Bee-Gees are Top of the Pops

Tuesday night (28th Nov) was a quiet night at the club compared to recent weeks. There was just one match at the club – the 4th division return derby between our G&H teams. With no visiting teams at the club, we still had 34 members in attendance.

The derby saw the H team underdogs put up quite a fight against the table topping G team. Tim Weston got the H team off to a good start with a win on board 4. It was great to see Reinhard Haack back at the club for his first visit in over a year, but it was to a baptism of fire against one of our rapidly improving juniors – Jamie Roberts. Reinhard may have been a little rusty but he could do nothing to stop Jamie, who levelled the match for the Gees, and doing so extended his run to a perfect 5/5 for the leaders. There were hard fought battles on boards 1 and 2 where no quarter was given or taken, with draws being the conclusion in both games. Pawel Stanny & Phil Grocott got the vital draws for the Gees, while Kobus Nienaber and Malcolm Green ensured the H team came out honours even. Final score 2-2, leaves the unbeaten G team top of division 4 with 9 pts from 5 matches, with Kidsgrove chasing them down also unbeaten with 7 pts from 4 matches.

There were seven internal tournament games played. In div 1 Karl Lockett and Martin Burns added one more point, while Club champion Carmel Barwick started her defence of the trophy with a draw against Andy Raeburn. In div 2 Chinenye Basil Nwachuku notched up another win. Division 3 saw wins for Mike Keenan keeping up his 100% record with a 4th win, as Gerald Parton and Daniel Parkin were also successful on the night.

Thursday 30th November – the B team made the short trip to face a very strong Holmes Chapel “A” team. Captain David Hulme got the Bees off to a superb start winning with the black pieces in just 25 moves against an opponent rated nearly 200 pts higher on board 4. Holmes Chapel levelled on board 2 where two rooks and five pawns proved too much against Rook, Bishop. Knight and three pawns as the B&N could not work in tandem. Next to finsh was board 1, where Lee Farrington had to familiarise himself with how to move first, as this was the first league game he had white pieces in 13 months ! In a very composed and controlled game he forced a minor piece exchange that left his opponent with an isolated pawn that would eventually fall. After creating a queen side pass-pawn he managed the end game to force the win with two active rooks and five pawns pushing against two defensive rooks and four pawns. Simon Layhe was in the ascendancy on board 3, and took advantage of a spacial advantage to tie down his opponents pieces to defensive chores, before a central pawn push deflected away defences to create a mating attack on the centralised king. Final score 3-1 to the Bees who now sit top of the League’s Div 1 table with 7pts having played 6 matches. With all other teams have several games in hand it won’t be long before the high-flying Bees are overtaken.

More of the Same Repeated- Mixed Results

Tuesday 21st was another superb night at the club, with the “A” team hosting Alsager “A”; the B team playing Macclesfield, and the E vs F division 3 derby.

The “A” team were at full strength for the first time this season with Richard Lee and Bart Fajfer on the top two boards, ably supported by captain Martin Burns on 3, and Harry Gardiner on 4. What looked on paper to be a one-sided match with the visitors missing their top two players, proved to be anything but plain sailing. The deciding factor was Harry’s early win, followed by draws in the other three games, to give a marginal win for the “A” team – 2.5 vs 1.5, to take us to 5 pts from 3 matches just behind leaders Fenton “A”.

The B team were also at full strength with Lee Farrington on 1, Carmel Barwick on 2, Simon Layhe on 3 and Cyrus Pereira playing his first game for the Bees. Cyrus blew away his opponent in under an hour to put us in the lead. Carmel’s attack was too much to withstand on 2, and Simon slowly strangled any life out of the opposition on 3, to secure the match with a 3-0 lead. Final score 3-1.

The E vs F clash was always going to be a close call,with less than 200 rating points separting the teams. Kobus Nienaber won for Es on bd 4, while nothing separated the games on 2 & 3 to give the Es a 2-1 lead. F team skipper Dave Price salvaged the match for the F team with a win. Final score 2-2

In addition to the 3 matches, there were a further 4 games played in the Club Championship. Neville Layhe won in div 1; Julian Bulbeck and Ebube Christian drew in div 2. Jamie Roberts extended his lead in div 3 with another full point in a cracking game with Malcolm, and Andrew Caccamo held Mark Randell to a draw.

On Friday (24th) our H team made the journey to Cheddleton to play their E team in div 4. Chedd’s youngsters got the upper hand with wins on 3 & 4, before Tim Weston chalked up a win for us on board 2. This left new member Malcolm Green in play on top board, who fought valliantly to get the win but was denied at the last gasp and could only draw. Final score 1.5 – 2.5. With thanks to Dave Price for taking 3 of our players to the match, who enjoyed a (drawn) rated game with one of the members from Cheddleton.

More of the same – Mixed Results

Another brilliant night at the club on Tuesday (14th) saw 3 league matches, 6 Club Championship games, and another new member amongst approx 50 chess players including the visiting teams.

The return league division 1 derby went in favour of the league champions (our “A” team) with a 3-1 success over the battling Bees (B team). Karl Lockett set the champions on the way as he nullified David Hulme’s over extended attack before delivering the knockout blow. The B team drew level as Simon Layhe won on board 2, but the champions showed their superior class with wins from captain Martin Burns on bd 1 and Andrew Raeburn on board 3.

In league division 3, our F team played league leaders Gables “A”. The Gables team comprises an experienced captain on board 1 supported by three rapidly improving youngsters, while our F team has two similar juniors. First blood went to one of our juniors James Coney on board 4, before the visitors equalised on board 3. There was a superb result on board 1 as debutant Cyrus Pereira outplayed their captain, but the visitors had the final say with a win by Dylan Whitney on board 2. Final score 2-2, leaving the Gables at the top of the table with 7pts, while our F team have 4pts (in 4th position) with a game in hand.

In divsion 4 our G team were too strong for the visiting Alsager “D” team which mainly comprises newcomers to league chess. There were comfortable wins for captain Steve Ballantyne (bd 4), Jamie Roberts (bd3) and Pawel Stanny (bd 1) while Phil Grocott settled for a draw on bd 2. Final score 3.5-0.5 to maintain the G team’s 100% record, leading the table by 1pt from Kidsgrove who we have yet to play.

In the Internal Club Championship it was great to see 12 of our members all in action including our latest new member Malcolm Green joining the div 3 section. In div 1 David Lambton notched his 1st win, while Richard Fish and Joe Moxon shared the points in div 2. Meanwhile in div 3 there were wins for newcomer Malcolm, Gerald Parton, Timothy Weston and Mark Randell.

Friday 17th Nov – our D team headed off to Cheddleton to face their B team in a league div 2 match with the D’s being strong favourites at the top of the table against the bottom of the table side. In a match where teams were almost identically rated, we fell to our first defeat of the season by the narrow margin of 2.5-1.5. Our sole success came from Joe Moxon on bd 4, while captain David Lambton kept up his impressive results with a draw to remain unbeaten this season. Despite the loss the D team stay top of div 2 for now, as nearest challengers (Fenton B) also lost at Stafford.

More Mixed Results

It’s been a busy two weeks since my last posting, so we have six results to report on, more additions to our membership and further progress with our 3 sections in the Club Championship.

31st October: the second league div 2 derby between our C and D teams ended up with a repeat win for the D’s by 2.5-1.5. Wins for Martin Frisher and George Bulbeck supported by a draw from Dave Lambton were enough to overcome Ebube Christian’s lone success for the C team as Andrew Raeburn’s draw was not enough. The D team have made an excellent start to the season with 7 pts from 4 matches and next up travel to Cheddleton.

The E team played Cheddleton D in div 3 on the same night and won more comfortably as every player contributed with wins for Joe Moxon, Richard Fish and Adam Fields , while captain Nigel Gardner was happy to take a draw.

7th November: three matches as our B team played away to Alsager in div 1, the C team at home against Alsager B in div 2, and there was another derby between our H & G teams in div 4.

The B team were strengthened as Lee Farrington played his first match of the season but this was not enough to salvage any match points as our only win came from Martin Frisher and Carmel Barwick was held to a draw.

The C team also had reinforcements as Harry Gardiner was drafted into the team putting the team’s rating above 7200. There were wins for Harry Gardiner, Karl Lockett and Rick Renegade in a 3-1 success that notched up the first mathc points of the season at the 4th attempt.

The G team were favourites to beat the H team in the derby and did not disappoint. Captain Steve Ballantyne and Jamie Roberts got the key wins with a draw from Phil Grocott proving enough to tip the result, as Kobus Nienaber won for the H team and Mike Keenan drew.

Friday 10th November: The E team were in action again as they played at Cheddleton – this time against their C team. With teams evenly matched there was little to separate them, but we narrowly failed to collect any ponts from the match as we could only achieve three draws from Joe , Nigel and Kobus.

The club continues to attract new members with new faces appearing most weeks. Where possible everyone is encouraged to join in the internal club championship, and assigned to one of our 8 league teams.

This week (14th November) promises to be another busy night at the club with four of our teams in action in the main match room, while newcomers are welcomed to the social room under the guidance of chairman Dave Price.

Splendid Results (this week)

After last week’s mixed results, this week has seen three matches with Crewe victorious in all three.

The Match Room was in full bloom, with our B team facing Cheddleton A in div 1, our G team playing Fenton D and the H team playing Alsager D in div 4.

The B team started as favourites as Cheddleton have suffered the loss of key players moving from the area and fielded a much lower rated team than expected. Carmel Barwick continued her dominating form with a win on board 2, and Simon Layhe held their one higher rated player to a draw on board 1. Board 3 was too complicated to decipher before Martin Frisher emerged with a win to secure the match points. Jarek Czyz making a rare appearance for the club secured a tough end game draw after seeming to be in the ascendancy earlier on. Final score 3-1 to the B team.

The G team’s planned squad were all available against Fenton. Skipper Steve Ballantyne set the ball rolling with a comfortable win on board 4, before Fenton levelled on board 2. Youngster Jamie Roberts provided a big win on board 3 (in the words of captain Steve) by playing a great endgame to force his opponent to resign as he could not stop a pawn from queening. Pawel immediately offered a draw on board 1 to clinch the match. Final score 2.5-1.5 to the G team.

The H team gave league debuts to Tim Weston on board 2 and Andrew Caccamo on board 4. With Alsager fielding brand new young players throughout the team line ups were agreed well in advance to ensure everyone would have a reasonable equal game. In addition opposition captain Neil Hankey acted as a reserve and so played an extra graded game with our Mike Keenan, with a further extra game given to Dan Parkin making his debut for Crewe against another new junior from Alsager. Andrew won on board 4 first, before Pete Kanalos added another win on bd 3. Kobus Nienaber used all his experience to get the win on board 1, while Tim was held to a draw. Final score 3.5- 0.5 to the H team.

Alongside these matches, there were a few games in the club championship as Harry Gardiner and Neville Layhe notched up wins in div 1. In div 2 Richard Fish added another full point to his tally while Julian Bulbeck and Oskar Jarzynski shared a draw.

All in all, a most enjoyable night with 18 competitive games taking place with another dozen members playing social chess in the coaching room.

Mixed Results

We have played four more league matches over the last few days:

Friday 13th Oct – The F team travelled to play Cheddleton D in division 3 and came away with a share of the spoils thanks to wins by Neville on board 1 and Dave Price on board 2.

Tuesday 17th October – 3 matches:

C team vs Fenton B in div 2 – we came off second best against highly rated opponents with a 3-1 reverse, with our solitary success coming from Andrew Raeburn on board 1.

D team vs Alsager B in div 2. With teams evenly matched Alsager brought three of the team that represented Alsager C last week. The D team were victorious thanks to wins from George Bulbeck (bd 2) and Chinenye on bd 3, backed up with a draw on bd 1 from captain Dave Lambton.

The H team travelled to Fenton to take on their D team in division 4. Teams were very closely matched as we fell to a narrow defeat as Kobus drew on board 1 and Mike had our only win on bd 2.

The internal Club Championship saw games in all 3 sections, as Harry won in div 1, Oskar, Julian B, James C all won in div 2 and newcomer Tim Weston started with a win in div 3.

New League Season up and running

The new NSDCA season only started last week for us and already we have seen 7 of our 8 teams in action, with 30 of our members being involved.

Tuesday 3rd October saw two derbies at the Caritas, with C playing D in division 2 and F playing E in division 3. They were both close matches with the D team pipping the C team by 2.5-1.5 and the F team emerging with a 3-1 success. In theory the C & E teams are stronger than their derby rivals, but such is the competitive nature that nothing can be taken for granted.

Monday 9th October saw the G team travel to The Gables to face a new team comprising juniors. Our experienced players came away with a 4-0 win, while two additional boards were played to give graded games for more members of both clubs.

Tuesday 10th – the defending league champions (our “A” team) had a hard fought draw with our B team, where all games were won with the black pieces !

Also at the Cariras , the E team faced a strong Alsager “C” team in division 3, and produced a superb 3-1 win.

Meanwhile our D team played away at Fenton in division 2, where Fenton’s B team was as highly rated as our B team (who were division 1 runners-up last season), and came away with an excellent 2-2 draw.

There has been good progress with our Club championship sections, with all 3 sections being very active alongside the league matches. In addition there continues to be a thriving session in the coaching room, with an average of 35-40 members overall attending the club each week.

Full details of all results – both league and club championships can be seen from our “Fixtures & Tables” link above.

The only team not yet in action has been the “H” team which kick-off next Tuesday at Fenton in division 4.

Carmel and Julian win Summer Knockouts

Tuesday 26th saw the completion of both Summer Knockout competitions.

In the Open final, Harry won the toss for choice of white against Carmel but quickly lost a piece and faced imminent defeat and so resigned, leaving Carmel with yet another trophy to add to her collection, making it four trophies since rejoining the club in November. It bodes very well for the future of the club with these two rapidly improving while at the tender ages of 22 and 20 respectively.

The U1600 knockout final was contested by Julian Bulbeck and Andrew Crosby, where Julian had the upper hand with the white pieces and went on to put his name on the club’s “Honours List” as the winner of the first U1600 knockout. In doing so he joined his son (George) to become the first father and son to win club competitions in our short history !

There were half a dozen other games played in the club championships, with wins for Cyrus Pereira in div 1, Richard Fish and Chinenye Basil-Nwachuku in div 2, Mike Keenan and Jamie Roberts in div 3, while Neville Layhe and David Lambton shared a draw in div 1.

Next Tuesday, sees the start of the NSDCA League season with two derbies taking place where the C team play the D team in league div 2, and the E vs F teams in div 3.

Lukasz Michalek retains the Les Hall Memorial Trophy in the Annual Time & Point Blitz Handicap

Congratulations to Lukasz on winning this special trophy fot the second year running, to become the first club member to win this event more than once since its conception in 2015, after eight years of different winners !

The 9th annual Handicap took place (for the first time) at our new venue at The St Mary’s Caritas Centre, where a record number of 32 contested in the spacious conditions. As usual, the start was a little chaotic as the planned pairings from the previous evening had to be amended to accommodate several late entries, a last minute withdrawal and the arrival of a brand new member.

The usual format was adopted whereby the highest rated players had just 5 minutes to complete their games, with an extra minute awarded to players in bands of 100 rating points, and 14 minutes given to the lowest rated players. Then to make it it tougher for the strongest players, handicaps are given ranging from scratch to 2 pts to add to a member’s score achieved over 5 rounds, ensuring nearly everyone has a good chance of winning the competition. In another twist all previous winners had one minute deducted from their standard times and a half point deducted from any standard handicap.

A swiss style pairing system is employed so that all higher rated players should win their 1st round games, but as usual there were a couple of early shocks as the top seed lost his first game to a newcomer Chinenye Basil-Nwachuku, and junior Jamie Roberts beat another strong player to boost his handicap. Most of the other top seeds won their first games as expected.

Round 2 ended with 8 players on 2 pts (excl handicaps), including three previous winners – Harry Gardiner, Rick Renegade and defending champion Lukasz, together with Martin Burns, Karl Lockett, Neville Layhe, new member Andy Raeburn and Chinenye who provided another shock in defeating club champion Carmel Barwick.

Round 3 saw previous winners Harry & Rick paired together with the resulting draw denting their trophy chances. With Karl beating Chinenye and Lukasz defeating Andy, this pair was joined by Martin Burns on 3/3, but the overall leader was Jamie who added a second win to add to his handicap of 1.5 pts.

In Round 4, Lukasz managed a tight win against Martin, and Karl’s chances were scuppered by Harry. Jamie was then paired with Carmel who proved too strong, and Chinenye beat Martin Frisher to move into the joint lead with Lukasz.

The winner between Lukasz and Chinenye would be the outright champion if there was a positive result in their game, while several players were hoping a draw on top board would lead to a play-off as we have had several times before. A sound opening from Chineneye with black appeared to give him the ascendancy on top of his 3 minute starting advantage, gaining a pawn in exchange for some pressure from white’s more open position. After a few tactical moves, Lukasz’s pressure caused a mistake giving a piece advantage and then built up an unstoppable attack to force resignation.

Final positions:

Winner – Lukasz Michalek 5/5

Runners up – Harry and Rick 4.5/5

As usual it was a most enjoyable night for all involved, with special thanks to David Roberts (Jamie’s dad) for assisting controller David Hulme.

U1600 Cup Semi-finals news

Tuesday (5th September) saw the two semi-finals contested in the Summer U1600 Knockout. Both favourites emerged successful As Andrew Crosby with black, and Julian Bulbeck with white overcame resistance to contest the final, due to be played on 19th or 26th September.

There were about half a dozen games played in the Club Championship, with a couple of matches in each of divisions 1,2 and 3, which are now underway. George Bulbeck and Harry Gardiner started their campaigns with a win each in division 1, while Richard Fish and Doug Barnett were winners in division 2, and in division 3 Mark Randell and George Jelliss did the same. It’s early days in the club championships but it is great to see a hand full of new members joining in these competitions which are very much the bread and butter of the club’s success of a growing membership.

We look forward to our very popular Annual Time & Point Handicap to be played on Tuesday (12th), where the winner will be awarded the Les Hall Memorial Trophy at the 2024 AGM prizegiving. Please contact club secretary David Hulme if you wish to play in this event, or would like more details on how the times and handicaps work.