Kingston 3 given lesson by Guildford veterans

Surrey League division 4 match played at the Willoughby Arms, Kingston on 6 March 2023

Let’s be honest, this was not a good night for Kingston 3 – going down by 5-1 to Guildford 4. But on reflection the one-sided scoreline was understandable. We are still trying to bring on new and young players, whereas Guildford fielded a very experienced team, with veterans Peter Horlock and Mike Gunn in the middle order. The Guildford players were rated between 1628 and 1758, and the rating gap with Kingston was huge. The fact that this was Guildford’s fourth team shows what a large and powerful club Guildford is. How nice to have such depth.

As each game progressed the experience of Guildford’s players showed, but hopefully It was a good learning experience for Kingston’s team. The key thing is not to get downhearted by defeats to strong players but to learn lessons from every reverse. What we really need at Kingston is a better organised mentoring system, so that match time can be married to a thorough analysis of games in the company of one of Kingston’s plethora of very strong players. This is a system we are actively looking to develop at Kingston: a “buddy” approach that will have the useful side-effect of giving the teams a common purpose and uniting the club, stopping silos of players developing based on strength.

I’ve left the one Kingston high spot of the match until last – David Shalom’s victory with Black on board 1 against Tony Garrood, who is rated more than 100 points above him. David is having a really good season on his return to competitive chess, and this was a tremendous result. Well played David and thanks to the rest of the team for a spirited effort against a nard-nosed side that will pay off in the long term by making our emerging players stronger.

Stephen Daines, Kingston third-team captain