Shocks Galore At The NCC

The Nottinghamshire County Championships were held this weekend at the High School, ably run as always by Robert Richmond who deserves a lot of credit for his unassuming hard work organising our 3 local events.

The Minor Section featured two Gambiteers, Graham Gibson & Ronnie Watson. Graham scored 3.5 / 5 but Ronnie managed a solitary win while losing the other 4. The winner was Robert Abrahart with 4 points.

The Major Section didn’t have anyone from our club. It was won by Janos Wagenbach on 4 points with Tim Lane coming 2nd on 3.5 points.

The Championship Section included 5 Gambiteers: Mike Barnes, Pete Mercs, Florian Biermann, Drag Sudar & Jose Pinto Vieira. Shabir Okhai became county champion with 4.5 points after beating Mike, Florian, Drag & Armaan Gogia who had produced a major shock in round 2 by beating Jon Tait who also only drew with Steve Burke.

Florian had a fantastic weekend; 2nd place on 3.5 points with a tournament rating of 203! He produced two shocks, beating Jon and drawing with Mike. He also beat Jose & Steve.

Mike came 3rd with 3 points. He escaped with a draw against Pete, who missed a win in the endgame, and beat Drag & Daniel. Drag finished joint 4th on 2.5 points with Jon, Pete & Jose. He defeated Pete & Armaan and drew with Steve. Jose lost an exciting game v Jon, drew with Daniel and beat Pete who managed just one win, v Daniel.

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5 Points From 3 Matches v Uni

3 of our teams faced Uni teams recently, winning two matches and drawing the other.

Our 1st team scraped past Uni 1 3-2. There was a well played win by Mike N v Jonathan Finn and John S continued his good form by beating Stanislav Huseletov. A surprising loss by the usually solid Graeme to Ewan Fewell gave Uni 1 hope, but draws by Mike B & Pete M against Michael Maciejewski & Tharshan Kuhendiran ensured victory for us.

Our 4th team were also away, at Uni 2, and came away with a draw. Derek & Graham beat Vishu Ketheeswaran & Ashrit Chohan respectively, and John T drew with Tom Dabner. Mick ‘n’ Mags lost to Kaushik Kuralla & Marcos Lopez Lema.

Leaving the best till last, our 2nd team performed magnificently to beat a much stronger Uni 1 team 4-1, a score that flattered them as it should have been 5-0. First to finish was Drag who, thinking his position was looking dodgy, decided to attack and found himself threatening mate against Michael Maciejewski. Although Michael defended the first threat he fell for Drag’s offer of a rook which allowed Drag to play a cheeky little checkmate. Soon after, Jose converted his exchange advantage into a clearly won R & pawns endgame. Jose has settled into the club very nicely indeed. This was soon followed by a very nice win by Florian who played very solidly and then punished an error by Dave Redman. Steve managed to fend off Charlie Grainger’s attack but then missed a winning chance and drew. John S had played very nicely v Tarun Malhotra, 31 points higher than John. Tarun had a rolling ‘a’ pawn which forced John’s king away from his 3 kingside pawns allowing Tarun to draw. Later, after some analysis, we did find a win for John but few people would have found the move with under two minutes left on the clock.

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RB’s Clean Sweep Over Gambit

Radcliffe & Bingham completed a clean sweep over Gambit last week as their 2nd team thrashed our 4th team 4.5 – 0.5. Derek prevented a 5-0 scoreline with a solid but uneventful draw against Mike Nailard. John T lost a pawn v Chris Bonnello and failed to hold the endgame. Mick H lost an exchange and then allowed Barry Redburn to invade his position, although Barry did miss a mate in 3. Graham misplayed an equal B v N endgame v Len Morrell. Maggie lost on time against Philip Erentz.

On the same night our 1st team drew with WN 1. Mike B played a clever and solid game to draw with Jonah Willow. Mike N drew with Antony Clare after an interesting battle. Graeme drew with Simon Scott, who was an eligible last minute substitute, after Simon forced a draw in a game that became very unclear. Pete M dropped his ‘a’ pawn against Shabir Okhai and that was all that Shabir needed to convert to a win. John S beat John Bamford for the 2nd time in 9 days after John Bamford turned down a draw and then tried to expand on the queen side.

Last night our 3rd team bounced back from defeat to RB 1 last week to beat WB 2 3-2. Wins by Brian & Keith over Steve Wootton & Tomasz Adamski (who came 2nd in the Minor Section at the 4NCL South Normanton congress this weekend) were complemented by draws from Peter GM & Gary against Dylan Meyer & Chris Budd. Only John H lost, to Matthew Bubis. WB appear to have established a good relationship with Rolls Royce CC in the Derby & District League as 4 of their team (all but Chris) are members of RR along with Saurav Sunny.

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4NCL South Normanton

Three Gambiteers entered the Fide Rated congress this weekend.

In the Open Section, Mike Barnes won his 1st game and drew the other 4 to finish on 3 points, just outside the prize money. WN’s Jonah Willow finished joint 3rd after drawing with eventual 2nd placed Martin Burrows in an exciting game. The winner was John Merriman 214 who defeated GM Mark Hebden in the last round. With two GMs, an IM and three FMs in the field, it was refreshing to see an untitled player win the event.

Also in the Open was Jose Vieira who, after a full point bye in round 1, put up a very good fight before finally succumbing to Jonah Willow in round 2. After two more defeats, including v ex Ashfield player Richard Webster, and a complicated draw v LE’s Julian Cast, Jose ended up on 1.5 points.

In the Major Section (U2000 & U175), Drag Sudar lost to top seed ex Ashfield player Derek Jarvis in round 1. He won in round 2 against WB’s Saurav Sunny with a lovely mating net in the middle of the board. He threw away an easy draw in round 3, forgetting all the basic principles of the endgame, and followed this up by throwing away a win in round 4 against Central’s Mark Radford, eventually drawing. A win against WN’s Vidura Mendis in round 5 gave him a total score of 2.5 points.

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Double Trouble v Radcliffe & Bingham

Our 3rd and 5th teams suffered defeats to RB 1 & 3 this week.

Our 3rd team was at home to RB 1. Gary’s loss to Mike Nailard was cancelled out by Peter GM’s win over Nick London. John H was unable to fend off Marcel Taylor’s attack and Keith had to settle for a draw against Ben Vaughan. Brian needed to win to draw the match, and he went two pawns up but then, in time trouble, he allowed Mick Sandham to play a back rank mate.

Our 5th team travelled to RB 3 on the same night. Ken beat Alistaire Davidson and Maggie drew with Charlotte Attwood, but defeats from Ronnie and Mick H to Stephen Morley and new player Gavin Dow saw them crash to defeat.

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Gambit 2 Top Of The League!

Our 2nd team took full advantage of a weakened WN 1 team, and the fact no other 1st division matches are taking place this week, to beat WN 1 by 4-1 to go top of division 1.

Drag & Graeme played out uneventful draws v Antony Clare & Armaan Gogia respectively. John S played an exchange sacrifice with John Bamford returning the favour a few moves later, and then John played a move that led to either mate or a gain of material. Steve also was in control throughout in his game v Ross Murphy. Jose’s game appeared to be heading for a draw before Hambel Willow erred in a R+pawns ending with both players very short of time.

We’ll enjoy this while it lasts, and have asked the LMC to prorogue the league until May.

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1st Team Edge Past 2nd

Our 1st team beat our 2nd team 3-2 last night, a much narrower result than expected as the 1st team were at full strength and far stronger than the 2nd team who were without John Swain and Onos Kofi-Ofuafor.

Mike Barnes punished a reasonable looking move in the opening by Drag Sudar. On board 2 neither Peter Mercs nor Jose Vieira – making his debut for the club – managed to gain an advantage and they eventually drew; a very good start for Jose. Mike Naylor played a sacrifice but Steve Hunter defended well, posing several questions himself, and a draw was a fair result in this exciting tactical battle. On board 4 Graeme Jennings used his superior technique to out manoeuvre Peter Gorecka-Marshall who, to his credit, chose an attacking opening. Florian Biermann played in his usual attacking style but Brian Hayward defended carefully and eventually Florian’s attack petered out and then he allowed Brian to win material and the game; a great result for Brian against a much higher graded player.

On paper it should have been about 4-1 or more so this was a good morale booster for the 2nd team in what will be their 4th consecutive challenging season in division 1, while the 1st team don’t look like either challenging for the title or being anywhere near relegation.

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Absence Makes The 4th Team Stronger

It’s usually very easy to put a team together at the start of the season with lots of players still eligible, but this definitely wasn’t the case for our 4th team’s 1st match yesterday. On the day before the match, of the 5 members allocated to the team at the captains meeting last week, only Graham was definitely playing. John T was unavailable, Derek was unwell and Mick ‘n’ Mags were proving difficult to get hold of as they were on holiday. It took numerous phone calls, including unsuccessful attempts to reach some of our 5th team, before the team’s line up was finally confirmed.

The standard practice at the club is to allocate members to squads and stick with them even when players from higher teams are available. Therefore we took no pleasure in taking a team to Nomads 3 that would out grade them heavily. Unsurprisingly we won 4.5 – 0.5. Graham’s opponent, new to league chess, unfortunately dropped a piece after just 4 moves. Keith won a rook after just 10 moves. Drag gradually improved his position and won a piece. Mick won a pawn and played patiently until he won a piece. Brian had a tricky position and was happy to take a draw when a pawn down in a Q+B+pawns ending.

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Darnall & Handsworth RP 2019 and UK Open Blitz 2019

5 Gambiteers entered the Darnall Rapidplay on 31 Aug. Pete Mercs managed just 2/6 in the Open in which Mansfield’s Jim Burnett came joint 1st on 4.5 points. In the Major Drag Sudar and Oliver Graham came joint 4th with 4/6 with 3 winners on 5/6. Mark Radford scored 3/6. Derek Padvis got 2.5 points in the Intermediate.

On the following Saturday Drag entered the Birmingham heat (one of 8 throughout the country) of the UK Open Blitz Championship Qualifiers. There were 15 rounds of 3′ + 2″ increments. Drag scored 7.5 points. West Nottingham’s Jonah Willow, 8th seed, played well to finish second on 12.5 points to take one of the two qualifying places for the final in November.

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Gambit Time Handicap 3 September 2019

Report by John Swain

Sixteen players participated in the traditional curtain-raiser for the new season, the Time Handicap.  It was great to see several new members and guests amongst the competitors.  With less than ten points between grades, the players had ten minutes and an extra two seconds a move (the increment was an innovation this year, facilitated by the club’s fairly recent acquisition of several more digital clocks).  In extreme cases, with a difference in grades of 70 or more, the stronger player had just three minutes against his opponent’s seventeen minutes (in both cases with a two-second increment).  Differences in between these extremes were on a sliding scale.  This time handicap helped to create a level playing field, with several lower graded players emerging victorious thanks to this fun format.

Three players set a cracking pace, winning their first two rounds: Dick Edwards (113) Mike Naylor (169) and Hambel Willow (138).  They were therefore ineligible for the Slow-Starter Prize, available for the best performer(s) who scored no more than one point in the first two rounds.  However, over the next three rounds, they all scored points against each other: Dick beat Hambel in round 3, Mike beat Dick in round 4 and Hambel beat Mike in round 5! 

This set up an exciting final round where these three, all on 4/5, played against opponents on 3/5.  Dick could only draw with Derek Padvis (120) whereas Hambel beat Drag Sudar (159) and Mike emerged victorious against Pete Mercs (185) after a titanic struggle where Mike had seven seconds left when Pete lost on time in a complicated position. All the £1 entry fees were returned as prizes. 

Final scores were
1st= Mike Naylor and Hambel Willow 5/6
3rd Dick Edwards 4.5/6
4th= (sharing the Slow Starter Prize) Derek Padvis and John Tassi 3.5/6
6th= Pete Mercs, Keith Roper, Drag Sudar 3/6
9th= Simon Scott 2.5 (from four rounds) Peter Gorecka-Marshall 2.5/6
11th= Gary Hopkinson, Thomas Pownall, Mark Radford  2/6
14th= Jose Vieira 1.5 (from three rounds) Brian Hayward 1.5/6
16th Alan Groves 1/6

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