This was a tough season for most of our members, with 3 of our teams finishing in relegation places. However there were some notable individual results.
The best 4 wins of the season were:
Graeme Jennings (159) v Nigel Birtwistle (196) and Richard Truman (180)
Onos Kofi-Ofuafor (167) v Robert Richmond (192)
Ken Heath (72) v Alberto Rodriguez (116)
The best draws of the season were:
Tom Adams (ung) v Alex Posazhennikov
Alan Groves (88) v Graham Neil (122)
Rob Ensor (124) v Owen Hunt (154)
Derek Padvis (127) v Matt Smith (160) and John Harrison (151)
Keith Roper (137) v Anita Somton (165)
Charlie Grainger (139) v Alex Combie (171)
John Tassi (142) v Steve Prior (190) and Glenn Halfpenny (176)
John Huthwaite (148) v Zoltan Tardi (181)
Drag Sudar (152) v Steve Prior (190) and Peter Mercs (180)
Mike Naylor (164) v Jim Burnett (197)
Graeme Jennings (159) v Peter Mercs (183)
Onos Kofi-Ofuafor (167) v Mike Barnes (203)
Several league rule change proposals were passed at last night’s well attended rules revision meeting, but probably the most interesting one for players will be the option for teams to mutually agree to use increments in league matches from next season. Teams will be able to agree to play all moves in 75 minutes (60 in div 5) plus 10 second increments. This is a welcome and logical step forward from the introduction this season of all moves in 90 minutes (75 in div 5) as clubs obtain more digital clocks.
Rule C7 has also been greatly simplified, focusing entirely on the 20 points tolerance when determining board order, with the administrative aspects of how temporary grades may be assigned next season to be covered by hopefully ‘user friendly’ LMC guidelines.
Congratulations to new club champion Mike Barnes (left, with club president Alan Groves).
Mike had to work hard to win the title after slipping to a first round draw against a dogged Peter Gorecka-Marshall.
The only shock result in round one was Peter G-M’s draw with Mike. In round 2, Drag Sudar laid a trap which John Swain fell for, leaving Drag on 2 points alongside Pete Mercs and Tom Adams with Mike and Peter G-M on 1.5 points.
In round 3 Peter G-M beat Drag to join Mike in 2nd place behind Pete M who had beaten Tom. Round 4 saw Mike finally wear down Pete M, while Drag missed a chance to win a rook in his draw with Tom.
Drag made up for this in round 5 with a nice win over Pete M while Tom beat Peter G-M and Mike beat Brian Hayward. Mike was worse than Tom in the final round but fought his way back to win and take the title. Drag managed to beat Brian and finished 2nd on 4.5 with Pete M third after beating Mike Naylor.
The club championship is held at the end of the season over 2 weeks with 3 rounds in each week. Games are 25 minutes per person +/- a time handicap depending on differences in grade. This year 16 club members took part.
After several weeks of delay, the LMC has rejected Gambit’s appeal and will not penalise Ashfield 1 for using Dong against Gambit 2 when he had neither an August grade nor an assigned temporary grade (he did have a January grade but that doesn’t count according to both rule C7 and the instructions issued to clubs last September by the records secretary).
The LMC has mishandled this case at every stage from start to end. For example, there was never a proper face to face meeting between the 5 members who could vote (the other 4 couldn’t vote as the matter directly involved their clubs), therefore not all of them got a chance to hear directly from the records secretary how and why rule C7 had been administered throughout the season, and so they could not possibly have made a fully informed decision.
So Gambit 2 have joined the 3rd and 4th teams in being relegated this season.
On the bright side we’ll be competing for 3 clocks next season!
Meanwhile, after week 1 of the club championship, Peter Mercs leads the other 15 competitors with a perfect 3/3, closely followed by Mike Barnes & Peter Gorecka-Marshall on 2.5 points, and with 4 players on 2 points. Peter played really well to take a draw off Mike in round 1 and then exploited a bad move by Drag to beat him in round 3.
Gambit 2 played their final match of the season against relegation rivals WB 1, knowing that a draw would keep them up, regardless of the pending LMC decision. WB 1 finally got their act together and brought a strong team. Things began well when Steve Hunter won an exchange against Ross Murphy but then he allowed an attack and his position collapsed. Onos was outplayed by Shabir Okhai. Graeme Jennings played an uncharacteristically poor opening which Richard Truman punished. Mike played nicely against Robert Richmond until he allowed a bishop to get trapped. Drag, after a poor start, recovered to have the best side of a draw versus Robert Taylor (Syston’s, not Ashfield’s), but after missing a mate in one he over pressed and Robert defended well even when short of time and Drag eventually lost. Although it was always going to be a difficult match, nobody expected a 5-0 thrashing.
This result means that Gambit 2 will be relegated unless the LMC remains consistent with decisions already made this season, and rules that Dong was ineligible for Ashfield 1 v Gambit 2. If the LMC rules otherwise, Gambit will eagerly await the LMC’s detailed explanation.
Steve Hunter won the major section of the Nottingham Congress for the second time, having previously won it in 2012. Going into the final round he was a full point clear and needed a draw to win outright, which he achieved, but it looked tricky for a bit.
Pete Mercs won a 5th share of the U185 grading prize after a very interesting and hard fought last round draw v a 194.
9 Gambiteers took part (and John Swain was one of the arbiters). Scores:
Open: Pete Mercs 3, Charlie Grainger 1.5, Mike Naylor 1
Major: Steve Hunter 4.5, Drag Sudar 3, John Huthwaite & Peter Gorecka-Marshall 1.5
Inter: Mick Harper 1.5
Minor: Maggie Gretton 2.5
Gambit 2 threw away the chance to at least draw, and possibly win at Grantham 2, who unsurprisingly brought in a 185 for only his 4th appearance of the season for Grantham 2.
Onos fought well against the aforementioned Jason Dilley, getting down to Q+7 each and it looked drawn, but obviously not as Dilley found a way to win it. Mike played very nicely against Peter Cusick and won an exchange, and then forced off Cusick’s final pawn, giving the exchange back in the process, to leave a won endgame. Tom won a couple of Chris Holt’s queen side pawns early and then withstood a mini counter attack on the king side to win. Drag had a totally drawn position against Andy Hebert and was trying to see if he could convert it to a win but then played the only move on the board that saw him lose a rook and pawn for a knight and the position was eventually lost. Brian had an equal looking game against Ben Mason but then it turned awkward for him as he was getting short on time. Ben made a really bad error in forking Brian’s King and knight with his knight, but Brian missed it and this allowed Ben to win a pawn leaving N+6 v N+4 with 3 queen side pawns rampaging down the board, and Brian lost on time.
Gambit 2’s final match of the season is at home to WB 1 who are a point behind them, for the moment anyway, as this could change if the LMC uphold Gambit 2’s appeal regarding the use of a clearly ineligible player by Ashfield 1 earlier in the season. All the evidence points to an extremely easy decision for the LMC but…
After 5 seasons in division 2 Gambit 3 were relegated after a spirited performance at champions-elect Newark 1. Drag and Charlie drew with Zoltan Tardi and Alex Combie. Keith and Gary lost to Andy George and Ian Burridge. Peter fought well against Dan Jazdzewski and had chances to at least draw but eventually lost.
Gambit 3 were without Hamzah and Onos this season, and several other division 2 teams had very strong board 1 & 2 players. This meant that they were always going to find this season a struggle.
On the bright side, they might win a clock for the club next season by winning division 3.
Gambit 2 escaped with an important victory last night against relegation rivals Ashfield 2. Tom was in a terrible mess v Alan Robinson but as Alan descended into his habitual serious time trouble Tom wriggled away and eventually Alan blundered, handing Tom a victory. Drag, although a pawn up, had no better than a draw but Phil Morgan’s king started to wander aimlessly and Phil allowed Drag to win his advanced pawn and get rid of the opposite coloured bishops to leave R+4 v R+2 and Drag won. Onos was doing fine against Glenn Halfpenny but then it all went wrong. Graeme neutralised Robert Taylor’s attack and the game petered out to a drawn. Mike N was a pawn up against Jerry Herrington and clearly better but messed up before agreeing a draw to secure the points. This win leaves Gambit 2 in 6th place with 7 points, Ashfield 2 7th on 5 and WB 1 8th on 4, with Grantham 2 5th on 8 points. Gambit still have to play Grantham 2 away and WB 1 at home. Ashfield 2 still have to play both WB 1 and Grantham 2 at home.
There could be a twist in this relegation battle if the LMC decides Ashfield 1 fielded an ineligible player against Gambit 2 and WB 1.
In division 2 Gambit 3 have reached the point of no return. They simply must win their final 3 matches to have any chance of staying up, and as one of them is away to champions-elect Newark 1, the odds aren’t great.
In division 3 Gambit 4, having narrowly lost their last two matches, have slipped dangerously close to the relegation places, lying 5th on 9 points with WN 3 also on 9, Grantham 3 on 7 and WB 3 on 4. One victory from their final 3 matches might be enough and they still have WB 3 to play, but Grantham 3 still have to play WB 3 twice but they also have to face WN 3, so this probably won’t be decided until the final round of matches.
Maggie Gretton came joint 2nd in the minor section of last weekend’s Nottingham rapidplay, and Andrew Thompson narrowly missed out on winning the intermediate after losing in the final round. Final scores:
Open: P Mercs 3.5/6
Major: G Jennings 3.5, D Sudar 3
Inter: A Thompson 4.5, C Grainger 4, M Harper 2, D Padvis 1
Minor: M Gretton 5