No sooner had the Summer Shield finished on the Friday, then the new season got under way on Wednesday. The Mals Club hosted our first “derby” of the North Staffs season bringing forward a match originally scheduled for November as our E team faced the F team in division 5. The “F” team had small grading advantages on each board and completed a 4-0 win thanks to Adam Fields, Julian Bulbeck, Phil Wright and George Jelliss. A special mention should be made for our latest league debutant as Russell Smithers played on board 4 for the “E” team.
The Wirral team started their division 2 campaign with the long haul to Buckley/Mold. Unfortunately the Drovers Arms had a very noisy atmosphere which was not conducive to playing league chess. Somehow we managed to win 4-1 as the three white odd boards were all successful as David Hulme, Harry Gardiner and Lukasz Michalek beat the opposition while the two black board games were held to draws by Simon Layhe and Dave Price. There was some excellent attacking play by our two youngest players as Harry chased the opposition King from a castled king-side to be mated in the centre of the board, and Lukasz pierced through another castled king-side before his opponent failed to reach the first time control at 35 moves under immense pressure.
So it’s time to look forward to this weekend’s Crewe Congress at The Ibis Hotel where we currently have approx 135 players expected.