Tom Adams beat Mike Barnes in the final round to win the pre-Christmas Lightning event (10 seconds on the buzzer) with 5.5 / 6 after beating Pete Mercs in round 5, dropping just 1/2 point to Florian Biermann in round 4.
Mike Barnes came unstuck in round one when he lost to Onos Kofi-Ofuafor; he recovered to 4/5 but was unable to prevent Tom winning the event.
Four players finished joint 2nd on 4 points: Mike Barnes, Brian Hayward, Pete Mercs, plus guest Robert Richmond who suffered an unexpected loss to Drag Sudar in round 2.
The two other ‘shock’ results were in round 5: Gary Hopkinson beat Onos and Derek Padvis defeated John Huthwaite.
The final scores were:
5.5 Tom Adams
4.0 Mike Barnes, Brian Hayward, Pete Mercs, Robert Richmond
3.5 Florian Biermann
3.0 Gary Hopkinson, Derek Padvis, Drag Sudar
2.0 Peter Gorecka-Marshall, Onos Kofi-Ofuafor
1.0 John Huthwaite
0.0 Keith Roper
(In addition, the event controller John Swain scored 2/4 and Simon Scott took John’s place in the last two rounds to score 1/2)
We’ve now completed our pre-Christmas fixtures and after last season’s successes things are proving more difficult this season, as expected.
Our 1st team beat Grantham 2 4-1 to go 3rd in the table. There were wins from Tom & Mike N over Peter Cusick & Ben Mason respectively while Pete M won by default after Francis Bowers got caught up in traffic. Mike B lost to Paul Cumbers and Drag got away with an extremely lucky draw with Grenville Wollerton after he should have been lost after about 10 moves.
Our 2nd team lost 3.5 – 1.5 to Grantham 1 and are bottom of div 1. Onos lost an exchange to Andy Hebert. Mike N was a piece for 3 pawns up and drew with Francis Bowers. Graeme was arguably better against Nigel Birtwistle but made a mistake and lost. John S went a pawn down to Paul Cumbers who then dropped a bishop for a couple of pawns and a draw was agreed. Drag drew with Chris Dorrington after missing a win. The last time Chris gave up a draw to a similar strength player was 2011.
Our 3rd team won 3 – 2 at Long Eaton and are mid way up div 2. There were wins for Brian & Gary over Alex Bentley & Wallace Bryce. John H & Peter GM drew with Dave Williams & Sam Clayton. Keith lost to Andy Robins.
The 4th team lost 3-2 for the 4th time, this time at Nomads 2, and lie bottom of div 3. Gary & Derek beat Graham Neil & Mike Swanwick but John T, Peter GM & Graham lost to Will Eyre, Dave Griffiths & Paul Rees.
The 5th team beat WB 4 2.5 – 1.5 to share top spot in div 5. Mick H & Ken beat Bob Abrahart & Paul Carroll and Maggie drew with Finley Carroll, while Ronnie lost to Rafael Murray.
Here is a list of the best individual results so far this season:
Keith 136 beat Tim Walker 189 (53 points diff)
Drag 163 drew with Chris Dorrington 222 (59 points diff)
John 164 drew with Paul Cumbers 199 (35 points diff)
Graeme 170 drew with Jon Tait 203 (33 points diff) & Mike Barnes 200 (30 points diff)
Brian 140 drew with Brian Thompson 174 (34 points diff), Jonathan Finn 166 (26 points diff) & Dave Flynn 159 (19 points diff)
Steve 167 drew with Shabir Okhai & Jim Burnett, both 192 (25 points diff)
Mike 200 drew with Jonah Willow 218 (18 points diff)
Our 2nd team gained an unlikely point against last season’s champions Mansfield. Graeme & Steve got excellent draws against Jon Tait & Jim Burnett. John S went a pawn up v Kev Simpson but was unable to convert it to a win and drew. Drag went a pawn down and could not cope with Pete Ackley’s superior technique. Onos, although a pawn down, controlled the board and later won a piece v Janos Wagenbach. Mansfield have dropped 5 points (3 of them to the two Gambit teams) so it’s highly unlikely they will be able to catch Grantham 1 who had won all 5 matches so far.
Our 5th team continued their good season with a 2.5 – 1.5 win at University 2. There were wins by Maggie and Ken against K Kurralla and A Berman and a draw from Mick v Bernado Pincheira. Ronnie was unable to maintain his 100% winning record this season, losing to E Everitt. The LMC has decided that their match v EMCA 2, which they won by default in October, must be played at a later date after a successful appeal by EMCA.
Our 1st team threw away a win against Ashfield 1. Unlike the Newark 1 match, where the subs gained 1.5 points, this time it was the two subs who failed to convert their advantages. Drag won a pawn in the opening against David Levens but later dropped a piece and lost. Steve won an exchange v Jerry Herrington, gave it back to create a passed pawn, but, in trying to win, dropped a piece and lost. By now Mike B had drawn with John Molyneux and Mike N had lost to Glenn Halfpenny. Pete M did convert his advantage and beat Steve Burke but the final result was 1.5 – 3.5.
Our 3rd team also lost 1.5 – 3.5, to Nomads 1. Gary launched a k-side push but it simply weakened his king’s defence which David Griffiths exploited. Keith ended up in a 2R+3 ending but could not prevent John Harrison promoting a pawn. The other three games, John H, Brian & Peter GM v Shane Bhayat, Dave Flynn & Maurice Hill, were drawn.
Five Gambiteers took part in the Championship congress: Florian Biermann & Drag Sudar in the Open section; John Huthwaite in the U155; Graham Gibson & Ronnie Watson in the U125. The U15 & U12 championships took place on Sunday, not involving any Gambiteers.
Florian gave Jonah Willow a huge scare in round 1 before finally losing after getting into time trouble. He and Drag met in round 4 and the game swung back and forth from being in favour of one to the other. Florian, again in time trouble, missed a chance to win Drag’s queen and later a possible mating net, and Drag emerged the victor. Florian responded by winning his final game, against Francis Bowers, to finish on 2 points out of 5. Drag also won his 5th game, against Daniel Broughton, to also finish on 2 points. The winner of the 6 player all play all was Jonah on 5/5, followed by Charlie Grainger on 3 (including a 1st round 1/2 point bye), who beat both Florian & Drag. Daniel finished joint 3rd on 2 points (including a full point bye in round 1) after losing to both Florian & Drag. Last was Francis in spite of his 1st round win over Drag.
John scored 2 points in the U155. He beat George Murfet in round 1 but lost to eventual winner Michael Lambert in round 2. After a 1/2 point bye in round 3 he could only draw with Ray Sayer and then lost to Dushan Malimage .
Graham missed out on a chance to finish joint 1st by losing to winner Bob Abrahart in the final round after he appeared to be winning. In the earlier rounds he beat Arunja Mendis & Alan Johnson and drew with Alexandra Arlachova but lost to David Dunne.
Ronnie had a full point bye in round 1 and then beat Alexandra and David. On Sunday he lost to Bob but could still have finished 2nd had he beaten Chris Fraser in round 5. Unfortunately Ronnie misread the start time of the final round and turned up late, losing by default. You had to feel for him.
The turnout of about 25 players was lower than the average of 44 of recent years. The number of entrants to the Championship and U155 sections was roughly half of previous years. This was partly, but not entirely, due to some NCC regulars choosing to play in 4NCL’s division 4 south. The U125 section used to average about 15 players but only 8 played last year with a similar number this year. This is largely due to the introduction of the U15 and U12 championships which has attracted about 15 players in both years.
Not a great two weeks.
Our 5th team was the only one to win as their 3-1 win over Central 3 took them to the top of division 5 with wins by Maggie, Ronnie and Ken, with only Mick losing.
A weakened 1st team lost 3.5 – 1.5 at Newark 1. Mike B, Florian and Pete M (who tried to win to get a draw for the team) lost to Murray Smith, Andy George and Alex Combie. The subs did better as John S drew with Zoltan Tardi and Drag beat Ian Burridge.
The 2nd team lost 3 – 2 to WN 1 in a crucial relegation battle. John S had an uneventful draw with Ross Murphy. Steve played well to draw with Shabir Okhai. Drag’s draw offer was accepted by Antony Clare who couldn’t lose. Onos was in a K+4 each ending with Simon Scott and settled for a draw. There was a win with best play but it was not easy to find. Graeme lost to Jonah Willow who played a bishop for 2 pawn sacrifice to open up the position.
The 3rd team were battered by University 1. John Huthwaite was comfortably beaten by Michael Maciejewski. Keith had a B+1 v 4 ending and could not prevent S Guseltov promoting. Peter GM allowed Nikola Baltov to storm down the e-file and walked into a mate. Gary’s k-side attack was repelled by Bernado Pincheira and then his centre collapsed. Brian prevented the whitewash with a solid draw against Jonathan Finn.
The 4th team lost 3.5 – 1.5 at Grantham 3. Mick H beat John Pocock. Derek had a solid draw with Grenville Wollerton. Maggie was smashed by newcomer G. Johnson. Graham reached a B+3 ‘book draw’ but allowed Alan Nelder to promote a pawn. Onos, trying to win in an equal position, was caught out on the k-side by Richard Chillcott and lost.
Let’s hope for better fortune next week.
Gambit 4 drew with WB 2. John T, Graham & Derek drew with Dylan Meyer, Steve Wootton & Chris Budd. Mick H lost to Frank Hill. Maggie reached the Lucena position, where her king was on the 8th rank ahead of the pawn on the 7th and her rook had cut off Bob Abrahart’s king, and she showed good technique to promote the pawn.
Gambit 2 travelled to Ashfield 1 in what could already be described as a relegation 4 pointer. Steve had a solid but uneventful draw with David Levens, albeit the last game to finish. Drag messed up the opening against Glenn Halfpenny and struggled to equalise, but then allowed his queen to be lost for a rook and lost. Onos looked as if he had let Phil Morgan’s rook into his position but was able to get his rook into Phil’s and emerged victorious after his c pawn proved more powerful than Phil’s a pawn. Graeme had played nicely to win a pawn and reached a good rook + pawns ending but, short of time, allowed Jerry Herrington to draw.
So to the epic struggle between John S and Steve Burke. In the previous 3 league seasons John and Steve had identical records of 20 draws from 42 games, 48%. By comparison, Gambit players’ draw percentage was 29% over the same period. Therefore the only surprise is that their draw took as long as 13 moves.
Mike Barnes came joint 2nd in the Open section with 4/5.
On Monday our heavily out graded 3rd team had a fantastic 3 – 2 win over WB 1. Keith beat Tim Walker who is graded 53 points higher! Peter GM beat Will Atiomo after Will turned down a couple of draw offers only to allow his time to run out. Brian drew with Brian Thompson who is graded 34 points higher. Gary drew with Chris Budd. The only loss was by John H, to Robert Richmond. Division 2 looks wide open.
Last night our 1st team beat last season’s champions Mansfield 1 3.5 – 1.5. Solid performances by Mike B, Tom & Pete M resulted in draws against Jon Tait, Jim Burnett & Peter Ackley. Mike N slowly maneuvered into a better position against Kev Simpson who then played an exchange sacrifice and then immediately dropped a piece. Florian’s game v Ken Morrison looked as if it was going nowhere but then Florian won a piece. The 10 second increments gave Florian the time to win the endgame.
Some people are still uncomfortable about increments, as can be seen by the number of teams deciding to stick with the ‘all moves in…” time control, but increments reward good play by enabling players to convert winning positions into full points rather than having to agree a draw. Some people also worry that increments will result in games going on too long but the opposite is true. With a time control of 80’ + 10″, a 30 move game will last a maximum of 2 hours 50 minutes and a 60 move game will last a maximum of 3 hours. The vast majority of games finish well before 60 moves have been played. A 90 move game will last a maximum of 3 hours 10 minutes but hardly any games last that long.
Our 5th team drew with University 3. Derek lost material early on but his opponent allowed him to get back into the game and eventually a draw was agreed, possibly prematurely, when Derek had a rook v a knight + 3 pawns. Graham, an exchange up, missed a winning move but then did find a good move which resulted in him having a Q + 6 pawns v R, B & 2 pawns but very short of time, and they agreed a draw. With increments Graham probably would have won, although knowing Graham…. Ronnie won fairly quickly but Ken lost fairly quickly.
Just one week after our 3rd team was battered 5-0 by Newark 2 our 2nd team narrowly avoided the same fate against Newark 1 after Onos drew with Graham Ladds. Drag, John S, Mike N & Steve lost to Murray Smith, Alex Combie, Zoltan Tardi & Andy George respectively. Our 3 results this season have been 1.5 – 3.5, 1 – 4, 0.5 – 4.5. Hopefully we’ll break this sequence when we play fellow relegation battlers Ashfield 1 soon. They have 1 point from 3 matches, with a -7 ‘goal diff’. WN 1 are also on 1 point from 3 matches with a -3 ‘goal diff’ and we are on 0 points from 3 matches with a -9 ‘goal diff’.
Our 4th team moved off the foot of the 3rd division table by beating WN 2 3-2. Although John T & Peter G-M lost to the Maladkar sisters, Gary beat Vidura Mendis with a storming k-side attack, Graham played solidly to beat John Crawley and Derek beat Kim Enkh Mergen after initially going 2 pawns down but then winning a piece.