2016-17 League Review – September

Although the season is only 3 weeks old there have already been some outstanding individual performances, and near misses, by Gambiteers.

Gambit 2, although out graded on average 22 points per board, almost gained a draw with Gambit 1 after superb performances on the top 3 boards. Onos Kofi-Ofuafor (167) played a speculative exchange sacrifice against Michael Barnes (203) and ended up with a potentially winning position with Mike relieved to save the draw. Michael Naylor played an audacious queen for rook & bishop sacrifice against Ray Evans (198 in the Jan 2015 list) and played exceptionally well to frustrate Ray, earning a well deserved draw. Graeme Jennings (159) managed to draw with Pete Mercs (183) an exchange down. John Tassi (147) had a quick draw with John Huthwaite (148) but the result swung in Gambit 1’s favour when John Swain (174) happily accepted Drag Sudar’s (153) free gift of a knight.

Gambit 1’s second match looked even easier on paper as WB 1 fielded one of their weakest ever teams with an average grade of 140 compared to Gambit 1’s 180, so it was no surprise when Gambit 1 won 5-0.

Gambit 3, after narrowly losing to relegation rivals Central 1, almost achieved a great result at WN 1, even though out graded on average 28 points per board. John Huthwaite (148) played well to draw with David Levens (160) and Keith Roper (137) lived up to his reputation by grinding down John Crawley (115). Charlie Grainger (138) was outplayed by Zhe Kang Law (Fide rating 2215 = 195 ECF) who was joint 1st in the Sheffield Congress Open section last June. Gary Hopkinson (136) let slip a good position against Taylor Pearson (169) but the real missed opportunity was on board 1 as Drag Sudar (153) missed a nice little move that would have won Alex Posazhennikov’s (207) bishop for nothing, but instead he won it for 2 pawns allowing Alex to launch a pawn storm and, with Alex having fewer than 2 minutes left on his clock, Drag, trying to force off the queens, forgot that the square he placed his queen on was attacked by a knight. Ouch!

Gambit 4 have started the season with a respectable draw against WN 3.

Gambit 5 lost to a very strong Nomads 3 (ave grades 78 v 113) even though Alan Groves (88) drew with Graham Neil (122) and Ken Heath (72) beat Alberto Rodriguez (116)! Gambit 5 won their 2nd match v WN 5.

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