Excellent E’s go top of table

Last night saw our E team play away at Fenton, against their C team in division three. Despite a late cry-off due to illness, we were still able to take a team of six thanks to Andrew Crosby filling in and making his debut for the club in the North Staffs League. Unfortunately the team got off to a poor start and were trailing 2-0 early on, even though we had a healthy rating advantage. Things started to recover as James Marshall pulled one back on board 3 and Jarek Czyz levelled the score on board 2, making his first appearance of the season and taking our tally of members playing league chess this season up to 37 already !!

With scores level Matthew Dean kept his composure as his clock ticked down to just 12 seconds remaining, and worked out how to promote his pass pawn succesfully to put us in the lead. This left skipper Dave Price in play on board 1, and having been on the back foot early on, was allowed the freedom of the board to infiltrate a weakened castled King-side and take another full point to ensure a 4-2 victory for the E team. The win takes the Es joint top of division 3, with 3 pts from 2 games, to sit alongside both Cheddleton teams (C&D) on the same score. After just two rounds of matches this division looks wide open as every team has dropped at least one point already.

Tomorrow night the F team have the chance to join the party at the top of the table as they face Meir in another 6 board encounter, thanks to our visitors agreeing to field extra boards. It’s great to see league chess returning to something near normal again although the league only has 21 teams now, compared to 36 teams before the Covid pandemic.