Lichfield’s bid to win a second Wolverhampton League cup just failed with Mercia scraping home thanks to the handicap system which helped the Second Division team. Four of Lichfield’s eight strong team won their games including young Travis Hackett who has had an outstanding debut season. Travis was on Board 7.  All Lichfield’s top three players, Ben Nevett-Farmer, John Keaveney and David Hulme, won their matches and there were draws for Adam Routledge and David Fone.  Peter Collins and Mike Hoare unfortunately lost their games.  The Wolverhampton team finished third.

A few days earlier Lichfield had regained the Humphries Cup, a trophy which has been won by the club on a number of occasions in the last few years.

This time the format was different and run on Jamboree lines which meant that the Board 1 player from Lichfield met a player from one team whilst the Board 2 met the number two of a different team,

On the top boards Ray Sawyer and David Fone earned draws and teenagers Bowie Carter and John Moughtin Leay both won to clinch victory over Wolverhampton and  Mercia.

STEPHEN MISSES OUT ON TROPHY DOUBLE ATTEMPT

Lichfield’s new general secretary Stephen Smithson was a surprise winner of last year’s Dolan Trophy competition for players rated under 1450. He battled thought to this year’s final where he came up against Kevin Brooks, a player quite new to league competition but one who was enjoying an excellent season. He put Stephen under early pressure with a d4 opening and advancing Queenside pawns. It could have led to an early checkmate or loss or material before Stepehen had the opportunity to castle.

Surviving the onslaught the game revolved into a battle of the four Knights .Stephen had to exchange several pieces and his opponent entered the closing stages with an exchange advantage. Time was now short with Stephen down to two minutes against seven. It proved a decisive advantage.

 

COVID STRIKES AGAIN

Covid reduced Stourbridge’s team from six to three for a Wolverhampton Division 3 match at Lichfield and the home team romped hom 5-1. Peter Collins completed a very good season with a draw and wins followed from Yuriy Slobodyuk and Mike Maher.

ENDING WITH A FLOURISH

After a disappointing season treasurer John Fryer is certainly ending the season with a flourish. Only a few days after winning the Under 1500 trophy in the annual Lightning Competition, John found himself in the unaccustomed place as top board in a Derby 3 match…..and he won. The match was at Belper in a Derby 3 match which was drawn 2-2. Joshua Sawyer and Stephen Smithson both drew and the bottom board was lost by Ian Boddington.

The Cannock League is struggling to a close with a few postponed matches still to play. Lichfield 2b drew 2-2 at Wolverhampton thanks to a win from David Hulme and draws from David Fone and Arthur Hall. Ian Boddington lost his board 4 match.

ONLY ONE WINNER

If Lichfield had a Player of the Year Trophy there would have been only one winner. Just a few days after clinching the  Ladder Tournament Trophy for the player with the most league victories, Ben Nevett-Forman was at it again last night, (28th April) by winning the Lightning Tournament in which players had to move every 10 seconds. It seems slow at first but quickly causes mayhem with players not moving out of check (disqualified), losing Queens (they never saw the threat) and other horrible blunders.

Ben won all four games and beat runner-up Tony Green in ths last round. Teenager Travis Hackett who has made a brilliant start to league competition caused a huge upset in the first round by beating the club’s top player Maurice Staples. The tournament was split into two sections, above 1500 rating and below 1500. John Fryer has had a poor season by his mid ranking standards but he madde up for it by winning the under 1500 section, ahead of Arthur Hall. Adam Turley won the prize for the best placed junior.

There were 32 entries, thought to be a record for the Lightning event and all the competitors were unusually, Lichfield members. For a number of years now the club has invited players from neighbouring clubs but not this year which was a good thing for the clubroom was packed almost to capacity.

Memory lapse

It hapens every so often. A player has a memory lapse, forgetting to turn up for a game. It would have been Mike Walner’s debut game in the Cannock League so Lichfield’s Cannock 2A team had to default board one and lost 3-1. Never mind Mike, plenty more opportunities next season. John Fryer has had a disappointing season but he turned things round with a win and then followed up the day after by winning the Under 1500 trophy in the Lightning Tournament.

A season long battle

A season long battle to top the Lichfield Ladder League has ended with Ben Nevett-Farmer taking a three point lead over Ray Sawyer with just a few days left, Ray,  won his last matches this week but it was a silly stalemate in a Derby League match a few days ago cost him his chance to draw level.  Ben’s decisive win came in a Wolverhampton Division 1 match with Warley Quinborne which Lichfield won 2.5 – 15. John Keaveney was the other winner, Tony Green drew and  Maurice Staples lost.  Ray cut the deficit to one point this week playing board two in a Derby  League match against Spondon. It was a 3-1 win for Lichfield with Mike Maher winning on top board and Phil Sykes scored his second league victory on board four. The other game ended in defeat for Arthur Hall.  Ray Sawyer’s second win came in a drawn game against Sutton. John Keaveney and Adam Routledge both drew and Lukasz Walijewski lost.

Kicking ourselves for training failure

Club officials are kicking themselves this week for a failure to tell teenager Travis Hackett that you don’t touch the rook first when castling. No doubt unsettled by his error Travis went down to his first ever over the board defeat against Luke Sullivan of Rugeley  in a Cannock 2B game.  Skipper David Fone also blundered, not noticing that he had not pressed his clock and effectively lost on time. All in the rules Rugeley,but it left a sour taste nevertheless. David Hulme drew on board one and John Moughtin-Leay picked up another win as Lichfield lost 2.5-1.5. Secretary David Short said the first thing he tells young newcomers is about castling and touch and you move. “Travis has had such a brilliant run of wins that everyone must have thought he must know how to castle correctly with one hand and King first” he said.

Marc’s timely first draw takes 3B to the top

Marc Carter picked a perfect match to gain his first draw in the Cannock League. It took Lichfield’s Cannock 3B team to the top of the league with a 2.5- 1.5 win over Tamworth. Marc’s son Bowie picked up his seventh win of the season and with the Ladder compeition due to close in a few days he is now in the running for a rating prize.  It was an excellent match with Bowie’s win on top board being matched by Robert Hurst’s win on board two. Stephen’s Smithson’s opponent is a newcomer to league chess but his talent and on-line experience proved too much for him on board three.

Ray’s careless moment

Ray Sawyer has been in a season long battle with Ben Farmer-Nevett for the Ladder Championship and he now enters the final week of competition  two points in arrears thanks to moving too quickly and ending with stalemate in what was an ‘impossible’ position to lose. The match, against Amber Valley in the Derby League won won 3.5- 1.5.  Peter Collins had an excellent win on board one against an 1870 rated opponent and the two Mikes, Maher and Hoare also won.

In a Cannock 2A match at Stafford the Lichfield team lost 3-1. Peter Collins and Stuart Andrews both lost and Ray and Josh Sawyer both drew. 

Bid for honours

Lichfield’s 2nd team are making up for a poor start to the season in the Birmingham League third division and the first team is bidding for honours in the Wolverhampton League. Division 1.  A big win over Stourbridge in the last match on 12th May will take the Birmingham third division team from 7th to 4th in the league. There are even better prospects in the Wolverhampton League Division 1 where Lichfield have moved up to second place with one game to play. West Bromwich top of the table with 10pts, just a point ahead oi Lichfield, but the remaining game is a tough one against third placed Halesowen.

Amber Valley thrashed

In a match played at the neutral venue of Spondon to cut down on long distance travel, Lichfield’s Cannock 2A team had a runaway victory by 3.5- 0.5. Peter Collins,  Mike Maher and Mike Hoare all won and Ray Sawyer drew on board four.

In the Derby League a default helped Lichfield gain a 3-1 win in Division 1. Ben Nevett-Farmer kept up his challenge for Ladder Board honours with his second win in a few days. Ralph Allen was another winner but David Pickering lost on a board four to give Rolls Royce their only point.

Lichfield’s Cannock 1A team lost 3-1 at Tamworth with the only point coming from Ray Sawyer on board 4. Adam Routledge, Lukasz Walijewski and Peter Collins all lost. In Derby Division 2 Lichfield drew 2-2 with Rolls Royce C. It was a match with no individual winners. Peter Collins, Yuriy Slobodyuk, Mike Maher and Ray Sawyer were all held to draws

Championship winning display

Lichfield’s first team was relegated from Division One of the Birmingham League in the last season before the Covid pandemic struck. Now they are back in the top flight by winning the Second Division title.

The championship clinching match with Longbridge was a bit of an anti-climax as two of the visitors players were caught up in a problem on the cross city rail service between Longbridge and Lichfield and never arrived. Lichfield’s Ben  Nevett-Farmer who works in the Longbridge area was also affected by the disruption but determined not to let the team down in such a crucial match he spent £20 on a taxi fare.  The club is offering to refund the taxi fare. Helped by the two defaults Lichfield won the match 5-1. Maurice Staples, John Keaveney and Ben-Nevett-Farmer all won with Tony Green losing on board two.Victory was a blow for Solihull who had gone public in saying they expected to complete a championship double.

Lichfield also won the other match played in the Guildroom, the Cannock 2A team beating Rushall Bishops 2.5 – 1.5.  The top three boards were drawn by Lukasz Walijewski, Peter Collins and Ray Sawyer while Ray’s son, Josh won on board four. Lichfield’s Cannock 2A team crashed to a 3.5 – 0.5 defeat against Wolverhamton. Lukasz Walijewski drew on board one but Peter Collins, previously enjoying an excellent season, lost and there were defeats as well for Ray and Josh Sawyer.

Sam’s win to remember

Sam Bradley is a well regarded junior but he has struggled to get his first win in league matches. This week Sam made up for it by being the only player to register a win during a simultaneous display given by the club’s top player Maurice Staples. Sam latched onto an error by  Maurice and played a mistake free game to register his win.

Madness as JK traps his own Queen

John Keaveney had, in his words, a moment of madness as he trapped his own qeen in a match for the combined Burton and Lichfield team in the Derby League. Skipper David Pickering didn’t fare any better, falling into an Evans gambit trap and losing a piece on move seven. Ralph Allen has enjoyed a good season but after an exchange of queens he was always struggling in a knight v bishop ending. Maurice Staples had a bit of luck in his board one game but it swas still no better as the combined team lost 3.5- 0.5. Maurice queened first but his opponent also queened the next move, and this time it was with check. Not fatal but the game was drawn.

Better late than never

Apologies to members of the Cannock League 4A and 4B teams who may well have been expecting a report on the recent match between them. The match slipped under the editor’s radar but we are now able to report that if was a 3-1 win for the A squad but noticeable for a first league win for David Jenkins  for the B team against Jack Hitchman who will be moving to Germany later in the summer.Seth Milner had a default win on board one and the other A team winners were Keith Milner against Fernando Navio and Stuart Andrews against Marc Carter.

Out of danger

At one time this season it looked as though Lichfield’s Birmingham Division 3 side may be heading for relegation trouble but no longer. A third recent win has changed all that, Mercia being defeated 4-2 in a fine all round display. The top three players, Peter Collins, Yuriy Slobodyuk and Lukasz  Walijewski all drew and so did Ray Sawyer on board five. The wins came from Mike Maher and Robert Hurst, the latter still amongst the Ladder Board leaders in his first season.

Father and son combination Keith and Seth Milner won together for the first time as Cannock 3A squad drew with Stafford 2-2. There were defeats for Ray Sawyer on board one and Adam Turley on board four.

Travis hits 1750 rating and wins yet again

Teenager Travis Hackett has played just seven competitive games over the board matches but he has won the lot and moved to a rating in excess of 1750.  Maintaining that level may well prove difficult but his rating  at the moment puts him into Lichfield’s top ten players, just ahead of stalwarts Peter Collins and Lukasz Walijewski. Both Peter and Travis were on form in the Wolverhampton 3 match at Rushall winning their games in the 2-2 draw. Peter, up against a talented 17 year old girl, produced a brilliant four combination which delighted the veteran.Robert Hurst pressed too hard and lost and there was a defeat for John Fryer as well.

And Bowie shines with His best ever win as well 

Another of Lichfield’s outstanding juniors,Bowie Carter, overcame a 230 rating point deficit to score what was undoubtedly his best win over the board as Lichfield’s Cannock 1A team defeated Rushall Rooks 2.5 – 1.5.  With time running out everyone crowded round the board. After a difficult opening position Rushall’s Peter Leary, rated at 1800, staged a fight back but to no avail. Youth prevailed. Bowie’s opponents to date have previously been in the 1500-1600 range so it was an outstanding result.

With Tony Green losing on top board and Arthur Hall drawing against Shane Cooksey, noted for his normal aggressive style, the match hung in the balance. Skipper Ben Nevett-Farmer had a position in which he would normally have settled for a draw. With five minutes against 13 in a drawn position Ben played on, had a bit of luck and won an endgame advantage which proved decisive.

Heavy defeat

Belper B proved too strong for Lichfield B in this week’s Derby League second division. Peter Collins kept up his good results this season with a draw on Board 1 but there were defeats on two and three for Yuriy Slobodyuk and Ray Sawyer. It was left to Ray’s son, Josh to grab half a point as Lichfield went down 3-1

Six out of six for Travis

Young Travis Hackett has made a brilliant start to his league chess career, completing his sixth win in six games, playing for Lichfield 3B at Norton Canes. His opponent this time was Danny Wood who has also made a very good start to league chess. It was Lichfield’s only success as Norton Canes won 3-1.  Bowie Carter faced a stern test against Lichfield’s 12th ranked player, Mike Hoare and lost after a promising start.  Despite showing considerable improvement week on week, Bowie’s father, Marc, also lost to Brian Jones. Stephen Smithson got through the middle game , positionally slightly ahead but then a mistake cost him the game against Tom Travena.

Rolls Royce on top

Peter Collins has had a good season and he kept it up with a Board 1 victory playing for the combined Lichfield-Burton team against Rolls Royce B. Ray Sawyer drew his game on Board 3 against Kevin Gallagher , but defeats for Mike Maher on Board 2 and John Fryer on Board 4 meant that Rolls Royce returned home with a 2.5 – 1.5 victory

In the nick of time

According to observers there was only one second left on the clock when Lukasz Walijewski mated Matthew Carr in Lichfield 2A’s 4-0 win over Rugeley. If  Matthew had survived the game would have been drawn because of insufficient material. Matthew only had a King left. Peter Collins lost the exchange in a shaky start but came through strongly to beat Luke Sullivan.  Ray Sawyer won the exchange early in the game and his opponent continued to make losing errors. On board four Jack Hitchman played his third match and gained his third win.

Title rivals thrashed

Lichfield’ closed in on a return to Division 1 of the Birmingham League by thrashing title contenders Shirley and Withnell 5-1. One more win against Longbridge on 24th March will guarantee a return to Division 1. Shirley and Withnell were unable to field their top player because of illness and Lichfield took full advantage, Maurice Staples, Tony Green, Ben Nevett-Farmer and David Hulme all won and John Keaveney and Adam Routledge chipped in with draws.

Another newcomer shows potential

Yet another newcomer for Lichfield,  Jake Shaw, was beaten in a Wolverhampton League third division match against Bushbury after scorning a perpetual check. In a facinating game Jake obliterated the three pawns defending the King and his Queen was on the sixth rank confronting the King. Getting a bishop and rook into the attack was more of a problem and Jake’s attempt to do that cost him the game.  Mike Hoare was up against 2000 plus player Lee Grinsell and lost on board one, Robert Hurst, with nine league wins behind him, lost on board two and Brian Jones was beaten on board four, The result, 4-0 to Bushbury.

Ladder Board leader Ray Sawyer added another point to his tally as Lichfield defeated Clay Cross 2.5- 1.5. It was an all round performance as Peter Collins, Mike Maher and John Fryer scored draws.

Lichfield on a roll

After a poor start to the season Lichfield’s Division 3 team in the Birmingham League have now won two matches in succession. Kynock were dismissed  5.0 – 1.0. Peter Collins was beaten on top board but there were wins for Mike Maher, Mike Hoare, Ray Sawyer, Robert Hurst and Josh Sawyer. Outgraded on boards two, three and four Lichfield lost 3-1 against the likely Derby League division three winners, Derby 3. Gary Monks drew on board one and Arthur Hall also drew but with defeats for John Fryer and Stephen Smithson the result was a 3-1 loss.

Newcomers lead the way

Skipper Stuart Andrews unusually lost on time in the Cannock 4A match against Rushall but newcomers Jack Hitchman and Jake Shaw both won. It was the second win for Jack Hitchman and the first game for the club for Jake Shaw.  Keith Milner’s draw on top board was sufficient to see the team home 2.5 -1.5

A disappointing night

The ides of March brought disappointment for Lichfield teams, particularly the Birmingham Division 2 team whose position at the top of the league is now under threat from teams with games in hand. Lichfield lost 3.5 – 2.5 against  West Bromwich wth skipper David Hulme the only winner. For the first time this season both the top two players,  Mausice Staples and Tony Green both lost i n the same match.  The draws came from Ben Nevett-Farmer, Adam Routledge and Luscasz Walijewski. It was the skipper who also got the only win for Lichfield in the Wolverhampton  ivision 3 match with Walsall Kipping. Brian Jones is having a good run on board four and he kept it up with another win.  Gary Monks lost on board one and there were draws from Robert Hurst and Arthur Hall.

Top of the Derby League

The combined Lichfield-Burton team has reached the top of the Derby first division with a game to spare following a 2-2  draw against Breadsall. Maurice Staples won his board one match and although John Keaveney lost on board two, draws from Ralph Allen a nd David Pickering made the match all square.

A monster deficit

Young Bowie Carter faced a monster rating deficit when he played board one in a Cannock League third division match for Lichfield 3B. His opponent, Lee Grensell is rated over 2000 and Bowie was conceding over 500 rating points, yet he put in and excellent performance which underlined his improvement in his first season over the board.  How the rules permit a player of British Champtionship standard to play in a division designed to bring on youngsters and inexperienced players is a mystery.  Despite the board one setback Lichfield won 3-1 with victories from John Moughtin-Leay, with another accomplished display,  another teenager Travis Hackett and Stephen Smithson. Travis has made a dream start to his competitive chess career, winning his first five games.

Rooks on top

Rushall Rooks defeated Lichfield’s Cannock 1A team by 2-5 -1-5. Lukasz Walijewski lost on top board and there were draws from Adam Routledge, Mike Hoare and Ray Sawyer. The 1A squad were below strength with John Keaveney missing, Steve McLoughlin not back from Poland for another few weeks and the club’s top player , Majurice Staples opting not to play in the Cannock League

Badly needed

Lichfield’s Birmingham 3 team badly needed a win against Oscott to pull away from the relegation zone and they got it with two wins and three draws. Peter Collins and Ray Sawyer got the wins  nd there were draws from Yuriy Slobodyuk, Mike Maher and Mike Hoare. Lukasz Walijewski was the loser.

Revenge win

Robert Hurst gained r venge for a recent defeat and his win helped Lichfield to a  draw in a Derby 3 match against Rolls Royce D. Seth Milner got the other win and there were defeats on boards two a nd three for John Fryer and John Moughtin-Leay

Teenagers in the points again

For the second time in a few days the formidable young pairing of Bowie Carter and Travis Hackett were in the points in a Lichfield 1B  Cannock League match withTamworth. This time Bowie was held to a draw but Travis was again a winner. The key win however came from Ben Nevett-Farmer who won his match against an opponent with a rating of 2042 compared with Ben’s rating of 1910.  On top board Tony Green was giving away a similar points deficit against the 2116 rating of Andrew Smith but he had a rare defeat.

Young guns to the rescue

Lichfield’s Mr Reliable, Ben Nevett-Farmer,had a rare defeat when the Cannock League 2B team met Stafford at the Brewhouse but two of the club’s young guns propelled Lichfield to a 2.5 – l-5 win. Bowie Carter, rated 1570, beat a 1600 plus player and Travis Hackett, waiting for his first rating, beat a 1337 rated opponent, Yuriy Slobodyuk drew on board two to complete the points tally.  Club chairman David Fone said that recent results had confirmed the club’s rising strength in depth. A clear indication of this is that the 2B side have selected two totally different teams in the space of a few days and because of the club’s A and B squads it has to be remembered they only half the membership are qualified for B team matches.

Norton Canes getting stronger

It is a tough match in prospect whenever a Lichfield team meets Norton Canes these days.  A recent newcomer, Danny Wood, has strengthened the Division 2 side and they saw off Lichfield’s 2A team by 2.5 – 1.5. Mike Hoare got the better of Ray Sawyer and Tom Travena defeated Seth Milner. For Lichfield, Stuart Andrews is enjoying quite a good season and he beat Brian Jones , whilst Keith Milner notched a good draw against Danny Wood.

Teenager’s fine win

It takes time to adjust from on-line chess to over the board chess, probably because there is a tendency to play too quickly when a computer is involved.  Lichfield teenager Bowier Carter joined the club with a computer rating of 1600 or so and he is now making a good transition to league chess. This was very evident in the Cannock 3 match at Stafford who are one of the top two teams. Bowie had a fine win on Board 1 and the rest of the Lichfield B3 team fought hard to square the match and equal their performance against Stafford pre-Christmas. In the event, Bowie’s heroics were not quite sufficient as Stafford won a hard fought match 2.5- 1.5.  Stephen Smithson drew and there were defeats for Bowie’s father, Marc and Ian Boddington. 

Outgraded by 171 points he might have been but David Hulme pulled off a very good victory against Rushall Bishops’ 1993 graded board 1, Manpreet Sangha. His win helped Lichfield’s Cannock 2 team to a 2-2 draw. David Fone got the other point and there were defeats for Gary Monks and Ian Boddington.

Top team toppled

Heavily outgraded, the Lichfield and Burton combined team caused an upset by defeating Derby Division 1 leaders, Belper at home. It was Ralph Allen on board three who clinched matters with a fine win from an initially cloudy situation. John Keaveney drew on top board, Steve Mcloughlin, fleetingly back from Poland got a draw and so did David Pickering, the team captain. The result was 2.5-1.5.

We have all been there

Oh dear, we have all been there John.  Skipper of Lichfield’s Derby 3 team, John Fryer, bemoans the fact that he was likely thrown off balance by the speed at which his opponent played. Still he managed to draw, as did Stephen Smithson on bottom board. Lichfield won 3-1 against Derby C to stay ahead of the home team in second place. Gary Monks and Robert Hurst both won on the top boards.

Top board Ray Sawyer probably spent the night having nightmares about diagonal traps after his loss in a Wolverhampton Division 3 match at Stourbridge. Robert Hurst has totted up a lot of matches in the short period since he joined Lichfield. He has won most of them but this time was held to a draw. Athur Hall lost on three and Brian Jones picked up another win to continue a good season on board four.

Joint leaders

Even without Ben Nevett-Farmer, Lichfield’s first team romped to a 5.5 – 0.5 victory over Stourbridge to retain joint leadership of Birmingham League’s second division. Ben,  the team’s leading point scorer this season, was isolating after being in contact with a Covid victim. In his absence  Maurice Staples, John Keaveney, Adam Routledge, David Hulme and Peter Collins all won whilst Tony Green drew on board two.

In  a Derby Division 3 match against Rolls Royce, Lichfield came fairly close to grabbing a draw. and hopes were high when teenager Travis Hackett gained a rapid win. Another teenager, Seth Milner drew his game but neither Robert Hurst nor Bowie Carter, on the top two boards, could find the all important draw. The match score was 2.5 – 1.5.

In Division 3 of the Birmingham League, Lichfield stay third from the bottom after a  narrow defeat at Olton. Lukasz Walijewski got the only win on board two,  Peter Collins drew on board one, defeats followed for Mike Hoare and Ray Sawyer and  Robert Hurst and Arthur Hall were held  to draws on the bottom two boards.

Same again trio

Ben Nevett-Farmer, Robert Hurst and Ray Sawyer, three of the club’s most prolific winners this season were at it again on Feb 7th when Lichfield’s Cannock 2A team met up with 2B. The Ben and Robert wins , plus a draw from Peter Collins against David Fone, set up 2B for a 2.5 – 1.5 win. Ray beat Bowie Carter, Ben beat Lukasz Walijewski and Robert got the 2A Team’s win against Stuart Andrews

Newcomer’s winning start

Yet another newcomer, David Jenkins, made a winning start for Lichfield 4B against Rushall on the same night. John Moughtin-Leay also won on top board and a draw from Brian Jones was sufficient to end a losing seqauence in early February.  The result was 2.5 – 1.5 with skipper Ian Boddington the only one to lose.

Ben Nevett-Farmer justified his 120 point grading margin by beating Lukasz Walijewski on board one of the Cannock League 2B match with the Lichfield 2A team. Ray Sawyer picked up a point for the A team against Bowie Carter who never recovered from a disappointing start. Peter Collins drew with David Fone  and on the bottom board Robert Hurst defeated Stuart Andrews who did have drawing chances at one stage. 2B won the match 2.5 – 1.5

 

Lichfield won its first trophy of the 2021-22 season, the Cannock 1B team collecting the Division 1 Cup.  Captain Ben Nevett-Farmer (second left) is pictured below with club chairman David Fone and colleagues Tony Green and Yuriy Slobodyuk.

 

Two father and son combinations were fielded by Lichfield 3A in a Cannock League match at Tamworth which the home team won 2.5 – 1.5. Matt Bradley gained a full point for Lichfield on the bottom board and Seth Milner drew on board two. Keith Milner and Sam Bradley, both searching for their first win, lost on boards one and three.

Lichfield’s combined team with Burton lost their Derby Division 1 match with Rolls Royce A 2.5-1.5 and the Wolverhampton Division 1 match with West Browich was lost by the same score. Against Rolls Royce, Ralph Allen scored a win and John Keaveney a draw, but there were defeats for David Pickering and Peter Collins, Against West Browmwich Adam Routledge got another win and Tony Green a draw. There were defeats for Ben Farman-Nevett and Maurice Staples.

Lichfield stay top of the Birmingham League Second Division after yet another close match, this time away at South Birmingham. Draws were agreed on Board 1 (Maurice Staples) Board 2 (Tony Green) and Board 5 (David Hulme). Adam Routledge lost which left Ben Nevett-Farman and Yuriy Slobodyuk each with tricky rook and pawn endings as time began to run out. Yuriy was unable to find a win but Ben came to the rescue again with win number nine this season to keep his rating climbing and the match drawn.

Lichfield’s Cannock 4A squad played their first match in the new Division 4 on Monday and drew 2-2 away at Rushall.  Newcomer Jack Hitchman won on Board 2 and skipper Stuart Andrews won on Board one. Another debutant, Al Turley lost on board 4 and his son, the improving Adam Turley, also lost. In Derby Division 2 Lichfield lost 2.5- 1.5 at Clay Cross. Peter Collins had a rare loss on board one and Robert Hurst lost on three. John Fryer was a winner on four and Ray Sawyer drew on two.

In Division 3 of the Derby League Lichfield crushed Belper 4-0, Belper having arrived with only three players. Ray Sawyer,  Bowie Carter and Robert Hurst were all winners.

Ben Nevett-Farmer continued his superb season at Halesowen with his 8th win of the season taking him soaring towards the top of the Ladder Board.    Tony Green was another winner in this Wolverhampton Division One match and draws from Maurice Staples and Adam Routledge completed a 3-1 win.

Lichfield teams have been heavily involved with five matches in the third week of January alone.  The Birmingham 3 team could only manage three draws  against Oscott. Peter Collins lost on board 1 and draws followed from Yuriy Slobodyuk, Mike Maher and Mike Hoare. Ray Sawyer lost on five and Robert Hurst’s run of victories ended against a significantly higher rated opponent.

In the Cannock League, Lichfield 1A squad drew 2-2 with the 1B team. Tony Green drew with Peter Collins and Yuriy Slobodyuk drew with Mike Hoare. Ray Sawyer struck for the A team  against Gary Monks and John Moughtin-Leay defeated Chris McKee for the B team.

Playing away against Rolls Royce in Derby 3, Lichfield could only field three players. Robert Hurst was the only winner in a 3-1 defeat, John Fryer and Stuart Andrews both losing.

Yet more newcomers made league debut appearances as the Cannock Leaguegot under way. They had conflicting results. Sam Bradley, playing for the B team,  lost to Sam Skinner but Chris Morris was victorious against Mathew Bradley. John Moughtin-Leay won on board one against Keith Milner for the B squad to complete a 3-1 win. Seth Milner picked up the A squad’s only win against Stephen Smithson

Even before the second half of the season had officially started Lichfield took the opportunity to fit in the fourth division match between the club’s  A and B squads. It turned out to be a 2-2 draw with new skipper Ian Boddington and improving teenager Travis Hackett both winning for the A team whilst B team skipper Stuart Andrews and another promising teenager, Adam Turley,  also won for the B squad.

Playing in the Derby second division, Lichfield found wins completely elusive. Peter Collins, Yuriy Slobodyuk and John Fryer all managed to draw in a 2.5- 1.5 loss against Rolls Royce C, but Ray Sawyer had one of his quite rare defeats

Lichfield’s Division 3 team had a 2.5-1.5 victory over Mercia and it could been an even bigger margin, Mike Hoare, playing on Board 1 making a simple mistake when he appeared to be heading for a comfortable win.  Robert Hurst and Brian Jones both won and Ray Sawyer chipped in with a draw on Board 2.

Lichfield members were on both sides of the board as Lichfield 3A lost to Norton Canes 3-1 in the first match of the new year. A titanic battle on Board 1 ended in victory for  Mike Hoare over Ray Sawyer and Lichfield’s ony point came  from Fred Biles on Board 2. Keith Milner lost to Brian Jones.

Lichfield’s 1B team are Cannock Division 1 champions, pipping Tamworth who finished with the same points total but lost the key match with Lichfield. 

Just one point behind was the Lichfield 1A team which earlier in the season had a point deducted for unwittingly exceeding the match rating  points maximum. It was a mistake caused by not correctly judging true strength of newcomer Steve Mcloughlin who started brilliantly and then lost a couple of games.

The Cannock 2B team also finished joint top with Oscott and Rugeley but missed out because they lost to Oscott while Rugeley drew with Oscott. In their final match they had a fine win 3.5- 0.5 with Rushall 2A. Ben Nevett-Farman won on top board, David Hulme drew on two, and there were wins for Arthur Hall and newcomer Robert Hurst on the lower boards. Robert was conceding 200 rating points.

Thanks to Derby B turning up a player short , Lichfield C drew with Derby B in  the  Derby League. For once Ray Sawyer was beaten on top board and Arthur Hall who is also enjoying a fine aseason, lost as well. Bowie Carter won on  board three and the default m eant the match finished 2-2

Lichfield B thrashed Amber Valley 3.5- 0.5 in a match played at Spondon. Ray Sawyer who has won 10 matches already this season, was one move away from certain defeat and neither he nor his opponenent realised. The match went on with Ray coming out on top. He has lost only twice and has two or three draws this season. Peter Collins won on board one, Yuriy Slobodyuk drew on two and Mike Maher won on three,

Every time a lichfield player wins a league match he earns a point for the club ‘s Ladder Tournament for which there are end of season trophies and momentos for various ability levels. The current leaders Ray Sawyer and Lukasz Walijewski kept on winning in the last few matches before the winter break on 16th Dec.

Lukasz was a board one winner in the  Wolverhampton v Lichfield “A team in the Cannock League whilst Ray Sawyer won on board three. Peter Collins drew his board two match but with Josh Sawyer losing, the final result was a 2.5-15 win for Lichfield.  Lichfield 1A team faced a big rating deficit against Sutton Coldfield and lost 2.5- 1.5. This time Lukasz was unable to overcome a 180 rating deficit but Peter Collins gained a draw against an opponents rated 150 points higher. Almost inevitably there was another win for Ray Sawyer on four, with Mike Hoare’s completing the match result.

Robert Hurst visited Lichfield Chess Club for the first time at the end of November. A few days ago he played his first league match against Stafford and won on board two for Lichfield Cannock League 3B team.  His opponents rating was 1465 Teenager Bowie Carter gave his most impressive performance to date, drawing on board one against  Andrew Leadbetter of Stafford who has a rating of 1548, almost four hundred points higher than his own rating. The match finished 2-2 with Stephen Smithson drawing and Sam Skinner, playing his first match of the season, losing against a player rated 142 points higher.

Although Tony Green lost on top board in the match between Lichfield 1B and Tamworth, wins from David Hulme and David Fone and a draw from Yuriy Slobodyuk gave Lichfield a 2.5 – 1.5 win

It went to the wire but Lichfield’s  Birmingham 2 team kept up its challenge for a promotion place with a 4.5 – 1.5  home win over Sutton.  Maurice Staples and Peter Collins won and Tony Green drew, but David Hulme’s defeat put victory in doubt as the remaining two boards were on a knife edge. Eventually both John Keaveney and Ben Newett Farmer prevailed to clinch the team’s most emphatic win of the season.

Ian Boddington’s inexperience of league chess cost him a good chance of winning in an away game for our Cannock 3B team at Oscott. He missed winning a piece but still had chances with three pawns for a piece. He lost his board four game and Yuriy Slobodyuk  also lost on Board 1 against a very strong opponent. Mike Maher and David Fone both drew in a 3-1 defeat.

Lichfield’s 3B team in the Cannock League met a higher rated Rugeley team but managed a good draw, Stephen Smithson winning his fourth game in  a row on board three whilst Ian Boddington on four made it three wins out of four. Yuriy Sloodyuk and Bowie Carter were beaten on the top two boards.

A win for Lichfield’s 2B side against Wolverhampton  in the Cannock League looked impossible. With draws on boards 2,3, and 4 all depended on Yuriy Slobodyuk’s game. His one piece advantage looked totally inadequate against his opponents much stronger position with two passed pawns and open files commanded by his opponents Queen and Rooks. A Knight on e5 also controlled the path the pawns were taking to promotion. Then his opponent relocated his king to f2 and e3 to open up the h file, now commanded by queen and rook. Yuriy was one move away from being slaughtered but he found the answer. A Queen check left the King with no escape route. It was either mate or a Knight fork which won the Queen. So Lichfield won the match 2.5-1.5Lukasz Walijewski was the other winner. Arthur Hall was conceding 200 rating points on bottom board but still drew and the other draw came from Mike Maher. Seth Milner played well to get a draw. but Ray Sawyer, Stuart Andrews and Keith Milner all lost in a 3.5- 0.5 defeat for the Cannock 3B team. against Stafford.

Lukasz Walijewski was Lichfield’s only winner in the Birmingham 3 match against Sutton Coldfield but there was an excellent draw from Arthur Hall who was conceding 200 rating points. Mike Maher got the other draw and there were defeats for Peter Collins and Yuriy Slobodyuk as Sutton won 4-2.  In the Wolverhampton League Division 1 Lichfield had a 2.5 – 1.5 win over Walsall Kipping. David Hulme was a winner and Maurice Staples, Tony Green and Adam Routledge gained draws.

Lukasz Walijewski’s winning run ended rather surprising in a B3 match at South Birmingham. He was two pawns up and team mates thought he was on the way to another win but it ended in defeat. Ray Sawyer who is contesting the top of the Ladder Board with Lukasz was the only Lichfield winner in a 3-3 draw. Peter Collins, Mike Maher, Mike Hoare and Arthur Hall all drew. Lichfield players due to play at South B irmingham are warned to wrap up. Apparently it was uncomfortably cold

Rushall B and Lichfield 2A drew their Cannock League match on 22nd November. Peter Collins and Mike Hoare picked up draws on the top two boards, Ray Sawyer notched another win on board three, but his son, Josh, lost on Board 4.

Lichfield hosted two Derby League matches on 18th November. In Division 2 the visitors were Spondon who were beaten 3-1. Peter Collins continued his good run on top board with a draw and it was a draw on Board 2 as well for Mike  Maher. The wins came on the bottom boards from Mike Hoare and Ray Sawyer. There was also a Division 3 match against Derby which the visitors won 3-1. Stephen Smithson got the only win on Board 4 and there were defeats for John Fryer( who started well enough but then made a fatal error) Fred Biles and Philip Sykes who was making his first appearance.

Regaining a place in the first division of the Birmingham League will clearly be harder than expected. After winning its first three matches the B2 team crashed to earth with a 5-1 thrashing by Solihull. Maurice Staples drew on top board a nd the only other score came from late replacement Yuriy Slobodyuk who also drew.

Teenager Bowie Carter scored a good win on board 2 against an experiened Norton Canes player Tom Treveno at the Brewhouse on Monday. Lichfield’s Cannock 3B team won 3.5- 0.5 with the other points coming from David Fone who drew with Mike Hoare and wins from Stephen Smithson and Ian Boddington against Brian Jones and Barry Hanford. With two good wins in a row, Bowie has gained 200 rating points and is now at 1300

With three matches being played on one night Stuart Andrews’ team Lichfield 3A fielded a weakened team and were outgunned by Coleshill, losing 3-1. Stuart found himself in the very unusual position of playing board one and not surprisingly lost. Keith Milner lost on board 2 but his son,Seth drew on three and Maurizio Barravalle also drew on four. “It was a good performance in the circumstances,” said Stuart.  The 1A team drew 2-2 at Tamworth thanks to a win from John Keaveney and a draws from Lukasz Walijewski and Fred Biles.

In Birmingham Division 3, Lichfield benefitted from Birmingham University having only five players. Lukasz Walijewski and Yuriy Slobodyuk both won and Peter Collins continued his fine form with an excellent draw to complete a 3.5-2.5 win.

Lichfield’s team in the Birmingham second division made it three wins out of three against against Redditch but are not finding it easy. The club’s top three players, Maurice Staples, Tony Green and John Keaveney battled to draws on the top three boards and there were wins for Ben Nevett Farmer and David Hulme. Steve  Mcloughlin’s run of early season suceesses has come to an end and he was beaten on board five. 

The Cannock 1A team drew 2-2 at Tamworth with wins from Lukasz Walijewski and John Keaveney, the latter winning in under 20 moves.

Wolverhampton League division three captain Brian Jones found himself a man short due to a late withdrawal but the draw he secured on board three helped Lichfield to a 2.5-1.5 win over St George’s thanks to wins from Ray and Josh Sawyer.

In the Cannock League, the 2A team lost 1.5- 2-.5 against Rushall. The points came from draws from Peter Collins, and father and son Ray and Josh Sawyer. Ray also got the only points for Lichfield in a Derby League 2 with Belper. Peter Collins, Mike Maher and Gary Monks all lost.

LATE OCTOBER RESULTS

“It was a pure fluke” – Skipper David Fone’s comment after assembling a team with 6499 rating points, just one below the  maximum allowed for Lichfield’s 2A team. in the Cannock League.  David’s pre match preparation paid off as well He was up against Luke Sullivan who played the same opening as he had against David a few weeks ago. Hours earlier David had found a better move and it paid off with a win. On top board David Hulme drew with league controller Steve Whatmore and there were very good wins from Gary Monks and Arthur Hall to complete a 3.5 – 0.5 win.

The Cannock League 1B team had a fine win against Surtton Coldfield, 3.5-0.5. Tony Green, David Hulme and Arthur Hall all won and Peter Willett drew.

The Birmingham division 2 team, on a mission to earn promotion back to division 1, have won their first two games. It was a  3.5 -2.5 win over Olton thanks to top board dominance. Maurice Staples, Tony Green and Ben Nevett Farman all won and John Keaveney drew on board three. Steve Mcloughin lost his second game in succession following a brilliant start to his season, while captain David Hulme also lost.

It waa a similar story in the Cannock third division for the Lichfield 3A team. Ray Sawyer and Fred Biles won on the top two two boards, Josh sawyer lost on three whilst Stuart Andrews lost a rook and then his game, making the match result 2-2.

Previous results

Lichfield’s top team, playing in Birmingham’s second division for the first time in recent memory, opened their account with a narrow victory over Rushall. Maurice Staples drew on board one, but while Tony Green and John Keaveney both lost, the bottom boards proved too strong for Rushall with Ben Farman Nevett, Steve Mcloughlin and skipper David Hume all winning to complete a 3.5-2.5 victory.  After five games Steve still has a 100 per cent record.

Peter Collins picked up his second win of the season as Lichfield’s 2A drew with Rugeley in the  Cannock League. Lukasz Walijewski continued his run of good form with a draw against Steve Whatmore on top board, Ray Sawyer lost but Fred Biles secured a draw on board four.

Steve  Mcloughlin’s winning run ended at Coleshill in a Birmingham Division 3 match. His opponent was Peter thompson, a 2000 rating plus player, equivalent to 178 in the old rating system.  Yuriy Slobodyuk, Peter Collins and John Fryer all drew, Mike Maher got the only win and Brian jones lost on board six.

Earlier October matches

Lichfield’s 1A team opened its Cannock League programme with a 3-1 win over 1B. The two squads are of similar strength on paper,particularly as 1A”s top board Maurice Staples has opted to only play Cannock matches in an emergency.  On the night however 1A fielded a stronger team with newcomer Steve Mcloughlin starting with a win.  A very accomplished on-line player, Steve was playing his second over- the- board match and defeated David Hulme. Skipper Lukasz Walijewski,  formerly of  Walsall, drew against Peter Willett, John Keaveney drew with Tony Green and Peter Collins defeated Marc Carter,  who had a near impossible task against the former club chairman and lst team captain.

Playing at the Brewhouse and Kitchen earlier in the week the club’s 2A team defeated 2B. Two players making their debut for Lichield, Lukasz Walijewski and Steve Mcloughlin won their games against Yuriy Slobodyuk and teenager John Moughtin Leay. Josh sawyer defeated promising junior Bowie Carter while the B team’s point came from Gary Monks defeating  Mike Hoare.

Two teams, eight players, and five of them were newcomers to the club this season . The match was between the Cannock League 3B team against the 3B team. For Keith Milner it was his first match for the club  for over a decade and he won it against 3B captain Stephen Smithson. Darren Pope also won on debut against Ian Boddington after a lengthy end game which Darren could have won earlier with more experience. Fred Biles drew on top board against Arthur Hall and the battle of the youngsters was won by Bowie Carter against Adam Turley. Bowie was the B team’s only winner.

Gary Monks, conceding 142 rating points, lost his board one match for 2B against Rushall, but the rest of the team were all winners.David Fone faced a similar rating deficit as Gary so his was a win to savour; John Leay won on board 3 and Arthur Hall weighed in with a win on board four.

Lichfield’s Cannock League 2A team also recorded a 3-1 win against Sutton. Newcomer Steve Mcloughlin defeated a Birmingham League stalwart Mike Biddle, 1788 rating, to keep his 100 per cent record for the club; Lukasz Walijewski accounted for Kevin Spillane, 1690,  and both Peter Collins and Josh Sawyer drew their games. After an intervention by results controller Steve Whatmore, Lichfield were later deducted a point having been ruled to have exceeded the maximum ratings. Club secretary David Short said no one knew what rating to give Steve  Mcloughlin who had only previously played two games. “The league decision in no way reflects on captain Ray Sawyer who took pre match advice over the rating estimate he gave Steve”. All the individual results stand.

Outgraded on all boards, Lichfield’s 3A team put up a creditable fight at Rugeley, particularly  Fred Biles who won on board 2. Ray Sawyer got a draw and there were defeats for team captain Stuart Andrews and Keith Milner, the latter holding his own for most of the game.

The Steve Mcloughlin story continued this week with another excellent win on board one against Rushall for 1A, ironically beating the league controller, Steve Whatmore. The match was drawn 2-2 with  Lukasz Walijewski and Peter Collins drawing. Fred Biles lost on board four.  1A played the sa me night a nd defeated Sutton Coldfield 3.5- 0.5, wins coming from Tony Green, David Hulme and Arthur Hall, backed up by a draw from Peter Willett.

Lighfield’s Derby 3 team romped to a 3-5 -1.5  victory over an inexperienced Rolls Royce team. Ray and Josh Sawyer won on the top two boards, Stephen Smithson drew on three and Stuart Andrews won on four, catching Queen and King on the same diagonal

 

                                                                

 

 

 ‘Bubble’ chess rejected

Lichfield Council officials have decided that the chess club’s plan for over the board friendly matches for two bubbles of six players which will avoid all contact with each other,  contravenes the Covid regulations.

However, an alternative venue has been located by Stephen Smithson and initially, four club members are trialling over the board compeition and friendlies.

Secretary David Short said it was hard to see the difference between four players meeting in a pub or a restaurant with a table dividing chess players having a drink while they play.

First match since March

For the first time since the Covid 19 lockdown started on 23rd March, Lichfield has played a match, the first time in its 50 year history that the club has been involved in an on-line rather than face to face match.

The opponents were close neighbours Sutton Coldfield and the result was a 2-2 draw. Captain Sam Skinner was the organiser and although he was badly outgraded on board four he enjoyed the experience. Peter Willett conceded a 21 point grading deficit but scored a fine win against Marek Soszynski on board one and John Keaveney (165)was also a winner on Board 2 against Peter Oliver (126).  Fred Biles lost on Board 3 againstJ Wojcich (135).

That match went smoothly but a few days later  against Worcester the communications gremlins struck  and the match was abandoned, no doubt to be replayed at a later date.

Now, that is a novel ruling

Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield have finished equal first in the first division of the Cannock League and the championship has been decided in a novel way which has taken people by surprise.

The sum total of the gradings of  the Lichfield players in the matches against Sutton  Coldfield was higher than their opponents and according to the rule book, they have therefore finished second.

The match was a tense affair  with the last game decided at the death in a pawn ending, Sutton winning 3-1. Ben Nevett and Arthur Hall both scored draws whilst Adam routledge and David Fone lost.

Room changes

Due to major renovations to Lichfield’s historic Guildhall which will last six months or so, Lichfield Chess Club’s meetings will be held in various committee rooms on the first floor until April.

Phase 2 of the renovation work will start after the season ends and is scheduled to be completed before the new season starts at the end of August.

Because the venue is cuently changing from week to week, it is more important than ever that anyone planning to join the club should first contact the secretary David Short on 01543 304212.

Member’s glowing tribute

Heavy work commitments prompted long time member Gary Monks to temporarily retire from chess but now he is back again and has posted a glowing to the club. “It’s been part of my life for nearly 30 years. It’s a wonderful club with great people and it is great for stimulation of the mind and for socialability” said Gary.

PLanning to take retirement or partial retirement later this year,  Gary is looking forward to being able to play more regularly.

Anniversary target

As part of its 50th anniversary Lichfield Chess Club is keen to boost its membership from 40 to nearer the 590 mark

Lichfield is one of the strongest clubs in the Midlands both from a playing and membership perspective. The club runs 15 teams in four leagues- the Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Derby and Cannock.

Playing strength varies from virtual beginner to national championship standard. Thursday night is club night which is normally held in the Guildroom on the ground floor of the Guildhall in Bore Street, starting at 7-15 pm. Because of an extensive programme of repairs running until September 2020 alternative committee rooms and sometimes being used.  See sandwich board at entrance for information.

Newcomers can just turn up and ask for the secretary or a committee member but to ensure a proper welcome in a room which is often thronged with new faces from visiting teams, please ring secretary David Short, 01543 304212,  or fixture secretary Brian Homewood, 01543 255909 to let us know you are coming.

The club runs three internal tournaments which are open to both social and full members. Social, student  and junior membership is available to anyone who does not wish to play league chess, for a yearly subscription of £25. Full membership, which includes compulsory membership of the English Chess Federation for league players, is £60.