With the inevitable lack of OTB matches, the NSDCA has started an Online League to take place over the next 8 weeks or so as a trial run. 10 teams have entered the 5 round competition which has taken the form of two rapid play games per player and 4 boards per team in each match.
The first match to take place was Crewe 2 vs Kidsgrove on Tuesday. Crewe’s experience of playing on Lichess was probably the decisive factor as Kidsgrove held level sway on the top two boards with David Johnson taking 1.5 pts from his two games for them, but Crewe’s higher grades came into play with Lukasz Michalek and Martin Gill gaining 2-0 scores on their boards, to supplement Lukasz Holcman’s 1.5 pts and Neville Layhe’s half point to finish the match with a 6-2 scoreline.
Wednesday night saw Crewe 1 take on top seeds Holmes Chapel, while Crewe 3 faced bottom seeds Meir. The Holmes Chapel match proved to be a much closer match than expected, as Crewe punched above their weight (grades) on the top two boards as Karl Lockett and Rick Renegade both produced superb 1-1 scores, and with Harry Gardiner doing better on bottom board with 1.5 pts the match was determined by the board 3 encounter where Colin Mills outplayed David Hulme to take both points and give Holmes Chapel victory by the narrowest margin possible 4.5-3.5.
The other game on Wednesday saw Crewe 3 prove too strong for Meir. A combination of far more Lichess experience and higher grades combined with more familiar Rapid-play time limits as Crewe ran out comfortable winners as Adam Fields, Lee Tilton and Pawel Stanny all gained 2-0 successess with Simon Haas picking up the consolation win for Meir, before disappearing to the pub without playing the second game ! It is hoped the remaining game will be played at a later date.