The local chess population has been waiting with bated breath for the big decision. Where would the axe fall in the divisional split?
Well, very early on Christmas Day, Santa Claus (aka the League Controller) announced to the team captains that it is to be a 6-6 split. So one of the Magnificent Seven is to lose out on the kudos of playing for the Silver King but will then inevitably become the favourite for Division 2 glory. Looks like my previous blog hoping for that decider between Lagan and Ballynafeigh 2 will come to pass.
Hey, but hold on a minute, what's this about 6-6? Surely only 11 teams entered the League. There had been a few rumours, fuelled by some teasing by the League Controller over at the Ballynafeigh blog, that an extra team could be on the cards. So where's this mystery team coming from. The best clue appears at the Belfast South blog and so it looks like a second team from that quarter is entering the fray. Considering the number of players that have flocked there recently, they have the spare capacity.
From that blog we also learn that Belfast South teams will now be named BSI 1, BSI 2 etc. The "I" apparently stands for International. Still it seems a shame to go for an abbreviation that sounds like some disease found in cows or sheep. Much friendlier to my ear would have been Belfast South and Malone - after all their blog has the words "malonechessteam" in its web address. Maybe the émigrés don't want a copyright war with the team across the road!
One final point is how Division 2 will accommodate the newbie. League points gained from the preliminary all-play-all are carried over into the divisions. So does the new team start from scratch, effectively giving it no chance of winning Division 2 (admittedly that's probably the same hope that NICS and Ballynafeigh 3 have) or will the League Controller have come up with an imaginative solution?