Rapidplay Pile-Ups !

Last night was another fantastic club night as we held Rounds 3 and 4 of our Annual Rapidplay competition. This year due to the growth of the club we decided to hold two separate sections – one as Open Rated and one for players rated Under 1600. There are 21 members in the Open section and 29 in the U1600.

The competition is being held later in the season than previous years due to the NSDCA League/Cup fixtures, with dates fixed as 21st May for the two opening rounds and the final rounds (5 & 6) taking place next Tuesday (18th June).

Several players have been allowed to take byes during the opening two nights, receiving a half-point bye for any round missed which allows youngsters to play the first round of the night, so as not to interfere with school programs and exams. However there are no byes available for Rounds 5 & 6.

Firstly looking at the Open section we have a pile up of 6 players on 3pts after 4 rounds, with two more just a half point behind. There have been plenty of surprise results as the No1 seed has dropped two points already. The leading pile up comprises Kamil, Cyrus, Carmel, Martin B, Karl and surprise contender Martin Frisher. Just behind these are Andy R and Ebube who has excelled having already played two of the joint leaders. Our promising youngster (not), Doug Barnett was delighted to take the scalp of tournament controller David Hulme, with his first ever win against David after nearly 10 years at the club !

Turning attention to the U1600 section, we have (a real youngster) 12 year old Jamie Roberts leading the way with 3.5 pts, ahead of a chasing pack on 3pts which includes several of the expected trophy chasers – Nigel, Adam, James M and newcomer George Bowkett, and surprise package Mario. With another five players on 2.5 pts it promises to be a tense and tight fight next week, although George is out of the contest due to being back at Cardiff Uni.

In the likelihood of tie-breaks being required to determine the two section winners the controller has decided these will be as follows. If the TB does not produce a winner then trophies will be awarded to all joint winners

  1. Direct Encounter – if just two players involved then their result dictates. And if more than two players involved, it is necessary that all have played each other and the highest scorer from these games is the winner. Otherwise this TB cannot be used.
  2. Number of wins – this means 4 wins is better than 3 wins and 2 draws etc
  3. Sum of the opponents scores if all played same number of games
  4. Average of all opponents scores if played different number of games.

Thanks to Steve who kindly acted as the Results marker.

Below is a photo from the night showing 44 players in action.

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

D team secure Division 2 title as Harry wraps up the Club Championship and C team win

Last night at St Mary’s was a very successful club night in many ways.

Starting with the D team clinching the NSDCA League division 2 trophy with a sound 3-1 win over Holmes Chapel B. The regular stars all contributed as Chinenye got us off to a flyer and calm the nerves with a swift win on board 4. Then skipper Dave Lambton continued his brilliant run with a smooth win on board 2 to put us on the verge on the title. George Bulbeck was a piece for a pawn up and decided to put the team ahead of his own success and smartly offered a draw which was quickly gobbled up to secure the title. This left Cyrus with a free hit on bd 1 who appeared to be winning but was thwarted by some superb endgame play to be held to a draw. Congratulations to the D team !

Alongside the D team, their C team brothers were in action against Stafford (who recently beat our D team champions) and again all players contributed to the same scoreline of 3-1. This time it was Julian Hawthorne who continued his rich vein of form with another win (on bd 4) as did captain Karl on bd 2. With draws from Andy Raeburn and Gee in the remaining games. This concludes the C team’s campaign who have come into form in the 2nd half of the season, taking vital points away from title contenders to leave the D team sitting pretty.

Division 1 of the Club championship saw Harry add another win to his impressive tally to confirm the title (for the 2nd time) and take his score to a briliant 9.5/10 and a tournament rating of 2150, with one game left to play. Congratulations to Harry !

The club added yet another new member to our growing list as George Bowkett joined us while on a brief break from university with a promise to be back in June to join the Swiss Rapidplay.

Club Championship – Squeaky Bum Time !

The club goes from strength to strength as membership grows to over 70 members as we approach the climax to the club championship. The last two club nights have seen 24 internal games played including rated games outside the club championship.

In the three separate (championship) sections, there has now been 53 games completed in division 1, with 52 each in divs 2 and 3, and everything still to play for with just a few games remaining in each section.

In division 1, Harry Gardiner remains on the brink of recapturing the title he won in 21/22, with an excellent unbeaten score of 8.5/9 and needs just a draw from either of his two games left. At the other end of the table the scramble to avoid relegation effects about half of the competitors. Six players have scored 3.5 pts or less so far, with the safety bar currently unknown due to the possibility of a multi-way tie in div 2 where four players may tie for promotion and the expected introduction of several very strong players to the competition next season.

Division 2 is fiercely competitive with 3 players on 6 pts, three more on 5.5 pts and two others on 4.5 pts. Oskar is joint top currently on 6 pts, but will be overhauled by at least one of the other joint leaders – chairman Dave and James Coney (both 6/9) who play each other in the final round knowing that if either can win they will be champion, but if they draw we could end with them sharing the winners podium with Richard and Chineneye who both have 5.5/9.

Division 3 is complicated by the issue of some players picking up points against members that appear to have withdrawn from the event. Youngster Jamie Roberts currently leads with 9.5/11, while Pete Kanalos sits on 8/11 and Mike Keenan 7/9. It is not possible for the other contenders to catch the leader.

Events officer Karl Lockett has the unenviable task of sorting out the various promotion, relegation and restructuring issues as we look certain to need a new 4th division next season to accommodate the constant growth of our membership.

In other news we will be holding our Annual Swiss Rapidplay event over 3 nights (2 rounds per night) starting May 21st. This year due to the increase in membership there will be two sections playing 6 rounds, with an “open rated” section and an “under 1600” section. Players below 1600 may choose to play in the open section if they wish. Please let David Hulme know asap if you want to play in either of these sections. The other nights will be June 11th and 18th, so we can have trophies sorted in time for the upcoming AGM night (to be decided). Byes will be given if you notify David you cannot attend on May 21st or June 11th, but no byes on the final night.

Review of Last Week’s matches

Mon 22nd April – The E team finished off their division 3 campaign with a tough match against eventual champions – Gables A. The top two boards were on a hiding to nothing facing the top two players in the division, so the match was always going to be dictated by boards 3 and 4. Captain Nigel cleverly deployed himself on 3 Adam Fields on 4 as they both came up trumps to take a share of the points and leave the Gables team needing to win their final match to become champions.

Tuesday 23rd saw another superb night at St Mary’s with a stack of internal games (see separate report) and the Major Cup semi-final (U1825) vs Alsager. We were able to field a strong team and started as favourites with significant rating advantages on all boards. Julian Hawthorne got the ball rolling with a comprehensive win on bd 5 and was soon followed by David Hulme on bd 4. Martin Frisher was held to a draw on board 3, to put us in command before Alsager fought back with a surprise win on bd 1. We were left needing at least a draw on bd 2 where Karl Lockett used all his experience to convert his advantage into a full point making us 3.5-1.5 victors. We will face Macclesfield in the final on 4th June where teams will be evenly matched.

Friday 26th – we had both of our Div 2 teams travelling to matches, with leaders Crewe D at Stafford and mid table Crewe C at Cheddleton (B). The D team had a blip on the night as rivals Stafford proved too good with a 3-1 win. Captain David Lambton was our sole point gainer extending his league unbeaten run this season moving to 9/11. Noting that Stafford lost their next match, the D team need a win from either of their remaining two matches to become champions.

The C team faired better at Cheddleton. Captain Karl Lockett led from the front with a win on bd 2, together with Jules Hawthorne who is in impressive form (8/10 in all NSDCA matches this season) to give a 2-2 draw.

Another Busy week with Mixed Results

5 matches to report on again this week.

Monday 15th – The H team played their final match of the season at The Gables, taking on their B team which consists of very young players. We had a comfortable 3-1 win. David Roberts making his league debut became the 18th member to play for the H team this season and had a straight forward game. Mark Randell and Tim Weston were also successful.

On Tuesday we had another packed night at St Mary’s. The D team were at home against Cheddleton B, while the F team faced Alsager C. Our C team was also in action playing at Alsager against their B team.

The D team were held to a 2-2 draw as skipper Dave Lambton rested himself to play an internal game. David Hulme and Cyrus Pereira gained the wins to ensure the match was drawn, leaving the D team at the top of division 2 with a 4pts cushion.

The F team had a disappointing result to conclude their season to stay in 2nd place in the table. James Coney was our only winner, and Oskar Jarzynski earned a draw.

The C team brought home the bacon as all four players contributed. There were draws from Andy Raeburn, Karl Lockett and Neville Layhe with the key result being a win on board 3 by Jules Hawthorne.

On Thursday the G team played their final match of the season at Kidsgrove. With the league title secured some time ago, the last unbeaten team in the whole league came unstuck and fell at the final hurdle. The were beaten 3-1 with Pawel Stanny collecting our point with a win on the top board.

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. 

Busy week brings success

5 matches to report on

Starting with Monday the 8th, the F team travelled to the Gables to take on the Div 3 favourites previosuly unbeaten. We were not fazed by the opposition and inflicted a most unexpected whitewash on them. James Marshall and James Coney got the ball rolling before skipper Dave Price’s superb win ended the 100% record of his opponent. The icing on the cake was provided when Gee Cross outplayed their top player to complete the whitewash.

Tuesday the 9th saw four matches, with three at St Marys and one at Fenton.

In division 2 our C team came unstuck at home against Cheddleton B, losing 1.5-2.5. Gee Cross added another win to keep up her 100% league record (5/5), and Andy Raeburn drew on board 2.

Also in division 2 our D team managed to overcome a strong Stafford team thanks to wins from captain David Lambton (who has an unbeaten 8/10) and Chinenye, while Cyrus drew on top board. This win cemented the D team’s top of the table position with 16pts from 10 matches, opening up a 3 pts lead from Fenton B who have played 11 matches.

The main event at St Mary’s was the Open Cup Final against the holders, Alsager, in a repeat of last season’s final where we were narrowly beaten. This time we won convincingly 5-1. See separate report.

At Fenton our E team faced their C team in a divison 3 match. Unfortunately we came off second best losing 1-3, with our only win coming from Julian Hawthorne on top board.

In addition to the three matches at St Mary’s there was another stack of internal tournament games taking place. In division 3 of the club championship there were wins for George Jelliss, Matthew and Mike. With leader Jamie having played all his games (9.5/11), Mike is the only player who could possibly catch him and currently has 5/6.

There were 3 further rated games played, including another potential new member George Bowkett who wass attending for the first time while on Easter holiday from university.

Club Championship News

It was another busy night on Tuesday (2nd) at St Mary’s with approx 30 members in attendance excluding the D team players who were at Alsager.

In division 1 there was just one game played with Pawel Stanny picking up his first win of the campaign to take him up the table to 9th place. He must have been over the moon with his best ever result.

In division 2 there were a couple of surprise results with two of the leading contenders beaten by Ebube Christian and Joe Moxon. There was a draw between the youngest player (Oskar Jarzynski) and the least youngest player (Doug Barnett) in the tournament which concluded their campaigns. Currently Oskar sits top of the charts with 6pts having played all his games. With the trio of Doug, Richard Fish and James Coney all on 5.5pts the latter two still have games to play. Chairman Dave is sitting just behind on 5pts but has three games to play making him slight favourite. The final contender is 6th placed Chineye Basil-Nwachuku who could get to 6.5pts if he wins his last two rounds. So it’s all to play for with many possible outcomes including a potential decider between James and Dave.

Division 3 was the busiest with 4 games played. Runaway leader Jamie Roberts added another point to his tally to move to 9.5/11 and there were also wins for Pete Kanalos (6/8), Tim Weston (4.5/8) and Matthew Dean (3/7). The only member that could catch Jamie is Mike Keenan who currently has 4/5 but is running out of time to play his games. No doubt the cut-off can be extended to make sure Mike has a fair chance of playing the same number of games as the leader.

In addition to this there was a further 4 rated games outside the Championship including some top rated players at one end of the scale, and a new unrated player having his first comeptitive game !

D team go top of League Division 2

On Tuesday night the D team played away against Alsager B. The squad was considerably strengthened by the addition of Cyrus Pereira for the first time which allowed us to out rate our opponents by approx 600 pts. The match was never in doubt as an early draw on board 3 by David Hulme was soon followed by comfortable wins from Cyrus (bd 1) and then Martin Frisher (bd 4). Captain David Lambton took his time to win on bd 2 and thereby keep up his unbeaten run for the team with 7 pts from 9 games, and conclude the match 3.5-0.5. This result takes the D team to the top of the table with 14pts from 9 matches ahead of a crunch match next Tuesday at home against Stafford (who have 9pts and two games in hand).