Our glorious run in the Charnley Cup came to an end at the semi final stage last night as we crashed out to Holmes Chapel, but not without the usual fun and games.
John arrived literally hot foot from the airport and had to face a professional chess coach and put up a good fight before having to admit defeat. Steve McCall played a solid game and his opponent needed no hesitation when a draw was offered. The other Steve (Tranter) got a good initiative but unfortunately it didn't lead to a knock out punch and he had to settle for a draw.
My opponent threw the kitchen sink at me and I ended up a rook up but was unable to defend precisely which allowed him a perpetual. Interestingly (or not!) there was an incident which reminded me of the infamous "Marplegate" of a few years ago. The position had got particularly tense and I was testing the old brain trying to find the best defense when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my clock had stopped - I was down to 12 minutes and Ian had about 25 at this stage. I then could hear a couple of spectators talking who had obviously noticed it too and the next thing is one of them picks up the clock and starts messing with it. I immediately blurted out "Oi, get your hands of the bl@@dy clock!". It all ended amicably enough but didn't help my concentration much. I'm not sure what the ruling is on spectator interference....
Anyway, this all meant that we now had to win the 2 remaining games to make it through to the final. As it happened both Tudor and David T just got edged out in interesting endgames. Oh well, at least we avoid having to play Stockport in the final.
1 - 0 Jon Blackburn (207) v John
1/2 John Turner (173) v Steve Tr
1 - 0 Patrick Bennett (176) v David T
1 - 0 Mike Hancock (161) v Tudor
1/2 Ian Bates (146) v Paul
1/2 Malcolm Roberts (137) v Steve Mc
4.5 - 1.5