Gambit 2 & Gambit 4 went to WB yesterday to play WB 1 & WB 3 respectively, only to find that the function room had been replaced by a pool area, with the matches having to take place in a cramped corner of the main bar area, where the pool table used to be. Both WB captains, Chris Budd & Bob Abrahart were very apologetic, and once their final home match before Christmas is played next week, ironically against Gambit 3, presumably they will be seeking a new venue.
So the teams squeezed together to play, accompanied by pub music and crowd chatter.
The 4th team had a night to forget as both Derek Padvis and Andrew Thompson dropped rooks and Maggie Gretton faltered at the end of her game, leaving Gary Hopkinson and Mick Harper to secure two draws to prevent a white wash.
Gambit 2 had a night to remember as they achieved a fabulous victory over a WB team whose average grade was higher than that of Gambit 2’s highest graded player, thanks to a nice win by John Tassi over Chris Budd and 3 absolutely superb performances on the top 3 boards against far higher graded opponents.
On board 1, Onos Kofi-Ofuafor won an exchange and kept his cool to withstand some pressure from Robert Richmond before checkmating him. On board 3, Graeme Jennings played masterfully, sacrificing a pawn to invade Richard Truman’s king side and win a piece – game over. On board 2, Mike Naylor faced WB 1’s latest recruit from Syston, Shabir Okhai, graded 194, but showed no respect for grades as he played a lovely exchange sacrifice. Okhai had to return it later to equalise. Mike gave up his rook to stop Okhai’s last pawn promoting. Okhai had to do the same but, seeing that Mike had only 7 seconds left, he decided to allow Mike to promote the pawn, hoping to win on time, and Mike was so absorbed in the game he didn’t notice his time running out and lost a game that he fully deserved to at least draw. The only poor performance was by Drag Sudar who played some dreadful moves that were punished by Ben Pickering.
This brilliant victory sends Gambit 2 above both Ashfield teams and gives them real hope of staying up.