League Reports

posted Sep 29, 2015, 1:32 PM by Steve Bak

Orginally posted by Phil Morgan throught the 2014/15 season.
This was our 9th win in 13 games and we move back up to second place with just Champions-elect Grantham to play.

30/3/15 West Notts 2 v Ashfield 3. Our lifeboat tipped up as West Notts. assured their own safety with this clear win. I had a quick draw before the squall whipped up. Under pressure, Neil and Stan coughed up errors, Neil lost the exchange, and Stan lost a piece. While they were being reeled in, our skipper, in a playable position, fell overboard. Trevor would never make a good poker player, and his shocked reaction to his  blunder alerted his opponent to this. It was a "whopper" leading to a mate in two. Neil fought to muddy the waters in his game, but  couldn't escape John Collins' keep-net. Stan did wriggle off Mr Willoughby's hook to regain his piece and snatch a draw. Stan has been unbeaten in the second half of the season with three wins and four draws. With the team falling apart on the night Alan Robinson, went for a speculative attack without castling. Alan Kenyon refuted this  and exposed the King for our third loss of the night. Result  WN 2 v A3     4-1
All is not yet lost for A3 who could still reach safe haven. We may have run aground on the Bramcote reefs, but West Brigford 2 still need to negotiate these same tricky waters. Our fate is in the hands of others.
24/3/15 University 1 v Ashfield 1 Our weakened first team signed off the season with a fine win against a University team, who badly needed a point from this game. This was a triumph for Steve who led from the front and secured a draw on Board 1. He managed to persuade Glenn to turn out, and when Glenn's opponent, Andrew Walker, insisted on playing on beyond Glenn's 13th move draw offer, we got the chance to see from Glenn the play that the first team has missed this season. Lastly Steve figured that Bob would have more chances of winning with the White pieces than me. His hunch was correct on one of those rare nights  for a captain when all the planning works out. I was thrown to the dogs, as Black against Tim Poole's trickery, and took a hit for the team.  Result  Uni 1- A1    2-3
24/3/15 University 2 v Ashfield 4.  Ashfield became only the second team this season to beat a University side, already assured of  promotion as Champions. Excellent wins by Pete Clarke and Andy Flint supported by draws for Nigel and Richard. This fourth win of the season revives the team's chances of staying up with one crucial game left to play. Result  Uni  2- A4   2-3
18/3/15 Ashfield 1 v Grantham 1. Grantham fielded a weakened team including two second team regulars, and Ashfield took advantage. John Molyneux scored an excellent top board win against Nigel Birtwhistle. Steve and Glenn scored solid draws against Prior and Payne. Grantham hit back when Andy Hebert edged out Derek, who lost on time. Andrew secured the win against Grantham 2's captain, Chris Holt.  Result A1- Grantham 1   3-2

18/3/15 Ashfield 3 v West Bridgford 2. Ashfield grabbed a point against relegation rivals which may prove enough to secure Division 2 survival. Our opponents fielded a weakened team and Stan notched a very quick-win. I accepted an early draw offer in a slightly worse position with some misgivings, created by the state of play on Neil and Trevor's boards. Trevor's position resembled a car crash, which he fought very hard but failed to emerge from. Neil had run into opening preparation which blunted his attack. He also fought to keep some tension in the position in pursuit of his lost cause. David needed a win to draw the match and was engaged in a very tight game. Just as he had against Gambit 2, he found a tactical coup which led to a swift mating finish. West Bridgford remain 3 points below A3 at the foot of the table. Result A3- WB2  2.5-2.5

11/3/15 Ashfield 2 v Gambit 3. A very satisfying night for Gambit 3, who de-railed our title chances, boosted the promotion chances of  Gambit 2 and secured their own place in Division 2 for another season. We started well, Bob and myself gained opening advantages. Geoff won an exchange and converted the win , Alan won another blitz dual with Peter Gorecka- Marshall.  A resilient Gambit fought back  and our middle order crumpled like the England cricket team. Keith Roper won a piece early and Jerry never recovered. Bob's 2 Rooks were dominated by Gary's two knights. His active pieces infiltrated decisively into Bob's position.  I trod water for 15 moves against John Huthwaite, released the pressure, allowing John to seize his chance to  turn the tables. Congratulations to Gambit who on the night out-fought and out-thought us. Result A2 - G3    2-3

11/3/15 Ashfield 4 v Mansfield 2. Ashfield were turned over by a strong Mansfield line-up with 4 players with Division 1 experience. Andy Flint prevented a white-wash, with a good draw against Brian Oldham. Nigel  learnt another important chess lesson from his game with Janos. He was losing but resigned  immediately after a Knight Fork of King and Rook, failing to note the move was illegal. Result 0-5 -4.5

4/3/15 Ashfield 1 v Gambit 1. This was a very tense, tight and unexciting match, with few fireworks on display. Most games were slow burners. Andrew and Steve agreed draws. Derek's position against Brian Hayward's looked blocked and equal until he sacrificed a pawn to try and breathe some life into the game. Just before the time control, he regained his pawn and conjured up a dangerous looking attack. A  momentarily stunned Brian managed to hold his position intact to retain the draw. The two top boards always looked to be decisive. John's game against Peter Mercs hinged on whether Peter's passed c pawn would be strong or weak. Peter played his Queen menacingly on the back rank, but when he planted it on a1, John swung a rook over to trap the Queen. It seemed ironic and fitting that the Queen's exit was blocked by his prized passed pawn. On top board Pablo dropped a pawn early on and fought very hard to hold Mike Barnes, but Mike forced a win, which earned a priceless point for Gambit as they fight to preserve their tenure in  Division 1, which they've occupied for 45 years.  Result 2.5 - 2.5
3/3/15 Gambit 2 v Ashfield 3. Alan had thrown the ladder over the wall against Central and we shinned smartly up it against the League leaders. Trevor scored an important early draw. I punished a few inaccuracies by Drag to put us ahead, and when David converted his pressure against John Tassi with a fine tactical finish we were assured of at least a point. Neil gambitted a pawn for a strong-looking attack, but Mike Naylor defended very calmly to turn the tables. The decisive game was fought out between two battle-hardened veterans, Stan and Keith Roper. Keith was a pawn up, pressing for the win but behind on the clock. Stan like Geoff Boycott was determined not to give his wicket away. Intent on defence, he overlooked Keith's blunder gifting him a piece. He continued to defend resolutely and found an ingenious way to force the draw, which clinched a shock team win. Result 2-3
23/2/15 West Bridgford 2 v Ashfield 2.  A very strong team display. Geoff and Jerry on top boards and Alan on Board 5 all won. Bob and myself also had winning chances which we failed to convert. We've now won 8 from 11, just off the fierce pace of Grantham 2 and Gambit 2. This performance shows us in good nick with 3 games left to play. Result 1-4

23/2/15 West Notts 4 v Ashfield 4. Ashfield slipped to defeat against an experienced West Notts line-up. There were draws for Pete Clarke on top board, Rik Dawson and Richard Dyce. This defeat slips the team into the relegation zone. Result 3.5- 1.5
18/2/15. Ashfield 3 v Central 1. A dramatic relegation battle, which started slowly, building up to a thrilling climax in front of 8 horror-struck or enthralled spectators, depending on your club. Neil and myself took the same path of a quick draw to let Boards 3-5 fight it out. Steve Foster accepted Neil's early peace offer and I was pleasantly surprised when Alan Griffiths, 167 as White, accepted my draw offer after 16 moves. A quick survey of the other games showed Stan as having very strong pressure, but Nigel's position on the verge of collapse. Nigel couldn't salvage his game but Stan, who is playing very consistently, converted his pressure into a win. All down to Alan's game, as so often this season. The problem from our point of view was that Graham Gibson, playing very well, stood better. Alan made a slip in playing Kh7? which seemed to play into a winning attack. He survived this, the exchange down but, with another pinned piece en prise, looked set to lose more material. Graham tripled his heavy pieces on the open f file. Graham then erred by unpinning the Knight, allowing Alan to win  Queen for Knight and Rook. Graham with  2 Rooks and Bishop against Alan's  Queen and Bishop probably still stood better , but with the tension rising  lost Rook and Pawn for Bishop. Alan  cleaned up in the Queen v Rook and Bishop ending,  with about a minute to spare.  Both teams remain in danger of relegation, but for us Alan threw the grappling iron over the wall and offered the team  a chance to climb  up the ladder to safety. Result 3-2
16/2/15 Newark 1 v Ashfield 1. Two players, who have hit winning streaks, maintained these at Newark. Derek is now on a run of seven wins and John on five. Pablo on Board 1 and Steve drew to clinch the win, leaving the team well placed to finish as League runner-up, with Mansfield our only challengers. Result 2-3 

11/2/15 Ash 2 v West Notts 2.  5 decisive games, all won by Black. For the second game running I was the weakest link, but the team baled me out. I was outplayed by Robert Willoughby. Bob quickly levelled against Alan Kenyon. Alan cranked up the pressure in his game to edge us ahead, but the other boards were worrying. Jerry had attacking chances but no time. He dropped a piece. All square. Geoff had earlier offered Andrew Garside a draw, which Andrew turned down. Geoff's King had little cover, but Andrew had little time. Geoff played accurately to defend and set up  threats. He played a clever move to exchange minor pieces before his opponent  fatally exchanged Queens. Geoff had the pleasure of collecting 3 more Queens before clinching our seventh win in 10 games Result 3-2

11/2/15 Ash 4 v West Brigford 4. With top boards absent, Ash 4 were overpowered. Richard scored the consolation draw. Result 0.5- 4.5

4/2/15 Grantham 2 v Ashfield 3. A long trip for little reward. Grantham , who are up with the pace-setters in Div. 2, cleaned up on the top 3 boards, while Stan and David scored good draws on Boards 4 and 5. Cheer up, Trevor, at least you've got this fixture out of the way, and it's very likely you won't need to go there next year when these teams are likely to be separated by, at least, 1 division. The team now has 4 games left to fight to stay in Div 2. Result 4-1 

2/2/15 Mansfield 1 v Ashfield 1. In the home fixture Mansfield had stunned us by winning without Jon Tait. Here we pulled off a similar win without our 2 regular top boards. Mansfield offered a big helping hand by defaulting on Board 3. Glenn on his return to action was only required to make one move. With a default penalty, one win and one draw would give us the match. We achieved this readily. Derek, against Ken Morrison, and myself against Janos , secured nicely controlled wins. Derek's belligerent King incurred a time penalty for planting itself in an adjacent square to Ken's King. without affecting the result. Andrew and Steve each offered stiff challenges to Tait and Burnett before slipping to narrow defeats. This victory revives the team's prospects of emulating last season's League runner-up  finish, although our captain is still calculating mathematical possibilities of relegation. Result 1.5- 3.5

27/1/15 Gambit 2 v Ashfield 2. On our last visit to Gambit, we beat Gambit 3 from a hopeless position. This time we lost to Gambit 2 from a very healthy one. From early on, I was the only player in our team whose position was dodgy. I dropped a pawn  with an over-ambitious advance and Dick Edwards played accurately and clinically to exploit this.  Bob Taylor outplayed Brian Haywood from the opening and looked very well set for his second win of the season against Brian. The games on Boards 1 and 5 looked pretty equal and in due course were drawn, although Alan and John Tassi's was the last game to finish. Jerry scored a good attacking win against Drag Sudar. Brian  was putting up some resistance against Bob and it came down to a Rook ending in which Bob was clearly better. Bob allowed Brian to create his own passed pawn and the game and match turned on its head. Result  3-2  Each team has 5 games left. Gambit ,a point ahead of Ashfield and with a better board difference, are now in clear pole position in the DIv 2 title race. On tonight's form there is very little between these 2 teams.

 26/1/15 Newark 3 v Ashfield 4. Two good wins with the Black pieces by Andy Flint and Rik Dawson. Two good draws by Nigel Wright (against Graham Ladds 150) and George Heath give the team 2 valuable points and a fighting chance of staying up in Div 4 with 5 games left to play.

21/1/15 Ashfield 3 v Gambit 3. Ashfield moved off the foot of the table with a convincing win. Neil, with White and his favourite opening romped to victory in no time against John Huthwaite. Stan also followed up with a win against Mick Harper, Two other boards looked promising. Trevor, after being an exchange down, got a very strong attack against Gary Hopkinson , and I seemed to have a technically winning position against Keith Roper. Against resolute defence, the wins eluded us . We settled for the draws, which clinched the team victory. Gambit scored a consolation win on Board 5. The team is only 2 points adrift a number of other teams. With 5 games left, a strong finish could yet avert relegation. Gambit badly missed Hamza, their regular Board 1 and we made them pay.  Result 3-2
19/1/15 West Notts 1 v Ashfield 1.  If Ladbrokes offered odds on chess matches, this would have been a banker draw, and so it proved. West Notts have drawn half their games, and we have drawn our previous two. Individually too, results were in line with recent player form.  John and Derek won. Steve lost to Mark Kenyon. Pablo had a more acute reprise of his last game. Close to a win against Alex Posasezhnikov, he turned down a draw offer , only to end up losing in a time scramble. Pablo, have you kicked a cat? Andrew drew with Jonah Willow, a scarily good junior. Result 2.5- 2.5
 The Ashfield (and Breadsall) motors, so good round the track last year, aren't quite purring so sweetly this year.
14/1/15 Ashfield 3 v Ashfield 2. The contest was won on the top two boards. Geoff took a liking to Neil's Budapest Gambit. Bob also emerged  very nicely from the complications presented by Steve Bak's  King's Gambit. As in the first game of the season we were in the house with 2 quick wins. The similarity ended there with three remaining tight games. Stan sprung a Trompowsky on me and gained an early advantage. I clawed my way back to equality, and reached a position where we could agree a draw, honours even.  Pete Clarke and Nigel also shook hands on a draw, sealing the second team win. Match decided, David and Ray on Board 3 were in no mood to stop hostilities. They fought on to the death and despite Ray's strong resistance, the younger tiger prevailed. Result 2-3.
 James Alexander Gordon would have enjoyed reading out this match score.
7/1/15 Ashfield 1 v West Bridgford 1. Our first team were held in a see-saw contest which could have swung either way. Top boards were shared. Pablo had a promising position against Robert Richmond with an outside past pawn and turned down a draw offer. Robert skilfully then turned the tables on Pablo. This loss was cancelled out by John's win. John had a pressing initiative throughout the game and drew Richard Truman's King into a mating web. Andrew arrived late and had a rare off-night, but this was countered by a forceful win by Derek.  Down to Steve's game as often this this year, it didn't look promising. Steve held it together to salvage the team draw. Result 2.5 - 2.5
7/1/15 Ashfield 4 v Radcliff and Bingham 2.  A convincing home win which moved the team towards mid table. This was the team's second win of the season, the first with the skipper at the helm. Wins from Pete Clarke, Rik Dawson and Adam Manchester and solid draws from Nigel Wright and Richard Dyce also removed the team's boards differerence deficit. Although they lost, it was good to see a team with 2 female players.  Result 4-1

10/12/14 Ashfield 1 v University 1. Solid draws from Derek and myself. A good draw from Steve in an unusual and inventive game. A splendid attacking win by John against Ankush Khandelwal. A welcome seasonal return from Glenn, who just lost out to his old adversary, Darren Lee. Against a strong University line-up, this felt like a point gained rather than one lost. Result 2.5-2.5
9/12/14 Gambit 3 v Ashfield 2. The damage was done on the top 2 boards. In an equal but tricky Q+N endgame I managed to blunder my Knight. In a materially equal Rook endgame, Keith Roper spotted an opportunity to immobilise Trevor's Rook. Forced to try and find a win, Stan overplayed his hand. David and Alan, with little time left agreed draws , in winning positions. The team score didn't reflect the close contest on each board.  Result 4-1.

3/12/14 Grantham 2 v Ashfield 2.  We'd been riding our luck of late with 3-2 wins in our last 4 games, and we went down narrowly here. Jerry had a good top board win. This was cancelled out by my serious opening accident from which there was no recovery. Trevor lost out to a finely played game by Ben Mason.This left 2 very tight games involving Neil and Alan. Each looked very equal with our team needing at least one win to salvage a point from the match. Alan had a dead drawn bishop ending, but we've seen miracles from him before and he was making what looked like winning progress. Spotting this, Neil, who had the slimmest of edges, agreed a draw with Ivan David. Alan 's apparent winning chances were  foiled at the last by resolute defence from Chris Cumbers. Result 3-2
26/11/14  Grantham 1 v Ashfield 1. The Champions proved too strong for us, although we offered a good challenge. There were draws for John, Andrew and Derek, but defeats for Pablo and Steve. Grantham have won their first 6 matches and it may be time to get the record books out. It will take a very good side to lower their colours this year. They have raised their  standard , will almost certainly retain the League title and could well go through the season undefeated. Their target will be to win all their games. I don't know if or when this was last achieved. Result 3.5-1.5
26/11/14 Ashfield 3 v West Notts 2. West Notts. climbed off the foot of the table at our team's expense with this win. We were under pressure throughout the game. David was in trouble from early on. Neil's King was drawn into the open by a sacrificial attack. Neil fought back with his own tactical shot, but the exposed position of his King was decisive. The rest of the team rallied well. Stan earned a good win against Alan Kenyon. Each contrived to get a Piece trapped before Alan managed this with his Queen,  settling matters. Trevor and  Nigel scored  good draws against John Collins and K Sangha. Result 2-3

25/11/14 Central 2 v Ashfield 4. Our team lost narrowly. there was a win for Andy Flint on his seasonal debut and draws by Richard and Pete, but losses by Nigel and Rik settled things. Result 3-2 

19/11/14 Ashfield 2 v Central 1. An efficient and economically-earned victory. Geoff and myself could make  no headway as White against Mark Radford and Geoff Forster and agreed early draws. Our 3 players with Black played more enterprisingly. Alan made the breakthrough, winning a pawn and an exchange, and mopping up neatly. Jerry too took the game to his opponent, pressing hard for a win, until Steve Foster almost turned the tables with a tactical coup. The top board game between Derek and Alan Griffiths was finely balanced, ending as a draw. Jerry was angry with himself for not winning. I was relieved his drew , the fourth of the match, secured the team win. Result 3-2

19/11/14 Ashfield 4 v Newark 3. Our team scored their first win of the season. Newark defaulted a board. Wins for Rik Dawson and George Heath and a draw from Pete Clarke sealed a convincing win. Result 3.5- 1.5
11/11/14 Gambit 1 v Ashfield 1. The top boards pulled us through in this tight battle between the teams who finished second and third last season. The match started badly when Derek found a novel way to lose a piece from which there was no way back. Andrew and Steve scored draws against John Swain and Steve Hunter. Pablo recorded a very good win against Mike Barnes, 206. All down to John's game with Peter Mercs. With little time left, in a theoretically drawn K,Q + P v K+Q ending, Peter made a fatal slip, which John jumped on to clinch his and the team win. Result 2-3  After the loss to Mansfield, 2 wins have put the team back on track- Grantham next !

10/11/14 West Bridgford 2 v Ashfield 3. A very good team performance secured our team's first win of the season. I scored a par draw. Stan scored a better one as Black  against Harry Croasdale, graded 165. Harry sought to sow confusion with 1 Nc3. Stan rattled out ...c5 and after 2 e4 was happy to enter a standard Sicilian line. Major pieces were traded. Stan comfortably held the draw, although a prod was needed to draw his attention to Harry's draw offer. With no individual board wins in the first 4 games, a pint prize was on offer to our first winner. Nigel stepped up to claim this, trapping Terry Lavelle's Queen, causing his quick resignation . Trevor, who had stood better from the opening, came under pressure from a tactical assault by Harry Solomonides. He defended very accurately to hold his 161-graded opponent. Neil gradually reeled in Ross Murphy to seal an emphatic team win. Result 1.5-3.5  *In recent years, the third team's best points haul in Division 2 has been 5, a target now well in reach.

4/11/14  Gambit 3 v Ashfield 2. Gambit had demonstrated last week that their second team was too strong for our third team. We found it much heavier going against their third string.  Geoff and myself drew with the White pieces on Board 1 and 3. A good win by Jerry against Keith Roper was cancelled out by Trevor's loss to John Huthwaite. All hinged on Alan's game against Peter Gorecka-Marshall. Alan, a piece down, held  drawing chances, and a team draw was the height of our ambition. Peter carefully dissected Alan's position, standing 2 pieces and 2 pawns to the good, when tragically his flag fell, leaving Alan the perplexed victor. Chess can be a cruel, cruel game. Alan's never-say-die spirit and his opponent's neglect of his clock presented us with a most unlikely win. Result 2-3

4/11/14 Radcliff & Bingham 2 v Ashfield 4. The fourth team scored their first point in 4 games with a very good draw against a club second team. Nigel Wright,who is playing very consistently, drew on Board 1 and there were wins for Rik Dawson against J Buttery and Adam Manchester against Dorothy Blampied. Result 2.5-2.5

26/10/14 Ashfield 1 v Newark 1. After the defeat to Mansfield (and a defeat in Breadsall colours), this was a welcome return to form. Pablo led the way with his win against Alexander Combie, and Andrew won the exchange and beat R Myers. Derek drew with Graham Ladds. My position on the board and my clock handing caused team-mates and supporters (Jerry) some anxiety. Luckily my opponent let me off the hook, and I survived these, ensuring the team win. Steve lost in a Rook and Pawn ending which was very difficult to defend. Result 3-2 

26/10/14 Ashfield 3 v Gambit 2. Ashfield competed well on most boards, but wins for Drag Sudar, Dick Edwards, and John Tassi over Trevor, Stan and Nigel ensured a decisive victory for Gambit. Neil, who stood better, and David drew. Ashfield 3 are developing more resistance and becoming harder to beat, but finding it  tough to score indivdual wins. A pint is on offer to the first team member to score a win! Result 1-4

22/10/14 Ashfield 2 v West Bridgford 2.. An early loss for Bob but wins from Derek and Jerry put us in the driving seat. When Alan drew, I needed to avoid defeat against Harry Croasdale to clinch the team win, which I just managed, despite being well on top for most of the game. Result 3-2

22/10/14 Ashfield 4 v Mansfield 2. Mansfield defaulted a board. All square with the last game, a tense top board match between Nigel Wright, playing very well and the wily veteran Janos. It seems Nigel missed at least a draw, but Janos beat him on time as he  has done so many of us in the past. Result 2-3

15/10/14 Ashfield 1 v Mansfield 1. A determined Mansfield team, despite the absence of captain, Jon Tait, were too good for Ashfield on the night. The game started well when Andrew planted his Queen on d2, opened Bishop lines and crashed through Janos' position. Late stand-in, Trevor drew with G.Jones. Mansfield however wrested control on the top 3 boards. John neglected development to go for a speculative mating attack. This led to a back rank weakness and a very complicated tactical position in which his opponent Chris Cantrill held all the trumps. Pablo played an Exchange sacrifice in one of his gambit lines. Jim Burnett cleverly offered to give back the exchange to diffuse the attack. Pablo went for more, missed the best continuation and Jim was more than equal to the problems Pablo tried to set. Steve had rescued us in the last match but couldn't repeat this and he too had to give best to Ken Morrison in a game of blocked pawns.  Result 2-3 

14/10/14  Central 2 v Ashfield 3. Ashfield 3 climbed off the foot of the table with a resilient defensive display. Stan and Nigel Wright both held comfortable draws, but the top 3 boards had to fight hard against higher graded opponents. Neil, 144, played his way back from a dodgy opening to achieve a draw against Alan Griffiths, 167. Trevor's French Defence held up against Kevin Harvey, graded 32 points higher. Trevor was very happy to accept a draw offer as he thought his fortress was on the point of being breached. In the last game to finish, David Woodhouse, 137 held on for a draw, despite being the exchange down against Mark Radford, 153.    Result  2.5- 2.5

6/10/14  West Notts 2 v Ashfield 2. We matched last week's first team win against West Notts. Bob struck first with a quick win, his third in 3 games. Geoff against Andrew Garside and myself chipped in with solid draws. The victory was sealed when Jerry mated John Collins' King which had tried to hide on a8. West Notts improved their score when Alan could not hold his Queen and Pawn ending. Our 2 winners, whose play was commendably cool, calm and collected, both had a cup of tea near the hour mark. It seemed to help their clear thinking, conclusive evidence of the restorative, performance-enhancing powers of a cuppa. Result  2-3

1/10/14  Ashfield 1 v West Notts 1. With Pablo absent, against a team led by County Champion Alex Posazhennikov, this looked a potential banana skin. This seemed even more likely when Mark Kenyon undid Andrew with a tactical coup. Two draws with Black steadied us. There were sparks of invention in my game with Alan Kenyon but our mutual caution prevailed. John achieved a very good draw on Board 1. Alex P had played quickly into a rook ending  in which which he was pressing. John demonstrated he is well capable of looking after himself in Rook endings. It was left to our 2 White players playing powerfully when it mattered to turn the match around. Derek showed his technique to outplay Adi Munshi in a very blocked position. Steve showed great fighting spirit, from an unpromising position against David Levens, to create and seize his winning chance. Result  3-2

1/10/14 Ashfield 3 v Grantham 2. Ashfield were handed a start as Grantham arrived a player short. David Woodhouse and Stan each notched good draws, but Neil and Steve were unable to hold the strong Grantham top board pair. Encouraging signs of acclimatising to life in Division 2 . Result 2-3

24/9/14 Ashfield 2  v Gambit 2. Derek stood in for Geoff who was unavailable. Gambit had 3 unavailable players replaced by first teamers, Barnes, Hunter and Hayward. We pushed them all the way. Derek lost to Mike Barnes and Alan lost to John Tassi. Bob had a convincing win against Brian Hayward, and I had a tasty one against Drag Sudar. All hinged on Jerry's game with Steve Hunter with all results possible. In bad time trouble, Jerry had to find the one winning move. He missed it and Steve punished him. A very encouraging losing performance. Result 2-3

24/9/14 Ashfield 4 v West Notts 4. Ashfield faced strong opposition. Pete Clarke lost to Adi Munshi, the new rising star of Notts chess. George lost to Tracey Clegg, but draws for captain, Richard Dyce and Rik Dawson. Special mention to Adam Manchester who had a convincing win in his first League game. Result 2-3
22/9/14 W.Bridgford 1 v Ashfield 1. When a team has strength in depth, top boards don't need to force the issue. A tried and trusted formula can be to hold the top boards, and pick up the wins with the "rear gunners". Pablo, John and Steve drew. Andrew and Derek had too much know-how for their young opponents and scored the wins. Safely over the first of 14 hurdles. Result 1.5- 3.5

17/9/14 Ashfield 2 v Ashfield 3.  We expected a tight match, but Ashfield 2, struck hard and early. The match was sealed on Boards 2-4 with three quick wins before the bingo. The third team's middle order looked rusty.  Ashfield 2 's middle order, who had all played in the Club Rapidplay, were sharper. Stan's experimental opening drew my f-pawn into the heart of his position to inflict terminal damage. Jerry won two pawns against Steve, prompting resignation. Bob sacrificed a piece against David for 2 pawns to open up his opponent's King. David missed the best defensive resources. 
Although the match was decided, the excitement came on Boards 1 and 5. Neil and Geoff fought out a tense and high quality battle. Neil played an Exchange Sacrifice for a  strong attack. Short of time, he missed the best follow-up. Geoff found the  defensive resources to beat off the attack and enter a winning endgame. Alan and Trevor's game was a mirror image of Board 1. Alan was materially better but in his usual desperate time trouble. We shouldn't have worried. Alan mated Trevor with 4 seconds to spare. The third team had the misfortune to catch Ashfield 2 on a rare on-night. Result 5-0

League Season Review/Highlights

posted Sep 29, 2015, 1:26 PM by Steve Bak   [ updated Sep 29, 2015, 1:27 PM ]

Originally posted Mar 5, 2015, 8:33 AM by Phil Morgan   [ updated Apr 22, 2015, 11:51 AM ]
Ashfield 1

Ashfield surpassed last year's points total but dropped a League position finishing in third place on 20 points behind Grantham and Mansfield. John Molyneux had an outstanding season with 8.5/11 and Derek also scored well with 8.5/13. Pablo's results did not reflect his play as he turned down draws in at least 2 of his losses. " Who Dares Wins." does not always translate to the chess battlefield. Glenn was missed for much of the season, but squad players came in and contributed to a very respectable season. Grantham were worthy League Champions. The Mansfield team showed significant improvement, and Gambit showed significant decline, in each case with little change in personnel from previous seasons. Ashfield will be looking to regain the title of top Notts. club from Mansfield next season.  

Ashfield 2 

With the same regular players, we were unrecognisable from the side that finished last season in sixth place on twelve points with a board difference of minus 12. This season we finished runners up with 10 wins from 14 games and a board difference of plus 13. Individually and as a team we found consistency. Geoff scored 8/11 with only one loss. Jerry scored 7.5/11. Bob scored well, but our leading scorer was Alan with 9.5/13. Derek gave us a boost in the five games he played. Individually we were hard to beat. I lost most games, 4 from 14. I'll happily settle for that next season! Also, it's taken me three years, but I've found our best board order and stopped tinkering. 

Ashfield 3 

Promoted last year, the team found it tough going in the first half of the season. After 8 games the team were rooted to the bottom of the table with 3 points. The team were finding individual board wins scarce. In a stirring rally, the team took 7 points from the last six games, failing to stay up by a whisker.  The third team should feel proud  of achieving 10 points in the second tier, well exceeding previous returns. The top boards struggled for parity, but when they could achieve this , the engine room of the team started to deliver the board wins to clinch the team results. David in his first season at this level played solidly all year, and came to the fore with 3 wins and a draw from his 4 games after Christmas. The" Evergreen" Stan Cranmer too showed he is still more than capable of holding his own at this level with three wins and four draws in the same period. Bravo!

Ashfield 4  -

Despite some good results, including a win against the top team, University 2, the team was a bit inconsistent and just failed to overcome a poor start to the season of 3 losses. The team scored 11 points in 4 games which would have been enough to stay up in any other division. The team was a mixture of experience and youth. Adam Manchester played his first season of League chess. Nigel Wright played on top board through the season, and his game should benefit from the experience of playing against established Division 1 players.  

Season's Highlights

Within my review of the season, I've chosen the 3 most memorable club games I have seen this season. This is purely a personal choice based on different criteria including quality of play, entertainment value and significance of the game to the team. 

*This is not a Best Games Award. It is just my pick of 3 games I have seen which will stay in my mind from this season. 

John Molyneux v Alex Poszhennikov 1.10.14

I have seen John’s 6 home games this season, and have enjoyed watching these. He has played some top quality chess including  wins against Ankush Kandelwahl, Nigel Birtwhistle, Peter Mercs and Richard Truman. Richard contributed to his defeats by wandering forward into a mate, and Peter by getting his Queen trapped. These mistakes came about because their positions were under pressure, and John needed no second invitation to take advantage. He can spot a Cheapo!
His two top wins were against Ankush and Nigel. Either of these could be a contender for the NCA Best Game Award. The game against Ankush was very exciting and tactical. The game against Nigel also seemed a very high quality contest. I have yet to see the analysis of this game, and won’t have spotted all the tactical possibilities.
John’s loss against Chris Cantrill was memorable too in its own way. I arrived late for this, by which time the damage was done.
It may seem strange that I have chosen a draw as a memorable game, but this first home game of the season has stuck in my mind. Alex, ECF 207 traded pieces off and propelled into an endgame, in which he appeared to have winning chances . To my 140’s vision, John’s position looked losing. More to the point Alex had aimed for this ending with the belief that he could win it. John needed to play very accurately to hold the draw, which he did with confidence. He understood that he could hold the draw by playing actively, and gradually Alex too realised that although he stood better, he was not able to break down John’s defensive resource.  Alex ‘s style was interesting in that he quickly aimed for an endgame in which he could outplay his opponent. He discovered that John can look after himself in a Rook ending. (Team mates Derek and Steve's ability  to defend Rook endings later proved crucial to Breadsall's year-end.) 

Alan Robinson v Graham Gibson 18.2.15

Regular readers won’t be surprised at my choice of this game played for Ashfield 3. I have seen 13 games played by Alan this year, and there have been several white knuckle roller-coaster rides.  The first game of the season he had one such win against Trevor, although I confess I left early and missed this. It’s been uncanny this year how often the team result has come down to Alan’s game, as the last board to finish with Alan in time pressure. Fortunately he and we are used to this and more often than not , Alan has brought home the bacon. . He did this ridiculously against Gambit 3, somehow winning a totally lost game on the clock. For Ashfield 2 against Central, he was the only winner with the other 4 boards drawn. In this game for Ashfield 3 he played the same opponent Graham Gibson and conjured a very good win from the jaws of defeat, giving the third team its second victory of the season.

The significance of this game to both teams fortunes can’t be underestimated. For Ashfield 3 it lit the touch-paper for the team’s Great Escape bid.. Whilst Central still had several games to play, in their hearts and minds, weakened as they are by the unavailability of key players, they would have known too that this single board result dealt a hefty blow to their prospects of averting relegation.

David Woodhouse v Mike Hunter 18.3.15.  

This almost worked out as the decisive moment of Ashfield 3’s Great Escape adventure. Inspired by the win against Central, the team started to find winning habits. I’ve seen 6 games played by David this year. He’s adapted well in his first season in Division 2. He’s a solid player, who has found that wins are hard to come by in Division 2 with teams and players often closely matched. He scored his first win against Ray Sayer in January in combative style, and then came to the fore with 2 very important wins. A finely constructed win against John Tassi helped the team overthrow League leaders, Gambit 2. In this game against West Bridgford 2 his contribution to the team seemed just as decisive. West Bridgford , 3 points below Ashfield in the table, arrived with a weakened team, desperate for a win, to climb off the foot of the table. Their weakened team looked on course to achieve this until David found a tactical coup which led to a mating attack, as he had against Gambit. The match was drawn and Ashfield  remained 3 points ahead of WB. At the time it looked that this lead might seal Ashfield 3’s  escape from relegation at the expense of West Bridgford. Alas, and to their credit West Bridgford won their crucial last game to dash our hopes.

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