Virtual chess, real trophy
Report by Mark Murrell
Played on Thursday 21 January there was unexpected success for the club’s first foray into the League of Mayhem’s invitational Team Battle blitz Arenas. With no club tournaments scheduled and a spare Thursday presenting during the second half of the League of Mayhem current season, skipper Peter Nickals entered a team into the league’s fourth Team Battle blitz (G5+3) for league participants, in the guise of our Lichess Arena social team. The previous two events had been won comfortably by favourites King’s Head. 10 teams competed.
In a Team Battle Arena any number of players can represent a team but only the scores of games concluded within the allotted session time (90mins) of a designated number of “Leaders” count towards the team’s score, encouraging participation of all abilities and presenting competition to become one of a team’s Leaders.
In this event, we were expecting the scores of the leading five players to count, just as well as only five players had signed up as the start of play approached: Messrs Spearman, Freeman, Karacsony, Murrell and Lataille, regulars in the Lets Chess Social arenas that have been running since the first lockdown back in the spring of 2020.
Accordingly, the format of arena chess where extra points are scored for three or more successive wins (a streak) and for winning having forfeited increments as well as half the allocated core time (berserk), was not an alien one particularly having had two tough team battles during November’s second lockdown against our friends from Aix-en-Provence, also then locked down. A streak of two or more successive draws is also penalised by not adding to a participant’s score.
With my delayed arrival due to Junior Club tournament duties, fortunes were strengthened by the unexpected reduction in Leaders to four and the last second arrival of a few more Lets Chess regulars, Messrs Segat, Sharman and Sands to make a squad of 8.
Having entered with no expectations amongst anticipated strong blitz opposition it took us all by surprise to find ourselves at the top of the leader board, thanks to the efforts of David Sands (24), David Spearman (16), Ashley Freeman (15) and Istvan Karacsony (12).
- 67 Pts Wanstead & Woodford
- 57 Pts East Ham
- 51 Pts King’s Head
- 49 Pts Lewisham
With a streak of 7 consecutive wins, David Sands was the team’s top scorer, winning the best individual unbeaten performance trophy. However, Jude Samarasinghe, of Lewisham’s fourth placed two man team, went one better top scoring with 31 points from 11 games all played under the curtailed “berserk” time control of 150 seconds.
The tournament, with hyperlinks to the games, can be viewed in Lichess.
The next LoM Team Blitz Arena is scheduled for Thursday 4 March, 7pm. The more the merrier.