Another superb club night on Wednesday saw one match take place, together with a handful of internal competition games and a gathering of new players receiving coaching, as well as visitors from Alsager and Fenton clubs.
The main event was the clash between the table-topping D-team and second placed E-team. The D’s captain Nigel Gardner was absent due to other commitments which would mean they were missing their leader who is unbeaten in 14 games since we returned to OTB chess after the Covid enforced break. When the board 1 player failed to arrive, the Ds benefitted as Bart Fajfer was able to play his first league match for over 2 years as a replacement. The first game to conclude saw Pawel Stanny put the league leaders in front. Neville Layhe (E) drew with David Lambton (D) as David defended doggedly, before Kobus Nienaber delivered a killer blow for the Ds on board 4. Bart converted a two pawn advantage into a full point before the last game saw George Bulbeck finish the night as the sole winner for the E team. The final result was 3.5-1.5 for the D(ream) team, as they moved further ahead of the chasing pack, with a perfect 12 pts from 6 matches, with the E & B team both on 7 pts, their closest rivals some way behind.
In the club’s division 1 tournament, Martin Burns added another point to his tally to move into 2nd place with 6 out of 9, trailing the leader Karl Lockett on 6.5 pts who has played one more game. David Lambton remains in contention in 3rd place with 5.5 pts from 8 games, in what appears to be a marathon based competition with potential for all players to play a maximum of 24 games.
In division 3, Philip Wright got off the mark with a win in his second game, while newcomer Matthew Dean was successful playing his first long play game, as he became the 31st player to join our 3-division competition this season.
With another potential new member attending, we have now had 18 new recruits since the start of the season, as chairman Dave Price devotes most of his time to teaching newcomers, as we aim to introduce as many as possible to competitive and league chess as and when they are ready.
The current growth of the club is testimony to the efforts of Dave Price, and shows we have more active members at the moment than any other club in the North Staffs League, which is a superb achievement for a club still in its infancy having only been formed in June 2014 !!