Sorry to mix metaphors, but what a wonderful week for Crewe Chess Club.
Tuesday (5th) night saw the fortnightly battles in 4NCL Online, with the AOL team taking on the Manchester Manticores in division 3, and the BOL team up against Calstock Killers in division 4 …. what a gladitorial scene that sets.
The A team had not won a match for nearly 12 months and 3 seasons of 4NCL online, but Tuesday night saw that unwanted record come to an end. Karl Lockett on board 2,supplied the first shock of the night as his opponent missed a long range back rank attack to allow him to watch his beloved Crewe FC. This was followed by the captain David Hulme trapping his opponent’s Queen for a minor piece after been given an exchange gain as well, so 2-0 to the underdogs. The top performance came from David Lambton on board 1 against a much higher grader opponent. A superb piece sacrifice was followed by a King-hunt with Queen, Rook and Knight that was so devilish the piece was recaptured in a mass exchange to leave Dave several pawns to the good. Unbelievably 3-0 to the underdogs and match points secured, as we ended with a 3-1 scoreline.
The BOL team went one better as they whitewashed the Killers. Even though teams were evenly matched, our B team is full of online wizards who regularly exercise their magical powers. The 4-board army of Rick (the grenade) Renegade, Harry (stay cool I am a chess player) Gardiner, Lukasz (cool-hand Luke) Michalek, and Kobus (the destroyer) Nienaber were all too good and won comfortably to head into one of the promotion slots. Having played all the other top-half teams in their section, the chances of back-to-back promotions is very much alive. So much so, the B team could overtake the A team in the massive 4NCL structure of nearly 180 teams.
After a terrific Tuesday, it was time for a Wonderful Wednesday as the club hosted Rounds 1 and 2 of the Internal Swiss Rapid-play tournament. As I arrived just after 7pm, I was greeted by a packed-house with a record turn out of 30 members in attendance. It was a privilege to announce the competition’s rules and show-off the club’s newly acquired congress pairing board and wall-chart, as a hastily added set of pairing cards were needed to accommodate the increased numbers. An extra table, set and clock was required before the Tournament could commence. The joy of watching 9 year old Oskar participate in his first competition was matched by the sheer excitement of seeing record numbers involved.
Club chairman Dave Price was delighted to see the club so active, especially when considering the current environment where so many clubs are unfortunately struggling. With an odd number of 25 players, Dave was able to continue coaching the hand full of newcomers who are not yet ready for comeptitive chess before joining the battle in round 2.
Full scores for the Internal Rapid-play can be accessed from the LMS, which shows we have five joint leaders after two rounds, with top seeds Martin Burns, Harry Gardiner, David Hulme and Rick Renegade joined by newcomer Jarek Czyz, who looks to be a formiddale addition to the club’s ranks.