Lichfield’s first team are always prepared for a tough match when they visit South Birmingham, but they hardly expected to find that the opposition board six, Pavel Besedin, was graded 190.
Not surprisingly Lichfield, with two reserves in the team, lost 6-0. It was the strongest team Birmingham had fielded this season and it must have been, one of, if not the strongest team ever seen in the Birmingham League.
If any one knows of a stronger team I would love to hear from them. It prompts the question how much grade inflation has there been in the last 50 years. To put it into perspective, the team I founded in the early 70 ‘s, Atherton, reached the semi-finals of the national championship with a team consisting of a young Nigel Short and a leading tournament player Jeff Horner, plus some strong county players. To the best of my recollection, both Nigel and Jeff were graded around the 190 mark at the time.
Lichfield lost their only 200 plus player last season when Paul Wallace returned to his native Ireland and the current top two are Maurice Staples, 187, and Ian Kingston, 177. South Birmingham’s top two, John Pitcher and Jonathan Swindells are graded 214 and 211 respectively.