Robert Richmond 1956 – 2020

We start 2020 with the very sad news that Robert Richmond has died unexpectedly.

Robert was an invaluable member of our chess community. He was our President 2010-13, Treasurer 2005-10, League Secretary 2007-09, Congress Director 2006-19, County Championship Controller 2008-19, ECF rep 2006-19, MCCU rep 2005-06 & 2007-19, and a member of the Finance Committee / Executive Committee from 2005-19. He was also the BCF/ECF Finance Director 2003-08.

The above information was taken from ‘The Presidents’ document in the ‘History’ section of the NCA website, a section Robert spent many days and weeks last year creating for our benefit.

In addition, although not a member of the LMC, he compiled the league fixtures every season from 2013-14. As someone who struggled compiling the fixtures during my periods as LS, I was very impressed with the quality of his fixture lists over the past few seasons.

Robert’s sense of humour comes through in his comments in ‘Time Limits 1970-2018 A Chronology’ in the NCA ‘History’ section, and in the start of his report about the MCCU 2016-17 AGM :- “Meeting opened at 2pm. Nothing happened. Meeting closed at 3.18pm”.

One little know fact about Robert is that he had earned the FIDE Master title some years ago in a tournament but an admin oversight meant he wasn’t awarded it until last year. Typically, probably feeling he hadn’t deserved it, he asked that the title be removed.

Gambit chess club would like to offer its condolences to his brother Alan and to all his club mates at West Bridgford. His death has left a huge gap in our association.

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Christmas Lightning

John Swain (controller) reports:

Twelve players participated in the traditional pre-Christmas Gambit Lightning, open to members and guests.  The format requires moves to be made every ten seconds – sometimes even every five seconds towards the end of a lengthy game – with illegal moves or failure to move on the buzzer resulting in an instant loss.  The trick, not easy to accomplish, is to create problems for your opponent which are insoluble in just ten seconds!

All £1 entry fees were returned as prizes and other “Secret Santa” prizes of chess books and a pocket set donated by members were drawn out of the hat just before the last round.  The winner was FM Michael Barnes (192) with a perfect 5/5.  Curiously, both Graeme Jennings (173) and Drag Sudar (159), eligible for the Slow Starter prize, having only scored a draw against each other from their first two rounds, both scored maximum points in the last three rounds to finish joint second on 3.5 points.  A mention should also be made of Graham Gibson (111) who set off like a train beating Gary Hopkinson (120) and Florian Biermann (170) before meeting his match in round 3 against Michael Barnes.

1st    Michael Barnes   5 points
2nd= Graeme Jennings & Drag Sudar   3.5
4th= Pete Mercs & Mike Naylor 3
6th= Shane Bhayat & Florian Biermann 2.5
8th= Graham Gibson, Gary Hopkinson & Derek Padvis 2
11th Keith Roper 1
12th Richard Edwards 0 (withdrew after two rounds).

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Mixed Fortunes At Newark

Our 4th team beat Newark 3 3-2 to go two points clear at the top of division 4. John T & Mick H, both out graded, played solidy for draws with Richard Myers & Gary Bosworth. Derek had a solid position but couldn’t make progress so settled for a draw with Jim Wellington. Graham’s pressure eventually caused Nick Spencer to lose his queen. Maggie, a pawn up in the endgame, drew with Charlie Carr to ensure the win.

Our 2nd team lost 1.5 – 3.5 to Newark 1 on the same night. John S tried to create activity on Zoltan Tardi’s castled queen side but Zoltan emerged better and won. Florian built pressure on David Coates’ queen side and eventually won material. Drag began well before a couple of poor moves gave Andy George the advantage. Andy let Drag back into the game before a bad lapse of concentration caused Drag to drop a piece. Jose was outplayed in the opening by Alex Combie and never managed to equalise. Steve was unable to turn his small positional advantage into a win and could only draw with Keith Aiton.

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Double Win Over Ashfield

Our 1st team beat Ashfield 1 4.5 – 0.5. Mike B won an exchange and, after avoiding one or two potential tricks by Glenn Halfpenny, mated with a neat sequence of moves. Pete had the edge v Steve Burke and swapped off into a won endgame but then dropped a pawn and drew. Mike N took control of his game v David Levens and forced a swap of pieces on the king side, enabling him to win pawns on the queen side and to win the endgame. Graeme built up pressure on Phil Morgan’s king, played a lovely exchange sacrifice on h7 which allowed his pieces to pour into Phil’s position, and mated. Florian converted a seemingly equal looking position into an endgame against Neil Graham.

Our 3rd team beat Ashfield 3 4-1. There were wins for John H, Keith & Gary against Bob Taylor, Paul Kelman & Trevor Lewis, and draws for Peter GM & Brian against John Shaw and Nigel Wright. This win moves Gambit 3 up to 3rd, level on points with WB 2, and 2 points behind Beeston.

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Two 5 Nils

When was the last time a club had two 5-0 results in the same week? Unfortunately only one of them went our way.

Our 4th team, whose aggregate age was about 275 years more than WN 4’s, were all in the bar well before 10pm. Keith, in for John who was celebrating a landmark birthday, patiently beat Alexandra Archalova who had begun brightly. Mick also had to face an enthusiastic start by Kian Chan before taking over with Kian having to give up his queen to prevent mate. Derek took control early on and won comfortably against Arjuna Mendis. Graham totally confused Mankaran Punglia in the opening. Maggie, after a bit of defending, countered with a mating attack. This win moves our 4th team to the top of division 4, above WN 3 on ‘goal difference’ with both having played 6 matches.

Our 2nd team went to Mansfield hoping they might rotate their team but Mansfield, in 6th place and possibly with last season’s draw in mind, fielded all 3 big guns. Drag faced Jon Tait’s Schliemann and winged it during the opening, emerging ok, only to make a small mistake to give Jon the initiative. Jon still had to tread carefully to avoid Drag’s mating threat, and very nearly allowed a queen sacrifice that would have secured Drag a draw. Onos gave Pete Ackley a slight edge and Pete is very good at converting these positions. John, doing ok, played a speculative knight for two pawns sac on h6 which Jim Burnett happily accepted before calmly taking control. Jose uncharacteristically misplayed the opening and found himself an exchange down, but he made Ken Morrison work hard for the full point. Steve’s passive play gave Chris Cantrill the initiative which he never let slip. After our brief flirt with top spot we are now back in our more traditional 6th place and looking forward to our perennial battle with Ashfield 1 to avoid relegation.

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Relentless Grantham Charge Towards Title

Grantham 1 beat their nearest rivals, a weakened Gambit 1, 3.5 – 1.5 to open up a gap at the top of the table with a perfect 6 wins out of 6. The match began badly when Drag misplayed the opening against Stuart Williams and let his queen get trapped. Mike B cancelled that out with an easy win over Nigel after winning two pawns and an exchange. John S defended a potential k-side breakthrough by Peter Cusick and they settled for a draw. Mike N was initially level but after the position opened up Steve Prior gained a powerful passed pawn and his better coordinated pieces told in the end. This left Pete needing to win and, even though a pawn down, he rejected an opportunity to force Paul Cumbers to play perpetual checks to avoid being mated, but eventually lost on time with Paul’s flag also hanging.

Much better news for our 3rd & 5th teams who had very comfortable wins against their corresponding WB opposition. Our 3rd team beat WB 3 4 – 1. John H, Peter GM, Keith & Gary all won with only Brian losing. It looks as if they will be involved in a 4 way battle for promotion against Beeston, WB 2 and RB 1. Our 5th team beat WB 5 4 -0 with wins for Ronnie, Thomas. Maggie & Ken. Ronnie beat Jose Serrano who is about 30 points higher, while the rest beat inexperienced juniors.

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Week 11. 4.5 – 0.5 & 0.5 – 4.5

Our 4th team beat Central 2 4.5 – 0.5. John T won comfortably against Lucasz Kacprzak. Derek’s pressure eventually told with his d pawn breaking through Mick Frings’ defence. Graham’s solid game caused Simon Parham to drop a piece. Maggie established a mating attack on the K-side which Mike James couldn’t prevent. The other game was drawn by Mick H who let slip a good position against John Moore. This result leaves the team in 2nd place, one point behind WN 3.

Our 2nd team was crushed 0.5 – 4.5 by Grantham 1. John S tried to play positively against Nigel Birtwistle but eventually had to concede. Florian misplayed the opening and Paul Cumbers is too good a player to hand him even the smallest advantage. Drag, distracted by captain matters, played too loosely and Stephen Prior took advantage, smoothly avoiding the last gasp trap Drag set which much lesser players may have fallen into. Steve began ok against Stuart Williams but a misjudgment resulted in his centre collapsing. Onos played very well to draw against Peter Cusick after being delayed for 20 minutes due to traffic.

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Week 10 Summary

A win and two draws this week.

Our 1st team beat Newark 1 4-1. There were good wins by Mike B & John S over Murray Smith & Andy George. The other 3 games were affected by players getting themselves into time trouble. Pete lost to Zoltan Tardi after running low on time. Graeme beat Alex Combie after Alex got into time trouble. Florian won on time against David Coates.

Our 3rd team drew with Central 1. There were 3 draws between Brian, Keith & Gary and Andy Sutton, Pat Allen & Terry Lavelle. Peter GM began brightly against Mark Radford but allowed Mark to develop a strong attack which Mark finished very smartly. John H looked to be in a fairly dull drawn position against Mark Darlington but John posed questions as Mark’s time went down, and eventually broke through, winning material.

Our 5th team also drew, against Grantham 4. Ronnie drew fairly quickly with Alan Nelder. Ken found himself a couple of pawns down in a R+pawns endgame and couldn’t prevent Chris Cumbers from winning. Thomas had a fortunate moment when John Pocock missed a chance to win a piece but after that he played nicely to win. Graham was a pawn down in a R+pawns end game against Richard Frankland but managed to draw.

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4th Team Promotion Hopes Boosted

Our 4th team beat division 4 leaders WN 3 3.5 – 1.5 to move up 4 places to 2nd, one point behind WN 3. John T had a solid draw with Rob Willoughby. Derek touched a bishop and had to move it, allowing his K & Q to be forked by Andrew Watson. Mick H brought the scores level with a good win over Mike Herbert with passed queen side pawns. Graham played well to go a piece up and, although he missed a mate in 2, he eventually won in slightly bizarre circumstances with Nigel Marshall conceding, incorrectly thinking he was mated, but he was a rook and bishop down by this point. Maggie was in an equal N + pawns position when her opponent, Daniel McWilliams, offered a swap of knights in an attempt to win to draw the match. Maggie accepted the swap but then missed an immediate chance to win the resultant isolated king’s pawn. The game was heading for a draw when Daniel suddenly resigned, thinking he couldn’t prevent a pawn rushing to the 8th even though he could easily do so.

Our 2nd team missed a chance to put some distance between themselves and their relegation rivals Ashfield 1 as they lost 3.5 – 1.5. Drag completely misplayed the position and allowed John Molyneux to win easily. Steve had created a passed pawn but then dropped an exchange after which David Levens missed a chance to win a bishop. Steve still had good chances but, with his time running low, unfortunately allowed a mate in one. Onos was slightly worse but managed to hold onto a draw against Neil Graham. The other two games, Jose & Brian against Steve Burke & Phil Morgan, always looked drawn. This important win for Ashfield brings them up to just 2 points behind our 2nd team and still to play Uni 1 & WN 1 before Christmas.

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Scarborough 2019

Three Gambiteers went up to Scarborough for the congress. As forecast, it rained incessantly from Friday pm until Saturday lunch and getting to the venue down the narrowed path from the foot bridge involved wading through a large puddle. The rain stopped on Saturday and on Sunday the sun came out and the sea became blue.

In round 1 in the Open, Mike Barnes beat a 170 who lost in round 2 when an arbiter caught him looking at the rugby score on his mobile at the bookstall and had to penalise him for having taken his phone out of the playing area in spite of clear warnings before play began. In round 2 Mike faced 2nd seed Lawrence Webb (222) and eventually had to concede. Two wins against 170s followed before he found himself floated up to face 6th seed James Moreby (211). Having to win to stand any chance of prize money Mike gave it a go but James was a bit sharper. Still, 3/5 with a 198 average, and playing two of the three joint winners (the other being GM Danny Gormally (245)), was a very decent performance.

Mike Naylor also entered the Open. He faced a 204 in round 1 and played very well with an equal or possibly better position deep into the game before a lapse of concentration allowed a simple trick winning material. A win and a loss to 170s followed; the loss after being an exchange up as he didn’t defend as tightly as he could have. A very quick draw on Sunday am v a 160 was followed by a long game v a 135 where Mike had to play accurately to win in a rooks plus pawns endgame. 2.5 and an average of 170 was a solid performance.

Solid performance is not how to describe Drag Sudar’s play in the Major. A lifeless draw in round 1 v a 139 was followed by a careless mistake and a loss to a 139 junior. He played reasonably well in round 3 before his 150 opponent allowed a mating attack. Another turgid draw came in round 4 v a 130. In round 5 he probably should have lost to a 169 before happily accepting a draw offer. 2.5 points with just a 145 average.

Some other Notts players entered and the details are on the Chess Results website.
Next year’s Open and Major might be FIDE rated.

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