It’s all happening Online for now !

Looking ahead this week, Crewe will be kicking off the new NSDCA RP Online season with 3 matches. See our tab on the top bar of our website for fixtures/results.

Last Tuesday was Round 4 of the current 4NCL season, with our AOL team playing division 3 up against leaders Wessex Some Stars, with grades of over 175 on bottom board; and our BOL team against Ashfield Anonymous D in division 6. It was no great surprise that both teams came unstuck as David Hulme gained our only half-point for the AOL team, while the BOL team did marginally better as Lukasz Michalek got a good draw on top board, and we benefitted from a default win as one of the opponents never appeared online. So both teams slip to midtable with 50% scores of 4pts from 4 matches. Round 5 takes place on Tuesday 20th October.

The other event to take place this week was our Monthly Lichess Challenge and for this we decided to play a 6-round Chess960 competition. It took a lot of us by surprise with the strange starting poistions for all back rank pieces, but it soon emerged that our youngsters Adam and Harry adapted quickly together with our most experienced online player Karl. As these three all headed to the final round with scores of 4/5; Harry and Adam were thwarted as Karl was the only one to win and claim the Gold Medal spot, with another youngster Lukasz joining the pile on 4pts. It seems that all enjoyed the novelty of the Chess960 and it is likely to feature again in next month’s Club Night Challenge on the first Wednesday of the month.

Harry and Lukasz allow the Secretary to share Rapid-Play Trophy !

An amazing night produced a fantastic finale and most unexpected outcome as the Rapid-Play Division 1 came to a dramatic conclusion, culminating in a three-way tie for first place.

17 y/o Harry started the evening one point clear as the favourite to take the trophy but was put to the sword by our South African star Kobus (Vrystaatbul on Lichess). With Harry needing just one point at the outset from the two games, Kobus set about upsetting the form book and took advantage of Harry’s generosity to impose a 2-0 scoreline.

While Harry was slipping to his first defeat Lukasz Michalek outplayed secretary David Hulme and battered him into resignation as pieces were falling everywhere for David, and this allowed Lukasz to take the joint lead with Harry on 12.5/19, with David behind on 11.5/19.

Karl Lockett should have profited from the slip-ups by the leaders, but Popeye (Andrew Crosby) was determined to have a stunning effect on the Trophy outcome having gained confidence from his 1-1 scoreline last week with David. Andrew had prepared conscientiously for Karl’s openings and was rewarded with success in both games. It should be noted that Karl would have been champion if he could win both games tonight.

As Kobus inflicted an early 2-0 score on Harry, Lukasz knew all he needed was a draw in game 2 against David. David only became aware of the situation while concentrating on his own game, as Lukasz put a note in the chat room to say Harry had tripped up. All of a sudden David had gained a supporter and a number of spectators suddenly appeared, who all knew what was going on far better than either of the players and were apparently sharing game analysis. Unfortunately for Lukasz he allowed David to build up a head of steam with a big King-side attack, that ultimately proved decisive as Lukasz’s time began to expire leading to resignation when facing a forced mate. As the game ended only then did it become apparent that all three players finished up on the same score of 12.5pts.

Congratulations to Harry, Lukasz and the Reporter for sharing the trophy, which will no doubt cause a headache for the next AGM prize-giving.

Ultimately the tournament has been a great success with 11 Rounds played over 3 months. All players deserve great credit for managing to play all their games and bringing a tremendous climax to the competition.

Full scores can be seen on the LMS, with Karl Lockett, Rick Renegade and Neville Layhe all finishing on 11pts just behind the winners. All players made a major contribution to the event, and even though it was played online, it is in my opinion, the most interesting, competitive and closely contested event the club has had since we started in 2014.


Harry takes the lead as Online Rapid-Play heads to fantastic finale

Junior Harry Gardiner is on the cusp of clinching the Rapid-play Division 1 Trophy after a punishing schedule of playing 3 games in 24 hours. Last night Harry was pushed in two games by 2016/17 Player of the Year, Martin Gill but managed to grab a vital win and a draw in two hard fought games. Tonight has seen closest contender (the No. 1 Seed) Karl Lockett win one and lose one against our Division 2 champion Kobus Nienaber, while Harry had another slug-fest with Adam Fields before emerging victorious.

All the leading players have now played 18 of their 20 games, and play their final games on Wednesday (30th September). Harry is now the clear favourite (on 12.5 pts) with a one point lead over joint 2nd placed Lukasz Michalek and David Hulme, with Karl a further half point behind. In the final round Harry faces Kobus (on 7.5pts), who has taken some points off nearly every opponent and has two additional games to play against Rick Renegade. Karl has potentially the easiest final pairing playing Andrew Crosby, while Lukasz and David have to do battle in the final round, ensuring at least one of this pair will drop points in the title chase.

To watch the final round games, switch on your Lichess TV at 7.30pm on Wednesday.

Popeye’s Gambit crushes Secretary’s RP Trophy Dream

The Division One Rapid-Play Tournament is building upto a fantastic finale with all games scheduled to finish on Wednesday (30th Sept). David Hulme has joined Lukasz Michalek in the lead with 11.5/18, as bottom seed Andrew Crosby (the above mentioned Popeye) took a crucial point off the secretary. In all honesty Andrew could have taken both points as he outplayed David in the openings, only to allow him off the hook in the second game. The main beneficiary from Popeye’s success was junior Harry Gardiner who played just one game this week adding another full point to his tally to take his score to 10/15. Harry will be assured of the Trophy if he scores a further 4pts from his remaining 5 games, but could then be caught by top seed Karl Lockett who has scored 10/16 following his addition of 2 pts this week . With the joint leaders (Lukasz & David) playing each other in the final round, this favours Harry and Karl, but interestingly the two chasers have to play Kobus Nienaber in their remaining games. It promises to be an exciting finish as these four slog it out.

In other news this week, Andrew and Lee Tilton played the first  game in the Club OTB Ladder Tournament, playing at home with Mals Club chess activities temporarily postponed.

In the 4NCL Online League, our two teams were in action again on Tuesday (22nd). The AOL team played Preston South End in division 3, and gained a respectable draw as Karl Lockett and David Hulme picked up half-points before Neville Layhe got the vital win to finish the match 2-2. The AOL team have been presented with a gift as their first opponents (Harrow 3) have withdrawn from the league, and a 4-0 loss has been reversed to give the team the flattering score of 4pts from 3 matches.

In Division 6 the BOL team faced Celtic Tigers Cubs. Excellent performances from Nigel Gardner, Kobus and  Lukasz all landing knockout blows before Adam Fields secured a draw to give the team a resounding victory (3.5-0.5) which puts the team also on 4pts from 3 matches, sharing 3rd place in the table with 18 other teams ! Next 4NCL matches to be played 6th October.


Lukasz beats Popeye in pursuit of Online Rapidplay Trophy

A busy week has seen 22 games played in the Rapidplay Division 1 competition. Junior Lukasz Michalek has jumped to the top of the table following a haul of 3.5pts from 4 this week. On Wednesday he faced title chasing  Karl Lockett and gained an impressive win and a draw, before playing Popeye (aka Andrew Crosby) tonight and claiming two more points to take his tally to 11.5 pts from 18 games. Lukasz has just one pairing left where he plays 2nd placed David Hulme in Round 11 on the last night of the competition (30th September), while David trails by one point with two games in hand.

Favourite, 17 y/o Harry Gardiner has dropped to 4th place in the table with a score of 9/14, but holds “all the aces” with four games in hand on the leader and trails by only 2.5 pts. With the current top two to play each other, Harry will be confident he can regain the leader’s spot and claim the trophy.

Top seed Karl Lockett is the other main contender although currently sits in 6th position with a score of 8/14. His remaining games feature three of the four bottom players so every chance of claiming the trophy if any of the leaders drop more points. Rick Renegade with 10/18 and Neville Layhe 8.5/16 could yet emerge as the winner if results go in their favour.

Full results, pairings and table can be found via the LMS link “Internal Competitions” on the right side of the club website under the Teams heading.

AOL Team get off the mark, as BOL suffer first defeat

Tuesday 8th September was Round 2 of the 4NCL online season. The AOL team were facing Warwickshire Bears A in division 3, and the BOL were playing Enfield 1 in division 6.

The return of Rick (the Grenade) Renegade to the A team brought the usual explosive action as he delivered in style on board 4 to put us in the lead. However losses on top two boards left us trailing, with captain David Hulme in trouble on board 3 down by two pawns. Fortunately David managed to trap an opponent’s Knight which had run into a cul-de-sac and overturned the position to win the game and save the match, ending in a 2-2 draw.

The B team had the strange of experience of playing the match over two nights. The match was shaping nicely as Neville Layhe, Lukasz Michalek and Kobus Nienaber all headed to draws, although I am sure we might have edged the top board, and Lukasz was hanging on in a dramatic time struggle. The board 4 game had started well for us but apparently the wrong colours had been applied and the game was eventually stopped and cancelled with an unusual agreement to replay the game the following evening. That did not work in our favour as our initial attack fizzled out, before loss of material and inevitable defeat resulted. So the Brave Bees went down to a narrow defeat 1.5-2.5.

Full results and games can be seen on the 4NCL website.

Online Rapid-play Progresses; Lukasz wins September Lichess Challenge; New Ladder Event and 4NCL lie ahead

The final games in Rapid-play Division 2 were played tonight as Ben Harrison won both games to finish in 3rd place with 10/14. As previously noted Kobus Nienaber has secured the trophy with 11.5/14, just pipping Lee Tilton by half a point.

Rapid-play Division 1 is turning into a fantastic competition with 60% of all games now completed. The next scheduled Round (for the week ahead) is No. 8 of 11, although there are a few games outstanding from earlier Rounds 4,6,and 7, while Rounds 1-3 and 5 have been completed. Harry Gardiner leads the way with 8/12, with Karl Lockett and David Hulme on his heels just half a point behind and then we have three players on 6.5/12 – Lukasz Michalek, Kobus Nienaber and Neville Layhe. Full results are Pairings are on the LMS.

Last Tuesday (1st September) we held our Monthly Lichess Challenge. This was a 6-round, 10 minute swiss competition which attracted a dozen of our members. Lukasz Michalek emerged victorious with an unbeaten score of 5.5 pts, with Bart Fajfer in 2nd scoring 5pts and Martin Gill in 3rd with 4pts.

This week (9th September) will see the start of our new OTB Ladder Challenge with a maximum of 12 players in attendance at the Mals. Please contact Dave Price and David Hulme if you wish to play in this event which will run to the week before Xmas.

Also on Tuesday (8th) we have Round 2 of the 4NCL online League. The AOL team are facing Warwickshire Bears A in division 3, while the BOL team are playing Enfield 1 in Division 6. These games can be watched live on Lichess starting at 7.30pm.

Members are reminded that subs are now due and ECF fees should be paid directly to the ECF for anyone playing in the 4NCL online League or the Ladder Challenge.

AGM Info & Update

The club held it’s 2020 AGM on Wednesday 26th August following government guidance in a Covid secure environment. 11 members attended in person all socially distanced and wearing face coverings, together with some members in attendance via a conference call set up by the chairman.

The main items to note are:

  1. Subscriptions remain at £20 p.a (despite a committee proposal for a 50% reduction that had to be withdrawm) as the members fully supported the club’s ambition to remain active through Lockdown via online chess using the Lichess platform.
  2. The club has re-opened with limited numbers playing in a secure environment.
  3. A new season of OTB internal tournaments should start on Wednesday 2nd September.
  4. Online chess continues with the Internal Rapid Play competition, as well as 4NCL Online League and the Monthly Challenge Night.
  5. The committee has been extended to include Les Hall as Congress Organiser and Karl Lockett as General Committee Member.
  6. Trophies were awarded to Nigel Gardner for winning the Annual Time and Point Handicap on Lichess; Harry Gardiner for Junior Player of the Year and Kobus Nienaber as overall Club Player of the Year during the OTB season.

Atticus get Revenge in Rematch and AGM Wednesday 26th August

Tuesday night saw us take on another Lichess Challenge, as we faced Atticus in a return match after our 7-1 success last month. This time it was a different picture though as the Liverpool club sought to gain revenge. It was a much closer battle and again we were outgraded especially on lower boards. There was some fine play to watch with superb performances from Harry Gardiner and Rick Renegade most notable with their decisive attacks. The scouser’s however were not taking things lightly and delivered some crushing attacks on boards 1 and 4. The match turned in their favour as they added further victories on boards 7 & 8 where grade differences were the greatest. Two draws on the remaining boards by Lukasz Michalek and Dave Price were not enough to save us, with a final score of 3-5.

Opposition captain, Jim Wiseman, a chess friend from my days at Wallasey in the early 1990s put together the report below.

2020-08-18 MatchReport (1)

Item 2. Our AGM is being held at The Mals Club on Wednesday 26th August, starting at 7.30pm. Numbers are strictly limited to adhere to Social Distancing Rules due to Covid-19.

If you want any info on the AGM please contact club secretary David Hulme or any other Committee Member.