4 January 2017
It was Limewood’s party night at the Fox & Grapes. Maybe we exaggerate just a little but the club had plenty to celebrate about: the start of the New Year, our 2 Mini teams still heading the Mini League, our A-Team in the main league pushing for promotion, several new members joining in recent weeks and a club member’s 80th birthday. A buffet for members gave the evening more than a touch of a social event to soften the sobriety of the chess.
The chess? Oh yes, there was that as well. Limewood A v Limewood B.
Limewood A chasing promotion; Limewood B at the bottom of the League having lost every match so far. But could we see the underdogs upset the applecart?
For a while it looked possible. Barry Fulthorpe and newcomer Paul Smith both achieved draws against their Team A opponents. With a win from the birthday boy himself, the score was 2 points all with Board 1 still in play. Could it happen? For just a few moves in the middle game it was a distinct possibility. But then Bob Maltby regained control and won the endgame, saving Team A’s blushes and promotion chances.
To be fair we should mention that Paul May, club leader and our top regular player, had disincluded himself from Team A for the occasion in order that there could be a better balance between the teams.
Paul Smith was playing his first game for the club and showed great promise with his draw against Steve Kelley, despite having to cope with the notation and chess clock for the very first time. Bela Lugosi was playing his second game for the club (he lost to Steve Hodgson) but he too looks as though he will do well. We would like to assure everyone that ‘Bela Lugosi’ really is his name. It is just pure coincidence that he shares it with a onetime star of the silent screen.
Has Bela discovered a novel way of gaining an advantage over his male opponents? On his forearm, directly facing his opponent, is a striking tattoo of a young lady, au naturel, with what Steve H describes as a “lovely bishop pair”. Steve could hardly keep his mind on the game.