Richardson Plate Semi Final

Richardson Plate, 14 January 2020

Nomads II  2 – 4  Rotherham

Geoff Frost predicted that Rotherham would bring a strong team for this semi-final match and he was proved right. We were unable to match their strength in depth despite fielding our strongest team of the season. Congratulations to Ray for an excellent endgame win and commiserations to Les who was two pawns up at one stage. As ever, many thanks to everyone who played for Nomads 2 this season.


1 Andrew Hards (B) 0-1 Steve J Mann (W)
2 Geoff Frost (W) ½-½ Andy Baxter (B)
3 Ray King (B) 1-0 Nathaniel Holroyd-Doveton (W)
4 Steve Withington (W) 0-1 Oliver Brennan (B)
5 Duncan Chambers (B) ½-½ Chris Willey (W)
6 Les Day (W) 0-1 Ed Sowerby (B)

Result 2-4

Nomads A 6.5 – 1.5 Ecclesall A

It was the week before Christmas and Chris’s Mean Machine rolled out to do battle with last year’s Champions Ecclesall. Missing Captain Chris and his noble stand-in captain earlier in the season, Andrew. Thus it was left to humble servant who had over the years been adept at exchanging teams and tossing coins. This art seems to be lost, as the coin fell on the floor and Alan called correctly. Not an auspicious start.

So we set off. John was not present and frantic phonecalls resulted in him driving over at great speed before his flag fell. (Do flags still fall?) Whilst John was enroute Kieran with the precious white pieces yawned his way to 14 moves in a Slav before remembering he had either left something in the oven or wanted to watch something on TV. I played a Czech Benoni against Alan. He played it cautiously and only the b file was opened. The prospect of all the Rooks and probably the Queens prompted a draw offer. Not by me honest!  Jon and Jim played  1.d4 d6. When it was old it was the Old Indian, when it was modern, it was the Modern. What do I know? I cannot even toss the coin correctly. It seemed a base line game and a draw quickly ensued. So 3 draws.

By now John was in full flow, made up his time lost and quickly won. I was in and out of the room as I cannot watch….

When I retuned Sam was a piece down for a really monster position and an unstoppable h pawn. Naturally I assumed that the piece had been sacrificed….Wrong.  An accidental pieceloss to get a winning position.

Oskar who seems to be fearless, sacked the exchange as black in a Tarrasch. You know where  white’s Queen gets buried at h8.  Ewan was up to the task and a hair-raising game ensued. Oskar won – see below.

Oskar’s game v Ewan Cormack – with annotations possibly to be added later.

The match was won but Vasilis and Stuart were playing powerfully and confidently and the match was rounded off in style. 6 ½- 1 ½.


Nomads A vs Barnsley A

Oskar Hackner 1 – 0 Daniel Sullivan
Samuel Milsom 0 – 1 Pete Micklethwaite
Jon Nelson 0 – 1 Andy Butterworth
Kieran O’Driscoll 1 – 0 Neil Todd
John Fletcher 1 – 0 Ken Hunter
Vasilis Pasialis 1 – 0 Richard Hall
Andrew Hards 1 – 0 Tony Perry
Stuart Crosthwaite 1 – 0 DEFAULT

With our captain on holiday, and Geoff unable to stand in after just getting back from holiday, I retook the reins for a night as stand-in stand-in and promptly won the toss. Barnsley dropped a player earlier in the day, so were down to seven but given the notice we had, at least Stuart was spared a bracing walk in the cold evening air. On paper we had a big grading advantage, but that counts for nothing over the board and I can recall a couple of shock defeats to Barnsley in the past where form went out the window. There really are no easy matches in the top flight and so it proved again.

My game was the first to finish; in a French Tony tried to force some exchanges and it gave me a route into d6 and a nasty knight check. A couple of moves later I won a piece and had an overwhelming attack in the middle of the board which was likely picking up a second. Game over and I had the luxury of watching the others unfold. John had sacrificed a piece for an attack, Kieran had won an exchange with a neat tactic… and the other games looked nicely poised. But the next result did not come for quite some time. Daniel and Oskar looked to have an interesting position that could have gone either way – Oskar’s king looked a little draughty but a mistake from his opponent allowed him his own nasty knight checks and the exchange was won and with it the game. That put us 3-0 up, and Kieran gradually ground down Neil, pushing his minor pieces back and eventually working his rooks into and behind Neil’s king. With his pawns set to drop, he resigned and we were 4-0 to the good.

The match winning result was on board 5. John’s piece sacrifice gave him considerable play, and Ken was scratching around with his knights, king, rook and queen all in the corner trying to hold things together. He forced some exchanges and eventually John swapped queens – but Ken’s two knights were no match for John’s active rook and passed pawn on the king side which eventually forced Ken to give up one of his knights and with it, any realistic chance of holding out. So we were over the line… and Vasilis, after going two minor pieces up for two pawns and being forced to give one back, got his rook in behind Richard’s king and found a checkmate in a position that otherwise could have remained somewhat tricky to finish off.

So all eyes to the final two games, and two slightly unusual finishes. Andy vs Jon is always a slugfest, with both players trying to batter the other into submission. Historically Andy has come off worse but this time around he held his queenside together (just) and when he moved to the attack, Jon’s lack of time (and worse position!) told – an illegal move (where Jon played a queen move whilst his jacket played a pawn move) and resignation followed, albeit the position was lost by then anyhow. But that wasn’t the last of the illegal moves for the evening… Pete had kept Sam at arm’s length for most of the game, and when Sam did eventually break through the tables were rather rapidly turned and Pete’s rook, queen, bishop and knight all swarmed the black kingside. Pete declined a perpetual as he felt he had more – and when I checked back again he had a pawn one square away from queening. Sam was looking for a mate, a trap or a perpetual with queen and knight and Pete hoped to block them out with his own queen. With 30 seconds or so left each, a knight check, then a queen check… and Pete moved his king back into check without realising. Sam was down to maybe 15 seconds at this point, and didn’t realise himself…gave another check, Pete blocked with his queen and with Pete’s king in check and Sam to move with 10 seconds on the clock… Sam resigned. Would the extra 2 minutes have been enough to save the game? Hard to tell – the checks were likely going to run out but Pete’s clock was also rapidly approaching zero and he might not have had enough time to finish things off.

So a good, solid win, with a couple of slightly quirky losses. Barnsley were missing a couple, and ultimately our strength in depth told so my own personal banana skin was avoided. Next up will be Chesterfield in a little over two weeks’ time.


Victory for Nomads II

Richardson Plate, 11 November 2019

Woodseats 2 vs. Nomads 2

After our defeat by Woodseats 1 in the Richardson proper, we returned to the Abbey to face their second team in the first round of the Plate competition. The teams looked evenly matched and the match remained balanced for a long time. Steve and Rahul drew their games, while a loss for Keith on Board 5 was cancelled out by Les’s win on Board 6. Events turned in our favour in the last 15 minutes of play. I managed to win a bishop ending with an extra pawn and Andrew won a rook ending which saw a large number of moves blitzed out by both players. So 4–2, a good result, and we look forward to the next round. My thanks to everyone who played.


Woodseats II    2-4   Nomads II
1 Andy Lee (B) 0-1 Andrew Hards (W)
2 Brendan Ashmore (W) ½-½ Steve Withington (B)
3 Peter Hulse (B) 0-1 Duncan Chambers (W)
4 Steve Moon (W) ½-½ Rahul Kumar (B)
5 Dave Cook (B) 1-0 Keith Wicks (W)
6 Rob Skelton (W) 0-1 Les Day (B)

Nomads C v Woodseats C 24.9.2019

And so, it begins again….

First match of the season for the C team with two pretty evenly matched teams.  Duncan was first to finish, with a win, closely followed by a loss for Joel, who by all accounts had played a very good attacking game.  Arkady also lost in a close game while finally, having gone a pawn down, a mistake by my opponent meant I was able to win back both the pawn and a piece which eventually proved decisive.  Final score 2-2.

Duncan Chambers 1-0 Dave Margerison

Jo Woollard 1-0 Jamie Woodhouse

Arkady English 0-1 Rob Skelton

Joel Ellis 0-1 Steve Daykin

A Team Captains report

Firstly I want to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who played for me this season. The help & support I received from everyone was fantastic & very much appreciated. Players agreeing to play weeks in advance of the next match made my job so much easier to organise teams.
Looking at the season overall, I think everyone should be very proud of what we achieved. When you consider what things were looking like last summer no Captain, losing players & so much uncertainty within the Club this has been a remarkable turnaround. To finish 2nd when we thought just surviving in the Division would be great is an amazing achievement. I think the team spirit we had this year was remarkable & every player played their part in one way or another. I would especially like to thank the players (mainly Pete & Steve) I asked to be 1st or 2nd reserve for matches in case first choice players couldn’t make it, that allowed me to field our strongest team possible at all times. We only used 13 players in the season & 8 players played 8 or more games which gave us a very consistent team throughout the season, which is the main reason we did so well.
To lose only 1 game to the eventual  League winners Ecclesall is not bad, but I strongly believe we had every chance to beat them in our home match instead of drawing & we should have won both the games we drew which would have seen us win the League. That in mind, the season ahead should be a very positive one.
Would like to say congratulations & well done to Vasilis who in his first season with was our most valuable player (MVP) He only lost 1 game in the 9 he played winning the other 8 giving him a 89% win rate. A fantastic achievement.
I would like to thank Ian for being the only player to have played in every game this season & Jon,Chris, John, Stuart & Nick who all played 10 or more games.
Below are the final league table & player stats.
Team Play Won Draw Lost For Against Points SP MP IM
Ecclesall A 14 11 2 1 74½ 37½ 24 0 0 0
Sheffield Nomads A 14 10 3 1 71 41 23 0 0 0
Chesterfield A 14 8 1 5 66 46 17 0 0 0
Hillsborough A 14 7 1 6 60½ 51½ 15 0 0 0
Darnall & Handsworth A 14 6 2 6 56 56 14 0 0 0
SASCA A 14 5 2 7 48 62 12 0 0 0
Woodseats A 14 2 3 9 51 58 7 0 0 0
Sheffield University A 14 0 0 14 18 93 -4 4 0 0

Ecclesall C vs Nomads B

Ecclesall C 2.5 3.5 Nomads B
Daniel Mooney 0.5 0.5 Steve Withington (w)
Peter Cooper 1 0 Duncan Chambers
Elliot Spencer 0 1 Lez Day
Roger Swindell 0 1 Ray King
John Speck 0 1 Eric McKenna
Ivan Basarab-Howarth 1 0 Arkady English

An under-strength Nomads B put in a great effort to narrowly win this one.

Daniel Mooney vs Steve Withington

Lez Day and Ray KIng, securing crucial victories