|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.