On Monday the club’s Wirral KO team faced it’s first ever match against Frodsham, over 7 boards and giving a 1.5pts handicap to our opponents as they are a 3rd division team compared to our 2nd division status. The match was likely to be a close run thing as we were missing 5 of our top 7 graded players.
Captain David Hulme sent the following report to our Walsall based member Rich Wiltshir the day after the match.
I thought it would be a 50/50 call and wondered if they would play two stronger players (Cromwell & Darlington). In typical Frodsham sporting spirit, they stuck to their “normal” Wirral squad even though both stronger players were there. The match started badly with Les Hall (on board 7) falling on his sword within the hour to put smiles on a few Frodsham faces.
Doug Barnett (on board 3) got one back, trapping his opponents king in the middle of the board around 9pm.
At this stage Bart Fajfer (bd 1) was level on material, but had a number of pins and binds that looked positive. I was a pawn up (on bd2) , my opponent sacked a k-side pawn to open an a King side attack, with my opponent safely castled on Q-side. Chris Rhodes (bd4) had gained a pawn and castled K-side, with B retreated to h1 with opponent’s B on h3. A slight plus for us.
Simon Layhe (bd 5) was creating havoc with a huge K-side pawn rush – blocking out opponents minor pieces. Dave Price (bd 6) was pretty level. So we needed another 3.5 from the 5 in play and they only needed 2 from the 5.
Around 10pm my opponent played a nice looking piece sac thinking he would win it back with more, but I had calculated better to see I could hold the sac for nothing back with an alternative swap he missed !
Immediate resignation after the swap.
Bart’s opponent did not a see a mating threat come after dropping a pawn on h2 to a B & Q on the diagonal. 3-1 to us without handicap.
Dave had some how lost a pawn and an exchange (bad B vs great R) and soon collapsed to make it 3-2 and sweaty palms.
Simon pushed and his opponent ran out of time when faced with certain defeat to put us 4-2 up.
Chris pointed to his opponents clock as it flagged at first control, only to realise they had gone past move 35 LOL, still just the pawn up. Chris missed a great chance to win quickly with a N move from f3 to g5 to attack opp B on h3 as well as discover attack with B on h1 vs R on c6. Clear win missed, but played Ne5 to double attack Rook instead. Luckily opponent put Rook on e6 allowing Bd5 to pin R vs K as the f-pawn had advanced. Chris won exchange then a pawn before giving back some material. Eventually came down to R & 5p vs B and 3p for comfortable win in the end about 10.20pm.
A close run match saw us victorious 5-2 (5 to 3.5 with handicap) and our first ever Wirral KO win at the 3rd attempt. We face an another away match in the quarter-final when we travel over the Welsh border to play Buckley/Mold.
Wednesday night saw us hosting Newcastle in pre-season friendly match over 6 boards. We ran out winners by the flattering score of 5.5 -0.5 with wins by Karl Lockett, Doug Barnett, Neville Layhe, Simon Layhe and Julian Bulbeck together with a draw from Bart Fajfer.
Meanwhile junior Lukasz Michalek cemented his place at the top of RP division 2 with a further two wins to take his score to 7/10, enjoying a two point lead over nearest rival Kobus Nienaber who have yet to play each other !