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Title challenge back on for D Team Thanks to E Team
by Paul Chaplin

Grimsby E Team travelled to Brumby Hall to face the mighty iron fist of Scunthorpe ‘A’ last Thursday.  The motley crew that was brought together to meet this Biblical task consisted of; 

Board 1: Jake ‘‘I don’t take unnecessary risks‘’ Bland
Board 2: Paul ‘‘the Pirate  ’’ Hutcheon.
Board 3: Stuart ‘’ I’m really excited’’ Clegg
Board 4: Paul ‘‘pawn pusher’’ Chaplin.

The evening started in the time honoured fashion of not being able to find the venue even though we had driven passed it twice and I had looked at the map before I left the house.  As they say things could only get better. 

‘The Pirate’ was waiting as the purple chess mobile skidded to a halt and the rest of the team leaped from the vehicle before the engine was turned of, with Stuart ‘I’m really excited’ leading the charge.  The nonchalant figure of Jake ‘I don’t take unnecessary risks’ Bland brought up the rear guard.

Once in the building Jake and ‘The Pirate’ set to work in spreading confusion in the ranks of the Scunthorpe team this was done by the simple but effective trick of sitting down on different sides of the boards.  The E Team then took the initiative by claiming the side away from the radiator.

Eventually the match got underway; the game on board 4 got of to a flying start with a Queens gambit accepted. This game then got really open when the Queens came of on move 5 and ‘Pawn pusher’ Chaplin claimed the centre with a knight.

The game then rapidly moved on as the ‘Pawn pusher’ sent his cavalry forward almost reminiscent of Marshal Nay’s cavalry charge at the battle of Waterloo.   The Knights working together with the support of a Rook created havoc and had the black king hopping around as if he was walking on hot sand without his flip-flops.

Unfortunately as with Nays Charge at Waterloo the ‘Pawn pusher’ could not get the required support to the action quick enough.  With an even pawn structure and no side with a material advantage Black offered the draw.  It was only move 24 and the ‘Pawn Pusher’ wrestled with his desire to win and what was best for the team. A quick look across the boards showed it was clear that all the games were close and a draw would take the pressure of the rest of the team and place it squarely on the shoulders of the opposition.

Board 3 saw the mutual construction of a scaled model of the Great Wall of China as a inter-locked line of pawns stretched in a loose diagonal line from b2 to f5 for white and b3 to f6 for black.  At one point it looked more like a feat of engineering than a chess match.  With both sides looking to make ground on opposite wings and the same time as stabilizing their defences Stuart ‘I’m so excited’ Clegg playing his first Lincs League match looked as if he was making headway against Dave turners position but unfortunately a slight miscalculation we will put down to - yes you’ve guessed it - ‘excitement’ allowed Dave turner to get behind Stuarts position and get a draw by perpetual check.

Never the less a fine performance by Stuart meant that the ‘E’ team was still in the match and the pressure was beginning to mount. On the home side, it was beginning to look like the iron fist was starting to seize up.

It was now time for Paul ‘the Pirate’ Hutcheon to show just why he is such a dangerous player for those who are not familiar with his ‘cutlass gripped between the teeth’ style of taking the initiative.  Sacrificing 2 pawns he stormed over the gunnels of the black Scunthorpe ship, captained by J. Day, braking onto the decks with a Queen and Bishop.  The Black king had to scurry away to his cabin in fear of his life as his Queen battled bravely to repel the attack.

Unfortunately for Paul ‘the Pirate’ Hutcheon he was unable to exert enough pressure to claim the prize out right but like the other to matches he took the offered draw, piling even more pressure on the Scunthorpe A team.  It was now a winner takes all situation in the match. With the results of the other matches filtering back to the remaining match the pressure was palpable, it was now that Jake ‘I don’t take unnecessary risks’ had to show just what a calculating machine he is.

Managing a marginally worse position in his cold calculating style Jake realised that he had to take a risk if he was to take anything from this match and showing the confidence he has gained since playing at the club he took the opportunity to leap into the complexities of an unclear position opening up the C file for all manor of traffic both Black and White.  It worked J. Mainwaring had to rethink his position as any mistake would leave Jake with an almost certain mate.

Accurate play from the Scunthorpe player stabilised the situation but the threat was always there from Jake.  Jake was unable to force the situation as he was not secure in his own position.  With time running out for Scunthorpe Jake refused the option of playing out and winning on time by engineering a queen swap and in doing he allowed his own clock to run down.

With time running out quickly for Scunthorpe a draw was offered by J. Mainwaring.  Not wanting to push for the win in a complicated position and time also getting tight Jake accepted the draw for the sake of the team.

With the matched tied with 4 draws out of 4 the journey home in the Purple Chess Machine was a very good one indeed.  With 2 draws and a win it must go down as on of the best E team seasons for many a year.

The D team can still win the League but being 4 games behind on a board count back it is going to be tight.  

The deadly duo of
Peter ‘The Time Bandit’ Holman
Joe ‘I can’t believe I got away with that’ Kilshaw
Help the A team save face.
by Paul Chaplin

Last Thursday a miracle was witnessed, never has two so blatant winning positions been lost in such a lemming like fashion.  Both Denis Winter and Mark Radley battled bravely in an effort to secure something from their games but alas they were dispatched in quite ruthless fashion.  

With Grimsby A being 0-2 down in quick succession it meant the top three boards where under pressure and mistakes and the match would be lost and the League title would almost certainly be Lincolns, even a drawn match would give Lincoln a strong advantage.  The signs were not good as it looked like Grimsby A would be at the wrong end of a thrashing from Scunthorpe A.

On Boards 1 Nick Stead was locked into a tense situation and the outcome was far form clear.  Board 2 saw Joe ‘the luckiest man alive’ Kilshaw in a desperate position fighting for all he was worth with no real prospect of getting anything other than savagely beaten. Peter ‘The Time Bandit’ Holman was two pawns down his position was dire with little chance of any counter play and so far behind on the clock it was looking like certain death for the player they call ‘Houdini’.

It was at this point being 0-2 ahead and in a seemingly unassailable position that Scunthorpe decided to go in for a bout of seemingly synchronised metaphorical foot shooting. Never in Grimsby’s glorious History of Lincs League Chess has the Chess Gods strived so hard to pull Grimsby A Teams sorry head away form the executioners block.

Some how Nick’s opponent convinced himself that the position was lost which was news to those looking on and promptly resigned in a very unclear position indeed (well that is how it was described to me). This result set in motion a series of unlikely events that led to a collapse that only England cricket supporters have witnessed.

Joe Kilshaw must have sacrificed a chicken before the game as his opponent blundered his Queen away in a position that even our junior player would have won. Not only was the Queen left on-pre Joes opponent let out a gasp of disbelief at what he had done just to draw Joes attention to it, saying that he did place it only 3 squares away form Joes Queen.  

With the match now balanced at  2-2 Peter ‘Houdini’ Holman had to win for Grimsby A to be in with a realistic chance of the title.  With time running out fast and his opponent being 20 minutes up in a better position and material up even a draw was looking like an extraordinary result.  Peter Complicated the position as much as he could fighting like a cross between a cobra and an eel; finding threats for his opponent to thinks about and wriggling out of positions that he found himself in.

The game and the match were all but lost (in fact it was lost) but Peter being the fighter he is managed to get what was a seemingly drawn position. His opponent offered a draw and Peters Cobra like relaxes came to the fore; taking his opponents hand he said ‘why did you not claim the game on time as my flag had fell a minute ago’.  Long live ‘The Time Bandit’!

The journey back to Scunthorpe must have been had a tense atmosphere!   

And there in lies the definition of serendipity.