Simon takes on GM – Dr John Nunn

It’s been a fortnight since our last report and we have played three NSDCA League matches and two more online matches in the 4NCL.

On 30th March we had two more derbies in the NSDCA with E vs B and C vs A teams. The B team nudged up to 2nd place in the league table with a 3-1 win after successes for Simon Layhe, James Marshall and Steve Ballantyne outweighed Neville Layhe’s sole effort for the E team. The C team won narrowly 3-2 to leave the “A” team rooted in the bottom slot. The highlight of the evening was Peter Kanalos’s first ever win (for the As), but the rest of the team failed to live up to Peter’s exploits. There were draws on the top two boards, with the C team sealing the result thanks to George Jellis and Mike Keenan.

Tuesday (5th April) was 4NCL Round 6 with our AOL team against Bude in division 2 and the BOL team vs KCS U13 in division 4. As noted in the headline, board 1 for Bude was GM Dr John Nunn with Simon Layhe given the challenge of facing him with the black pieces. Simon put up a superb fight and daring to sacrifice a Rook for a Bishop and a pawn was not able to generate quite enough compensation as the GM slowly realigned his Rooks to control the endgame and infiltrate the queenside weakened pawns. The match ended up in a 3-1 defeat which was soured a little as an obvious mouse-slip cost Karl Lockett to drop a rook, with his opponent refusing to accept it was a genuine slip. If Karl had been allowed to continue he was in the ascendancy and with David Lambton’s win on board 3 may possibly have collected our first point of the season with a draw. Meanwhile our B team suffered the same scoreline (1-3) with Kobus Nienaber our sole winner. According to captain Dave Price, Kobus was in the worst position for the team with the other three boards all looking good, but unfortunately things didn’t work as planned.

Wednesday night saw our D team up against Alsager, with three regular squad members missing including captain Nigel Gardner. The replacements had mixed results with the match concluding in a draw, to see the D team lose their 100% winning record. Wins by Jarek Czyz (his first in the league), and Pawel Stanny were backed up with a draw from David Lambton as the D team completed their league schedule with a superb record of 9 wins and 1 draw to take the league title by a landslide.

In our internal tournaments, Harry Gardiner added a further half point to extend his lead in division 1 with 8/10, to keep ahead of Martin Burns and David Lambton both on 7/10. Harry is in pursuit of a hat-trick, already having won the 2021 summer tournament and the Annual Handicap. The competition should see all 10 players having 18 games each, so there is a long way to run yet.

There was a potential decider played last night in the division 3 (U1300) competition as the top two went head to head. Mike Keenan used all his experience to beat our youngest star Oskar Jarzynski and maintain a 100% record with 4/4 to move ahead of Oskar’s 4/5.