The major news to report is that all NSDCA League Matches have been suspended until further notice. It is intended to review this position at the end of March.
We managed to fulfil all the scheduled fixtures in this past week, which included a Wirral League match at Wallasey on Monday, The D team at home to Stafford and E team against Meir B on Wednesday, with the G team playing Newcastle F at The Bridge Club on Friday.
Our Wirral team went in to their match as division 2 league leaders with 100% record against bottom of the league Wallasey 5 who had not registered a point in all their previous matches and already confirmed in relegation slot. You would not have known as a mighty shock was on the cards after an early draw on board 2 and then followed a loss on board 4. Cool hand Lukasz Michalek on board 5 brought us back to parity with a comfortable win, before our leading player junior Harry Gardiner wrapped up another full point on board 3. Our skipper on board 1 could have taken a draw to get the team back on the road home for the 50 mile return journey but all the team were happy to wait to allow David Hulme to convert his unstoppable advantage and conclude a sound team victory 3.5-1.5 where all the whites were dominant for us. The team has a huge cushion at the top of the table and would be expected to complete their promotion push in due course.
On Wednesday night, the division 4 title chasing D team came unstuck as they were beaten for this first time this season. Only skipper Les Hall picked up a full point on baord 4, with Lukasz gaining a draw. This division is now much more competitive with a number of teams in the chasing pack, although Les’s team have it in their own control if they win all remaining matches including an end of season clash against leaders Cheddleton E.
Also at home on Wednesday were Nigel Gardner’s E team. Nigel took the opportunity to give games to players who had played fewer matches than others, with a notable win for Pawel Stanny playing in division 5 for the first time after previous division 6 introduction to league chess. Nigel’s report can be seen under “Nigel’s Match Reports” column.
Friday night saw a seriously understrength division 6 G team make the short trip to Newcastle. With all top 3 boards unavailable the team put up a spirited fight before going down 3-1 to suffer their first defeat of the season too (like the D team). As captain David Hulme observed the standard of chess was considerably higher than expected for teams limited to a maximum grade of 80. There were two major highlights for us from this match. Firstly junior Safwan Khan played a mature game to win after a superb exchange and discovered attack with check to gain a Queen and bishop for a Rook. The other highlight was to see Mark Randell make his debut on baord 4 and become the 8th Crewe player to be introduced to league chess this season !