Three matches to report on over the last seven days, where the “A” team played at Maccelsfield in Div 2 on Monday, the “B” team hosted Alsager B in Div 3, and the “F” team played against Cheddleton I in Div 5 on Wednesday at the AMALS.
The “Abysmal A” team are forced to drop one of our top 5 players for every match now that our total grades exceed 725 by just 3 points, so we went to Macclesfield without top graded Olawale Titiloye. The match started badly as we lost on bd 5 quickly before Karl Lockett secured a draw on top board. Rick Renegade playing with white for the first time this season in the “A” team played aggressively as normal to equalise matters with a win on bd 3. Steady eddy – Neville Layhe gained a solid draw with black pieces on bd 2 to leave David Hulme in play on bd 4. David was a pawn down with a bishop and 3 pawns vs a knight and 4 pawns and running out of time. As his opponent had all the play and a massive advantage on the clock draw offers were declined as David eventually lost on time, to leave Macclesfield as 3-2 victors. The team currently sit joint 3rd in the table but trail the leaders by a long way.
The “Brilliant B” team had a 50 pts grading advantage over the visitors so were slight favourites on paper. An early grand-master draw on bd 1 for Neville with black was a sold start, and peace was agreed on bd 2 when Andy Barker of Alsager forced the draw with repetitive threats of “mate in one” could only be stopped by repeating the position. Luckily for Rick his opponent did not see a forced win, but this is not surprising when he had been on the attack for the entire game. The match swung decisively in our favour when Chris Rhodes converted a big time pressure advantage into a major material gain to give us a 2-1 lead. Junior Amy Lovatt with black on bd 3 seemed to have the upper hand after active play gained a central pawn. After a steady build up of positional play Amy converted the position into an unstoppable win to ensure the match was won 3-1. The Bees stay top of div 3 with 15 pts from 9 matches, with nearest challengers Newcastle C just 3 pts behind with a game in hand and two encounters yet to come with our Bees. Rick Renegade and Chris Rhodes continue to be the outstanding players for the team with records of 6.5/7 and 7/9 respectively.
The “F for Fun” team were able to give a rare game to Martin Frisher on top board playing his first league match of the season to add to his one off appearance for the Open Cup team. Cheddleton’s team comprised two experienced players on top boards and two juniors on lower boards. Their juniors held equality as they were first to strike with a win by young Robert Cooper on bd 4, before our own improving junior Harry Gardiner played superbly to notch up a leveling win on bd 3. Harry is the team’s leading scorer with 5.5 pts. On bd 2 Simon Layhe enjoying the opportunity to play regularly since Xmas picked up a draw to leave the match 1.5 each. Unfortunately for us Martin’s rustiness left him short of time on bd 1 and ultimately lost to Colin Abell who is in an unbeaten run stretching 8 games.
The “F” team have now managed to use 13 players so far this season and remain the bedrock of the club to introduce new players to league chess thanks to the generous captaincy of Dave Price. Funny enough Dave P has captained seven teams out of our last 8 club matches over the last three weeks due to an odd combination of other captains being absent. Thanks go from all club members for Dave’s unstinting work on behalf of the club.