|Barnsley C||3-3||Nomads D|
|Ernest Soar||0.5-0.5||Henry Withington|
|Vladimir Shaposhnikov||0.5-0.5||John Woollard|
|Brian Holdsworth||1-0||Steve Withington|
|Russel Roe||0-1||Les Day|
|Anthony Steel||0.5-0.5||Eric McKenna|
|Max Littlewood||0.5-0.5||Jo Woollard|
|Nomads A||6.5 – 1.5||Phoenix A|
|Jonathan Nelson (w)||0.5 – 0.5||Denis Molofej|
|Chris C W Shephard||1 – 0||Carl Walker|
|Deji Jeje||1 – 0||Qais Aryan|
|Andrew Hards||1 – 0||Szilaod Tamas|
|Geoff Frost||0 – 1||John R Mercy|
|Nicholas Mahoney||1 – 0||Steven Moxon|
|Henry Withington||1 – 0||Shahram Jahromy|
|Ray Trigg||1 – 0||DEFAULT|
A personal bogey team of mine, Phoenix made the trip to Nomads a player short which was a good start, but a pity for Ray who had missed out on a game last time around when I couldn’t find him at the pick up point on the way to Barnsley. Still, it did relieve the pressure a little (and also suggested Phoenix might well be under strength) – a good chance to potentially avenge the thrashing meted out to our B team the week before and also, maybe, get our run of wins up and running again after dropping three points in two matches. On the night, there were a number of interesting games and some tricky looking positions – so it was something of a surprise that the top board was first to finish and potentially the game with the least amount of fireworks (note: possible contribution of yours truly in forgetting to remind Jon of a fixture until the night before…). A fairly innocuous looking exchange of pieces in the centre and a draw offer and that was that one done and dusted. Henry followed not too long afterwards – he got a threat against f7 that was only ever going to lead to one result and whilst Shahram held on longer than he might have done, the final score was never going to be in question – Henry’s outstanding form continues for Nomads.
Deji was the next one to chalk up a point – a belated birthday present as he unwrapped Qais’ centre and hunted his king down – the piece exchanges when they came left him a large number of pawns to the good and winning a piece in an already won ending. I was the next to finish, and that was enough to take us over the line. A (very) early d4 in what started as a Caro-Kann gave me an apparent space advantage after nine pawn moves in the first ten of the game. Eventually I seemed to have something of a vice over the position without any real threats, despite winning a pawn, but a tactical shot in the centre gave me the exchange advantage and a neat move, which I thought was winning a rook (Fritz rather disappointingly points out that actually, I’m just winning a pawn and entering a rook vs bishop endgame with what would be a winning advantage), brought instant resignation. And we were home and dry. The one game that seemed destined to finish early (particularly as Geoff had explicitly stated he needed to finish early) had taken a turn for the worse from a Nomads perspective – Geoff’s exchange sacrifice wasn’t quite enough (although a draw by repetition was there for the taking) and when John’s king marched across the board, Geoff’s position suddenly collapsed and we had our first defeat of the night. Nick then converted, albeit on time in a winning position. At first glance, I thought he had had his rooks forked but he had a check to buy him time to free them and a passed f-pawn was going to prove decisive if the clock did not.
And finally to Chris, once again the last player to finish having barely scraped over the time control (his flag had been horizontal for at least 4 moves so he must have been down to a handful of seconds). A tactic had won a piece but the position was dangerously open and Carl tends to thrive in those situations – with the heavy pieces still on it looked as if he might not break through but if someone is going to, it’s going to be Chris. A couple of inaccuracies and his queen invaded the position to bring Carl’s resistance to an end, and the match was over.
A flattering scoreline, but this season the wins are all going to be hard fought, so we’ll take it, of course to maintain our position at the head of the table a little longer. Next we face an ominous looking Chesterfield team, with a 100% record and a team that could conceivably feature a player in the 170s on bottom board!
|Nomads E||2||4||Ecclesall E|
|Duncan Chambers (w)||0||1||Elliot Spencer|
|Keith Davis||0||1||John Speck|
|Robert Shaw||0||1||John Eddershaw|
|David Kesteven||1||0||Ken Scott|
|Peter Morton||1||0||Mike Howarth|
|Natasha Withington||0||1||Tim Port|
Keith opened with the exchange variation of the Caro-Kann defence, eventually swapping off all the minor pieces. After some manoeuvring, the rooks were also exchanged, leaving both players with just a king and four pawns. John pushed an isolated pawn to his seventh rank, pulling Keith’s king away from his own pawns, and allowing John to get in behind them, giving him a decisive pawn lead.
After a quiet opening, Duncan ended up in a close position, only slightly down on material. Realising he couldn’t win unless his opponent blundered, Duncan resigned. Meanwhile, Natasha lost significant material, ending up with just a king and five pawns against a king, two knights, a bishop, and seven pawns.
In a complex sequence of early exchanges, Robert gained two bishops and a knight for two knights, a bishop and a pawn, a small net loss, but one from which he never really recovered. In the resulting rook and pawn endgame, John’s extra pawn was enough to force promotion, and Robert resigned.
Peter emerged from the middle game with a rook, two knights and seven pawns against a rook, bishop, and five pawns, then won Mike’s rook with a bishop fork, a decisive material gain, and his first win for the club.
David and his opponent, Ken, both had good early development, with strongly placed knights and bishops. Multiple exchanges left David with a rook, bishop and two pawns against a bishop and five pawns, theoretically a material advantage but rich in complications. After much manoeuvring, Ken sacrificed his bishop to march a pawn to promotion, only for David to instantly win the new queen with a skewer. faced with a decisive material disadvantage, Ken resigned.
|SASCA D||4-2||Nomads D|
|Paul Blackman||1-0||John Woollard|
|Sam Cobbold||1-0||Steve Withington|
|Marek Krajci||0-1||Les Day|
|Miles Hemingway||1-0||Eric McKenna|
|Sammy Benzaira||0-1||Jo Woollard|
|Nomads II||2 1/2 – 3 1/2||Rotherham|
|Ian Barwick (w)||0 – 1||Pete Ballard|
|Arjun Babu||0 – 1||Chris Williams|
|Henry Withington||1 – 0||Steve Mann|
|Joel Thiruchelvan||1/2 – 1/2||Chris Willey|
|John Woolard||0 – 1||Andy Baxter|
|Steve Withington||1 – 0||Mick Snowdon|
|Nomads A||4 – 4||Nomads B|
|Jonathan Nelson (W)||0.5 – 0.5||Paul Cumbers|
|Deji Jeje||0.5 – 0.5||Ian Barwick|
|Chris C W Shephard||0 – 1||Mike Newett|
|Andrew Hards||1 – 0||Stuart Crosthwaite|
|Geoff Frost||0.5 – 0.5||Ken Dewhurst|
|Nicholas Mahoney||0.5 – 0.5||Joel C Thiruchelvan|
|Henry Withington||1 – 0||Keith Wicks|
|Steve Withington||0 – 1||Robert Shaw|
We were back to full strength for the home fixture against our B team – and unbeknownst to me both Jeremy (again) and Arjun were missing from the B team line-up so in theory we were stronger favourites for this one than we had been on the opening night of the season. Of course, that wasn’t how things panned out and yet again things went to the wire – in fact, we were even more fortuitous to take a point away from this tie than we were to get both in the away leg.
Henry was first to finish – a pawn sacrificed for some nasty discovered threats and Keith, a B team debutant, was unable to fend them all off – the first and only time we were ahead on the night. Steve’s game appeared to be going in a similar direction but he allowed Robert counterplay and his centre collapsed – facing an ending a piece down Steve conceded. A great result for Robert and a look around the rest of the boards suggested it could prove decisive. No one really appeared better, several of us (including myself) were definitely worse. On top board, Jon’s queen and knight seemed to be in and around Paul’s king – but a quick material count suggested Paul had the upper hand if he could survive the attack. A piece was handed back to prevent the perpetual but I missed the eventual draw so I’m not sure how exactly Jon managed to escape. Geoff was facing his bete noire – he does not have a good record against Ken – and a slow build up on the kingside appeared to favour the B team player. Somehow the exchanges worked out, however, and Geoff salvaged a half when left with a rook and five pawns each ending. 2-2. Deji and Ian had been heading for a drawn ending for some time, it seemed – opposite coloured bishops and a handful of pawns but no chances to make a breakthrough and after Deji tried a few tactics in vain, eventually they shook hands. Then things took a turn for the worse – Chris had managed to get his knight and bishop into a bit of a tangle on the kingside and Mike took full advantage – winning pieces and continuing to generate enough threats that any chance of Chris forcing a perpetual were snuffed out. We were behind with only two games to go.
Nick and Joel had played out a Scandinavian and play eventually seemed to be around Joel’s pawn majority on the queenside. A switch of focus from Nick resulted in the heavy pieces coming off and the question was – could Nick’s passed pawn and knight outplay Joel’s bishop and extra pawn on the queenside? The question as never answered though – mutual time trouble and a tricky, technical ending are not the best of bedfellows and they declined to put the position to the test – another draw and we were 3-4 down with one to play.
That one happened to be mine and to be frank it shouldn’t have been. I was worse almost from the get go and disastrously so at one point when Stuart fortunately overlooked a tactic that would have saw him picking up a free queen. I was on the back foot for the whole game, only finally breaking out at the death when Stuart’s time trouble started to have an effect – a king/rook fork was missed and this gave me a winning advantage – a queen sacrifice to ensure there were no last minute tricks in his armoury was enough for resignation and, somehow, I had won and somehow, we had drawn.
The B team get stronger every season and showed why they’ve only lost once in their first four matches. With Jeremy and Arjun back to bolster their line up going forward, I don’t see them scraping along the bottom of the table like last season – over two matches the score has been 8.5 – 7.5 and that tells its own story. We now need to recover from this shock in time for the trip to Barnsley.
|Phoenix A||5.5 – 2.5||Nomads B|
|Farshad Ai (W)||0 – 1||Paul Cumbers|
|Carl Walker||1 – 0||Ian Barwick|
|Qais Aryan||0.5 – 0.5||Mike Newett|
|Szilaod Tamas||1 – 0||Arjun Babu|
|John Mercy||1 – 0||Stuart Crossthwaite|
|Douglas Couch||0.5 – 0.5||Ken Dewhurst|
|Steven Moxon||0.5 – 0.5||Joel Thiruchelvan|
|Saeed Hassani||1 – 0||Eric McKenna|
|Worksop C||4||1||Nomads E|
|Rob Porter||0||1||John Woollard (w)|
|Andrew Smith||1||0||Eric McKenna|
|Nigel Baxendale||1||0||Robert Shaw|
|Tim England||1||0||Jo Woollard|
|Alan Story||1||0||Gordon Shaw|
Gordon lost his queen to a knight fork early on, and never really recovered., eventually resigning when out of strategic options.
Robert also lost his queen to a knight fork, while distracted by a potential attack on his rook. He recovered some material, including winning Nigel’s queen with a rook fork, ending up with a rook and five pawns against a rook, bishop, and six pawns. When Nigel forced promotion, Robert resigned.
After a quiet opening, Eric was gradually outmanoeuvred.
Jo and Tim swapped off queen, knight, and bishop early on. Tim’s king looked fairly open, with a weak pawn structure, but Jo couldn’t quite get her pieces into his position. When Tim forced promotion, Jo resigned.
John was the last to finish. Early on, he had castled kingside, and fianchettoed his bishop on b2, gaining a solid defensive position. He also had a considerable time advantage. At the 20 move mark he had 30 minutes left to Robs’s five.
At move 30, John and Rob had two rooks and four pawns each, but John still had an extra 15 minutes on his clock. After he won a rook with a rook fork, Rob resigned, giving us our sole victory of the night.