi-Final), Mark Murrell taking responsibility of the U1850 team in the absence of any volunteer, and the late Sean Horan generously taking on both the U1650 and U1450. Sean took a couple of matches to find his feet, then proceeded to build squads for the future, taking the U1450 team to qualification for the national stages, before his tragic sudden death. Mark picked up the chalice and piloted the U1450 team to the national Final, which would have made Sean proud, even though the trophy eluded them.

The factor which makes this a particular success is that having given 119 players County chess, the organisation from mostly debutant skippers, was so good that only one single game out of 396 was conceded by default and that single default was due to traffic issues away to Middx. 99.75% coverage shows tremendous work by the captains and magnificent support from the players.

Team Captain vacancies for 2024-25

But what is to happen next season? We still have no Match Captain or Assistant Match Captain and only Michael Spurr is still in place in the ranks of team captains. While we appear still not to have sufficient support for an Open team, the remaining teams, U1850, U1650 and U1450 are once again in need of volunteers to take them on.

Of the 119 players who played for the County in 2023-24, only the 25 players 1850 or above in the U2050 team are sure of County chess next season. If we don’t have any captains for the other three teams, we shall not be able to enter those teams in the SCCU championships (which are the qualification sections for the ECF national stages). That leaves 94 players without games for the County.

No organiser, no chess. True.

So, please, if you enjoy the special challenge of inter-county matches, think about taking on the captaincy of your team. It beggars belief that from 94 players we can’t find just three more team captains.

If you would like to help the County as a team captain, please email ECA Secretary, John Chapman, secretary@essexchess.org.uk

Links: Teams page | U2050 | U1850 | U1650 | U1450 | Aggregate stats

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