It’s been a busy week for the club with four matches all played away from home. The club was packed on Wednesday night with some more new faces amongst the 18 or so there, while another 4 members were at Newcastle.
The week started promisingly as the “E” team continued their assault on the division 5 title. They went to face Meir C with just a hand-full of grading points separating the two teams. Skipper Nigel Gardner seemed content as the first three games all shared the points. Chris Rhodes playing on bd 1 took his unbeaten run to 20 matches in all NSDCA competitions this season, with his draw. The other draws came from Steve Ballantyne and Nigel (taking his score to an unbeaten 7/9 for the Es). The match was to be settled by the outcome of the board 2 game featuring our star junior Amy Lovatt. As usual Amy played coolly to build up a decisive advantage and ultimately win the game and the match (2.5-1.5) to give the “Es” a further cushion at the top of the table. Amy’s record for the E team is a superb 8/8.
Tuesday night saw the “F” team take on Alsager C in a division 5 match. Although the team were soundly beaten 3-1, skipper Dave Price was very proud as the team introduced another new member to competitive league chess as Kobus Nienaber made his debut and became the 13th player to represent our new F team this season. Our single point was won by former Alsager-player Les Hall.
Wednesday night saw our high-flying Bees travel to Newcastle to play a top of the table clash with the host’s C team. Unfortunately the team lost for only the second time this season by the narrowest of margins 1.5-2.5. There were draws for Karl Lockett on bd 1, Chris Rhodes on bd 3 (extending his run to 21 unbeaten) and Simon Layhe.
A really entertaining battle on bd 2 decided the match in Newcastle’s favour as their captain Alan Paling reported on the LMS site ” This top of the table clash was extremely tight with three draws leaving the result of the match in the hands of Hambel and Rick on Board 2. Hambel had an advantage but was short of time and played the majority of her moves towards the end with less than a minute (and often seconds) left. Despite Rick complicating things Hambel held her nerve and eventually took the full point. This means Newcastle C can catch Crewe B at the top of the table if they win their match in hand.”
The final match of the week for us saw our Wirral team facing Atticus (of Liverpool) at a neutral Wallasey venue to reduce our travelling commitment. This division 2 battle started with our team on 100% with 3/3 wins and our opponents with 3/4 wins. However there was an ominous start to the night when team lists were exchanged to show Steve Kee graded 196 was on top board for Atticus and two of the other four boards were graded much in their favour. Our main hope would be for Rick Renegade to attack with gusto on bd 3 with the white pieces, to try and compensate for the anticipated negative result on bd 1 with the remaining players hoping for at least a share of the points. Alas it was not be as our 100% record was firmly extinguished as we lost on bds 1 and 3 early on. The other three games all ended in draws with Dave Price and Simon Layhe performing extremely well, while David Hulme escaped with a very fortunate draw. The final result of 1.5-3.5 might prove to be useful in the final reckoning if we can pick up positive results in our next two or three matches.