Analysis as our team slide continues
Three months on and our grip on the top spot in overall team score on Gameknot is slipping further and further away.
Since the last report in early June we have slumped as a team with our overall team score dropping a further 120 points in the past quarter.
In contrast, our main rivals New York Lovers and Latvia have consolidated their overall team score and, in fact, they have managed to increase it a little by a further 28 points.
As a result of this we are now sitting at 4620 points while New York edge that little bit closer to the 5,000 mark with a total of 4,929. We were the first team on Gameknot to break the 5k mark some 20 months or so ago but we have been slipping back slowly ever since.
It is actually quite hard to put a finger on the precise reason or problem.
We have had odd timeouts in that period but none on the catastrophic scale we have seen on occasion in recent months. These larger ones have certainly contributed in big scale to our near 400 point drop from our 5k peak.
While, our continued decline without major timeout is hard to explain then the reason for the solidity of the New York performance is perhaps a little easier to see. If you take a closer look at their team the first thing you notice is that they are a much smaller team than us with just 25 members.
You will also notice that an even smaller number are actively playing team matches. They have six players handling around 10 games each and the rest, apart from their captain, playing 2-5 games at most. A number are playing no team matches at all.
The interesting one is their captain manhattan who, despite his username, is based over here in Europe. He has completed a staggering total of 5,365 team games and amassed an incredible 1583 points towards the team total on his own.
Bear in mind that we have a number of players who have been played a lot of games over the past 11-12 years and the most any of our team has completed is just over 3,500 matches. Our highest scorer by some distance is spursboy with a total of 401 points for the team.
New York’s co-Captain tetis has also completed more than 3k team matches and has delivered 847 points for the team. Both New York players have ratings that hover around the 1550-1680 mark.
At present their captain is running 17 team games and the co-captain just 4, which suggests they must have carried far higher volumes in the past.
Interestingly both are playing a substantially higher number of games overall if you include tournament, league and fast ladder matches.
The Captain and co-Captain have overall game win ratios of 52% and 55% respectively. However, the percentage of wins for both players increases dramatically when it comes to their ratio of wins in team matches.
There could be a number of explanations for this higher success rate in team matches and it is not for us to speculate what this might be.
However, this higher win ratio is clearly driving the continued growth in the overall total of points being posted by our rivals.
In contrast, we have 57 active team members carrying a varying number of matches dependent on membership level and individual preferences.
The difference between the two teams during the past three months, however, is there to see in the statistics. We had a handful of active players who neither gained nor lost points in that period – a good solid performance.
And while we had 22 players gaining points, we had 28 losing points and at a higher rate than those gaining. The maths (or math if you’re in the US) then is simple.
One thing is clear and that is that the New York team leadership is operating a smart approach designed to maximize total team score.
This is likely to involve absolute and extreme care in match selections. This is likely at the expense of holding back on match setting to wait for the most advantageous matches.
Our approach is a simpler one. We want to win, we want to succeed and we want to generate a sense of team and collective spirit.
However, this cannot be to the detriment of enjoying team chess. None of us is paid to do this and none of us is required to be a Fighting Warrior. We do it because we enjoy it.
Our team has a high number of long-standing members and I assume people remain with us because they enjoy team chess and, I hope, feel a sense of pride in playing for the Fighting Warriors team.
I know I do – why else would I do it and carry the additional burden of captaincy.
For us, if a player wants to carry 30 or 50 team matches then I, with the sterling help of my fellow co-Captains, will do all we can to deliver that level. Similarly if a team member is content with a handful then we will work with that as well.
All this is irrespective of that individual’s total net score for the team. Obviously, persistent transgressors on timeout are removed from the team although not on a one-strike and you’re out basis.
Gameknot team chess for us is a ‘social’ sport and we rely on the integrity and sense of team of each individual Warrior to ensure they do their utmost for the team good.
This has worked exceptionally well in the past and it has been in this spirit that we rose to the top of the Gameknot team table in 2008 and stayed there until recent months.
I would be interested to hear from others but I would not like to see this approach change. Playing team chess for us has to be, first and foremost, enjoyable.
We have delivered success with this approach in the past.
I still hope that we can work individually in a focused and concentrated way to deliver an improved team collective performance in the months that now lie ahead. If we can then we can still claw our way back to the top spot.
Enough on that and so now a quick look at some of the impressive performances of the past three months, and there were a number.
On something of a roll in recent months is one player who has been doing much to erode his overall net deficit for the team. desmondvan – Matt from Victoria in Canada - was our MVP player of the month in May with a plus eight points return. Well, he has delivered a further nine point gain in the past quarter.
We then have a jump to another consistent high performer in passcode – one of our female team members from the US – followed up a good performance in May with an astonishing plus 14 score in the past three months.
However, out in front and so our MVP player of the quarter for the June to August period is naitsirhc12345 – Christian from the Philippines. He delivered a net gain of 16 points for the team across the three months.
Well done to all those who maintained their score or, even better, delivered a plus over that period. Hopefully we will have more in September.
So now trying not to leave anyone out, here is the full list showing the net gains and losses for all players spanning the full three-month period of June through to August 2016:
chesscommander; electriflyer; robertgold
spursboy; icefox; sycv; rodin
eduherminio; stuartstaples; corneliusblisand; b_alex81; gamestalker
collazos; alessanderthomaz; knightplay;
Active but with zero gain or loss:
velunia8; cyrenaics; jeff62; pantlko; takeplay; yatsyshin; jacamabe
No games played and inactive in three months:
degrotebozewolf; searcoid; deltawing; rona81; fisherboy2; geusen
wanderingwolf; negames4me; jeff62; mitchle; pioko5; drenwarrior; pinzerl;
mysticknight; frriedel; fisherboy46;
hopewell; hjemcall; oldfossil
ilpo; thebishop1000; sonofander_pict; ngb1066
Onwards and upwards as ever
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Our Captain Andy
Andy has been Captain of The Fighting Warriors team since August 2009.
Andy joined the Warriors in October 2005 and has played throughout this time under the Gameknot username wanderingwolf. He was a co-Captain before stepping up to the Captaincy following team election.
Andy lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in the UK.
Earl is a former Captain of the Fighting Warriors and has rarely not formed part of the captaincy team.
He joined the team in August 2006 and plays under the username earlkarjohn. He lives in Hook, Hampshire in the UK.