Central 2 Relegated. Central 1?

May 17th, 2016

(By Kevin Argyle)

It was potentially a tense and exciting last match for the second team with us needing a win (a draw would have been enough if the League decided only two would go down). Radcliffe & Bingham 2 also needed a win to stay up.

As it turned out, although we beat R&B at their place, it was a much stronger team that arrived at the King Billy. The result was never really in doubt, especially as we were missing Mark Radford and Pat Allen, and we lost 4.5-0.5. Simon got the draw.

Earlier in the season, I thought getting relegated would be a bit of a disaster but I have changed my view since. We are doomed to always battle against relegation in Division 4 so it will make a pleasant change to lead an assault on the Division 5 summit, not to mention a couple of inter-club matches (and an extra home game).

Last week we had a 4 round blitz tournament amongst 8 of us organised by Andy Sutton. It was the standard, enjoyable blitz fare, all blunders and mad time scrambles. Looking forward to more of the same throughout the summer. Come on down!

Are Central 1 promoted or not? We won’t know until next year’s league structure is finalised. Fingers crossed.


Central 2 Fighting On!

April 13th, 2016

(by Kevin Argyle)

Two excellent results have given the second team a good chance of survival.

Last week we entertained unbeaten West Bridgford 3, already crowned champions, and almost beat them. Chris Budd was ‘staffed in’ but got the day wrong and so WB started with a default. Ironically this oversight may well have helped cost Chris’ own fourth team their Division 4 status.

We were able to put out a decently strong team and got off to a good start when Mark Radford beat an out-of-form Terry Lavelle, the latter just failing to make the time control in a lost position.

When Pat agreed a draw with Allan Brown we were guaranteed at least a vital point. Andy lost to WB captain Mike Hunter leaving Lukasz fighting a hopeless battle against Chris Fraser. The latter demonstrated how not to win R+K v K ending and just managed to win on time, both flags falling at around the same time but Chris claimed the win and Lukasz accepted. Our watching players protested but I agreed with Mike Hunter that the accepted result between the players should stand.

We travelled to The Willow Tree on Monday needing a victory to take things to the last game of the season). And win we did.

It was not our strongest team by any means with Mark Radford, Graham Gibson and Pat Allen all unable to play.

We ‘fielded’ a new player, John Harvey, who has been coming to the club a lot recently (we registered his details with the league earlier in the season) but has not played competitively since being a promising junior once upon a time.

Simon Parham registered a smooth win against Rob Garnet to put us in the driving seat but elsewhere, Lukasz was facing Chris Budd on board 1 and looking shaky, Andrew was losing to Chris Fraser, I went a piece down against Frank Hill and John went a piece down against Ed French.

Amazingly we won from this position. Although me and Andy both lost, Ed blundered badly against John, losing two rooks followed by resignation. Then Lukasz beat Chris on time, his opponent taking too long to make sure he had a winning endgame. 3-2 to us.


At the moment there are three going down instead of two, although this is not definite by any means.

Should be an interesting last game…

And The Winners Are…

April 13th, 2016

The Club Championship for season 2015-16 is now over.

Round 6 results; A.Griffiths 1-0 S.Foster; G.Forster 1/2 P.Allen (not played); A.Sutton 1/2 M.Radford; L.Kacprzak 1/2 M.James (not played); G.Gibson 0-1 K.Argyle (not played); M.Frings 0-1 J.Dell; A.Meade 0-1 S.Parham.


1= A.Griffiths (5)

1= S.Foster (5)

3. P.Allen (4)

4= M.Radford (3.5)

4= G.Forster (3.5)

4= L.Kacprzak (3.5)

4= A.Sutton (3.5)

4= K.Argyle (3.5)

9. J.Dell (3)

10= M.James (2.5)

10= G.Gibson (2.5)

12= M.Frings (2)

12= S.Parham (2)

14. A.Meade (1)

The Club Champion is Alan Griffiths on account of his win over joint first placed Steve Foster in the final round. The U130 Champion is Patrick Allen in clear third place and the U100 Champion is Kevin Argyle.


‘Two Minute Rule’ – Comments Invited

March 26th, 2016

(by Kevin Argyle)

The ‘Two Minute Rule’ has been a general topic of conversation recently but it is clear to me that most players either do not know of its existence or are confused as to when it applies (I include myself in this).

In my last league game I got down to two minutes and was in a rook and pawn endgame a pawn down against a much stronger opponent. From a position of clear advantage my opponent started to play moves almost instantly (despite having 20 minutes or so on his clock) as a tactic to not give me any thinking time. This motive was readily admitted after the game. The moves he played were generally poor, involving obvious checks, etc. His position went from advantageous to equal to probably losing but of course it didn’t matter as I had no chance of winning the game in the time I had available.

The question is, should I have claimed a draw (before the end of the game, obviously) on the basis that my opponent was not trying to win by normal means?

I think my confusion lies in the fact that there is no rule stipulating how fast a player can play a move or that he has to play a good move, and it is not as if the position was a dead draw and he was just shuffling pieces about.


Latest Matches.

March 25th, 2016

(by Kevin Argyle)

On Tuesday evening, both Central 1 and Central 3 played, home and away, respectively.

The first team signed off the season with a convincing win against Newark 2. I turned up around 8 to be met by John Harrison going in the opposite direction after winning quickly against Malcolm Hargreaves who appeared to have been ‘sacrificed’ on board 2. Malcolm played a line of the Chigorin but had forgotten the details and ended up with an ┬áimportant piece on the wrong square. Unfortunately for him John also knew the line but correctly.

A very short time later Mark had resigned to Gary Bosworth to even up the score. Mark had seen he would come under heavy pressure but figured he could cope with it. He was only half right.

Steve’s health has improved over recent weeks and he made short work of his opponent on board 4. A draw and a win from the remaining two boards gave us the victory. Apparently promotion is still possible even if finishing in third.

I was desperately trying to get a team together for the second’s match away at Grantham the following night and at one point it looked like I might have to default the match through a combination of players unable or not wanting to play. Late on the Wednesday I was bailed out by 3/4 of the 3rd team who had played (and lost 4-0) the night before but were prepared to travel 20 miles and go again the following day. Thanks guys.

Grantham 3 are ridiculously strong for division 4 and I didn’t hold out too much hope for a win, just relieved that we’d managed to turn up at all. We tried hard but to no avail. I had a good game against Gren Wollerton which came down to a rook and pawn endgame and my time rapidly diminishing. Gren frittered away an advantage to an equal position and then an inferior one but deliberately played very quickly (and badly) to take advantage of my lack of thinking time. Playing through the game later I may well have had a case for claiming a draw under the ‘two minute rule’. Too late now though.

I didn’t see much of the other games as I was the last to finish but I believe they were all hard fought. Unfortunately the 5-0 whitewash won’t do our survival chances much good.




The Great Escape…?

March 17th, 2016

(by Kevin Argyle)

Central 2 travelled to Radcliffe & Bingham on Tuesday night to play their second team with both sides needing points to escape the drop to the bottom tier. I was able to turn out a decent side and we made it count with a vital win. We have games in hand but West Notts’ thrashing of a weakened WB5 has made the task that much harder.

An hour in, and all games were fairly equal. Lukasz was playing very quickly as normal. No sooner had his opponent moved than Lukasz’ hand was hovering over the board ready to reply. In fact he was playing so quickly that the digital clock gave up and they had to replace it with an analogue one. A short time later he unleashed a devastating combination, taking a knight that if recaptured would have allowed a lethal ‘family fork’. His opponent, Charles Martin, wisely declined the recapture but a couple of moves later, a piece and the exchange down, resigned leaving us one up.

On board one, Mark was never in any trouble and with the straightforward plan of aiming his pieces at the opponent’s king, and with a bishop fork of his opponent’s king and queen unavoidable, put us two up.

Mick had much the worse of his game against Dorothy and also had to contend with a withering look of disgust after coming back from the bar with a soft drink instead of an alcoholic one. But it did the trick and he converted a nearly lost position into a win to make it 3-0 and allow the non-playing captain (myself) to relax and enjoy the rest of the match.

Pat had a decent position against Charlotte Attwood and went a pawn up but was unable to find a win and after giving the pawn back, agreed a draw leaving Andy Sutton to try and salvage a draw a pawn down against Ian Nicholson. At one point this looked very likely but Andy was in time trouble and felt he had to try something different. He allowed the exchange of queens and then it was all over. A good, strongly fought game though.

Can we avoid the drop? Watch this space.

Decisions, Decisions…

February 22nd, 2016

(by Kev.A., from observation & Alan’s report)

Strange how things turn out, with last week’s first team match against Nomads being postponed, as agreed by the captains, then being back on, as overturned by the League. Nomads were struggling to get a team out with it being half-term week and the expectation was that they had very little chance of winning, having to turn out a seriously weakened side.

This imbalance between the two sides was evened up somewhat with Steve calling in sick. For a while it looked like we might have to default a board but Simon, always eager for a game, stepped in at the last minute.

On the night Alan turned up to find a darts match in full swing in our space but managed to turf them out in time.

The chess started well for Central with John establishing an early advantage on board 2 against Greg Sargent whilst both Alan and Graham had equal positions with not much play for either side. Andy and Simon on the lower boards were also looking comfortable.

John converted his advantage without too much trouble but that’s pretty much as good as it got for Central with Simon eventually losing to Clement Owusu (who clearly enjoys his beer and chess, joining us at the bar afterwards for some chessic conversation). Andy also lost to Mike Swanwick from a commanding position but somehow forgetting about a last ditch mating threat. He was inconsolable afterwards, feeling that he’d cost us the match.

Both Graham and Alan tried hard to eke something out of very drawish positions against Rob Parker and Maurice Hill respectively but to no avail. Match lost 3-2.

Over the weekend, the U100 county team were at home to Warwickshire with Central again represented by myself, John Dell, Alex Meade & Simon Parham. The match turned into a close affair with Notts eventually edging it 6.5-5.5. I found myself on board 2 against Peter Davies and after some tactical skirmishes in my favour and with my opponent thinking for long stretches of time he just made the time control a piece down. In trying too hard to find a checkmate I then made a mistake giving Peter the piece back and probably a won game. He then, appearing very stressed, offered me a draw. I accepted. When his teammate pointed out he was winning he replied “I’ve had enough”. With our game being one of the last to finish, this decision may well have cost Warwickshire the match.

Simon won comfortably, John’s game was pretty even throughout and ended a draw. Alex lost although she had chances.


Central 2 at Nomads 2

January 21st, 2016

It’s always nice to play an away match within walking distance and this was one of those occasions (the other being Gambit). It was the first time I have played at Nomads venue, the Organ Grinder, and it turned out to be an enjoyable experience (if you ignore the match result). The pub has a nice selection of Blue Monkey real ales.

Upon arrival I was led through a door, up the stairs, to the ‘players’ entrance’. The other entrance is from the outside and this way all the heat is kept in. Unfortunately Mike Swanwick came in through the ‘street’ entrance and let all the heat out anyway.

We were facing a stiff task against the high-flying Nomads team being rather badly outgraded and the result reflected this. Lukasz was facing Rob Parker for the third(!) time this season and the result was depressingly familiar, Lukasz playing very quickly and very quickly losing.

Graham lost on board one against Shane Bhayat and I was under a lot of pressure against Paul Rees so already things were looking bleak. On board 2 Andy Sutton was doing well against Greg Sargent and went a piece up when Greg blundered in Andy’s time pressure. After the time control Andy could have ended matters by forking Greg’s King and Bishop but only saw the win of a Pawn in the time available. Eventually, with only a few seconds left he had to agree a draw.

I was struggling on board 4 but under heavy pressure I found what turned out to be a saving move. There was still a win for Paul but the line, although looking very dangerous,  involved temporarily losing a Rook and it was beyond both our calculating abilities to see to the win. After a long think he decided to passively defend a weak Pawn and the attack was gone. I then took over the initiative but Paul had a draw by perpetual check.

After Simon lost on board 5 to Will Eyre, the match finished 4-1 to Nomads.

The consolation was a welcome pint of Blue Monkey ale and I learnt how to play Backgammon.


Central Teams Going Well in the New Year!

January 14th, 2016

A good week for Central teams, who now have a 100% record in 2016 and a 12-2 points aggregate!

The First Team continued their march to promotion from the third division with a strong performance against Mansfield 3 who now look doomed to a quick return to Division 4.

Alan put together a commanding performance on Board 1 against Janos Wagenbach, a masterpiece of attacking play which ended with everything pointed at Janos’ King which was stuck in the centre. John had to work harder on Board 2 but eventually got on top and efficiently brought home the full point. Mark’s opponent on Board 3 was rated around 100 points lower than him so he was on a hiding to nothing but experience told and he won comfortably.

Steve’s game was dead from the start and a draw by move 17. Graham’ game, not unusually the last to finish, ended strangely with his opponent (having looked at the scoresheet) offering him a draw…or a win. Graham took the win.

Central 1 won 4-1.

The Third Team hosted Newark 3 the following night. Simon was the first to finish. His opponent gave up two pieces in the opening which Simon assumed was a fiendish opening trap and expected to be checkmated at any moment. But no, his opponent had just lost two pieces in the opening.

Alex played a good game on Board 4 which got to the first time control, at which point instead of putting the clocks back 15 minutes her opponent screwed up his scoresheet. Alex took this as a resignation.

Didn’t really see any of John Dell’s game on Board 1 but he was eventually ground down. My opponent on Board 2, Tony Bourke, seemed confused by the Division 5 time controls. We got to an endgame where I was about to go a Pawn down on the Kingside but seeing my opponent’s time trouble I created a passed Queen’s Rook pawn which was enough of a distraction to safely win on time.

Centrsl 3 won 3-1.



Central 1 v Gambit 4

January 8th, 2016

(From observation and players’ comments)

The First Team usually have the look of a sleeping giant in the first half of the season and you always felt that there was a severe thrashing just waiting to be dished out. Unfortunately for Gambit 4 they were in the right place at the wrong time on Tuesday night.

Alan, on top board, played a Nimzo-Indian against Onus Kofi-Ofuafar. Having had a few games with John Harrison down the club recently where John had experimented with some unusual lines in this very opening, Alan was not entirely surprised by his opponent’s 4.f3. The resulting position was fairly even with progress difficult on both sides. Onus spent a fair amount of time walking around looking confident but the position became very sharp (mutual Queen sacrifices being possible in some variations). Eventually Alan ended up with a Bishop for two weak Pawns and systematically simplified into a clearly won ending.

John Harrison has had to wait a while for his first win this season but when his own unusual line resulted in his opponent Gary Hopkinson going wrong in the early complications and losing his Queen to a Knight fork, the result was never in doubt. Gary battled on all the way to checkmate but John appeared to be stifling a yawn for most of the game.

Steve is looking very comfortable now on board 3 in Division 3 and this match was no exception with a smooth win against Derek Padvis.

Graham, on board 4 against Mick Harper seemed to have made a New Year’s resolution to play some interesting chess. He offered an exchange sacrifice and Mick couldn’t resist the offer of “a big, fat, juicy Rook”. According to Graham this was a mistake and he wrapped up the win soon after.

Andrew (in the running for most improved player this season, along with Alex) faced Margaret Gretton on board 5. The win apparently came about through ‘tacking’ (“you mean ‘attacking’?). No, Andrew had borrowed a sailing term to describe probing for weaknesses on both sides of the board. This eventually led to an error from Margaret and the 5-0 win was duly completed.

Promotion looks very much on the cards now.


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