A quiet week for matches has seen just two teams in action with the Major Cup (U150) team at Alsager on Tuesday and the Perry A team (U110) hosting Fenton on Wednesday.
The U150 team had a big slice of fortune to beat local rivals Alsager by score of 3.5-1.5. The match started well for us as Chris Rhodes picked up an early win on bd 5, and captain David Hulme gained a draw on bd 3. However the outcome looked gloomy shortly afterwards as we were trailing by a pawn on bd 2 and a piece for two pawns on bd 4. If both these boards succumbed to defeat we were certain to be eliminated on tie break rules. The match was levelled as Alsager’s bd 2 Steve Brown put our man to the sword after gaining more pawns, and we now needed at least 1.5 pts from the two remaining games in play. Lucky for us, Simon Layhe on bd4 managed to increase his pawns and sole piece activity to complicate matters and leave his opponent very short of time, so much so that the game was lost on time despite having material advantage. Meanwhile on bd 1 Karl Lockett and his opponent were down to a few seconds each as Karl engineered a decisive passed pawn. Eventually Karl confirmed victory at around 10.40pm in a game where we could not keep up with recording the moves, to leave a flattering result for us.
On Wednesday another packed house filled the Mals Club, with over 20 members in attendance plus our visitors from Fenton. First off the mark was Kobus Nienaber on bd 4 with a win from being a minor piece down. Fortune favoured his attacking play as his opponent missed a key move allowing Kobus to assault the King and gain a major piece and force the win. On bd 2 a level game ended suddenly when our man had to resign after feeling ill and going home. On bd 1 Harry Gardiner appeared to be held as his opponents Bishop deprived Harry’s knight of any activity despite Harry’s pawn advantage. However after some time Harry’s knight had broken through to pick up two more pawns and lead to a comfortable win making it 2-1 for us. The final game saw the two captains battle it out, with Les Hall for us and Robert West for the visitors. A strange position had developed to leave Fenton with Q, 2Rs, and 6P vs 2Rs, 2Bs and 6P but with major pawn chains favouring our man. The Fenton player could not free up his Queen or Rooks despite valiant attempts with his time sliding away and sportingly agreed a draw which allowed our Perry “A” team to progress to the semi-finals alongside our Perry “B” team.
There was another two new faces appear at the club who were entertained with some friendly games, amongst the other 18 members in attendance. There were a few more games played in the club’s Rapid-play events which resulted in Bart Fajfer claiming two more scalps to extend his lead in division 1 as he heads certainly towards the trophy and Nigel Gardner gained two more points to join the race for the division 2 RP title which has become a 3-horse race between Lukasz Michalek, Nigel and Kobus.