Northumbria Chess League 2010-11

Brought to you by the Northumberland Chess Association

Division 1 round-up: Round 3

Posted by Checker on November 14, 2010

I was at the Gosforth Empire club (an excellent venue, with by far the league’s cheapest refreshments) to see Gosforth’s delayed 2nd round match against Jesmond Knights, and to witness the jubilant scenes that followed it. No, Gosforth hadn’t won – nor come close – but their board 4 player had come away with a draw, so the team had avoided a 5-0 whitewash. Once the champagne had stopped flowing, I agreed with captain Geoff Harrison that, in light of his draw, the board 4 player in question (Daniel Tomé, a Portuguese visitor playing his first match for the club) ought to be promoted to board 1 for this week’s visit of Newcastle. Gosforth were whitewashed 5-0. Sorry, Geoff!

Newcastle’s merging of their A and B teams has left them with an alarmingly strong line-up. John Wheeler, who is graded 177 and outgrades fully half of the league’s regular board 1s, told me before the season started that he was looking at playing board 5 most of the time. So I went away and looked through the old league tables wondering what was the record number of game points ever scored in a Northumbria league season. Then in their first match they fell flat on their faces against Morpeth A, and would now very much appreciate it if Morpeth could slip up against, say, defending champions Leam Lane Aces. But that particular showdown will not now take place until December at the earliest, as only 60% of Morpeth A were in England on the original date.

Last season Forest Hall A and Eldon Leisure became the first pair of promoted teams to survive in the 1st Division since 1997; both did so with relative ease thanks to their new top boards Charlie Storey and Alan Harvey. When the teams met on Friday, Charlie was present, Alan was absent; Forest Hall won 3½-1½.

Tynemouth Hobbits have had another underwhelming start, held to a draw by Gosforth and edged out by the Trojans whom they nominally outrank. But they were still far too strong for their other clubmates the Castles, whose eagerness to accept a 1st division place was most encouraging but who are already losing the fight for the valuable game points that could make the difference between second- and third-from-bottom. Captain Dave Mear’s defeat of John Clarke was their first individual victory this season. Still, it only takes couple of wins against the teams around them to put a different complexion on things…

Jesmond Knights faced their stiffest test so far at fellow 100%’ers Tynemouth Trojans. Steven Aitchison on board 5, now graduated and free from academic distractions, chipped in with a victory that takes him to 3/3 for the season, as did the lesser-spotted Jonathan Mutton filling in for Tumen Buyandalai on board 1, as the Knights scraped home 3-2 to resume the Division 1 lead. (Steven reckons his opponent could have played a line that neutralised his attack and left him a pawn down, potentially reversing the match result. How important will that twist of fate be for the 2008-9 champions come the end of the campaign?) A similar start to last season for the Knights, and still a much-improved one for the Trojans whose 1st Division status was only secured in March.

There is a reverse gravitational pull keeping Tynedale in the 1st Division.  2007: second-from-bottom, but saved by Forest Hall A’s withdrawal. 2008: third-from-bottom, saved with one round to spare. 2009: equal third-from-bottom, saved by a draw in their final match. 2010: rock bottom, but their second team rode to the rescue by winning promotion. Surely the league has run out of ways not to relegate them? Well, from the looks of this season’s start they have taken matters into their own hands: their victory over Jesmond Rookies was their second in three matches,  and another would probably see them safe, with both promoted teams due to visit the Dyvels Inn in the next three rounds.


One Response to “Division 1 round-up: Round 3”

  1. Jeff Baird said

    You can get a pint of beer for £1.83 at Forest Hall British Legion home of Forest Hall Chess . Is Gosforth Empire really cheaper?

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