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.
Due to the current situation the LMC has had little option but to call a halt to the 2019-20 league season. It has used % of points gained to determine the final positions. Gambit 4, who were leading division 4, have been declared the champions.
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On Tuesday our 4th team all but secured promotion with a 5-0 win over Central 2. Mick & Maggie won very quickly v Jonathan Moore & Michael James. Derek should have lost a piece but Simon Parham missed his chance. John was a knight down but cleverly sacrificed his rook to queen a pawn and checkmate Lukasz Kacprzak. Graham steadily converted his positional advantage v Mark Turner. This win puts them on 21 points with 2 to play. WN 3 & RB 2 can reach 21 points but have inferior board differences.
On Wednesday our 2nd team travelled to leaders Grantham 1 more in hope than expectation, being, on average, 30 grading points lower per board. They got off to a good start when super sub John Huthwaite played nicely to draw v Peter Cusick. Onos made one or errors in the opening which Paul Cumbers punished mercilessly. John S played in confident style and launched an attack that surprised Steve Prior, but after the dust settled John, an exchange down, was unable to hold his position. Drag managed to give Nigel Birtwistle doubled ‘e’ pawns and was slightly better when Nigel, typically running very low on time, let Drag win a piece and the game (Drag missed a chance to win Nigel’s queen). Nigel at 198, is the highest graded player Drag has beaten. Steve’s opponent Robert Sidlarewicz, fell foul of the touch move law when in time trouble and then lost on time. The team is now level on points & board difference with Ashfield 1 who have the advantage of an easier run in, on paper anyway (WN 1 & Uni 1 v Gambit 2’s Man 1 & New 1). Our 1st team now has an outside chance of winning the title but must beat Grantham 1 and get more points v Ashfield 1 than Grantham get v WN 1.
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Our 4th team won their 7th match in a row, beating promotion rivals WN 3 4-1. They were without Mick ‘n’ Mags but were able to call upon Steve and Gary who won their games. Graham and Derek also won, with just John losing. They are now 6 points clear of 3rd place and need just 3 more points from their remaining 3 matches to finish in the top two in division 4.
In division 1, both teams suffered important losses. The 1st team lost 3-2 at Mansfield. They now need Grantham 1 to drop points somewhere. The 2nd team lost their ‘4 pointer’ 3-2 v Ashfield 1, who have gone a point ahead of our second team after Uni 1 defaulted to them and now look strong favourites to stay up.
After three losses our 3rd team finally got a win, against bottom placed Nom 2, but are too far behind the leaders to challenge for promotion. Our 5th team were beaten 4-0 by division 5 leaders Ashfield 4 but are still in a 4-way battle for 2nd place.
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The NRP was held at the high school as usual and, for the 5th year running, attracted just over 120 players. Considering that just a month ago we were not even sure it would go ahead, the fact it did take place and ran so smoothly says a lot about the hard work from John Swain, Simon Scott and Steve Burke these past few weeks. John and Simon were ably assisted on the day by Marcel Taylor & Neil Graham, with Chris Budd working hard as usual on the refreshments stall.
7 Gambiteers took part, and we have another name to add to the roll of honour on the club info page. Graham won his last four games to emerge joint winner in the Intermediate section on 5/6. Mick & Maggie both scored 1.5 points from 4 rounds. John Huthwaite scored 1/3 in the Major before having to withdraw.
Florian, Pete M & Drag didn’t trouble the leaders in the Open section (Mark Hebden won – see the ‘Chess Results Eng’ website for detailed results of all 5 sections). Florian was very unlucky in round 4 when, on 1,5 points, he found himself up against a 223 graded player! He recovered from this to draw in round 6 and finished on 2/6.
Pete (b) and Drag (w) met in round 4. Drag had developed a useful position with an advanced d pawn but then threw away a rook, only for Pete to blunder a knight which allowed Drag to scarper to the ‘a1’ corner with his white squared bishop to secure a book draw against Pete’s rook. Pete finished on 2.5 points and Drag on just 1.5. Drag also won a game when losing and lost two games when winning comfortably. Funnily enough, in the Sunday broadsheet he bought later, the chess article began by remarking how frustrating it is to fail to win after playing a good game. Too true!
Our 1st team won both their matches, v Gambit 2 & WN 1 to keep up their title challenge against Grantham 1 who lead by a point. Our 2nd team beat WN 1 to move above Mansfield and 3 points ahead of Ashfield 1. Their next two matches, v Uni 1 & Ashfield 1, could determine their fate. In division 3, our 3rd team’s promotion push has taken a huge hit with two defeats, to Beeston and RB 1. They are now 5 points adrift of leaders WB 2, 3 points behind Beeston and behind RB 1 on board difference (aka goal difference). Our 4th team continue to lead division 4 after a default win over Nomads 3 and a good win at RB 2. They are 2 points above WN 3 and 4 above RB 3. Our 5th team drew with RB 3 to stay ahead of them in 2nd place on board difference, 2 points behind leaders Ash 4 in div 5.
The new grades have been published. The biggest increase is by Florian who has jumped 11 points to 181. John S is up 7 to 174, Mike B up 6 to 198 and Keith, up 5 to 142. Those who have gone down include Peter GM who has fallen by 5 points to 137, John Tassi who is down 6 to 124, Mick H down by 8 to 113 and Peter M, also down 8 points to 177.
Finally, a quick mention for very nice win for our 1st team captain, Mike N 167, who defeated WN’s Shabir Okhai 203 in a Leicester League match between Mike’s team, Shepshed 1 and Shabir’s team, Syston 1.
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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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).
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.
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.