Crewe win Open Cup for the first time

Thanks to captain Martin Burns for the following report.

Tuesday 9th April.  St Mary’s.

They had to tear the paper off the wall, to make room for all the people in the hall.

St Mary’s was packed with players and noisy chatter when I arrrived; we had 2 league fixtures and several internal competition games. Even so, Harry had managed to bag some of the posh chairs for the evening’s highlight; the NSDCA Cup Final.

Alsager strutted in looking like the league champions they are, but we had managed to put together a pretty good team and we were ready.  

At 7.40 or so, the hubbub in the room abated, as it usuallly does at that time, and all you could hear was thought, mingled with the occasional rustling of chocolate wrappers and the slurping of tea. 

First game to finish was board 6, where I managed to confuse Mr Blackburn senior, and he resigned when he realised he was losing a piece.  Next to finish was Lee; he faced a tricky opponent in John Booth. John spent much of the game trying to hold on a pawn down, and to head the game to the dreaded opposite-coloured bishops ending. Lee managed to convert it all very nicely though, and we were 2-0 up.  Kamil drew comfortably with Simon Hood.  Then the match was decided by Harry.  Play against Harry and you know he will throw his H pawn at you and go on the attack. Harry managed to get control of the seventh rank, and won a nice game. We had won the cup, but there were 2 more games to finish.  Carmel, on board 4, won in her favourite style. She bagged a pawn, never let her advantage slip, and won endgame with ease; very impressive.  The best game award goes to Richard on board 1.  Richard was facing Jonathan Blackburn. It was a tense battle. At one point Richard ignored an attack on his queen, and countered by throwing a knight into the cogs of Jonathan’s attack. Richard followed up by castling into the queenside where he had no pawn cover.  The crowd gasped. It looked risky but our top player is not one to back down. Jonathan kept trying to stir up trouble, but in the end could only get to an opposite-coloured bishop ending; he was 2 pawns up but there was no way to win and a draw was agreed after a lot of shuffling. We had won the match 5-1.

Just realised, in this year’s Open Cup competition, none of the 9 Crewe players involved lost a single game. Not bad, eh?

Well done to the team; another trophy for Crewe Chess Club.