Brett Smitheram wins BEST 2019
After 10 months, 7 rounds and over 100 matches, we finally have a
winner: Brett Smitheram is the BEST of the BEST, triumphing 9-5 over
Wayne Kelly in an exciting, but sometimes intense, final.
It's Brett's first victory in BEST, a title which had so far eluded him
having narrowly missed out in two previous finals. The third time was
perhaps a charm although it may have seemed like history was repeating as
honours were mostly shared at the start with Wayne even taking a slender
lead at times. After 10 games, the match was tied at 5-5 before Brett
opened up the first real break to lead 7-5 overnight. When play resumed,
he made swift work of things, taking the next 2 to clinch the title.
Brett had been a standout performer in BEST 2019 from the start dropping
just 6 games out of 39 on route to the final, with an average ratings
performance of 209. He has now won his 10th Major, the second in less
than a year and joins Paul Gallen as the only player to have won two
of the 2019 majors. Notably, in Brett's case they were the only two
he entered with a large, tough field assembled for both. This win caps
off a year which also saw him crowned the highest rated UK player for
a record 5th time.
Highlights of the final match included 9-timers for both
players. Brett struck first with SKEWBALD
for a whopping 217 points, obliterating the previous BEST 2019 high
word score in the process. Not to be outdone, Wayne slotted in PORTENTS four games later. Other more unusual
words played by Brett included GASOHOLS,
VALGOID and VENERERS.
Here's Brett pictured after the match with his own makeshift trophy but
we hope he will be presented with the real one soon. Congratulations
to all other prize winners – a full list will be confirmed and
made available in the coming days.
Entries are now open for the 2020 competition so come and join the fun!
Entries close on 13th April 2020.
Last updated: 16 February 2020
BEST Final Preview
If you're holding out for news about BEST 2020, you won't need to wait
much longer, but there's the small matter of last year's final to take
care of first, which will be taking place this coming weekend, February
15th and 16th. Here's a preview of the final match of the tournament
from co-organiser Chris Harrison.
Our two contenders will be duking it out in a best of 17 games to see who
will become BEST Champion 2019. Will it be Brett Smitheram or Wayne Kelly?
The pair have both won multiple UK majors including National Championships
but neither have a BEST title in their collection to date. It's fair
to say Brett has come the closest suffering narrow defeats in the final
to both Mikki Nicholson and Mark Nyman. Will it be third time lucky?
Brett has also had the smoother passage into the final, despite facing
a number of tough opponents and playing one match more. His record in
BEST 2019 is 33-6 with an average ratings performance of 209.
Wayne has had a slightly trickier time of things, but arguably more
opportunity to show fighting spirit pulling off what seemed an unlikely
semi-final comeback from 4-7 down. His overall record in BEST 2019 is
25-9 with an average ratings performance of 183.
In terms of their own personal head to head they met 7 times in 2019,
with Brett edging these encounters 4-3. Interestingly, whilst Brett had
the upper hand in their Belfast games, Wayne went on to win the event and
when Brett triumphed at SIMPLE, it was in spite of suffering a loss to
Wayne on that occasion. In total, Brett won 79% of his ABSP rated games
in 2019 with an average score of 455, with Wayne at 66% with an average
score of 447.
This weekend will see the final chapter of what has been a great
event. Will there be yet more twists and turns to come and who will lift
Last updated: 12 February 2020
OnBoard 186 available
The latest edition of OnBoard is now
available from the
ABSP database website (login required),
and postal copies should also be arriving soon.
- Cover story: Ed Martin wins the UK Open
- New Year's Honours List
- Grand Slam 2020 Update
- Twixmas Tournament Report
We're always on the look out for articles, quizzes, puzzles, club
anniversaries and amusing items for OnBoard. The next issue is
already being planned, so please get in touch with the editor, Kay Möller
, with ideas
A final reminder for members taking part in the ABSP Online league
on Facebook: you must be a 2020 ABSP member in order to continue playing
in the league from the start of the next round on Tuesday 4th February.
There's still time to renew your ABSP membership
Last updated: 30 January 2020
New Year's Honours List
Happy New Year! With the turn of the year, it's awards time, so
Wayne Kelly rounds up the award winners for 2019,
covering titles awarded, highest rated player, most improved player,
prospects for 2020 and a few other stats too!
Firstly, many thanks to Mike Whiteoak and Rachel Bingham for their
parts in the maintenance of the ever-improving ratings database - I do
wonder how we ever managed without it! This is my last year as Titles
Registrar as Chris Hawkins will be handling the title data and updating the
sheets, however I shall still announce the new titleholders and winners
of other awards going forward - many thanks to Chris for taking over
the nitty-gritty work!
At the start of the year, I saw the potential for one new GM (Grand
Master) and one Expert and I am glad to announce that both have clinched
Congratulations to both Dave and Rafal, who have been added to the
Titles & Awards page, along
with all the other award winners for the year.
Looking ahead to this time next year, there are no potential GM awards, but there
is one prospect for Expert status:
One other may have a chance but would need to do better than their current Personal Best.
Only one person made their first foray into the 170+ ratings for the year: Olaiya Kabir (182)
The Highest Rated Player Award is given to the highest rated ABSP Member
on January 1st of each year, provided that they have played at least
30 games in the previous year. The 2019 winner is ...
David Eldar (205) and Nigel Richards (204) had higher ratings, but were not members.
The Most Improved Player award is given to the ABSP member at year
end who had a full rating at the start of the calendar year, played at
least 30 games throughout the year and improves their rating the most.
The player's rating at the end of the year must be higher than any
previous end-of-year full rating. And the winner is ...
Joseph has put a lot of effort into his game this year and has played
up numerous times, taking the bull by the horns. The race to Most
Improved Player was most surely a two-horse race and commiserations go
to Rory Kemp for his impressive improvement of 33 from
90 to 123. Joseph pipped Rory during the final Ilford event. It is
great to see youth players - and young players in general - achieve
Four other players met the criteria for this award of improving by at least
Richard Spencer (+21, 120 → 141);
Angie Brodie (+18, 110 → 128);
Reuben Moisey (+17, 80 → 97);
Paul Thomson (+15, 144 → 159)
Most games played:
Most games played - Colin Nicol (627)
Most prolific GM - Wayne Kelly (338)
Most prolific Expert - Simon Gillam (317)
Unweighted ratings for those with a rating over 150 plus
details of highest games scores for 2019 can be found on the ABSP
Well done to all the winners - and those that missed out - keep trying!
Last updated: 16 January 2020
Ed Martin wins the UK Open
Ed Martin wrapped up victory in the first major of the new decade
with a win against Calum Edwards in the penultimate round to put him
clear of the field with one game to go.
This is Ed's fourth major UK
championship and his first since the 2018
Ed started the tournament strongly, winning his first 14 games before
suffering his first loss. He finished with 23 wins out of the 30,
and a spread of +1440.
Rik Kennedy (21-9, +1361) had a storming tournament as he defeated
defending champion and pre-tournament favourite Nigel Richards four times
out of five over the course of the tournament, including three in a row
in the final three rounds to take 2nd place. Nigel finished in 3rd place
(20-10, +1696) just ahead of Calum Edwards (20-10, +1159) on spread.
Kwaku Sapong won division B with a 22-8, +1480 record, ahead of Paul
Cousins (20-10, +613) and Ian Coventry (19-11, +527) Kwaku had built
up a 735 point spread advantage over Paul to put the result beyond doubt
before the final round. Paul was seeded 15 in a division of 18 players,
so second place is a tremendous achievement.
Adrian Bailey finished top of division C, with a 22-8 +1744 record,
outperforming his initial seeding of 10. Angie Brodie (20-10, +1096)
edged out Syd Berger (20-10, +478) for second place in an exciting tight
finish where the places were up for grabs right until the final round.
The "Lucky Stiffs" and "Tuff Luck" leaderboards from the tournament
(link at the end of this article) are a bit of fun. One unlucky player
stands out, however, as Kadda Mohamed finished in 5th place in division
C despite having suffered three losses by a single point!
Full results: UK
Last updated: 5 January 2020
2019 News Archive
Click on the title of this article to access the news archive for the year.
All news article headings are now links to the full news article.
Last updated: 31 December 2019