With round 4 completed, we are now over half-way through the season, so I’ll check in on the promotion / relegation battles we’re involved in.
With 11 wins (our lowest number this season), 4 draws and 17 losses (our highest number this season) it was a tough evening at the office for our 32 players which translated in match terms into just 1 match win (for the C team), 3 draws and 4 losses.
The A team heavily out-graded their opponents and yet their opponents put up a real fight and the match finished in a hard fought 2-2 draw. I particularly enjoyed Gavin Lock’s game – he effortlessly defended against his opponent’s initial attack then calmly outplayed him with some neat tactics. You can see the critical moment from this game at the end of this report.
The A team are 4th in their group although 1st – 4th are only separated by a single point.
The B team were out-graded on top two boards and higher graded on the bottom two boards – the higher graded players all won leaving the match as a 2-2 draw. Richard Allis was (in his owns words) in trouble in the opening and had to dig deep to hold on and then eventually win it. You can see his instructive endgame at the end of the report.
Our B team are currently in the relegation zone (7th place of 8) with a double-pointer to come against Oxford 2 who are above us yet equal on match points.
Having had a lot of very tough opposition all season the C finally played a lower graded team and “filled their boots” with a comfortable 3-1 win – we were already 3-0 up when Roger Marsh, the last Wessex player still standing had a PC / Network freeze so timed out in a tight rook ending and had to frustratingly watch his game end due to dodgy technology.
Our win takes us to 6th place (“safety”) in our group with a real chance of staying up if we can beat the #8 team.
Switching to Div2, our Wessex D team were out-graded on all boards and lost 3.5 – 0.5; Tim Jones held on for a draw with the black pieces to avoid a whitewash.
Our D team remain 7th in their group so will need some good results to stay up.
Switching to Division 4, our E team encountered tough resistance from an outgraded Hebden Bridge 3 and could only draw the match 2-2. Ashraf Syed made a great debut and won his game whilst Jamie Doyle won (yet again) and now has a remarkable 4/4 for the season.
We remain in 2nd place in our group with a real chance of promotion to Div 3.
Our F team ran into the Calstock Killers who unfortunately lived up to their name so we went down 3-1 , the win coming from Ed Blanden on board 1 who from a quiet opening launched a tactical onslaught which overwhelmed his opponent.
The F team currently sit in 3rd place in their group with the two strongest teams to come so all will depend on these matches.
Our G team, out-rated on every board lost a tight match 2.5 – 1.5 with Tim McCullagh and Stephen LeFevre getting results against higher rated players
We’re now in 3rdplace in our group with 3 games against bottom half teams to come, so fingers crossed for promotion.
Turning to Division 5, our H team were always going to struggle against a much higher rated Catford Candidates and went down 3-1 with our win coming from a default.
We’ve dropped to 10th place (top 8 go up), so still in with a shout of promotion.
Keith Gregory, 10th March 2022