Club Championship 2021-22

There was a smaller entry than usual this year of just 10 players due to several factors including the EFL deciding to schedule a championship playoff game on our 1st Tuesday, featuring some team from Rushcliffe. Nevertheless the event reached an exciting conclusion.

After week 1 Peter Mercs and Florian Biermann led the way on 2.5 points after drawing with each other in round 3. Just behind them, on 2 points, were Michael Naylor, Drag Sudar & Gary Hopkinson. Gary had caused the only upset so far, beating Mike in round 1.

The scores after round 3 were:
2.5: Florian, Pete
2.0: Mike, Drag, Gary
1.5: Dick
1.0: Felipe, Mark, Graham
0.0: Ken

In round 4 Drag caused a major upset by beating Florian after playing an opening he’d never used before, and Mike also caused an upset by beating Pete. The final round pairings were Florian (2.5) v Mike (3), Drag (3) v Pete (2.5) and Richard Edwards (2.5) v Ken Heath (0) (after a mistake in the pairing process; Dick should have been paired v Graham Gibson (1)). Dick beat Ken and waited to see if he would feature in a playoff.

Drag again caused an upset by beating Pete and giving himself hope of retaining the title he won the last time it was played for in 2019. Florian and Mike played out a double edged game and, as both players dipped below 1 minute left on their clocks, Florian missed an opportunity to reach a rook + 3 v rook + 2 endgame that he couldn’t lose. However he allowed Mike to swap off the rooks and his bishop was better than Florian’s in the endgame, so Mike won and became club champion on tie break after having beaten Drag in round 2. Congratulations to Mike on his first Gambit club championship.

Final scores:
4.0: Mike, Drag
3.5: Dick
3.0: Mark
2.5: Florian, Pete, Gary
2.0: Felipe/Marian (Marian 2nd week sub for Felipe)
1.5: Graham
0.0: Ken

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Compare 2021-22 to 2019-20 (part 2)

Part 1 was reported in early December.

262 players played in 2019-20. By 30 Nov 112 of them had played this season. This increased to 123 by the end of the season. By 30 Nov we had 62 new players. This has increased to 97.

47% of those who played in 2019-20 played this season. If we omit the University club this figure becomes 50%, which is still a low percentage.

44% of those who played this season were new players (38% if we omit Uni).

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2021-22 League Season Review

Last August seems a very long time ago and so much has happened since then.

At our AGM we were informed that only two thirds of our members would be playing in the league this season, so we entered 3 teams rather than the usual 5, and began with 14 players.

The LMC decided to reduce the number of boards per team from 5 to 4 and this suited us seeing that all but one of those not playing were drivers, leaving us with just two people willing and able to provide full team transport.

Our 1st team began very slowly, losing to our 2nd team and then losing two more matches before finally winning one before Christmas. It was a different story in 2022 as we won 5 and drew 1 to finish the season in 2nd place behind winners Mansfield 1.

Our 2nd team, yet again the only 2nd team in division 1, had a great start, beating our 1st team, but that was the high point as we managed just one more win and two draws before ending up 6th and last on board difference to Ashfield 1.

Our 3rd team never threatened the promotion places nor the relegation places as we adopted a pattern of lose, draw, win pretty much throughout the season, and finished 4th out of 7 teams.

In September, with 3 new members, we entered a 4th team into division 5. We got off to a slow start with 3 losses, but then the arrival of two more members and a 4-0 win over RB3 set us up for an 8 match unbeaten run and we ended up in 3rd place.

New members continued to join throughout the autumn and winter and in Jan we entered our 5th team into a newly formed 6th division, quickly followed by our 6th team, with both teams having completely separate squads of new members. Our 5th team finished top of the 4 team division with our 6th team ending up 2nd.

In total, 15 of our 24 members from 2020 played this season, plus 13 new members. Many weeks from November to February saw large numbers turning up at the club. Only one of our new members had experience of playing league chess and most had only ever played online. Now that the novelty of playing over the board has worn off, it will be interesting to see how many of our new members will be with us next season.

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2021-22 Gambit Rapidplay Round 2

After 2 rounds only Mike B has a maximum score of 4/4.
Close behind on 3.5 are Florian & Drag with Derek on 3.

John H (2)            0 – 2       Michael B (2)
Florian (2)         1½ – ½    Michael N (2)
Drag (1½)             2 – 0       Leo (1½)
Graham (½)        1 – 1        Phil (1)
Alastair (0)          1 – 1        Thomas (0)
John T (0)            2 – 0       Marian (0)
Derek (1½)      1½ – ½   Adam (1)
Daniel (½)  1 Point Bye

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Nottingham Rapidplay 2022

A record 151 entrants; normally this event attracts about 125. John Swain was one of the organisers and Mike Naylor helped on the control team on the day.

Scores (* = player’s 1st ever ECF rated weekend event):

Open: Pete 4
Inter: Leo* 3, Graham 2.5, Adam* 2
Minor: Marian* 4, Freddie* 4, Ronnie 2.5
Improvers: Kieran* 4, James* 2

Our star performer was Pete who had a fantastic day, winning 4 and losing only to GM Mark Hebden in the final round (had Pete won, he would have have been joint 1st), and to IM Gediminas Sarakauskas in round 1. Gediminas was the joint winner with WB’s Shabir Okhai. Amongst Pete’s victims were Mansfield’s Jim Burnett (2140) and Ankush Khandelwal, who is currently unrated but was a 2350 standard player when he played regularly less than a decade ago.

The only clash between our members was Freddie v Ronnie which Freddie won. Considering this was their 1st ever Rapidplay, our new members did pretty well overall, with 3 of them getting at least 50%. Freddie went into the final round on 4 points but narrowly missed out on winning prize money. After losing in round 1 Leo won 3 on the trot but was unable to win either of his final two games. Adam began well with two wins, then hit ‘the wall’ against some very experienced players. Marian never threatened the leaders but played consistently throughout, as did Kieran. James’ day didn’t go quite as well as many of us at the club expected, but that hasn’t deterred him at all.

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2021-22 Gambit Rapidplay Round 1

The results in the first round of our ECF rated Rapidplay are:
Barnes 2.0 – 0.0 Tassi
Pownall 0.0 – 2.0 Biermann
Naylor 2.0 – 0.0 Young
Talmacel 0.0 – 2.0 Huthwaite
Peters 0.5 – 1.5 Sudar
Padvis 1.5 – 0.5 Martin
Karagounis 1.0 – 1.0 Lovatt
Beacroft 1.5 – 0.5 Gibson

Only one ‘shock’ result, Leo beating Graham 1.5 – 0.5. Some round two games have also been played. Drag and John T eased 2.0 – 0.0 past Leo and Marian respectively while Derek scored 1.5 – 0.5 v Adam.

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Comparing 2019-20 To 2021-22

In the 2019-20 season 262 people played in the league. Of those only 112 have played this season, 42.75%. The club hit the hardest is Long Eaton who haven’t entered a team. The figures for the rest are:

Mansfield 6/7, Beeston 6/8, Gambit 14/24, RB 10/19, Newark 8/16, Grantham 12/26, Ashfield 10/22, WN 13/31, Nomads 8/20, WB 14/35, Central 5/13 and Uni 6/27.

On the positive side, clubs have 62 extra players, almost all brand new to Notts Chess:

Uni 15, Beeston 11 (!), Nomads 7, WN 6, RB 5, Central 5, Gambit 5, WB 4, Ashfield 2, Grantham 2, Mansfield 0, Newark 0.

Our club had 24 players in 2019-20. We sadly lost Alan earlier this year, and 6 members have stayed away due to concerns over the virus. Three members are coming down but aren’t playing in the league. That left us with 14 so we entered just 3 teams.

We soon began to get new members and entered a 4th team. Currently we have 5 new league players but we might have at least 4 more, and we have 3 new members not playing in the league. The Gambit Rapidplay currently has 18 entrants, a record number.

Over the board there has been little to write home about. Our 1st team has lost all 3 matches. The 2nd team are 1-1-3. The 3rd are 1-1-2. The 4th had 3 losses but finally won on Tuesday, 4-0 v RB3. Dan has a 100% record, albeit from just one game. Graeme, Pete and John S are unbeaten. Graeme has had 3 excellent draws v Mike Barnes, John Molyneux and Murray Smith with a 2200 average. John S forced Shabir Okhai to take a draw or possibly lose. Drag, Florian and George have unwanted 100% records.

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2021-22 Season Week 1

Exactly 19 months to the day after our last league match, league chess resumed.

Our 3rd team suffered an unexpected defeat at WB 3. On board 1 Keith’s game had to be restarted, according to article 7.2 of the Laws of Chess, after only a handful of moves, when he noticed that his opponent’s knight and bishop were set up on the wrong squares. Keith lost in the endgame. Graham allowed his opponent to take control in the middle game and also lost. Ronnie drew and Ken had a comfortable win. Result 2.5 – 1.5 loss.

The big clash between the 1st and 2nd teams took place on Tuesday, with the 2nd team emerging as surprise 2.5 – 1.5 winners. Mike B and Graeme played out a rather tame draw. Florian allowed Mike N to gain a winning attack on the Q-side. Pete was an exchange down when Onos lost on time. Drag missed a winning move and then, in time trouble, missed another good move, and lost on time to John H.

On Wednesday our 4th team, featuring 3 players new to OTB standard play chess, lost 3 – 1 at Uni 3, but could have won or drawn. Tom was unlucky to miss a chance to punish his opponent’s mistake and lost material. George began soundly but allowed his opponent to gain a small edge from which he didn’t recover. Marian played well, winning first one pawn, then another, and finally his opponent’s queen. Will lost some material and his opponent played well after that. A slow start but the team has real potential to do well, and it’s great to have such enthusiastic new members.

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Club Has Reopened

After almost 18 months the club is open again. The club held an AGM on Tuesday.
We held a minute’s silence in memory of Alan Groves.

We will enter three teams into what is likely to be a much smaller league this season as many people are understandably still feeling cautious about playing chess over the board. Hopefully things will look a lot better this time next year.

Brian Hayward, who has been our club secretary for about 100 years, decided not to continue and was thanked for everything he has done – he has been a brilliant club secretary. The position has been taken over temporarily (so he thinks) by Mike Naylor.

Derek Padvis decided not to continue as president and the position is currently vacant. The job is really tough; chairing one meeting a year and handing out prizes.

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Alan Groves 1942 – 2021

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Alan sadly died on 22nd March. His health had gradually deteriorated over the past few years.

Alan joined Gambit in the early 1970s when the club moved to Federation House where he was on its committee. He was our club’s auditor for over 30 years until 2010 and club president from 2016 to 2019 when he stepped down due to his health. He captained a team for a few seasons in the 1990s and won the Brian Gretton Trophy (best performance in the league by members graded < 130) in 2000-01 & 2013-14. For several years he was the 5th team’s main, and often sole, driver. He didn’t normally get involved with NCA affairs but in 2001 he played an instrumental role in sorting out the association accounts which were in a complete mess at the time.

Away from chess, one of Alan’s pleasures was popping abroad several times a year, mostly to Benidorm. In the mid 2000s a few of us went with him several times. He showed us the other side of Benidorm; the relaxed and peaceful Old Town. On our first visit he took us immediately to his local, the Robin Hood (run by a fellow Forest fan) for our first of many bottles of Mahou. One November a couple of us went with Alan to join his family and friends for the fiesta with its parade of decorative floats and the excellent fireworks display on Poniente Beach.

Alan will be very fondly remembered by everyone at the club as a warm and friendly man with a hearty laugh. He could always be found at the end of a club night in the bar with his fellow club mates. He was great company and a thoroughly decent man.

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