Defiant Dees, Excellent Eees and Fabulous Fs consolidate league positions

Monday 13th Feb: The F team travelled to Meir for a division 3 match, played over 5 boards. Thanks to Steve Ballantyne for providing an insight into this match where he reported that Pawel Stanny was first to finish on board 4, after winning a minor piece early, he held on to convert us in to a 1-0 lead. Steve with the white pieces on board 3 employed his favourite London System and had a strong attack that was too much for his opponent to add to our lead. Meir’s wily fox Bob Perry pulled one back on board 5, to leave the Bulbecks in play on the top two boards. George playing board 1 was under familiar time pressure and down to seconds on his clock in a complicated gamed where he had a Queen vs 2 Rooks, but was able to utilise his Q more effectively to win the game and secure the match points. Meanwhile dad Julian had surrendered two bishops to gain an unstoppable attack and finish the match with a flourish for the Fs, with a final score of 4-1.

Wed 15th Feb: The E team hosted Fenton C in another division 3 match with teams’ total ratings within a negligible 67 pts difference. James Marshall led the team from top board and continued his fine form with a well controlled win against a rapidly improving youngster from Fenton. Kobus Nienaber fresh from a tough congress at Blackpool was pushed up the batting order to board 2 and had another fine win. The E team had the luxury of Doug Barnett’s experience on board 3 and there was no shock as Doug made it 3 wins from the top 3 boards. Fenton’s board 4 Philip Smith had recently won the Stockport Rapidplay, so is clearly quite a handful for anyone on bottom board, as he picked up the visitor’s solitary point.

These results leave the E & F teams still 3 pts adrift and in pursuit of league leaders and red hot favourite’s Alsager B for the league division 3 title.

Also on Wednesday our D team had the stiffest of challenges as Stafford came to The Mals with a team rated over 6900 points, giving them an advantage of 650 points over the four boards in this division 2 match. However the D team just love being the underdogs and with captain Nigel Gardner using his knowledge to split his team within the 100 points limits, gave three of his team fighting chances at the expense of our board 2 who bore 50% of the team rating differential. Martin Frisher enjoying one of his occasional match appearances held on for a solid draw on board 1 with the black pieces. Likewise the rapidly improving George Bulbeck gained a further draw (with black on board 3) against a player rated nearly 200 points higher. Thus it was all down to captain Nigel to go “all guns blazing” for a win and salvage an unexpected draw for the Defiant & Dogged Dees, and he didn’t disappoint. This result leaves the D team on 6pts from 6 matches, sitting in 3rd position in the league table, behind leaders Newcastle on 10pts and our own C team on 7pts.