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.


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


Our 4th game of the season saw us travel to University. Where we continued our unbeaten run with a fine win 5.5 – 2.5. Wins for Chris, John, Pete & Duncan and draws for Jon, Stuart & Nick secured the points. This puts us 3rd in the league with 6 points out of 8. with 2 wins & 2 draws. Onto next week where we go to Ecclesall who are also unbeaten but have won all their 4 games.

Cheers Lez


We move onto our 3rd game of the season (our 1st at home) where we welcomed Woodseats to the Trades & Labour Club.  We won the toss & Jon chose to play black  on odd boards. After a shaky start we managed to get the edge in the match & it looked like we were heading for a win. But in the end the match ended in a 4-4 draw. Wins for Chris, Vasilis (in his first game for the club) & Pete who has a 100% record so far with 3 wins from 3 games played. Jon & Duncan both drew. Still unbeaten after 3 games a great achievement with a win & 2 draws (4 points from 6). we next play on Wednesday 21st Nov away to University lets keep our unbeaten run going.

Cheers Lez


Our second match of the season saw us travel to Darnall for what was going to be a tough match, and tough it was. The match ended all square 4-4. Wins for Stuart, Pete & Steve & draws for Chris & Nick secured us a share of the points. Unbeaten in our first 2 games is a fantastic achievement with 3 out of 4 points. On to next week where we have our first home of the season against Woodseats.

Cheers Lez

Jon Arnott vs Andrew Hards

Barnsley A vs Nomads A, 5th December 2017

Barnsley A 4 4 Nomads A
Andy Butterworth (b) 0 1 Jon Nelson
Martin Sheard 0.5 0.5 Andrew Hards
Richard Desmedt 0.5 0.5 Geoff Frost
Ken Hunter 0.5 0.5 Ian Barwick
Tony Pogson 0 1 Mike Newett
Pete Micklethwaite 1 0 Wilson Banda
Neil Todd 0.5 0.5 Steve Withington
Richard Hall 1 0 BYE

We’ve struggled at Barnsley more than once in the past, and today was no exception. A default on the bottom board was not a good start. I spent most of the evening outside coughing or in the bathroom so didn’t see a great deal of the games. A draw after 25 or so minutes on board three wasn’t ideal in the circumstances – Geoff and Richard sheathing their swords early on – but Martin and I weren’t too far behind (I’ve yet to beat him in several attempts so a draw was a bit of a bonus personally in the circumstances!). Mike’s game also finished prematurely – Tony managed to get his queen trapped early on and resigned soon after. So even-Stevens after a very quick first half… the second half was not quite so fast though. Steve, Wilson and Jon all seemed under varying degrees of pressure whilst Ian seemed to have an attack brewing. Wilson eventually found Pete’s passed pawns too much, and even a piece sacrifice was not enough to stop them rolling through his position. Steve held on in his game and Neil agreed a draw in a position that may or may not have had more play in it – so we were 3.5 – 2.5 down; Ian’s draw with Ken, under some pressure, was well timed and though we couldn’t win the match, we could still draw it so everything came down to Jon. Andy repeated a combination he had recently played but crucially a piece was not on the same square as it had been before and when Jon’s counter-attack came, it picked up a loose rook and sealed a win which earned us a hard-fought, barely-scraped draw. PHEW! At least we go into the Xmas break still unbeaten… although it was a close one and no mistake.

Marek Gajdosz vs Andrew Hards

Darnall and Handsworth A vs Nomads A, 29/01/2018

Darnall & Handsworth A 2.5 5.5 Nomads A
Rob Woodford (b) 0.5 0.5 Jon Nelson
Aram Ter-Gevorkian 0 1 Chris Shephard
Marek Gajdosz 0 1 Andrew Hards
Geoff Brown 1 0 Mike Newett
Danny Dawson 1 0 Ian Barwick
Craig Chatterton 0 1 Nick Mahoney
Joanna Kromka 0 1 Wilson Banda
Mick Turnidge 0 1 Rahul Kumar

Our second match of 2018 and a trip to dark horses, Darnall and Handsworth. They were missing a number of their top boards from this season, which undoubtedly helped us albeit we were also not at our strongest and indeed, I only managed to scrape together a full team on the morning of the match.

The games got underway at around 7.40, with the throbbing rhythm of the KeepFit class reverberating under our feet for the first 20 minutes or so. As per usual, some games moved at a much faster rate than others and it wasn’t long before Wilson was into an endgame with Joanna, a pawn up. When I next checked, he was a bishop up as well and her resistance did not last too much longer with him picking up her remaining pawns. The overall match position looked quite good at this point – Jon wasn’t more than 10 or so moves into his game, Chris was into a queenless middle-game, my position was…complicated, Mike seemed to be on the front foot, Ian didn’t appear to have any issues, Nick was on top with a queenside attack and Rahul seemed to have more space in which to muster an assault.

Rahul finished next and we were 2-0 up. An ending that was advantageous became entirely crushing when Mick dropped an entire rook. Jon’s game wasn’t too far behind. Rob seemed to have a bit of pressure on the a1-h8 diagonal but it ultimately fizzled out into a draw and we were 2 points away from the win. However… there was no sign of this happening any time soon as most of the remaining games carried on long into the evening. Ian was eventually next to finish, but unfortunately for us Danny got revenge for a defeat last season by turning the tables as Ian dropped the exchange and became passive, to be eventually checkmated on the 7th rank as his clock ran down. The gap was soon back up to two points, however, as Nick’s pressure on the queenside eventually told, giving him a material advantage with Craig unable to avoid further exchanges and extremely short on time.

3.5 – 1.5 with myself, Chris and Mike left playing. All eyes seemed to be on boards 3 and 4 (two games for the price of one, spectator-wise I guess!). I had thrown my pieces at Marek’s kingside, but couldn’t find a sacrificial win and eventually went for a speculative sac on d6 (two pawns for a piece, with a guaranteed win of the exchange as well). It probably wasn’t quite good enough, and the computer slightly prefers Black once the dust settled. Fortunately for me, however, Marek immediately blundered allowing me to win a whole piece, and the ending, Rook + Bishop vs Knight + Bishop, was just winning provided I avoided any nasty forks. I did, and when my pawn reached the seventh I found a neat little tactic to force an immediate win and get us over the finishing line. I glanced at Mike’s position and it looked, on the face of it, as if Geoff had blundered a piece away and with only a queen and rook would struggle to finish Mike off – but I must have missed something as whilst Marek and I were replaying our game, Geoff informed me that he had won so the rook, queen and pawn on the 6th must have been more threatening than I had thought with my quick look.

It had looked like Chris’ game would be hard to win – a pawn up but in a rook and pawn ending and I couldn’t see how he could hold all his pawns without being constantly checked by Aram’s rook. But this is Chris we’re talking about and he expertly nursed his pawns to eventually emerge successful, putting a nice gloss on the result. So overall a pleasing result considering the scramble I had on to get a team together. We move up to second, behind Chesterfield, and with our clash against them postponed, we face Ecclesall next later in February.