Border League defending champions Berwick Chess Club commenced the new season with a home match against Selkirk.
On top board Stephen gained an early positional advantage and held onto this to force a win. Both Nicole and Jim won through in very closely fought games, whilst Dougie somehow recovered from a very dodgy looking piece sacrifice to finish off his opponent. Performance of the night, however, was by young Max Turner playing in his first ever Borders League match. Max has great potential to make an extremely strong player. Adding a little strategic control to his natural tactical, over-the-board, aggression should see him coming on leaps and bounds in the next year.
Early speculation is that the title is most likely to be contested between Kelso and Berwick. Kelso have only entered a single team this year – meaning that their strength will no longer be split between two teams. Reigning champions, for the previous two seasons, Berwick will be boosted by their whitewash performance against Selkirk. However, it is yet to be seen if other teams have any new additions to their squads.
Anybody interested in a game, or finding out more about chess in the Borders region are welcome to attend regular club nights at the Maltings. Over the summer period meetings switched to a Wednesday, with members arriving from around 7pm. Berwick has players of various strength, but most important is a friendly atmosphere and a chance to learn more about the game of chess.