Waiting in the freezing rain on Bramall Lane for Les’s lift, I was reminded of the fact that a healthy dose of masochism is an asset in chess. As usual there was a warm welcome when we finally arrived at Clay Cross. They even had the heating on full blast.
Excellent wins for Withingtons on the top boards were not to be enough. Les, Robert and brand new Nomad, Mike, all fell to Clay Cross. Eric could still draw the match with a win, and although a pawn down, he had a big time advantage. In the end Eric had to offer his opponent a draw. Jerome, with only minutes left on the clock, mulled this over for what must have been an agonising amount of time for his captain as the seconds ticked away. He finally agreed the draw, winning the match for Clay Cross.
All in all, an enjoyable night out, and second place in division three is still up for grabs.
Outgraded on the top and bottom boards, Nomads C were slight underdogs on an evening where underdogs were to triumph. (As the Nomads A were to find out. Nightmare at the New Barracks….)
The match could easily have gone the other way but Nomads held on with some deft defending. With everything even it all hinged on Jo, who put in a sterling performance and won her game, securing the match for Nomads.
With the score standing at 3 – 2 everything hinged on Les’s game with Rob. Anything less than a win and the match would be lost. Fortunately Les had an extra pawn, and in a tense endgame accurate play ensured a win, and Nomads levelled the scores for a drawn match.
Henry’s opponent unfortunately got lost on his way to Nomads’ venue, but the point was gratefully received. After draws for Steve and Duncan, a quick loss for Keith and a nice win for Eric the scores stood 3 – 2. Everything depended on Ben Remy, who just needed to draw.
His game with Brian Redhead proved that chess can indeed be a spectator sport. After a frenzy of clock-bashing and flying pieces, with both clocks seconds from falling, a draw was agreed. And this was all Nomads needed to win the match.
A strong university team demolished Nomads on four boards. Henry was able to get a draw, and last to finish was Ben, who did a Houdini, and turned what looked like a lost endgame into Nomads’ only win of the evening.