Wed 3rd May: With no league matches taking place at The Mals this week, it was time to get some games played in the Club Championships as we near the deadline of 31st May.
In division 1, Martin Burns has layed down the gauntlet after shunting the chairman deeper into the relegation quagmire. Martin was too hot to handle for Dave Price, as he completed the campaign with a win to finish on 7.5 pts from 1o games, and move to the top of the pack, deposing the current club champion Harry Gardiner (6.5pts). This result leaves Dave in the relegation spot with 1pt from 6, although he may escape like Houdini if he can get enough of his remaining games played. David Lambton won a relegation “6-pointer” to ease his position to move onto 3/9. The Events Officer – David Hulme (2.5/7) makes a trio of David’s in the bottom 5, and needs some points from his remaining three games if he is to avoid the drop – with all games against others in the drop zone. The other big game played last night in this section saw Carmel Barwick ruin Julian Hawthorne’s chances of the title, with a win that takes her tally to 6/8, as she becomes the hot favourite to become club champion, with two more games to play against the bottom two players. Two wins will see Carmel crowned as champion, while 1.5pts would lead to a shared title with Martin.
In division 2, there were a couple of big matches. Firstly Pawel Stanny put a dent in James Marshall’s title aspirations, with a well controlled win as James found himself in a familiar position of fighting the clock. Pawel’s win takes his score to 4/6 and retains a slim chance of winning division 2, if he can play and win all 4 remaining games, which is a very tall order. The other big game, saw Mike Keenan battle with George Bulbeck, and after a very promising attack from Mike, found his position overstetched as George countered strongly before emerging succesfully. George (7/9) has now overtaken long time leader Andrew Crosby (6.5/10) and is odds-on favourite to take the title with one remaining game against his dad Julian. If Pawel can apply the necessary pressure, then George may have to beat his dad to secure the div 2 crown !
Again there were many other members attending, with plenty of experienced players on hand to play friendly games against the ever expanding batch of newcomers.
Tomorrow (Friday 5th) sees the D team travel to Stafford, with the aim of putting a spanner in the works if possible, to assist the C team’s outside chance of winning NSDCA division 2.
On Saturday, there is an online international match, as Andrew Crosby has worked tirelessly to arrange a “Crewe and North Staffs Junior team vs Chess in Slums Africa Junior Team” being played on lichess and with commentary on Twitch !!