Both Essex teams advanced to the Final sections, the U1825 team in rather more style than the Open.
Open Division 1B: Surrey 5½-6½ Essex
On chess.com – Essex had one last chance to proceed to a final stage, by beating Surrey in the last Group match. When Surrey declared four boards short, qualification looked a formality for Essex, but the eight Surrey boards were strong at the top, led by GM Bogdan Lalic and supported by Mark Josse 211, Clive Frostic 194 and two strong 170s before dipping to 160, 142 and 143. With Surrey winning the top four boards, Essex had to score 2½ out of the remaining four contested boards and did exactly that, with three draws and a win, yet the margin was finer than that, with Surrey at one point holding a winning advantage in one of the drawn games. Here are the four games by which Essex added to their four default points:
U1825 Group B: Essex 7-5 Oxford
On chess.com – Essex cruised into the finals with an imperious 4½-½ on the top five boards, adding to this three draws and one further win. Here are the five Essex wins:
Essex finished 4th in Open Division 1B, with 4/10 (two wins, three losses) qualifying for the Major Open Final group
Essex finished 2nd in U1825 Group B with 4/6 (three wins, one loss) qualifying for the U1825 Championship Group
Next fixtures for each
Major Open: Devon v Essex
U1825 Championship: Northumberland v Essex
There is a new competition at U100 level, National 100 with four regional teams competing in an all-play-all League: East Saxons (9), Midland Outlaws (10), Northern Raiders (9), The south (11), each represented by a group of Counties (indicated in brackets after each group). These matches will take place in August 8th, 15th and 22nd. Find the flyer via the link below.
There is a grand finale to this first Online season, with a North v South Challenge the third such challenge in the history of regional chess. The first two such challenges matches took place over-the-board in 1893 and 1894, so the third in the series has taken another 126 years to come about! We are talking large-scale here, the previous challenge matches being 100-board affairs. No limit on numbers, as the venue is chess.com, not a large hall somewhere, so if you are interested, head over to the chess.com site for ECF South (for Essex), fill in the form available from the link reading “REGISTER HERE – CLICK ON ME”, and then after acknowledgement press JOIN (top right) on the chess.com club page. Link below.