|Stannington A||6.5||1.5||Nomads B|
|Paul Fletcher||0||1||Daniel Sullivan (W)|
|John Fletcher||1||0||Ian Barwick|
|Khaled Muflehi||1||0||Ken Dewhurst|
|Keir Morton||0.5||0.5||John Woollard|
|Gerry Fletcher||1||0||Duncan Chambers|
|John Mercy||1||0||Les Day|
|Mike Grimsley||1||0||Keith Wicks|
|Alan Sutton||1||0||Dave Kesteven|
|Nomads E||1/2||3½||Sheffield Deaf|
|Peter Morton (w)||1/2||1/2||Michael Freund|
|Robert Shaw||0||1||Peter Sharpe|
|Jo Woollard||0||1||Mick Simmons|
|Natasha Withington||0||1||David Whiston|
On board 4, David got his queen into Natasha’s position early on, quickly forcing mate. Peter’s game also finished fairly quickly. Playing against the French Defence, he maintained material parity, but was unable to break through, and accepted a draw.
Jo went a knight up in the early exchanges, but slipped back in the midgame, ending up with queen, bishop against queen, rook, and pawns. Jo’s pawns did look slightly better, but this proved insufficient to outweigh the material disadvantage.
Robert began by swapping off minor pieces, trying to weaken Peter’s pawn structure, but went two pans down in the process. Under pressure, he managed to avoid losing further material, and recovered the lost pawns, but was eventually out- manoeuvred, succumbing to a mate he never saw coming.
|Nomads E (w)||0||4||Worksop C|
|Dave Kesteven||0||1||Nigel Baxendale|
|Robert Shaw||0||1||Tim England|
|Jo Woollard||0||1||Alan Story|
|Natasha Withington||0||1||Frank Holt|
Nomads won the toss, and chose white on odds.
Dave played a four knights opening, fianchettoing his bishop, but lost a knight for two pawns. After further uneven exchanges reduced him to just king and pawns, Dave resigned. At the other end of the table, Frank’s queen soon occupied h8, forcing Natasha;’s king into the middle of the board, where a knight delivered mate.
After exchanging knights Jo and Alan both castled kingside, but then Jo lost her queen for a knight, ending up with two rooks , a knight, and seven pawns against two rooks, a queen, and seven pawns, a decisive disadvantage.
Robert played the Queen’s Gambit Declined After a complex exchange removed the queens, he seemed to have better development, but Tim did have the advantage of a bishop pair. Robert kept material parity into a rook and pawns end game, where he tried to play for a draw, but was comprehensively out manoeuvred and ultimately mated.
|Nomads E||1||3||Rotherham B|
|Simon Nicholson||0||1||Chris Willey (b)|
|Dave Kesteven||0||1||Philip Sharpe|
|Robert Shaw||0||1||Michael Snowdon|
Rotherham defaulted on board two, due to a family emergency.
Dave and Philip both castled king-side, swapping off minor pieces, then Philip doubled his rooks on the d file, generating a strong attack. After losing significant material, Dave resigned.
Simon played an obscure variant of the Caro-Kann defence. Early on, he forced Chris to retreat his knight back to g8, but Chris soon recovered. Just as the game was starting to look like a draw, Simon’s flag fell, before move 30.
Robert gained a rook early on with a knight fork, but eventually blundered it away, leaving him with a lone knight against three pawns. While he was struggling to find a way to prevent promotion, his flag too fell.
|Barnsley D||2½||1½||Nomads E|
|Anthony Steel||1/2||1/2||Eric McKenna (b)|
|Russell Roe||1||0||Robert Shaw|
|Max Littlewood||0||1||Dave Kesteven|
|Alan Taylor||1||0||Jo Woollard|
Robert sacrificed a knight for positional advantage, leaving Russell with doubled e & g pawns, and an exposed king, but fumbled while attempting to exploit this, losing a rook to a skewer, after which he resigned.
Dave attacked strongly with his queen early on, gaining a rook, then swapped down, emerging into the end game with queen, rook and five pawns against just a rook and fice pawns. Dave then forced a queen exchange. Faced with inevitable promotion Max resigned.
After swapping off minor pieces Jo and Alan both castled king-side. Further exchanges left Jo with a queen, rook, and pawns against a queen, rook, knight and pawns, a slight disadvantage which proved decisive.
Eric was the last to finish. He too had opened by swapping off minor pieces and castling king-side, but he maintained material parity, manoeuvring to a rook and pawn endgame, with a one pawn advantage. After exchanging rooks, Eric marched his h pawn to promotion, but Anthony also had an unstoppable pawn, so Eric agreed a draw.
|Nomads D||4-2||Stannington C|
|Ray Trigg||1-0||Atila Besceli|
|John Woollard||0-1||John Neely|
|Steve Withington||1-0||Ron Keenan|
|Les Day||0-1||Phillip Clayton|
|Duncan Chambers||1-0||Lance Kennedy|
|Eric McKenna||1-0||Phil South|
|Nomads E||3||1||Barnsley D|
|Duncan Chambers (b)||1/2||1/2||Russell Roe|
|Peter Morton||1||0||Phil Griffiths|
|Robert Shaw||1||0||Robbie Merc|
|Jo Woollard||1/2||1/2||Alan Taylor|
On board 4, early exchanges left both Jo and Alan with a week queenside pawn structure, but Jo’s remaining bishop was well placed on g2. After further exchanged left both players with a single knight and bishop, plus pawns, a draw was agreed. Duncan’s game also began with a minor piece exchange, and ended in deadlock.
Peter came out of the opening with two bishops, a knight, and five pawns against two rooks and five pawns, a marginal material advantage, but it proved sufficient. Peter forced further exchanges, with gradual material gain, ending up with a bishop and three pawns against just three pawns, at which point his opponent resigned.
After some initial manoeuvring, Robert won a queen for a bishop, a decisive advantage. His opponent played on for a while, generating some threats, but resigned once mate was clearly inevitable.
|Ecclesall E||2½||2½||Nomads E|
|Mike Howarth||1/2||1/2||Eric McKenna (w)|
|Elliot Spencer||0||1||Peter Morton|
|John Speck||1||0||Dave Kesteven|
|Ken Scott||1||0||Robert Shaw|
|Peter Mitchell||0||1||Jo Woollard|
Nomads won the toss, and chose white on odds.
Dave soon went a knight down. He lured Speck’s king to f7, where it looked pretty vulnerable, but this didn’t prove to be enough. Robert also lost a piece early on, following a miscalculation in a promising position. He was able to generate some pressure with promotion threat on the a file, but eventually resigned.
Eric maintained material parity throughout his game, both players ending up with six pawns, a knight, and a bishop, on opposite colours. Once it was clear neither player could break through, a draw was agreed.
Peter and Elliot swapped off queens early, then Peter lost the exchange, going a knight for a rook down. He did have an extra pawn in compensation, but three of how pawns were trebled on the e file. However, Peter eventually recovered material in a tangled position, and then his opponents flag fell, before move 30.
Jo and Peter both castled kingside, with an open pawn structure on the queenside. After swapping bishops off, Jo went an exchange up: queen, two rooks and six pawns against queen, rook, knight, and six pawns. She tehn pressed this slight advantage home, until Peter resigned.
|Sasca E||1/2||3½||Nomads E|
|D Evans (w)||1/2||1/2||Eric McKenna|
|C Wilson||0||1||Robert Shaw|
|O Walker||0||1||Jo Woollard|
|N Roberts||0||1||Gordon Shaw|
Sasca won the toss, and chose white on odds.
Eric’s opponent opened with a strong attack, but Eric mounted a solid defence, eventually swapping down to a queen, rook and pawn endgame, with a one pawn advantage for Eric. He tried to press this home, but his opponent manoeuvred him into perpetual check.
Playing against the French defence, Gordon quickly gained a pawn. After his opponent retreated his bishop to e7, they both castled kingside, then Gordon swapped a bishop and knight for two bishops, giving him the slight theoretical advantage of the bishop pair. Exploiting this, he squeezed his opponent, swapping off queens on move 19 and.ending up with a rook and two pawns against just three pawns. This was enough to force promotion, after which mate swiftly followed.
Jo also opened with an exchange of minor pieces. Further exchanges followed, with Jo steadily gaining positional advantage, until her opponent was mated.
Robert was the last to finish. He and his opponent had exchanged queens on move 19. leaving Robert a pawn down, but with a stronger pawn structure. The next exchanges left Robert with a knight for four pawns, a marginal disadvantage, but after a wobbly middle-game he pulled back, gaining material, so towards the end of the game Robert had a rook, knight and pawn against just a rook. Once his opponent’s rook was disposed of, mate soon followed.
|Nomads D||4-2||SASCA D|
|John Woollard||0-1||John Fryer|
|Mark Bartell||0-1||Marek Krajci|
|Les Day||1-0||Sammy Benzaira|
|Keith Wicks||1-0||David Steele|
|Duncan Chambers||1-0||Alex Drew|
|Eric McKenna||1-0||Nicodemus Steele|
|Chesterfield A||2½||5½||Nomads A|
|1||6729||190 :12||Mike Alcock||W||0||1||Jonathan Nelson||202 :35||7062||S|
|2||2291||198 :09||Hubert Mossong||B||0||1||Chris C W Shephard||191 :23||1603||S|
|3||1284||186 :19||David Latham||W||0||1||Deji Jeje||183 :19||4156||S|
|4||7693||172 :25||D Martin Howard||B||0||1||Kieran O’Driscoll||179 :20||2028||S|
|5||4223||174 :32||Michael D Johnson||W||½||½||Andrew Hards||168 :26||2268||S|
|6||6732||157 :27||Andrew J Mort||B||½||½||Geoff Frost||163 :25||1297||S|
|7||3888||158 :09||David Ashcroft||W||1||0||Nicholas Mahoney||146 :46||4179||S|
|8||1541||161 :26||George Peters||B||½||½||Ray Trigg||147 :11||4199||S|
Although we have been top of the table most of the season, fact is that Chesterfield A were running at 100% with 6 wins from 6 and level on points with games in hand. With two draws and a loss already, anything less than victory against our closest rivals would likely see the title as good as ceded with several matches still to play. So it was the ideal time for Kieran to make his long awaited 2014-15 season debut – and face the same opponent he had taken on in our cup quarter-final tie. Chesterfield weren’t quite at full strength – but any team with Dave Latham on three and no room in for either Steve, Housley or Bracey, is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
It sort of goes without saying that Geoff’s game was the first to finish. as Andy mentioned to me after the match, they’ve played each other probably four dozen times over the course of many Woodhouse seasons, and 95% of those games have ended drawn. This time around, Geoff had an IQP but most of the space to play in – he thought he was worse whilst Andy was of the opposite opinion so a draw was fair enough. Chesterfield then took an early lead in the match as Dave’s kingside attack smashed Nick’s king’s defences apart. A well-timed bishop sacrifice stripped any vestiges of hope away and with mate looming, Nick resigned. That, however, was as good as it got for our gracious hosts. Jon and Mike appeared to be in for a long, drawn out struggle, and Jon’s protracted fianchetto of his kingside bishop (via f6), together with a knight that went to g6 and then h8, didn’t look overly promising. Clearly however there’s something to be said for that set up as I didn’t get to see the position again; next time I was free to look the game was over and we had a 1 in our column on the scoresheet.
Kieran had seemed slightly better against Martin for a while, but Martin was getting some play on the kingside; but an over-ambitious stretch resulted in a piece dropping off the board. A second one followed not too long afterwards and when Kieran managed to force off some of the heavy pieces as well there was only going to be one winner. On board two, meanwhile, Chris had managed some strong pawn advances and Hubert’s position seemed increasingly cramped – again I missed the denouement but it wasn’t a huge surprise that our man pulled the full point out of the bag. Three games left and we were now ahead in the match, requiring a point for the win.
At this point, a comedy interlude – in the match on the other side of the room Chesterfield were taking on Stannington and at a crucial juncture in our fixture, the room was deathly silent only for the plea ‘come on mate, give us a draw’ to be heard. Looking at the match card later on Chessnuts, it appears the plea was in vain…
My third match against Mike had gone the way of the other two – he got his attack in first and I was holding on desperately in the face of rook, queen and knight bearing down on my king – but somehow I came out of the complications with a safe-ish king and an extra pawn. Ahead on the clock as well, I thought I might even snatch victory from the jaws of defeat but in the final half dozen minutes, despite having two extra pawns, I was unable to stave off Mike’s mating threats sufficiently to convert and a draw by repetition, my first half of the season, was the conclusion.
All eyes to Deji – having sacrificed the exchange earlier in the game he was starting to bring his bishops to bear and Dave’s king looked increasingly at risk. A draw offer was rightly declined and the resulting endgame gave Deji two connected, passed pawns heading down the board supported by his bishop. Dave fought to the last, and on another day the flag-falling gods might have been kind; not this time though as Deji queened with check – faced with a second queen about to put in an appearance, Dave fell on his sword and the match was ours. So, very unusually for Ray, his game was the last one to end – an early pawn sacrifice had been recovered and for the longest time George was shuffling his queen and knight around the board to hold his position together. Finally, however, there was a breakthrough and both players invaded the other side simultaneously. It looked like George might make his extra pawns count, but Ray kept checking and threatening and a draw was agreed.
5.5 – 2.5 to us! A surprising and welcome result against such fine and honorable opponents and one which we’ll need to build on now for the remainder of the season – five more wins and we’ll be guaranteed a play-off!
|Nomads D||4-2||Worksop B|
|John Woollard||0.5-0.5||A David Fidler|
|Steve Withington||1-0||Andrew Allen|
|Mark Bartell||0-1||Robert Porter|
|Les Day||1-0||Andrew Smith|
|Eric McKenna||1-0||Tim England|
|Jo Woollard||0.5-0.5||Alan Story|
|Clay Cross||3||1||Nomads E|
|Jerome Redhead||1||0||Duncan Chambers (w)|
|Neil Cameron||1/2||1/2||Eric McKenna|
|Keith Myhill||1||0||Robert Shaw|
|Brian Redhead||1/2||1/2||Jo Woollard|
Nomads won the toss, and chose white on odds.
Robert miscalculated an early exchange, trading a bishop for two pawns. He was able to generate a promotion threat with his kingside pawn majority, getting one pawn to the seventh rank, but Keith eventually blocked him. Once it was clear he could force promotion, Robert resigned.
Eric castled first in a solid defensive opening, exchanging first minor pieces then queens. When the dust settled Eric and his opponent had two knights and seven pawns each. Once it was clear neither player could make progress a draw was agreed.
After swapping off bishops Duncan positioned his queen threateningly on g6, then exchanged knights. More exchanges followed, leaving Duncan two pawns down with a single rook, bishop, and queen, then Jerome outmanoeuvred Duncan, winning his bishop outright. Facing a clear material disadvantage, Duncan resigned.
Against Jo, Brian opened aggressively, his queen penetrating to a4, but Jo repulsed this attack., going two pawns up. Going into the endgame, she had a rook and six pawns, including connected passed pawns on g6 and f7, against a rook, bishop and just two pawns. After some manoeuvring, Jo won the bishop with a promotion threat, leaving her with a rook and five pawns against a rook and a single pawn, but she was running short on time.
With just 50 seconds left on the clock, Jo succumbed to a stalemate trap, and the match was over.
Considering we were outgraded on every board, this was a respectable result.
|David Tate||1||0||Les Day (w)|
|Andrew Shaw||1/2||1/2||Duncan Chambers|
|David Hall||1||0||Eric McKenna|
|Stephen Eyre||0||1||Robert Shaw|
|Martin Wilkes||0||1||Jo Woollard|
|Graham Peacock||0||1||Gordon Shaw|
Nomads won the toss, and chose white on odds.
On board 1, the queens were swapped off early, leaving Les with doubled f pawns, and his king looking vulnerable on g2. Once all the pieces had been exchanged, Les was left with a bare king against three pawns, and resigned.
Meanwhile, Gordon won his opponent’s queen with a knight fork, then mated him on move 21 on h1, with his queen on h3 and a bishop on f2
Eric castled first, then exchanged minor pieces, ending up with a rook, opposite coloured bishops, and six pawns each. After much manoeuvring, Eric lost his rook, and resigned.
Duncan also castled first in a fairly quiet opening, then swapped off minor pieces, ending up with two rooks and five pawns (one on his seventh rank) against two rooks and six pawns. Duncan then exchanged rooks, gained a pawn advantage, but the position remained pretty even, so a draw was eventually agreed.
Robert won a rook for a knight in the middle game, then swapped down to rook and two pawns vs bishop and 3 pawns, a slight advantage. Robert pushed his pawns, winning two pawns in the process, then swapped his rook for the bishop, giving him a won king and pawn endgame. Faced with inevitable promotion, Stephen resigned.
Jo was the last to finish, ending up in a rook and pawn endgame, with six pawns to four, and five minutes extra on the clock, but players had a passed pawn. Jo won her opponent’s rook with a promotion threat, then promoted one of her remaining pawns, giving her a queen and rook against a king and pawns. Mate soon followed.
Our first league match of the year and a return fixture against opponents who pushed us all the way at home. This time they pushed us that little bit further and we were ultimately fortunate to come away with anything. In fact, at around about the 9pm mark Jon and I were wandering the boards and Jon asked, in all seriousness, whether ‘I saw any wins for us’. The answer was a resounding ‘no’. By that point, his early pressing had fizzled out, Chris had moved most of his pieces back to their original squares (after getting his queen out on move three – and not even with a threat of Scholar’s Mate!), Deji was struggling to break through on the kingside, I was heading towards a slightly inferior endgame, Geoff’s big e5 knight had gone and his backward pawn on e3 was blockading his own position, Nick was struggling to make light of a complicated position, Steve had gambited a pawn but to no apparent advantage, and Jamie was playing a Caro-Kann. How we scored four points from that position, I do not entirely know… but we did.
Nick and Ken were the first to finish – Ken played a neat bishop sacrifice (which was mate in one if accepted) then offered a draw. It was still unclear – but the fact of the matter was Nick was a pawn down so accepting the offer seemed entirely reasonable. Geoff’s position then caved in somewhat spectacularly, with Gunnar’s bishops, rook and pawn proving too much for the king and queen to handle. There then followed a pause – lots of thinking, a couple of time scrambles, and mild controversy as Deji forgot to notate his moves once he’d made the time control. James offered me a draw in a position that was slightly better for him – but knowing the match situation I opted to play on in a rook and pawns ending. 7 and 8 were the next to finish – Steve eventually entered an endgame still that pawn down from move two, but Alan’s bishop didn’t dominate as expected and somehow they both queened in succession (with an extra pawn each) – half a point and a bit of an escape. Jamie meanwhile had done something that I always struggle with in the C-K… attack! His kingside pawn advances proved increasingly problematic for Chris and just when I thought he might hold on, I returned to my game. When I looked again, Jamie was queening a pawn and sealing a point. So split on the bottom four, would we do any better on the top four?
Turned out I made a good choice in declining the draw.. James didn’t play the ending accurately, I managed to get the more active rook and better placed king and when my king made it to g2 I had a decisive advantage – we were somehow in the lead – albeit not for long as Jon had played on far longer than one might expect in the vain hope of maybe being stalemated by David; fat chance – three pawns rolling up the board, it was never going to happen and when the hope of even a stalemate faded, Jon resigned. Deji more or less immediately countered that with another controlled victory – after it became apparent he wasn’t going to force Ewan’s kingside into premature collapse pieces were exchanged and a switch to the queenside saw him pick up a couple of pawns. One of those pawns made it to the sixth and that was the end of that.
So all eyes on Chris yet again – for the third or fourth time this season he was last to finish and this time, sadly, it wasn’t on a high note. Jim had seemingly held all the trumps most of the match; despite not having any material advantage until the endgame Chris’ position was a mess and when Jim gained a passed pawn it looked all over. However inaccuracy let Chris pick that pawn up (we’re talking SEVERE time trouble by this stage) and it looked like maybe he might hold on. Alas, no. Jim’s other passed pawn instead proved decisive, slowly advancing to the queening square and taking a well deserved point for the visitors. We can’t complain; Ecclesall would have been calling the police in if we had stolen both points! A rest next week then… followed by a top of the table clash with regular table-toppers Chesterfield…. Continue reading “Ecclesall A vs Nomads A”
|Les Day (w)||0||1||Oliver Graham|
|David Kesteven||0||1||Phil Griffiths|
|Jo Woollard||0||1||Michael Clerk|
|Robert Shaw||1||0||Rob Porter|
|Duncan Chambers||1||0||Frank Holt|
Nomads won the toss, and chose white on odds.
Les opened aggressively, with early queen development, but eventually swapped down to a queen rook and pawn endgame, with a one pawn disadvantage. Once the queens were exchanged, Oliver was able to build on this small advantage, until Les resigned.
After castling king-side, David exchanged a bishop for a knight and constructed what looked like a solid defensive position. However Phil got his queen onto David’s second rank, undermining his position. After losing material to the queen, David resigned.
Robert responded to the Ponziani opening with 3 … Nf6, a variant noted for quiet play. After much manoeuvring, he won a bishop, then gained a rook and a pawn for his other bishop bishop, giving him a clear rook and pawn advantage, with his queen threateningly poised on h3, close to white’s castled king., and doubled his rooks on the a file. White tried defending with queen checks, but once Robert found a safe refuge for his king, white could only prevent immediate mate by surrendering his queen, so resigned. Meanwhile, Duncan opened with a knight exchange, then steadily squeezed his opponent, until victory.
Out of consideration for her opponent, Jo played downstairs, so I missed most of her game, but she finished up in a rook and pawn ending, with g &h pawns against f, g & h, and a slight time disadvantage. Michael exchanged rooks, the forced an exchange of the h pawns, giving him a clear advantage, and then Jo’s flag fell.
With the score at three-all, Worksop won on board count, disappointing but, since Worksop out-graded us by over 45 points on four of the six boards, a very respectable result.
|Rotherham B||1||4||Nomads E|
|Ed Sowerby||0||1||Eric McKenna (b)|
|John Baker||1/2||1/2||Duncan Chambers|
|Colin Whitehouse||1/2||1/2||Robert Shaw|
|Harry Dickinson||0||1||Jo Woollard|
|Neil Craig||0||1||David Kesteven|
Rotherham won the toss, and chose white on odds.
Eric and Ed swapped off a knight and bishop early, and castled kingside, producing a tangled position with plenty of active pieces. After some manoeuvring Eric won a queen and Ed resigned.
Duncan castled first, queenside. Both kings looked pretty open to attack, but neither player was quite able to force mate, so they eventually agreed a draw. Meanwhile, David opened by exchanging two knights for a knight and bishop, before mounting a strong attack on Neil’s castled king with his queen and both bishops. Faced with decisive material loss, Neil resigned.
Robert gained a pawn in the early middle gain, then tried to swap down to a won end game, but Colin outmanoeuvred him and gained two pawns, leaving Robert with a rook and two pawns against a rook and three pawns. He swapped off the rooks, then pushed a pawn to promotion, but Colin promoted simultaneously, leaving Robert with a queen and two pawns against a queen and pawn. Unable to see a clear route to victory for either player, Robert offered a draw, which was quickly accepted.
Jo was the last to finish. After swapping off pieces, she was left with three pawns against two, but she had pawns on both sides of the board, unlike Harry, so she was able to push a pawn to promotion. Harry resigned soon after.
|Aughton B||1.5-4.5||Nomads D|
|David Watson||0.5-0.5||John Woollard|
|John Reynolds||0-1||Steve Withington|
|Joe Primrose||0-1||Les Day|
|Andrew Nettleship||1-0||Eric McKenna|
|Kevin Randle||0-1||Keith Wicks|
|Steve Forster||0-1||Jo Woollard|
|Stannington C||5-1||Nomads D|
|Stephen Lee||1-0||Henry Withington|
|Adrian Millward||0.5-0.5||John Woollard|
|John Neely||1-0||Steve Withington|
|John Helliwell||1-0||Mark Bartell|
|Glen Marvin||0.5-0.5||Les Day|
|Lance Kennedy||1-0||Eric McKenna|
|Nomads B||3.5 – 4.5||Chesterfield A|
|Paul Cumbers (w)||1/2 – 1/2||Dave Latham|
|Ian Barwick||1 – 0||Mike Johnson|
|Mike Newett||1/2 – 1/2||Andy Mort|
|Stuart Crosthwaite||1/2 – 1/2||Dave Ashcroft|
|Arjun Babu||1/2 – 1/2||Steve Housley|
|Ken Dewhurst||0 – 1||George Peters|
|Mark Bartell||1/2 – 1/2||Steve Bracey|
|Keith Wicks||0 – 1||Brian Crofts|
|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.
|Nomads D||1.5-4.5||University B|
|Ray Trigg||0-1||Tjin Li Hoh|
|John Woollard||0.5-0.5||Myles Webster|
|Mark Bartell||0-1||Fauzi Rusli|
|Les Day||0-1||Curtis Monkley|
|Eric McKenna||1-0||Ahmed Effat|
|Jo Woollard||0-1||Andreas Theocharos|
|Worksop B||3-3||Nomads D|
|Phill Beckett||1-0||Henry Withington|
|Robert Porter||1-0||Steve Withington|
|Andrew Smith||0-1||John Woollard|
|Alan Story||0-1||Les Day|
|Frank Holt||0.5-0.5||Eric McKenna|
|Cliff Briggs||0.5-0.5||Jo Woollard|
|Nomads B||5 1/2 – 2 1/2||Barnsley A|
|Paul Cumbers||1 – 0||Andy Butterworth (w)|
|Jeremy Hamm||1/2 – 1/2||Pete Micklethwaite|
|Ian Barwick||0 – 1||Ken Hunter|
|Mike Newett||1 – 0||Neil Todd|
|Arjun Babu||1/2 – 1/2||Richard Hall|
|Stuart Crossthwaite||1 – 0||Brian Holdsworth|
|Ken Dewhurst||1 – 0||Paul Lea Kyme|
|Joel Thiruchelvan||1/2 – 1/2||Ernie Soar|
Steve and Henry were unavailable for this one so we welcomed back erstwhile Nomad, Oliver Phipps, to the fold – and ultimately he proved to be an inspired selection. SASCA were missing their regular boards 2 and 3 in the shape of Peter Shaw and Ryan Burgin, and Jon Arnott as well – so we had to fancy our chances but… this season has already demonstrated that there are simply no easy matches in the first division and it’s fair to say that at around 9.00pm I looked around and only saw one player with an outright plus in their game and a Nomads shirt, figuratively speaking, on their backs. So how did it all turn around?
Well… our sole remaining 100% scoring player was the first casualty of the evening. Nick reached an endgame a bishop to the good but two passed pawns to the bad against Alan and Alan’s king was the more active. Both pawns couldn’t be stopped and that was 1-0 to the away team. We then had to write off the board 6/7 table altogether as Ray’s position went from aggressive, to loose, to lost as Nat steadily exchanged off when it best suited him to turn a small positional plus into a completely winning endgame. 2-0 down is not the best way to start the match and fortunately Geoff was in the mood for some fireworks on board 5. As tends to be the case in any game against Paul, you’ll get chances and Geoff was able to build a very strong centre, with his minor pieces moving into threatening territory. A counter punch from Paul, late on, was never going to be enough and although eventually the position simplified Geoff was a piece up and ultimately ran out a comfortable winner.
Chris pulled the scores level shortly afterwards – the only real danger he faced was the clock at one point as he slowly turned the positional screw on Tom before winning a piece. His king was slightly exposed but some fancy geometric manouevring with bishop and queen ensured all the entry points were covered and eventually Tom capitulated. Two more draws followed – Oliver’s first competitive game in 2, maybe 3 years and a double-edged ending where he was going to queen first, but Claes was going to queen second and with check was agreed drawn (a perpetual check was sure to have followed if they had played on). And then on two with both players pushing pawns deep into enemy territory, Deji’s passer on the 6th, supported by a black-squared bishop, was enough to earn him a draw with Miles despite Miles being the exchange up.
So it all came down to me and to Jon. I had been worse (slightly, then much, then slightly again) for pretty much the whole evening so had written off my chances. I offered a draw when I thought that Steve might have problems converting his single pawn advantage but he played on and it seemed likely I would eventually be ground down. However… I do tend to keep fighting in these situations and a couple of inaccuracies let me get a pawn to the seventh…at which point I then managed to take control of the queening square and Steve gave up the exchange. A rook and one vs a bishop and three, I still thought I’d struggle to win but a rook sac picked up one of the pawns and actually gave me the chance to force the bishop off for my last remaining pawn – against two pawns on the fifth with my king behind them it was all over once I found Rd1. All of which meant Jon was finally able to offer a draw in a complex but double-edged position with barely 10 minutes left of the match. Oskar accepted and somehow, despite Geoff commenting that he had lost count at 10 when checking my bad moves, we had won. Next up… a rematch with our upstart rivals who were beating Barnsley in the same room by, I think, a slightly more convincing scoreline.
Postscript – I can’t really end this review without a nod towards Paul Blackman. Early in the night it was apparent he was struggling somewhat but fortunately he was able to settle down and play most of the game out against Geoff (albeit I am sure he was none too happy to have lost). I am sure I speak for the whole club and Sheffield chess as a whole when I say that we continue to wish him all the best.
|Nomads E||2.5-1.5||Clay Cross B|
|John Woollard||1-0||Kieran Redhead|
|Duncan Chambers||0.5-0.5||Mike Colclough|
|Eric McKenna||0.5-0.5||Brian Lever|
|Jo Woollard||0.5-0.5||Keith Myhill|
With the A & B team both at home I wasn’t sure whether we had the room or equipment to squeeze the E team in as well, so took up Clay Cross on their kind offer to play the game at their venue. John was first to finish, winning after being under the cosh for most of the game, followed by a draw for Eric who decided beforehand he was going to play a fun game. Duncan and Mike also agreed a draw as Mike became short on time which left just Keith and I playing. A few minutes later Keith offered the draw, he had the slightly stronger position so I was happy to accept. He then stated that that meant Clay Cross had won the game. Fair enough I thought, until I picked up the score sheet which someone else had filled in for me on the next table along. Although John had finished first, I hadn’t seen the result of his game. There he was, listed at the top 1-0. Unfortunately for Keith, when he had a cursory glance over at the score sheet he hadn’t realised I had listed our team on the left, it being our home game. He had seen the 1-0 and thought they had won, meaning a draw for him would be sufficient. So a third win out of three games and top of the table so far, great start team!
In my time playing for Nomads, our main rivals have historically been Chesterfield and, of course, Woodseats, boasting as they do the top rated player in the Sheffield league and a guy on board two who is a pretty damn fine attacking chess player in his own right. Fortunately for us, Andrew was missing this night and Allan came up against a guy on board one who is also a pretty damn fine attacking chess player – Potts vs Nelson was absolutely not for the faint hearted and for the second season in a row I could only watch the game and wonder how exactly Allan’s knight ended up THERE and what was Jon’s queen doing moving to THAT square. But these guys play chess on a different level entirely to me so I left them to it and went back to my own disaster.
There’s not a great deal to be said about the match itself. The result suggests a rout but it was never anything like that and flattering in the extreme for us. I left before the end, so missed wins for Chris (who mentioned subsequently he had offered a draw which his opponent had apparently not heard!) and Deji, neither of whom appeared to have had particularly advantageous positions when I exited stage left. My own game (and the solitary 1 on the Woodseats scoreboard) was no great shakes – a gambit that Nigel essentially played around neatly and precisely until I overstretched, missed a tactic, then missed another tactic trying to get counterplay to emerge two pieces down for my first S&DCA defeat of the season.
It’s hard to be too down on yourself though when the rest of the team pull through. Nick maintained his 100% record; Steve and Henry both had neat wins and Geoff overcame Bill in a French Defence I get the feeling both had encountered in previous battles – and more than once at that. And that game on board one? Jon eventually emerged from complications a piece to the good and although Allan was able to win a pawn or two it wasn’t enough to turn the tide. Three wins from three, and we’ll take on SASCA next.
Postscript: Thanks are due to our hosts and Mr Ward in particular, who arranged a buffet spread in honour of Woodseats’ first match of the season. As I sit typing this still awaiting my takeaway dinner ordered an hour ago, I’m inclined to think I really ought to have eaten more of it!
|Barnsley||3 1/2 – 2 1/2||Nomads II|
|Andy Butterworth||1 – 0||Ian Barwick (w)|
|Martin Sheard||0 – 1||Arjun Babu|
|Dave Greensmith||0 – 1||Henry Withington|
|Pete Micklethwaite||1 – 0||Steve Withington|
|Neil Todd||1/2 – 1/2||John Woollard|
|Richard Hall||1 – 0||DEFAULT|
|Woodseats I||6||0||Nomads III|
|Andrew Ledger||1||0||Les Day (w)|
|John Toscano||1||0||Eric McKenna|
|John Trafford||1||0||Robert Shaw|
|Andy Lee||1||0||Jo Woollard|
|Nigel Carpino||1||0||Duncan Chambers|
|Bill Ward||1||0||Gordon Shaw|
For our first cup match of the season we had many familiar faces, and one not seen for 20 years: Duncan Chambers.
We won the toss, and chose to play white on odds. After that, it went downhill.
Eric was the first to succumb. After swapping off one pair of knights, he lost his queen to a discovered attack with check by the remaining knight, and resigned. Gordon went next. OBill’s Knight and bishop penetrated deep into Gordon’s position within the first dozen moves. Facing inevitable mate in two, he resigned.
Meanwhile, Robert offered up a knight in an attempt to lure his opponent into a draw by perpetual check, but John saw through this, avoiding the draw but taking the knight. Robert struggled on for a bit, still looking for a draw, but resigned when it was clear his position was hopeless.
After the initial exchanges, Les was left with two rooks, doubled on the d file, a bishop and six pawns, against two rooks, a bishop, a knight and four pawns, a slight material disadvantage. Andrew then outmanoeuvred Les, getting a pawn to e2. Facing inevitable promotion, Les resigned.
Jo began by swapping knight for bishop on f3. Further exchanges eventually left her with a knight and four pawns, one of them passed, against two bishops and five pawns, a significant material disadvantage. Unable to push her passed pawn to promotion, or stop the advancing white pawns, Jo resigned.
Duncan was the last to finish. After most of the pieces had been swapped off, starting with the queens, the game came down to a knight, bishop and four pawns against a knight, bishop, and five pawns.After much manoeuvring, Nigel forced his way to inevitable promotion, and Duncan resigned.
Overall, while this was another whitewash for Nomads III, most of the games were closer than the scoreline might suggest. Duncan put in a particularly good performance, after his long absence.
|SASCA A||4 – 4||Nomads B|
|P Shaw||0 – 1||Paul Cumbers (w)|
|M Edwards-Wright||1 – 0||Jeremy Hamm|
|R Burgin||1 – 0||Mike Newett|
|S Gibbs||1/2 – 1/2||Ian Barwick|
|S Cobbold||0 – 1||Arjun Babu|
|N Holroyd-Doveton||1/2 – 1/2||Ken Dewhurst|
|M Hemingway||1 – 0||Mark Bartell|
|B Hemingway||0 – 1||Eric McKenna|
|Sheffield Deaf||1½-2½||Nomads E|
|Michael Freund||1/2 – 1/2||John Woollard (w)|
|Pete Sharpe||0-1||Eric Mckenna|
|M Simmonds||1-0||Robert Shaw|
|David Whiston||0-1||Jo Wollard|
Robert blundered early on, losing a couple of pieces. He defended as best he could for a while, then resigned once there was no longer any prospect of recovering material through pins, forks, or skewers.
John and his opponent both castled king-side, and swapped off bishops. A subsequent queen swap left John with a slightly stronger looking position, but no clear lines of attack. After some probing showed the position was deadlocked, a draw was agreed.
Eric and his opponent began by exchanging minor pieces, ending up with the queen, two rooks, and a knight each, but Pete was forced to double pawns on both the c and f files, giving Eric a slight advantage.
Eric then won a knight with a pawn fork, leaving him with a rook, knight and four pawns against just a rook and four pawns. Pete resigned shortly afterwards, when it became clear he couldn’t prevent promotion.
Jo gained a bishop early, then traded a rook for a bishop and knight, before using a promotion threat to win a rook outright. heading into the endgame with two knights and three pawns against just two pawns. After considerable manoeuvring , Jo was able to force promotion, so her opponent resigned.
At Eten Cafe 8th October
|Nomads C||3 – 3||SASCA RJ B|
|Geoff Frost||0 – 1||T Wills|
|Nicholas Mahoney||1/2 – 1/2||S Gibbs|
|Arjun Babu||1/2 – 1/2||N Holroyd-Doveton|
|Stuart Crossthwaite||1 – 0||J Fryer|
|Ken Dewhurst||0 – 1||M Krajci|
|Henry Withington||1 – 0||C Hackner|
Wednesday 1st October at Eten Cafe
|Nomads A||5 1/2 – 2 1/2||Ecclesall A|
|Jon Nelson (w)||1/2 – 1/2||Dave Adams|
|Deji Jeje||0 – 1||Jim Burnett|
|Chris Shephard||1 – 0||Pete Hempson|
|Andrew Hards||1 – 0||Ewan Cormack|
|Geoff Frost||1/2 – 1/2||James Marley|
|Nick Mahoney||1 – 0||Gunnar Mallon|
|Henry Withington||1 – 0||Ken Norbury|
|Steve Withington||1/2 – 1/2||Chris Marley|
Last season this was the showdown, top vs second and the points shared after two away wins. This year, both teams have been weakened and perhaps it won’t prove to be quite the top of the table clash it was before… but it was still a fantastic battle. We were outgraded, again – this time by an average of 5 points and particularly Nick and Henry who were conceding more than 10 points to their opponents – so to come away with only one defeat on eight boards was an exceptional performance… and of course, both Nick and Henry secured stunning wins to boot.
So how did it happen? Geoff was a doubt even on the morning of the match but was eventually persuaded to turn out. His game against James seemed pretty even and although his queen and bishop buzzed around the black holes in James’ kingside, there were no real threats and nothing to prevent the draw offer being accepted. This was followed not too long afterwards by another draw on top board – a complicated middle game with Jon’s queen centralised and Dave’s central pawns providing a barrier to his attacks. Queens off, bishop and knight and a pair of rooks each, draw eventually agreed. The first underdog victory was to follow – Henry and Ken were at each other from the early middlegame but Henry’s attack eventually resulted in Ken’s central pawns being doubled. Henry’s rooks were then doubled on the adjacent file and Ken resigned rather than face the inevitable pawn chopping that was likely to follow. Another great scalp for Henry who continues to improve rapidly. His father then followed with another hard fought draw against Chris – this time on the back foot for pretty much the entire duration of the game before managing to swap off everything but a pair of knights each for another half point.
Nick then edged us closer to a win – the game against Gunnar was a maelstrom of attacks, possible sacrifices, open king positions and menacing pieces. Nick’s queen was nearly trapped more than once…Gunnar’s queen eventually was as it was forked with check to end a fascinating competition. Definitely one to see again if you ever get chance.
Half a point from the win… it was left to Chris to nudge us over the finish line – a very slow, methodical build up around the centre eventually crashed through and although Pete limited the damage, materially, to a couple of pawns, there was no coming back from that and the only danger was that Chris’ scoresheet, where it looked like he had marked move 32 instead of move 30 for the time control, might rush him into a time-control error. It didn’t. Game over.
Jim’s match had looked won against Deji for some considerable time – a massive kingside attack that there seemed no way to repel. Yet repel it Deji did… for several moves and an hour or so. The h file eventually cleared though, and Jim’s heavy artillery found its way onto that file and into Deji’s position – score one for the visitors. And that just left my game against Ewan – dead drawn last time we played this time I managed to eke out a pawn in the early middlegame. Several attempts to try and activate my pieces seemed destined for failure but when Ewan pushed a pawn one square too far I was able to win it with check, exchange a set of rooks and break out of the position; eventually entering an ending with a rook and three pawns versus a rook there was only going to be one outcome.
So a second consecutive win – well played Nomads! I’m sure revenge will be keenly sought in the return leg…
It’s not often that Nomads A are the underdogs, but on our return to league duty after a successful 2013-14 campaign we found ourselves slightly outgraded by Nomads B and, up until the morning of the match, actually at risk of defaulting a board – but when Arjun returned to feature for the B team, Les dropped down to the F team and Pasha stepped up to play board 8.
The actual match was a classic, and from memory I can’t recall a battle where the clock ticked past 9.30 with the score still at 0-0. Early impressions were that Jon had played a sharp line against Paul and sacc’ed a pawn, Deji and Mike were going to be at it all night with slow build-up on both sides, I was going to be defending against Ian for long periods (whilst hoping to hold onto a pawn I had grabbed), Joel was going to press with extra space and a pawn in his game with Nick, Henry was going to be fending off tactical shots from Stuart all evening, Arjun was going to try to eke Steve’s king out of the corner, Ray was going to try to demonstrate his extra rook was better than the two pieces that Ken had for it, and Pasha was going to try to do the same thing against John.
When things did start to sort themselves out… it looked like our 100% record against our clubmates might be under serious threat. There was one victorious Withington in the room tonight…but it wasn’t Steve who capitulated under Arjun’s kingside pressure to score first blood to the opposition. I missed the ending…but it seems that Ray quickly levelled things up as his rook did indeed prove superior to Ken’s two pieces (with the added help of a couple of passed pawns…). Not long afterwards, a glut of finishes as we moved into the lead. Joel’s attack against Nick was looking threatening, until he blundered a piece and Nick calmly dealt with a couple of desperate tactics before converting. With Paul accepting Jon’s offer of a draw on one, we were only two points away and I was then able to switch from defence to attack against Ian and prise open his kingside to take the full point, leaving us only a point from a win in the match. Pasha was now the exchange up against John – so when Henry finally succumbed to Stuart’s two pronged attack I was still confident we would get over the finish line.
Then, disaster. Pasha won an entire rook with a tactic and, 10 minutes ahead on the clock and John into his last five, it seemed a simple forced queen exchange would seal the deal. However… a deflection tactic that didn’t work when he looked at it before didn’t work this time either and after touching his rook, Pasha realised he was going to lose it. Under external time pressure, he resigned – and a certain win turned into a defeat to level the scores.
All eyes on Deji. He and Mike had kept each other at arm’s length and with the clocks winding down it seemed as though neither player could make any progress. Then Mike dropped his a-pawn. It *looked* innocuous but it gave Deji the chance to exchange queens and start a queenside pawn roller. So he did. With about 3 minutes left on the clock each he created two passed pawns and when Mike took one with his rook, unfortunately for him Deji then took his rook – and that was game, set and match. Phew!
As ever, we make things hard for ourselves but also, as ever, that Nomads A fighting spirit came to the fore once again as we managed to turn the match in our favour and bring home the points…hard on the B team who have now lost by the narrowest of margins to us in consecutive matches… and next week we get to do it all again as we go toe-to-toe with last year’s runners-up, Ecclesall A.
|Mark Bartell (w)||1-0||A Shaw|
|Les Day||1-0||B Shaw|
|Eric McKenna||1-0||S Eyre|
|Graham Bex-Priestley||1-0||M Wilkes|
|Robert Shaw||0-1||D Hill|
|Natasha Withington||1-0||P Dexter|
Our first match of the season, and we got off to a good start, winning the toss.
Natasha began with a queen’s pawn opening, swapped off both bishops early, gaining a rook for a knight. Pushing a pawn to promotion gave her two queens, a knight, and four pawns, against just a queen and three pawns. Her opponent resigned soon after, faced with a mate in two, an excellent win for Natasha in her game for us. Mark, meanwhile, won so fast I didn’t get time to see his game.
Graham and his opponent both castled king side., producing a quiet position. After a knight for bishop swap, Graham gained a rook and two pawn advantage. Victory followed soon after.
Eric also gained a rook early on, then swapped down. By move 31, he had a rook and four pawns against just three pawns. After a little manoeuvring his opponent resigned.
Robert picked up several pawns, planning to swap down pieces and push for promotion, but left himself open to a mate in two, which his opponent immediately spotted, our sole defeat of the night.
Les went into the end game with two rooks, a knight and one pawn against two rooks, a knight and two pawn. Les recovered a pawn, then pushed his h pawn to the 7th rank, with rooks on g7 and f6, and his knight on f7, putting his opponent under pressure. It looked like the h pawn would soon be promoted, but instead Les used that threat to force mate.