With 3 matches to report on this week, we start off with the “Open Cup” match played at Macclesfield on Monday. With 4 of the club’s top 6 players absent it was always going to be tough in the six-board match and made worse as Macclesfield used a stronger line up than their normal division two team and therefore we were massive underdogs. It wasn’t long before the gulf in class showed as we lost quickly on board 5 to trail 1-0. At the 90 minute mark it appeared we were holding our own on all the other boards and even had an advantage on board 6 where Dave Price had gained an exchange in a promising position. As the games moved through their middle phases towards the end-game phase this is where the wheels started to come off our bus as firstly skipper David Hulme lost a promising position on bd 3 and shortly afterwards our bd 4 lost two pawns to face an inevitable defeat to leave us 3-0 down. Our first draw was salvaged on bd 6 before another draw was picked up by Karl Lockett on bd 2. The bd 1 game appeared to be much in our favour before a piece sacrifice from Bart Fajfer was not followed up properly and allowed his opponent to escape from a draw by repetition in looking for a win which left the back door open to a mating attack. The final score being a comprehensive KO , losing 5-1. A special mention should be made of our junior reserve Harry Gardiner who played his highest grade opponent to date and gained a draw, thanks to Macclesfield providing an additional (non-counting) board.
Wednesday night saw the Mals Club with another full house as we entertained Cheddleton F and Meir C in division 5, making the total number of players present 28.
Our “E” team had a slight grade advantage over a very experienced Chedd “F” team. First out of the traps was Dave Price on bd 2 with a smooth win following another game in which he gained an exchange. This time he converted it to a win following attacking play with Rooks on the 7th rank. On bd 3 Julian Bulbeck had a disaster on the way to the match with crashing his car, and the theme continued as he gave away his queen from a winning position but managed to hold out for a draw. With Colin Abell converting a big king-side attack for the visitors on bd 1 the score was levelled. Reinhard Haack was left in play with spectators from both sides gathered around the bd 4 game as our man used up his time wisely to make sure he gained the full point to push the “E” team over the winning line by narrow margin of 2.5-1.5.
The “F” team faced an even tougher challenge as they conceded over 130 grading points to a strong Meir C team. With board 4 going the way of the visitors it looked ominous for Nigel Gardiner’s team. Kobus Neinaber, one of our recent recruits played superbly to win his game on bd 3 and keep the match in the balance. 16 year old Lukasz Michalek earned a brilliant draw against his opponent graded 52 points higher to leave the skipper in play on bd 1. Nigel had his back to the wall in a very cramped position on bd 1 but defended robustly to prevent his experienced opponent graded 43 pts higher from making any match winning breaks. The final score ended 2-2 which must rank as one of the best results ever for our newest team under the positive leadership of captain Nigel, who has the duel responsibility of looking after both of our division 5 teams.
Another few games were played in Rapid-play division 1, while our two latest members played a division 2 long-play game which saw Ben Harrision successful. In addition to these competitive games, several members took the opportunity to analyse some recent games as well as a bit of Blitz-chess ! Looking ahead to next week we have five matches including three on Wednesday which is sure to test our resources to the extreme.