“A” team on verge of league title as “D” team keep the dream alive

Mon 17th April – The D team went to play Fenton B in division 2, with faint hopes of pursuing the divisional trophy. A successful evening led to a narrow win to keep the dream alive. For another excellent report from the D team captain – Nigel Gardner – please see Nigel’s Reports section of our website

Wed 19th April – saw the David and Goliath Battle at the top of division 1 between our “A team All stars” and the “B team of Brave Bees”. It is hard to believe that our two teams could be heading the charge for the NSDCA League title but this was the case as the “A” team led the table with 13 pts from 10 games, while the Bees had 13 pts from 11 games heading into the match.

The A team would be overwhleming favorites with a 700 pts rating advantage over 4 boards, but this is nothing new to the B team who have been underdogs all season and heavily outrated in nearly every match. The B team also have “devious Dave” as their captain according to Martin Burns (A team captain) and sprung a change of board order to try and upet the odds by playing himself on board 1, in order to give Simon Layhe the best chance of success.

The Bees seemed to be holding their own, particularly when Rick Renegade seemed to have caused discomfort for the A’s on board 3, and George Bulbeck had a pawn advantage on board 4. However the A’s superiority started to come through as Harry Gardiner turned the tables on board 3, with a passed pawn created from a missed “en-passant” that led to a quick and sudden resignation. Not long afterwards the Bees captain made a blunder in the excitement of an attacking opportunity only to leave himself open to a long distance Queen check that led to the loss of a rook – bringing immediate resignation and 2-0 to the As. There was a shock result on board 4, as George Bulbeck completed a win against an opponent rated 350 pts higher on the scorecard, and brought the battling Bees back into contention. The board 2 game had seen Simon Layhe hold a pawn gained at the expense of a far inferior and cramped position against Martin, who ultimately turned the screws by picking up two pawns and with a fierce attack. Now Martin recalled how he allowed the Bees captain to fluke a win earlier in the season, did not want a repeat and so offered a draw which Simon could not decline due to imminent material and clock pressure. The curtain fell on the match with the As victorious, and much closer to the title.

The “A” team now have 15pts and are 5 pts clear of Fenton “A” who are the only team still in contention. The “A” team play Fenton in the last match of the season and need a draw at most to become league champions, while Fenton still have two other tough games to play which they need to win to keep their chances alive.

Following Bart’s win in this match, he has now reached a rating of 2000 and his score of 5.5/9 on board 1 is a big part of the “A” team’s success this season, as he plays all the strongest players in the NSDCA.