A Bad Day at the Office

It was another busy night at the club last Wednesday night with 28 in attendance. However it was a bad day at the office for both Crewe’s A and B teams, more of that later.

Before the two matches started the Events Officer had arranged for several internal games. In Division 2 of the Club Championsip there were wins for Julian Bulbeck and Tom Smith. The game between Doug Barnett and George Bulbeck looked complicated with a lot of material on the board and Doug having two rooks for George’s Queen, but with both players running short of time a draw was agreed. There were also four rated rapid play games taking place. Here there were wins for Mike Keenan, Mathew Dean and a first win for Malaki Swift. Whilst Oskar Jarzynski drew with Phil Grocott with the game ending in a King and Pawn Endgame.

The A team hosted Cheddleton’s first team which is traditionally the strongest in the League. Although this season they are not as strong as usual they still managed to put out highly rated players on the top two boards. The first match to finish was the captain Martin Burns who overlooked a bishop fork resulting in the loss of a knight, he therefore had to resign. Harry Gardiner on board 4 went a piece down early on but kept on fighting and conjured up a nice attack but couldn’t quite make it count. On board 3 Karl Lockett managed to win a pawn in the middle game, then another in the endgame whilst tempting his opponent to advance his pawns in front of his King, leaving the King exposed. Karl was then able to get his pieces to attack the exposed King and force a checkmate. 

This meant it was still possible for Crewe A to draw the match depending on the result of the game on board 1 between Bart Fajfer and Jacob Boswell, an opponent rated about 300 rating points higher than Bart. It turned out to be a titanic struggle which was by far the last to finish with everyone who was still left at the club watching a very interesting Rook and three Pawns endgame. The difference was Bart’s pawns were connected on the queenside whilst his opponents were isolated. Bart was playing well and won a pawn though this meant his opponent managed to create a passed Pawn. However Bart was able to bring his King back in time to stop it Queening and eventually win this pawn. He then won the third pawn but this meant his rook was now stuck on the side amidst his two connected passed pawns. This left his King to be subjected to continuous checks to the side by his opponent’s rook, something Bart couldn’t prevent, he therefore reluctantly accepted the draw. Consequently Cheddleton narrowly won the match 2.5 – 1.5 and are now equal at the top of the table with Crewe A.

Meanwhile Crewe’s B team were hosting Alsager’s first team. The report below is from their captain Dave Hulme.

As usual the B team started their match as underdogs against Alsager “A” in part due to the absence of two key players, with Dave Price being added to the team to make his debut in the NSDCA 1st division.

With Simon Layhe on board 1 having black against the league’s joint highest rated player – Jonathan Blackburn, no points were expected here as Simon had a “free shot”. After a backs to the wall effort, Jonathan broke through with a N for 2pawns sac on the Q-side resulting in the “a” pawn being unstoppable, as Simon’s extra minor piece was shunted out of the game on h8. This came just after a draw was agreed on board 2 as David Hulme was low on time (as normal) with less than 4 mins remaining against John Booth’s 15 mins in a position where any attack would leave the aggressor with more weaknesses.

Earlier on Dave P appeared to have the upper hand in a strong position with a pawn won in the opening. Unfortunately Dave allowed Sandra Blackburn to gain an exchange and when short of time in a difficult position, accepted a generous (but not unexpected) draw offer. On board 3, David Lambton was unable to push his loan “a” pawn due to it being covered by a defending King, while at the same time Jon Blackburn had a passed pawn on c5 protected in a pawn chain of c5-d4-e3 to prevent David’s king going on the attack.

The final result being a narrow loss 1.5-2.5, as the Bees lost for the first time this season.

All eyes are on next weeks derby-duals, with B vs A and C vs D teams facing each other.