Fairfield County Spring Team Championship


Eight highly competitive teams competed in this year’s Spring Team Championship. CCFC-A led by FM Joshua Colas, along with expert Michael Uwakwe, Vaughn Allen and Guy Colas, was the top seed going in with an impressive 1998 average rating. Five of the other teams boasted ratings over 1900 so nothing could be taken for granted. Although they were the favorite, CCFC-A was held to a draw as early as round 1. This allowed CCFC-B, led by NM Ian Harris, to take the sole lead with a perfect 2/2 match score after two rounds. A drawn match between the top two top seeds (CCFC-A & B) in their round 3 face-off saw the entire tournament come down to the final round. CCFC-B held a half point match score advantage over the field, however, with poorer tie-breaks (game points) it was necessary for them to win in the final round against the New Britain Chess Club as CCFC-A was hot on their heels. New Britain was also in contention for first place should they win against CCFC-B.

CCFC-A vs. NBCC in their round 1 encounter that ended in a draw. Both teams would end up being in contention to win it all going into the final round!

New Britain came in with a very balanced line-up. Their board 4, Michael Smith, won early against CCFC-B’s Leo Bykhovsky. Shortly after, Ismael Pagan won a nice game against expert Will Torres on board two to level the match at 1-1. A draw on board 3 between Eugene Ulyanov (CCFC-B) and Matthew Faille (NBCC) meant that the entire match would come down to expert Joe Bihlmeyer (NBCC) as white vs. NM Ian Harris (CCFC-B). Meanwhile, and for added pressure, CCFC-A had rebounded with a nice round 4 win against “No Draws Accepted” and with better tie-breaks would win clear first place should CCFC-B not manage to win round 4.

NBCC vs. CCFC-B in the final round

After obtaining a several pawn advantage going into the endgame, it looked as though Harris was cruising to victory, however, Bihlmeyer put up very tenacious defense in a tricky opposite color bishops and rook endgame. As Harris’ time continued to diminish this position began to look more and more drawish as one by one his extra pawns were snapped off the board by Bihlmeyer. With Harris playing solely on increment for the final stages of the game, he managed to force one pawn down the board necessitating Bihlmeyer to sacrifice his bishop in order to stop its march. The ensuing R+B vs. R ending was technically very difficult, but after over 100 moves, Harris was able to force a mate and win the match and the tournament for CCFC-A!

The winners! CCFC-B & CCFC-A

After the dust had settled, CCFC-B earned clear first with 3.5/4 match points and earned $300 for their efforts. CCFC-A came in clear 2nd place with 3/4 match points and earned $200. Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you for everyone that participated in a truly unique and fun event!