Board Macclesfield B 3.5-1.5 East Cheshire C
1. N. Evans (145) 1-0 B. Tait
2. D. Lobo (151) 0-1 K. Newell
3. A. Brough (144) 0.5-0.5 E. Cooke
4. M. Renshaw (140) 1-0 H. Oldham
5. M. Jouannet (121) 1-0 K. Hodgson
After the home leg of this fixture in December, we were under no illusions about the strength of the Macclesfield team, a little misplaced in our division given their strength on all boards. As such, a win and a draw and some combative games all round seemed a decent return. The big inexplicable blunder of the night was the team captain picking himself plus 5 others for a 5-board match (?!), and so sitting this one out, which did however mean I was able to follow some interesting games.
On board 3, Edwin's manoeuvrings left him with an extra pawn, doubled on the h-file though it was. In attempting to consolidate that gain, Edwin found his opponent gaining some activity and an early draw was agreed. With 20-20 hindsight, 14 f6! would have led to some interesting lines with perhaps a strong attack against black's injudiciously castled king, but then bridging a 45-point grading gap to have slightly the better of a draw was certainly not to be sniffed at!
Hartley found himself in a lively middlegame with queens swapped off and almost all minor pieces highly active for both players, but was always that annoying half-move behind and ended up elegantly checkmated by his opponent's knights, pawn and bishop.
In Bill's game: "I attacked on his K side castle losing 2 minor pieces to a R, however all my pieces were active. I couldn't break through despite a pinning a N on his K. His Ps just managed to keep me out and he deservedly won. No complaints."
Kieran confirmed himself as the form man of the C-team with another fine win. Already a piece up by the time I properly tuned into his game, Kieran built a commanding position, getting the stronger attack in front of slightly exposed kings and forcing through the necessary swap-offs to neutralise any counter-threats and convert the full point with minimal fuss.
Which meant that - improbably - a win for Keith on board 4 would have meant a drawn match. However, a slight miscalculation in a long and complex serious of swap-offs left Keith a bishop down, albeit a "bad" bishop, and with Keith slightly ahead and pushing on energetically in the race to queen a pawn. Eventually though, his opponent regrouped and covered the back rank and the game was up for Keith.
No cheap win on any board for Macclesfield B then, a creditable result in itself!