23 March 2022
The clocks go forward, the warm weather arrives, my mum starts nagging me about what I want for my birthday, and England get tonked by 10 wickets in the West Indies. It can only mean one thing – Spring is in the air! This also means we’re towards the end of the Leeds Chess Association 5-man league, the penultimate round in fact, with the last round a bizarre 5 weeks away. “How did the intrepid Limewood and Scarcrofters do this week?” demands the world of chess. Well, thanks to the magic of the Information Superhighway you can read all about it below…
The “A team” visited Moortown A. The last time I was there, in a back room of the Moortown Social Club, the chess started at 7pm and the line dancing in the main room at half past. Quite a novel thing, just as you move out of the opening, that. Going to the bar made you feel like you were in an episode of “Phoenix Nights” (one for the younger readers, there). Anyway, Moortown A are a strong team, this week fielding 4 players ranked over 2000! No problem for top board supremo Paul Brencher, though – he finished first against the very strong G James Dannenberg in an also unusually unexciting game where pieces were swapped off early and a draw agreed. This was the only positive result for the “A”s, however, with a couple of players feeling the heat of time pressure despite being ahead early in their games.
Into Division 2 and the “B” team went up to play Harrogate B, again outgraded on four board. Nevertheless, and good win by rapidly improving Lewis Carroll and draws by Alec Marley and John Grasham (more about him later!) meant that we just missed out on getting anything out of this match. John was a pawn down, but managed to turn it around to being a pawn up before a draw was agreed. So Harrogate took the match 3-2.
Also in Division 2, the “C” team faced bottom of the league Rose Forgrove E, who fielded a few inexperienced players – such is the benefit of being a big club, but it’s great to see younger players coming to OTB chess and also players making the switch from online to OTB. With regular captain Steve Hodgson (who he? – Ed) unable to play, Duncan Stables dropped down to the C team to wear the armband, and continued his great run of form with a win on board 3. But with a couple of dropouts due to illness, the C team were at risk of losing a match they should be favourites for! Don’t panic! – in stepped Modestas Lukauskas (father of Rojus and Titas) for his Limewood debut, picking up a win on board 4 against a player graded 1671 (what he was doing on board 4 is anyone’s guess!) Rojus and Titas both continued their excellent debut seasons with wins on boards 1 and 2 respectively, so with the default the C team take the match 4-1. Excellent work guys, just shows what can be done when you’re not held back by that Hodgson (who? – Ed) fella.
So the “C” team are above the “B” team going into the last round of games on the 27th April. Our last games are : A team away at Rose Forgrove A, B team at home to Rose Forgrove C, and C team away at promotion-chasing Alwoodley B. Will the A team finish in the top half? Will the C team finish above the B team? Will England sort out their batting for the series against South Africa in the summer? Will I ever think of anything for my birthday? Tune in a month’s time to find out the answers……… but in the meantime please also tune into Channel 5 on Tuesday 29th March at 6:30pm to watch our very own John Grasham and the “Thorpe Thinkers” take on the Eggheads. John’s been sworn to secrecy about the result, so cheer him and his team on while you’re eating your tea!