Major Cup team beaten in final by Macclesfield

Congratulations to our opponents on a well deserved victory to take the Major Cup off long term holders Crewe, as we suffered our first defeat since February 2018 in this competition.

The early signs were ominous as Macclesfield fielded their standard division one team with J P Taylor adding to their strength on board 2. Both teams were fairly close to the permitted top of the range ratings in this U1825 competition, averaging 1761 for Crewe and 1775 for Macc on the prescribed January ratings, and even higher on the most current ratings !

Things started well for us as the Cup holders with captain David Lambton taking the first match point on top board as his opponent sacrificed a piece unsoundly. This was followed up with a solid draw on board 3 by Martin Frisher before our first victim was impaled on board 2 to level the scores. Next to finish was board 5 where their captain Phil Cattermole had the one decisive rating advantage and duly applied the pressure to win a piece forcing resignation and putting Macc in the lead. At this point Macc only needed a draw on board 4 and Crewe needed a win to secure the match on tie break. David Hulme had given up a pawn early to create a cramped position with doubled pawns for his opponent – the experienced Geoff Laurence, and with a useful time gap on the clock. However Geoff was able to attack the castled King quicker than David could launch his own queenside attack and forced a multiple piece exchange to maintain a (better) pawn advantage with a dominant bishop against a weaker Knight. Geoff’s endgame was too strong as he created a queening pawn while David’s pawn was stopped on the 7th rank. Slowly but surely David was put to the sword and Macclesfield emerged as worthy winners by the score of 3.5-1.5