Gambit 2 were given a boost today when they found out WN 3 had drawn at WB 2 last night. Gambit 2 needed ‘just’ a win but R&B 1 were fighting for survival. Onos Kofi-Ofuafor, subbing for Graeme Jennings, won quickly after Chris Bonnello dropped material. However, we were not winning on any other board. John Tassi went an exchange down to Barry Redburn. Drag Sudar missed a tactic by George Murfet and was no better than equal. Steve was slowly unraveling himself after a slightly inferior position v Marcel Taylor, and Mike Naylor was involved in an interesting tussle with Nick London. Then it started to turn for us. Nick offered an exchange sacrifice which seemingly blocked up the position. Mike thought about it and accepted. George, on move 31, seemed confused about the time he had left (4:45) and this affected his concentration as he allowed Drag to win a piece when slightly better. Steve had neutralised Marcel’s promising position and manufactured a favourable endgame; Marcel helped him and Steve won. 3 – 0 up, promotion secured. John outplayed Barry to win his game. Mike accepted Nick’s offer of a draw when he could possibly have played on to a win, but he fancied a pint. Good attitude.
Gambit 4, handed a life line by Uni 2 players deciding they would rather play in a simul v IM Malcolm Pein than play their league match at LE, needed to beat Ash 3. It began well with Maggie Gretton’s customary draw, v Nigel Wright, followed quickly by Mick Harper’s win over Trevor Lewis, but Peter Gorecka-Marshall was unable to convert an advantage against the shrewd old campaigner Stan Cranmer and a draw was agreed.
The next event divided opinion in the club. Sportsmanship v winning to gain promotion? You decide:
Andrew Thompson had 8 minutes left but was R+2 v R+3 (all pawns on the same side of the board) v Dave Woodhouse, who had just 8 seconds left. Andrew offered a draw which Dave accepted. Had Andrew not offered a draw, he may well have won on time as Dave was unaware of the ‘2 minute rule’ (appendix G6 in the laws of chess), so didn’t think to claim the draw. Andrew’s sportsmanship and sense of fair play has to be applauded, but should he have played for the win and secured safety for his team? No doubt this will be the main feature on tomorrow’s Radio 4 programme, ‘The Moral Maze’.
That left board 1. Brian Hayward, needed a draw but Steve Bak (whose grade is far lower than his real ability) patiently eked out a win to draw the match and Uni 2 were saved from relegation.
Gambit 4 may survive yet, even though they’ve finished 7th. It all depends on what the LMC decides in July. With Uni 1 withdrawing from the league altogether there is a vacancy in division 1 so it’s likely that 1 more team will be promoted from division 2 than relegated from division 1, with a knock on effect in the lower divisions.