Wednesday night saw the club room packed to the rafters as our South Cheshire Shield “A” team hosted league leaders Newcastle. Our visitors brought along an additional member to their 4-player team to enjoy some friendly chess with our own players.

The match itself was a classic as both sides slugged it out in attempt to gain supremacy in the race for the Shield title. First out of the traps to put a point on the scorecard was our quickfire junior Harry Gardiner with a hard earned win on board 4 which could so easily have ended up in defeat. Next to finish was a rare defeat for another of our juniors – Amy Lovatt. Promoting her to board 1 will reap its rewards in due course with tough games, but on this occasion the experienced campaigner (and newly elected NSDCA Honorary Prseident) John Day took advantage of Amy’s clock management to bring her downfall in a game she would surely have won with a few more seconds in hand as a tricky Rook and pawn endgame needed careful attention. Next to finish was the board 2 battle where Newcastle’s even younger star Joe Hirst (age 11) fought toe-to-toe with our Chris Rhodes. With both players well into increment time peace was agreed with a draw to leave the match still in the balance. The board 3 game was a delight to watch as Simon Layhe tried desperately to find a winning line with a pawn advantage, while stuck on the end of a “mate-in-one” threat from his wily opponent Alberto Gissi. After much tussling Alberto found a purpeptual check to ensure the match was drawn 2-2. It would seem the league title will be decided when the teams meet again in the last scheduled fixture in September.

As mentioned in the opening sentence the club was packed with nearly 30 players in attendance, including the 5 from Newcastle on a Summer’s night with scorching temperatures. Our own members played a mixture of Summer Rapid-play and Long-play tournament games as well as friendlies for those that preferred less competition. However what makes us so proud was the following message picked up by chairman Dave Price from Newcastle’s David Ashby which read:

I would like to share with you all a comment I have just received from one of the Newcastle players.
 DavidEricAshby: Jeremy had a great evening and some well matched games, thank you very much. You have a great atmosphere at Crewe and you are so honourable, pointing out your own mistakes. It’s an honour and a pleasure to come and play.