The 2018-19 season has seen great successes by individuals and teams from Guildford Chess Club. In July 2018 Jessica Mellor a member of our thriving Junior Section won the Girls’ Gold Medal Under 11s category at the European Schools Chess Championships held in Krakow, Poland. International Master Andrew Martin (Guildford Clun member and leader of the English team in Krakow) said “The most unexpected and amazing performance I have seen in 25 years of working on these trips. Let’s face it , anyone who wins playing the Grand Prix Attack and the King’s Gambit deserves all the applause.” Jessica scored 7.5 out of 9 points and was undefeated in the last 7 rounds of the tournament. The last time an English player achieved a similar result was 2004 which gives a measure of her achievement.
In April 2019 International Master Nigel Povah (Guildford’s leading player for many years) captained the over 65 English team to the silver medal position in the World 65+Team Chess Championship which was held in Rhodes, Greece. England with 13 match points (6 won matches, 1 draw and 2 losses) came only 1 match point behind the winning Russian team (5 wins, 4 draws and 0 losses).
In May 2019 Guildford again won the Four Nations’ Chess League, (4NCL) the strongest chess league in the UK. Leonard Barden wrote in the Guardian: “There were no surprises at the 4NCL, then. Guildford maintained their stranglehold on the Four Nations Chess League by winning all 11 matches in the current season and taking their record unbeaten run to 77 wins and two draws spread over more than six years. The Surrey club win many matches by 7-1 or more and even single defeats are rare. This season its players lost [just] one game out of 88 … Guildford’s backbone is a mix of English and French Olympiad grandmasters whose long experience gives them an edge in team strategy, as was demonstrated in last weekend’s final round.” The fact that so many English Grandmasters play for Guildford in this competition (including England’s current no. 1 player Gawain Jones) is due to sponsorship by Guildford Chess Club members Roger Emerson and Nigel Povah.
Guildford Chess Club has continued this success at the local level, winning no less than 5 division titles in the Surrey League and the Surrey Border League. Nigel White’s Guildford 2 team won the Beaumont Cup (the 2nd division of the Surrey League) and Julien Shepley’s team won the Stoneleigh Trophy (a handicap rapidplay) competition. Other Surrey League teams did well too with Guildford 1 coming 3rd in Division 1 and Guildford 3 coming 2nd in Division 3). Our team lost a closely contested match to Wimbledon in the final of the knockout competition (the Alexander Cup). In the Surrey Border League Guildford A (captained by Nigel Povah) won the Waechter Shield (Division 1); Guildford C (captained by Rob Merriman) won the Graham Smith Shield (Division 3) and Guildford E (captained by Ray Tarling) won the Bill Lowe Shield (Division 6). Also Guildford B (captained by Trevor Jones) was a very close 2nd to Reading in the Tom White Trophy (Division 2).