2nd team end Mansfield’s title hopes

Our 2nd team gained an unlikely point against last season’s champions Mansfield. Graeme & Steve got excellent draws against Jon Tait & Jim Burnett. John S went a pawn up v Kev Simpson but was unable to convert it to a win and drew. Drag went a pawn down and could not cope with Pete Ackley’s superior technique. Onos, although a pawn down, controlled the board and later won a piece v Janos Wagenbach. Mansfield have dropped 5 points (3 of them to the two Gambit teams) so it’s highly unlikely they will be able to catch Grantham 1 who had won all 5 matches so far.

Our 5th team continued their good season with a 2.5 – 1.5 win at University 2. There were wins by Maggie and Ken against K Kurralla and A Berman and a draw from Mick v Bernado Pincheira. Ronnie was unable to maintain his 100% winning record this season, losing to E Everitt. The LMC has decided that their match v EMCA 2, which they won by default in October, must be played at a later date after a successful appeal by EMCA.

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Week 12 – Double Trouble

Our 1st team threw away a win against Ashfield 1. Unlike the Newark 1 match, where the subs gained 1.5 points, this time it was the two subs who failed to convert their advantages. Drag won a pawn in the opening against David Levens but later dropped a piece and lost. Steve won an exchange v Jerry Herrington, gave it back to create a passed pawn, but, in trying to win, dropped a piece and lost. By now Mike B had drawn with John Molyneux and Mike N had lost to Glenn Halfpenny. Pete M did convert his advantage and beat Steve Burke but the final result was 1.5 – 3.5.

Our 3rd team also lost 1.5 – 3.5, to Nomads 1. Gary launched a k-side push but it simply weakened his king’s defence which David Griffiths exploited. Keith ended up in a 2R+3 ending but could not prevent John Harrison promoting a pawn. The other three games, John H, Brian & Peter GM v Shane Bhayat, Dave Flynn & Maurice Hill, were drawn.

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2018-19 Nottinghamshire County Championship

Five Gambiteers took part in the Championship congress: Florian Biermann & Drag Sudar in the Open section; John Huthwaite in the U155; Graham Gibson & Ronnie Watson in the U125. The U15 & U12 championships took place on Sunday, not involving any Gambiteers.

Florian gave Jonah Willow a huge scare in round 1 before finally losing after getting into time trouble. He and Drag met in round 4 and the game swung back and forth from being in favour of one to the other. Florian, again in time trouble, missed a chance to win Drag’s queen and later a possible mating net, and Drag emerged the victor. Florian responded by winning his final game, against Francis Bowers, to finish on 2 points out of 5. Drag also won his 5th game, against Daniel Broughton, to also finish on 2 points. The winner of the 6 player all play all was Jonah on 5/5, followed by Charlie Grainger on 3 (including a 1st round 1/2 point bye), who beat both Florian & Drag. Daniel finished joint 3rd on 2 points (including a full point bye in round 1) after losing to both Florian & Drag. Last was Francis in spite of his 1st round win over Drag.

John scored 2 points in the U155. He beat George Murfet in round 1 but lost to eventual winner Michael Lambert in round 2. After a 1/2 point bye in round 3 he could only draw with Ray Sayer and then lost to Dushan Malimage .

Graham missed out on a chance to finish joint 1st by losing to winner Bob Abrahart in the final round after he appeared to be winning. In the earlier rounds he beat Arunja Mendis & Alan Johnson and drew with Alexandra Arlachova but lost to David Dunne.

Ronnie had a full point bye in round 1 and then beat Alexandra and David. On Sunday he lost to Bob but could still have finished 2nd had he beaten Chris Fraser in round 5. Unfortunately Ronnie misread the start time of the final round and turned up late, losing by default. You had to feel for him.

The turnout of about 25 players was lower than the average of 44 of recent years. The number of entrants to the Championship and U155 sections was roughly half of previous years. This was partly, but not entirely, due to some NCC regulars choosing to play in 4NCL’s division 4 south. The U125 section used to average about 15 players but only 8 played last year with a similar number this year. This is largely due to the introduction of the U15 and U12 championships which has attracted about 15 players in both years.

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Weeks 10 and 11 – Gambit 1 – 4 Others

Not a great two weeks.

Our 5th team was the only one to win as their 3-1 win over Central 3 took them to the top of division 5 with wins by Maggie, Ronnie and Ken, with only Mick losing.

A weakened 1st team lost 3.5 – 1.5 at Newark 1. Mike B, Florian and Pete M (who tried to win to get a draw for the team) lost to Murray Smith, Andy George and Alex Combie. The subs did better as John S drew with Zoltan Tardi and Drag beat Ian Burridge.

The 2nd team lost 3 – 2 to WN 1 in a crucial relegation battle. John S had an uneventful draw with Ross Murphy. Steve played well to draw with Shabir Okhai. Drag’s draw offer was accepted by Antony Clare who couldn’t lose. Onos was in a K+4 each ending with Simon Scott and settled for a draw. There was a win with best play but it was not easy to find. Graeme lost to Jonah Willow who played a bishop for 2 pawn sacrifice to open up the position.

The 3rd team were battered by University 1. John Huthwaite was comfortably beaten by Michael Maciejewski. Keith had a B+1 v 4 ending and could not prevent S Guseltov promoting. Peter GM allowed Nikola Baltov to storm down the e-file and walked into a mate. Gary’s k-side attack was repelled by Bernado Pincheira and then his centre collapsed. Brian prevented the whitewash with a solid draw against Jonathan Finn.

The 4th team lost 3.5 – 1.5 at Grantham 3. Mick H beat John Pocock. Derek had a solid draw with Grenville Wollerton. Maggie was smashed by newcomer G. Johnson. Graham reached a B+3 ‘book draw’ but allowed Alan Nelder to promote a pawn. Onos, trying to win in an equal position, was caught out on the k-side by Richard Chillcott and lost.

Let’s hope for better fortune next week.

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Week 9 – 2 draws

Gambit 4 drew with WB 2. John T, Graham & Derek drew with Dylan Meyer, Steve Wootton & Chris Budd. Mick H lost to Frank Hill. Maggie reached the Lucena position, where her king was on the 8th rank ahead of the pawn on the 7th and her rook had cut off Bob Abrahart’s king, and she showed good technique to promote the pawn.

Gambit 2 travelled to Ashfield 1 in what could already be described as a relegation 4 pointer. Steve had a solid but uneventful draw with David Levens, albeit the last game to finish. Drag messed up the opening against Glenn Halfpenny and struggled to equalise, but then allowed his queen to be lost for a rook and lost. Onos looked as if he had let Phil Morgan’s rook into his position but was able to get his rook into Phil’s and emerged victorious after his c pawn proved more powerful than Phil’s a pawn. Graeme had played nicely to win a pawn and reached a good rook + pawns ending but, short of time, allowed Jerry Herrington to draw.

So to the epic struggle between John S and Steve Burke. In the previous 3 league seasons  John and Steve had identical records of 20 draws from 42 games, 48%. By comparison, Gambit players’ draw percentage was 29% over the same period. Therefore the only surprise is that their draw took as long as 13 moves.

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Scarborough 2018

Mike Barnes came joint 2nd in the Open section with 4/5.

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Week 8 – 2 wins and a draw

On Monday our heavily out graded 3rd team had a fantastic 3 – 2 win over WB 1. Keith beat Tim Walker who is graded 53 points higher! Peter GM beat Will Atiomo after Will turned down a couple of draw offers only to allow his time to run out. Brian drew with Brian Thompson who is graded 34 points higher. Gary drew with Chris Budd. The only loss was by John H, to Robert Richmond. Division 2 looks wide open.

Last night our 1st team beat last season’s champions Mansfield 1 3.5 – 1.5. Solid performances by Mike B, Tom & Pete M resulted in draws against Jon Tait, Jim Burnett & Peter Ackley. Mike N slowly maneuvered into a better position against Kev Simpson who then played an exchange sacrifice and then immediately dropped a piece. Florian’s game v Ken Morrison looked as if it was going nowhere but then Florian won a piece. The 10 second increments gave Florian the time to win the endgame.

Some people are still uncomfortable about increments, as can be seen by the number of teams deciding to stick with the ‘all moves in…” time control, but increments reward good play by enabling players to convert winning positions into full points rather than having to agree a draw. Some people also worry that increments will result in games going on too long but the opposite is true. With a time control of 80’ + 10″, a 30 move game will last a maximum of 2 hours 50 minutes and a 60 move game will last a maximum of 3 hours. The vast majority of games finish well before 60 moves have been played. A 90 move game will last a maximum of 3 hours 10 minutes but hardly any games last that long.

Our 5th team drew with University 3. Derek lost material early on but his opponent allowed him to get back into the game and eventually a draw was agreed, possibly prematurely, when Derek had a rook v a knight + 3 pawns. Graham, an exchange up,  missed a winning move but then did find a good move which resulted in him having a Q + 6 pawns v R, B & 2 pawns but very short of time, and they agreed a draw. With increments  Graham probably would have won, although knowing Graham…. Ronnie won fairly quickly but Ken lost fairly quickly.

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Week 7 Summary

Just one week after our 3rd team was battered 5-0 by Newark 2 our 2nd team narrowly avoided the same fate against Newark 1 after Onos drew with Graham Ladds. Drag, John S, Mike N & Steve lost to Murray Smith, Alex Combie, Zoltan Tardi & Andy George respectively. Our 3 results this season have been 1.5 – 3.5, 1 – 4, 0.5 – 4.5. Hopefully we’ll break this sequence when we play fellow relegation battlers Ashfield 1 soon. They have 1 point from 3 matches, with a -7 ‘goal diff’. WN 1 are also on 1 point from 3 matches with a -3 ‘goal diff’ and we are on 0 points from 3 matches with a -9 ‘goal diff’.

Our 4th team moved off the foot of the 3rd division table by beating WN 2 3-2. Although John T & Peter G-M lost to the Maladkar sisters, Gary beat Vidura Mendis with a storming k-side attack, Graham played solidly to beat John Crawley and Derek beat Kim Enkh Mergen after initially going 2 pawns down but then winning a piece.

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Newark all over 3rd team

Our 3rd team suffered a 5-0 battering by Newark 2 this week. John H was checkmated by Alex Combie when Alex had just 1 second left on his clock. Brian, in a tricky rook & knight & pawns ending, lost material when short of time and ended up losing on time to Daniel Jazdzewski. Keith could not defend his rooks & pawns ending against Richard Myers. Peter G-M started brightly against Graham Ladds but then began to retreat and lost his knight after an oversight. Gary found himself two passed pawns down to Keith Aiton and could not prevent one of them getting promoted.

This is the 3rd team’s first ‘proper’ 5-0 loss (i.e. not involving any player defaults or any game point penalties) since ‘records began’ (based upon the NCA website which shows match details going back to 2005-06). As a club, we have ‘properly’ won 5-0 7 times and lost 8 times, with our 4th team losing 5 times. In total, there have been approximately 70 ‘proper’ 5-0 wins since 2005-06. 7 of these wins were between teams from the same club (Ashfield twice, Grantham twice and WN three times). Beeston have already recorded their first 5-0 win, at WB3 in September. Apart from them, Grantham are the only club not to have ‘properly’ lost 5-0 to any other club, while Long Eaton have never ‘properly’ beaten any other team 5-0. Navigation 2 (now Central) did the 5-0 double over WB 3 in 2008-09.

Our 1st team had a good 3.5 – 1.5 win at WN 1 on Monday. Mike B gained a useful draw against Jonah Willow. Tom also drew, with Shabir Okhai, Pete M beat Anthony Clare. Mike N could only manage a draw with Susie Wang who developed a good position but ran short of time. Graeme had an easy win over Rob Willoughby.

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League Weeks 3 & 4 Roundup

Gambit 1        1-4   Grantham 1
Grantham 2  4-1   Gambit 2
Ashfield 1      2-3   Gambit 3
Central 1        3-2   Gambit 4
Gambit 5     2.5-1.5  WN 4

Grantham did the double over our 1st and 2nd teams. In the 1st team match Tom & John S managed drew with Nigel Birtwistle & Francis Bowers, while Mike B, Florian & Mike N lost to Chris Dorrington, Steve Prior & Paul Cumbers respectively. For the 2nd team, Steve & Florian drew with Peter Cusick & Francis Bowers but Drag, John S & Onos lost to Paul Cumbers, Chris Holt & Andy Hebert. John, a pawn up and trying to get into Chris’ position, made the only move that allowed a mate in one. Oops.

Our 3rd team had a nice win at Ashfield 2 even after Brian kindly gave Bob Taylor his queen. John H succeeded with his mating attack on Phil Morgan. Peter G-M fell to solid play by John Shaw. Gary withstood an attack from Peter Brace, who sacrificed a piece, to eventually win. Nigel Wright was two pawns up against our Keith but couldn’t make progress and was eventually ground down.

Our 4th team played at Central’s new venue, the Vat & Fiddle. John T & Graham were outplayed by Kev Harvey & Mark Radford. Derek fell to Andy Sutton. Mick & Maggie beat John Dell & Mick Frings.

Our 5th team beat WN after Keith & Ronnie beat Arjuna Mendis & Mankaran Punglia, and Alan drew with Chris Hurst. Ken was beaten by Jonah Tomsett. Will this Jonah one day reach the heady heights of the club’s other Jonah?

In other news, Mike B scored 3 points in the Open section of the 4NCL FIDE rated congress in Nottingham, which GM Keith Arkell won. In the Major section (U2050 & U175) Drag got 3 points while Florian could only manage 2,5 points, losing to Long Eaton’s Julian Cast in round 5. Radcliffe & Bingham’s recently qualified ECF arbiter Marcel Taylor controlled the Minor section. After many years with just two ECF arbiters (Neil Graham & John Swain), Nottinghamshire now has 9, after Somton Ukken & Anita Somton also qualified to join Phil Beckett, Mike Nayor, Simon Scott and Drag.

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