Wednesday night was a quieter night at the Mals as holiday season kicked in with 18 members in attendance. The main event of the evening was the South Cheshire Shield Derby between our A and B teams which was brought forward by five weeks from the schedule to ensure fair play was observed in the league.
Junior Harry Gardiner started the ball rolling for the “A” team with a win against B team captain Les Hall on board 4. It seems young Harry is learning to use his allotted time better as for the first time (witnessed by club reporter) he used more time on his clock than the opponent. His patience was rewarded after a level middle game turned to his advantage with a kingside break through to make the score 1-0. Simon Layhe on board 3 doubled the A’s advantage as he exploited his opponents over exuberant attack by chasing the king out into the open. When faced with the chance to win Queen for a major piece, Simon coolly turned this down as his King hunt was completed four moves later with a combination of two rooks and a Knight delivering the mate. The B team did their best to put a dent in the A team’s title efforts when Neville Layhe won the board 2 battle to leave Rick Renegade (B team) and Amy Lovatt in play on board 1. Rick’s usual aggressive play led to a huge imbalance as he held Q,R,B and 7 pawns vs Amy’s RRBBN and 4 pawns. As the game developed Amy was able to co-ordinate all of her heavy artillery before Rick could muster his forces together and ended the game with a superb mating attack against the king-side castled position to ensure the A team won 3-1.
A look at the league table on the LMS shows Newcastle still leading the way with 11 pts (P6 W5 D1 and board difference of +10) while our “A” team have 8 pts (P5 W3 D2 and bd diff of +8). It seems the title will most likely go down to the last match of the season on 19th September when Newcastle host our “A” team unless of course we have some slip ups in the meantime.
The remaining club members played a mixture of long-play and rapid-play competition games as well as a hand full of friendlies.