Licenced to Ill

16 February 2022

If COVID is over then no-one has told Limewood and Scarcroft Chess Club. With players calling in ill up to the afternoon of the matches, test results being awaited and suspicious sniffles all round, it’s impressive that we managed to field 3 full teams and bodes well for our plans to go back to 4 teams next season.

But tissues, Lemsips and mad tweets from that fella who used to be in the Stone Roses aside, how did we get on where it matters, over the black and white squares?

The “A” team visited Rose Forgrove, always a pleasure – especially if you can get there early and bag a parking space. Nice soap in the gents, too. Our re-shuffled team outgraded our opponents on four of the boards, but it’s all about the results on the night and with three games drawn (for Pauls May and Anderson, and Siefaldin Holi), two wins on the other boards for Rose Forgrove meant they took the match 3.5 to 1.5, although well played Holi who came back from three pawns down to to a rook v pawn ending where he tucked into the corner and forced the draw.

Into Division 2, and the “B” team were hosted by Leeds “B” in town. Absolutely fantastic wins on boards 1 and 2 by Richard Sanger and Rob Lockwood – both outgraded by about 200 points – really setup the result. Rob beat a player with his own Wikipedia page, no less : FIDE Master Rupert Jones! Great stuff. Stand-in captain Duncan Stables won his game in 17 moves on board 3, a lovely combination with bishops and knight to win his opponent’s queen for knight and bishop and decimate his pawn structure early on. With Lewis Carroll continuing his great debut season on board 4 with a draw and John Light quickly winning on board 5 against the magnificently named Pierre Lanson De Bonnay De Breuille (you’ll need a second scoresheet just for the name) this was a great win by 4.5 to 0.5 for the “B”s.

Still in Division 2, the “C” team entertained Rose Forgrove “D” at the Fox and Grapes knowing that we already had a point in the bag as Rose Forgrove had an ill player (lot of it about, apparently) and would therefore default on board 5. Our “C” team also had a player ill, but fortunately Neil Harris (who was originally planned to play on board 5) turned up anyway, so it was game on on four boards after a lot of crossing out and re-writing on the team sheets.

On board 1 Rojus Lukauskas got back to form with a win, despite coming out of the Budapest opening a little behind. After trapping his opponent’s queen (for rook) Rojus played well and used his material advantage to push a pawn, which his opponent couldn’t have stopped without losing more material of his own. A boring tactical draw on board 2 for Steve Hodgson (outgraded by almost 150) and a more exciting draw on board 3 for Paul Smith meant that even with Neil losing against the quickly improving Ed Rivlin on board 4, with the default on board 5 the “C” team took the match 3-2 and stay one point behind the “B” team in Division 2, albeit with a worse goal difference.

So another mixed bag of results, although 2 match wins out of 3 is – as the late, great Meatloaf put it – “ain’t bad”. Next week in the penultimate round of matches the “A” team visit Moortown “A” (I wonder if they still have the line dancing in the main room? Always a nice accompaniment to chess), the “B” team go oop North to play Harrogate “B” and the “C” team face what should be the easiest match of the season, at home to bottom of the table Rose Forgrove “E”, albeit without their talismanic captain. All to play for as we go into the home straight of the season!

Sterling Words of Wisdom: Keep playing a6 when you can’t think of anything else,

Sterling Macadams

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