Our 1st team defeated Grantham 1 3-2 this week to keep up their slim chances of winning the title. They are behind Mansfield 1 on ‘goal difference’ and with only one match left, v Newark 1, while Mansfield 1 still have 3 matches left, v WB 1, Gambit 2 and Newark 1, so it will require a massive collapse by Mansfield 1 for Gambit 1 to win the title.
At the other end of the table, Ashfield 1 narrowly beat Newark 1 to close the gap to Gambit 2 to 3 points but as they still have WB 1 to play, the gap is effectively just one point. Both teams have to play WN 1 at home so this relegation battle might not be resolved until April.
Nomads 1 beat WB 2 to keep up their challenge to Gambit X in division 2. We need 2 more points to guarantee promotion, and 3 for the title, but if Nomads 1 fail to beat Ashfield 2 next week and if we beat WB 2 then it’ll be all over.
Our 3rd team made life difficult for themselves last week by being thrashed 4.5 – 0.5 by closest rivals Uni 2, with the ‘goal difference’ turning in Uni’s favour. However, they got back on track this week by thrashing Grantham 3 4.5 – 05, and are 4 points ahead of Uni 2 with two matches left compared to Uni’s three. Only WB 3 can now prevent one of these two teams being promoted by winning all their remaining 6 matches by large margins. At the time of writing the result of the WB 3 v Uni 2 match was unknown but if WB 3 have failed to beat Uni 2 then Gambit 3 will already be promoted.
Our 4th team and Next Gen Super Kids WN 3 won their respective matches last week and only Ashfield 4 can now prevent one of these teams from gaining promotion by winning their remaining 5 matches. Gambit 4 are a point ahead of WN 3 with a better ‘goal difference’ with both teams having 3 matches left so the battle for the title could go all the way, especially as WN 3’s final 3 matches look easier on paper.
Our 5th team lost to WB 5 this week but were already out of the promotion race as Beeston and Central 3 are too far ahead. They will be looking forward to their final match of the season at Central 3 when more pints might be sunk than moves made.
On Monday the 1st team beat WB1 3 -2 to send them down. There were 4 draws from Mike B, Pete M, John S & Graeme v Robert Richmond, Brian Thompson, Will Atiomo & Chris Budd respectively with the only win coming from Tom v Mike Hunter. WB 1 still have an important role to play in helping determine who joins them as they have to play Ashfield 1.
The 2nd team beat Ashfield 1 3.5 – 1.5 on Wednesday. Oliver never got going against David Levens and never recovered. Mike N played Neil Graham for the 3rd time in 2018 and couldn’t do better than draw. Both Tom and Drag won with the same combination against Steve Burke and Jerry Herrington respectively; they both took a white squared bishop on the 7th rank with their queen and then forked their opponent’s king and queen with a knight. How often does something like that happen? Florian defended his e6 pawn v Derek Jarvis for a long time, getting down to about 10 seconds at one point, but the increments (thanks Steve!) allowed him to continue playing and when he counterattacked, Derek, also now short of time, made a mistake allowing Florian to win. We are now 5 points ahead of Ashfield with two to play. Ashfield 1 have three matches to play so can still catch us.
Gambit X narrowly beat Ashfield 3 by 3 – 2 on Tuesday. Mike N won an exchange v Neil Graham (how often have the same two players played each other on consecutive nights with the same colours, for different teams?) and won fairly comfortably. Graham won a pawn v Richard Dyce but promptly lost one and the game petered out to a draw. Drag was in a drawn position versus Trevor Lewis but stupidly decided to try to win and played a losing move. What game management and experience? (see Phil’s article on the NCA site). Andrei Procopie made his debut for the club, v Alan Robinson. Andrei built up a decent queen side position but Alan is nothing if not resourceful and eventually Andrei had to accept a draw. This win leaves Gambit X on 18 points from 10 matches, needing two more points from their remaining 4 matches for promotion and 3 points for the title.
Both the 2nd and 4th teams lost narrowly this week.
The 2nd team lost 3-2 against Newark 1 who still have a mathematical chances of winning the title. Tom was doing fine against Murray Smith but allowed his knight to wander away from where it was needed and Murray punished him. Graeme played a good opening against Alex Combie and they agreed a draw with Alex probably gaining a small positional advantage but short of time. Steve and Zoltan played out a very drawish line in the French. Mike N quickly found himself in a bit of a mess v Andy George and was never able to equalise. Drag had a slight advantage out of the opening with Daniel Jazdzewski and won a pawn. Daniel, relying on the 10 second increments to prevent his flag falling, missed a move that would have drawn the game. This is the 6th time Gambit 2 have lost 3-2 this season so if we do go down I guess it might be a case of ‘if only….’.
The 4th team also lost 3-2, to their closest promotion rivals WN 3. John T played very nicely to go a piece up against Armaan Gogia and won. Peter GM built up a good attacking position v Ritika Maladkar but allowed her to counter attack and soon found himself in trouble, eventually losing a piece. Keith played one of his typically steady games and won Lavanya Maladkar’s pawn and later her rook. Mick H was doing fine v Vidura Mendis but then dropped a rook. Maggie started ok v Kim Enkh Mergen but then he built a ferocious attack with all sorts of threats and Maggie was forced to yield. A few years ago we saw the emergence of Taylor Pearson, Adi Munshi, Anita Somton and Jonah & Hambel Willow. Now we are seeing the emergence of the next generation of super kids thanks to the brilliant work done by everyone at WN. What is so refreshing about their play is their fearlessness and their ability to find really good tactics.
A very good week. 3 wins and a draw.
Tonight, the 1st team had an excellent 3.5 – 1.5 win at Mansfield 1. Mike B had a ‘grandmaster draw’ with Jon Tait. Tom played very nicely to beat Pete Ackley. Drag won an early pawn but almost conceded a draw before beating Kev Simpson. Pete M won after Jim Burnett erred in a close position. John S was unable to contain Ken Morrison’s pawns and had to concede. This result gives Grantham 1 a glimmer of hope of retaining the title.
On Tuesday Gambit X drew with LE. Mike N and Steve lost to Dave Williams and Andy Robins. Drag had no better than a draw v Sam Clayton but was able to lay a trap which Sam fell into. John T was a piece up v Wallace Bryce but offered a draw feeling he could not win in the time left. Florian had just 4 seconds left with K+R v K when Alex Bentley played into check and resigned after Florian claimed the extra two minutes as per the LoC.
On the same night the 3rd team had a comfortable 4.5 – 0.5 win over WN 2 who defaulted board 5. There were wins for Onos, Keith and Gary with a draw for Brian.
On Monday the 5th team beat WN 4 by 4-0. Details to follow.
A mixed set of results with 2 wins and 2 deafeats.
Gambit 1’s faint hopes of winning the title disappeared after a 3.5 – 1.5 loss to WN 1. Three draws by Mike B, Graeme and Mike N but Pete M and John S lost to Jonah Willow and Adi Munchi whose new grades added together total exactly 400.
Gambit 3 also lost, 3-2 away at R/B 1. Only Onos won, v George Murfet. Brian and John H drew with Nick London & Marcel Taylor. Gary’s up and down season continued with a loss for the 2nd time this season to Mike Nailard. Keith, after his 100% record before Christmas, lost his 2nd game this year, to Chris Bonnello. There was an unexpected bonus for the 3rd team as their nearest rivals Uni 2 were stuffed 4.5 – 0.5 by Central 1 who finally have their best team out but have probably left it too late to challenge for promotion.
Gambit X had a good 4.5 – 0.5 win at Nomads 1, who were without Dave Flynn. Graham played very well to pick off Mike Swanwick’s pawns and avoid 2 traps that Mike set. Drag won on time an exchange up v Graham Neil and Steve took early control of his game v Dave Griffiths. Mike N built up pressure on the g-file and eventually broke through after Shane Bhayat missed an opportunity to make life a bit tricky for Mike. Florian tried hard to break through Maurice Hill’s solid position but had to concede a draw.
Gambit 4 also had a good win at Ashfield 4, 3.5 – 1.5, in spite of Drag’s thrashing by Andy Flint. Drag misplayed the opening and Andy maintained a vice like grip on the position and, when Drag tried to break out, Andy launched a devastating mating attack. By then Mick H had beaten George Heath and Maggie had drawn with Ric Dawson. Derek was always on the attack v Pete Clarke who gave up an exchange in desperation but Derek calmly won. Peter G-M played well to win with little time left after spending most of the game in a defensive position v Malcolm Jackson.
10 Gambiteers entered and John Swain & Mike Naylor controlled the Open and Major. Drag Sudar came joint 1st (with WN’s Armaan Gogia) in the Major section with 5.5/6.
Open: Biermann & Jennings 3, Mercs 2.5
Major: Sudar 5.5, Huthwaite 4
Inter: Harper 4, Gibson 3, Padvis 2
Minor: Gretton 4.5, Watson 2.5
Jiri Jires 1 0 Chris Dorrington
Tom Adams 1 0 Nigel Birtwistle
Graeme Jennings .5 .5 Paul Cumbers
Mike Naylor .5 .5 Steve Prior
Oliver Graham 0 1 Stuart Williams
Tom finshed 1st, exploiting inaccuracies by Nigel. Then Graeme drew after playing a very good solid game against Paul. Oliver started ok v Stuart but eventually was driven back and Stuart converted his advantage. The other two games went deep into the night.
Steve Prior sacrificed a bishop on g3 to win two pawns but Mike fended off the challenge and posted a very nice knight on e5, which later was able to exploit a mistake by Steve to win an exchange. At the end Mike had Q+R v Q+3 and should have won but after swapping off the queens he was unable to force a win.
Jiri was defending for most of the game but the game looked as if it was going to be drawn when Chris made a critical error to go a piece down and Jiri was comfortable after that. What a fantastic way for Jiri to end his final game for the club and I’d like to thank him for playing for the 1st and 2nd teams this season and wish him all the best in the future.
Apart from Tom, our players were heavily out graded so this is a truly remarkable win.
Meanwhile Gambit 4 continue their charge at the top of division 4 with a 4-1 win over Central 2. John Tassi made a welcome return to action with a win over Ed Robinson. Peter beat Simon Parham and Mick beat Alex Meade, but Gary was taught a lesson by Andy Sutton. Central defaulted board 5.
Finally, everyone at Gambit sends their condolences to Ashfield for the sad loss of Stan Cranmer who died a few days ago, aged 87. Stan was never without a smile and was universally liked. He remained a difficult player to play against even in his advancing years.
Asfhield 1 1 4 Gambit 1
J. Molyneux .5 .5 M. Barnes
G. Halfpenny 0 1 P. Mercs
S. Burke .5 .5 J. Swain
D. Levens 0 1 J. Jires
J. Herrington 0 1 T. Adams
Mike was settling down to what looked like being a tricky middle game when John offered the draw. John and Steve unsurprisingly drew. Jiri had a relatively comfortable win over an out of form David. Tom slowly edged his way to a better position before smashing through Jerry’s defence. Glenn missed a chance to swap off Pete’s f4 knight and this cost him as Pete played a lovely Nxh3 move which swiftly led to a win. This result keeps the 1st team’s slender title hopes alive and boosts our 2nd team’s chances of staying up.
Gambit X continued their unexpected good form by beating Ashfield 3 4-1. Mike N played out a fairly mundane draw with Neil Graham who uncharacteristically played very quietly. Florian was happy to be sent down a opening line he understood well by Steve Bak and took control of the board before winning a piece. Steve steadily built a strong position against Nigel Wright and, when it appeared he couldn’t make progress on the K-side, he switched to the Q-side and broke through. Nigel Wright sacrificed a bishop for two pawns but it didn’t help him. Drag was lucky to beat Pete Clarke who, after playing well to reach a drawish endgame, swapped off rooks leaving Drag with a won position.
Graeme and Ray were seemingly heading for a draw when Graeme went trigger happy and successive checks took Ray’s king from g7 to h3. Graeme played Bf1+ and Ray responded with Qf3+. What happened next proves why captains should not have arbiter rights in league matches. Graham asked for advice after Ray’s illegal move but all his captain Drag (allegedly a qualified ECF arbiter) could remember to advise was that Graham could have 2 extra minutes, completely forgetting to also advise that Ray still had to make a legal move with his queen if there was one (Qg2) which would have resulted in Ray losing his queen. Ray moved his queen back to d5 and his king out of check and a couple of moves later they agreed a draw, which was a fair result based on how the game was played.
Gambit 2 won this vital relegation battle 4-1 against a WB team that yet again was without some of its better players, a problem they have had all season. Jiri, Mike N and Oliver beat Robert Richmond, Chris Budd and Bob Abrahart respectively. Graeme drew with Harry Croasdale and Tom lost to Brian Thompson. This win moves the 2nd team a point above Ashfield 1.