League Weeks 23 & 24

Gambit 5 were the only winners, beating EMCA 2 3-1 to go top of division 5 by two points.
Mick H & Maggie won while Ronnie & Ken drew.

A heavily out graded Gambit 4 gained a really good draw v West Nottingham 2. Graham produced an excellent win over Lavanya Maladkar who is graded 45 points higher than him. John T played well to draw against Armaan Gogia who is graded 44 points higher. Derek drew with Ritika Maladkar, 15 points higher. Mick H drew with Vidura Mendis but Maggie lost to Simon Scott after looking good for a draw.

Our 3rd team were battered 4.5 – 0.5 at Newark 2, with only Brian managing to draw, v Graham Ladds, but are still 3 points clear of relegation.

Our 2nd team missed an opportunity to at least draw at high flying Newark 1. Steve played solidly to draw with Zoltan Tardi and Onos had a crazy game with Keith Aiton with both players launching king side attacks but eventually it petered out to a draw. Drag missed an opportunity to win Andy George’s queen for rook & knight but later Andy allowed a check mate when it looked as if the game was going to be drawn. John S was rook and a pawn against David Coates’ rook and 3 pawns but had an opportunity to force a draw, which unfortunately he missed. On board 1 Florian missed a chance to take a strong grip on the position against Alex Combie, instead playing a move which eventually cost him the game.

Our 1st team’s relatively poor season continued with their 5th loss of the season, this time 3-2 to WN 1. There were 3 winning king side attacks, unfortunately only one was for us with Florian smashing through Ross Murphy’s position. Tom & Pete M lost to Jonah Willow’s & Shabir Okhai’s king side attacks. Mike B got away with a draw with Antony Clare in a better position but beginning to run short of time. Mike N was an exchange up but missed the correct continuation and eventually was also fortunate to draw with Rob Willoughby who arguably could have won if he had played on in a queen plus pawns ending.

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League Weeks 21 & 22

Two wins, two defeats and a draw.

Our 2nd team beat Grantham 2 4.5 – 0.5. There were two k-side mating attacks by John S & Drag over Chris Holt & Ben Mason. Steve and Onos outplayed Chris Hill & Grenville Wollerton. Mike N had a comfortable draw with Francis Bowers.

Our 5th won 4-0 by default over EMCA 2 – again. The LMC had overturned the win by default earlier this season only for EMCA 2 to fail to turn up for the rearranged match.

Our 3rd team drew with Ashfield 2. There were good wins by John H & Peter GM over David Levens & Bob Taylor, cancelled out by losses by Onos & Gary to Jerry Herrington & Nigel Wright. Keith drew with Phil Morgan who wrote on the Ashfield site “Keith outplayed me in a rook ending and deserved to win. I was saved by guillotine time control. He was on the brink of victory, but with 30 seconds left accepted my timely draw offer”.
If our 3rd team had used increments Keith & the team would probably have won.

Our 1st team lost 4 – 1 at Grantham 1. Tom could not defend his R+B v Q ending against Chris Dorrington. Mike N was outplayed by Steve Prior. John S drew with Stuart Williams. Mike B was unable to convert his 2 pawn advantage over Nigel Birtwistle. Pete M “took one for the team” by trying to win against Paul Cumbers from an equal position but lost.

Our 4th team missed out on a draw v Central 1, losing 3.5 – 1.5. The top three boards were draw by John T, Derek & Graham against Mark Radford, Andy Sutton & Oliver Alderton. Mick H fell to a simple trick by Mick Frings who took his f3 knight and then played Qh2# supported by a bishop. Maggie played well to go a whole rook up but then it went horribly wrong as she lost a knight and then an exchange and finally allowed Lucas Kacprzak to create two k-side passed pawns.

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30th Annual Nottingham Rapidplay

8 of us entered the Rapidplay on Sunday and two of us won shares of grading prizes.

Florian was the star performer in the Open section, winning a third share of the U185 grading prize with 4 points from his 6 games after losing to GM Mark Hebden in the final round.

Drag won a fifth share of the U170 grading prize with 3 points even though he was 25th seed out of 29 players.

Tom scored 3.5 points and had to play against IM Ameet Ghasi who is a bit of a Rapidplay specialist and won the Open section with 6 out of 6, including a win over Mark Hebden.

Pete M began well with 1.5 out of 2, including a win over Eric Gibbon 196 (who Drag probably should have at least drawn with) but then it all fell away, including a loss to Central’s Mark Radford who also won a fifth share of the U170 grading prize.

Mike N scored 3.5 points in the Major section. He was in contention for a prize but lost in the final round.

In the Intermediate section Mick H, Graham & Maggie scored 4, 3.5 & 2 points respectively.

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League Weeks 18 & 19

Our 1st team edged out the 2nd team in the return fixture, after making a tactical adjustment to their board order. On board 1, Tom escaped with a draw after Drag won an exchange. On 2, Pete M drew with John S who had the edge earlier in the game. Mike B beat Onos on 3 and Mike N exploited an uncharacteristic error by Steve to win a rook and pawn for a bishop. On board 5, John H escaped with a draw when Brian’s advantage evaporated in time trouble.

Our 3rd team came away from Ashfield 3 with a 3.5 – 1.5 win, helped by Ashfield’s board 4 not turning up. The other 4 boards saw wins for Gary & Keith over Trevor Lewis and Nigel Wright, and defeats by John H & Brian to Alex Webster & Steve Bak.

Our 4th team were beaten 4 – 1 by Radcliffe & Bingham 1, with only Mick H winning, against Ben Vaughan. John T lost to Chris Dunworth, a 190 standard player who was 218 at the turn of the century. Derek, Graham & Maggie lost to Nick London, Marcel Taylor and new member Mick Sandham who last played graded chess 20 years ago. The 3rd division is so tight that there are only 5 points between top and bottom.

Our 5th team lost 2.5 – 1.5 to West Nottingham’s next generation of youngsters but are still well placed for promotion from division 5.

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2018-19 Lightning

Tom Adams beat Mike Barnes in the final round to win the pre-Christmas Lightning event (10 seconds on the buzzer) with 5.5 / 6 after beating Pete Mercs in round 5, dropping just 1/2 point to Florian Biermann in round 4.

Mike Barnes came unstuck in round one when he lost to Onos Kofi-Ofuafor; he recovered to 4/5 but was unable to prevent Tom winning the event. 

Four players finished joint 2nd on 4 points: Mike Barnes, Brian Hayward, Pete Mercs, plus guest Robert Richmond who suffered an unexpected loss to Drag Sudar in round 2. 

The two other ‘shock’ results were in round 5: Gary Hopkinson beat Onos and Derek Padvis defeated John Huthwaite. 

The final scores were:
5.5 Tom Adams
4.0 Mike Barnes, Brian Hayward, Pete Mercs, Robert Richmond
3.5 Florian Biermann
3.0 Gary Hopkinson, Derek Padvis, Drag Sudar
2.0 Peter Gorecka-Marshall, Onos Kofi-Ofuafor
1.0 John Huthwaite
0.0 Keith Roper
(In addition, the event controller John Swain scored 2/4 and Simon Scott took John’s place in the last two rounds to score 1/2)

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2018-19 Half Season Summary

We’ve now completed our pre-Christmas fixtures and after last season’s successes things are proving more difficult this season, as expected.

Our 1st team beat Grantham 2 4-1 to go 3rd in the table. There were wins from Tom & Mike N over Peter Cusick & Ben Mason respectively while Pete M won by default after Francis Bowers got caught up in traffic. Mike B lost to Paul Cumbers and Drag got away with an extremely lucky draw with Grenville Wollerton after he should have been lost after about 10 moves.

Our 2nd team lost 3.5 – 1.5 to Grantham 1 and are bottom of div 1. Onos lost an exchange to Andy Hebert. Mike N was a piece for 3 pawns up and drew with Francis Bowers. Graeme was arguably better against Nigel Birtwistle but made a mistake and lost. John S went a pawn down to Paul Cumbers who then dropped a bishop for a couple of pawns and a draw was agreed. Drag  drew with Chris Dorrington after missing a win. The last time Chris gave up a draw to a similar strength player was 2011.

Our 3rd team won 3 – 2 at Long Eaton and are mid way up div 2. There were wins for Brian & Gary over Alex Bentley & Wallace Bryce. John H & Peter GM drew with Dave Williams & Sam Clayton. Keith lost to Andy Robins.

The 4th team lost 3-2 for the 4th time, this time at Nomads 2, and lie bottom of div 3. Gary & Derek beat Graham Neil & Mike Swanwick but John T, Peter GM & Graham lost to Will Eyre, Dave Griffiths & Paul Rees.

The 5th team beat WB 4 2.5 – 1.5 to share top spot in div 5. Mick H & Ken beat Bob Abrahart & Paul Carroll and Maggie drew with Finley Carroll, while Ronnie lost to Rafael Murray.

Here is a list of the best individual results so far this season:

Keith 136 beat Tim Walker 189 (53 points diff)
Drag 163 drew with Chris Dorrington 222 (59 points diff)
John 164 drew with Paul Cumbers 199 (35 points diff)
Graeme 170 drew with Jon Tait 203 (33 points diff) & Mike Barnes 200 (30 points diff)
Brian 140 drew with Brian Thompson 174 (34 points diff), Jonathan Finn 166 (26 points diff) & Dave Flynn 159 (19 points diff)
Steve 167 drew with Shabir Okhai & Jim Burnett, both 192 (25 points diff)
Mike 200 drew with Jonah Willow 218 (18 points diff)

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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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