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Strand 1 come out on top in crunch match

(B&D League 2018/19 Week 14) Strand 1 took another big step towards their first Silver King after victory over their nearest rivals.

Division 1

  • Fruithill Hawks 5-0 Ballynafeigh 2
  • QUB 1 3.5-1.5 Kelly's Heroes
  • Strand 1 3-2 Ballynafeigh 1

Strand 1 stretched their Division 1 lead to 13.5 points after a 3-2 win over second-placed Ballynafeigh 1. Modestas Razbadauskas and David Hill secured the crucial wins, against Damien Cunningham and Pawel Otocki respectively. Leitch/Scannell and Harris/Woodfield were both drawn, while David Houston claimed the Ormeau Road side's only victory of the night against Daniil Zelenchuk. QUB 1 saw off Kelly's Heroes to move to within three points of Ballynafeigh 1. Craig Stevenson (1173) pulled off a shock win over Ting Yan Lee (1455), but otherwise it was comfortable for the students as Daniel Diaz-Roncero Gonzalez, Callum Ormerod and Cathan Gormley won and Sergio Esteve Sanchez drew with Gareth Annesley. Last but not least, the Fruithill Hawks staked their claim for second place with a whitewash against an under-strength Ballynafeigh 2.

Division 2

  • QUB 2 0.5-4.5 The B Team

In the week's only Division 2 match, The B Team were too strong for a four-man QUB 2 team. Bobby Thompson, Paul Hanna and Norman McFarland were all victorious for the visitors, while Stephen Critchlow drew with Mohamed Musa, who has made an impressive start to his league career, performing at around a 1600 level - it seems that QUB have unearthed another fine talent.

Division 3

  • Fruithill Ravens 5-0 Ballynafeigh 4
  • Bangor 2 3-2 Strand 4

In what has been a highly profitable week for the Andersonstown Road club in terms of league points, the Fruithill Ravens whitewashed Ballynafeigh 4, with Pearse O'Brien, Frank Carrothers, Michael Toal, Ross Smith, and Charlie Logan all winning to move the Ravens ahead of QUB 3 and into second place. With QUB 3 not in action this week as their fixture with Ballynafeigh 3 was postponed, Bangor 2 had an opportunity to extend their lead further when Strand 4 visited Groomsport Parish Hall. They were on the receiving end of upsets on boards 1 and 5 - Aaron Wafflart (1034) claimed the upset of the week against Jonny Brown (1367), while Ken Haddock (702) was too good for Ben Toogood (898), but otherwise it was plain sailing for the leaders, as Walter Wilson, Gary Johnston and Alwyn Pollock all won to claim the bonus points for Bangor 2 and put them 16 points ahead.

Standings

Division 1PlayedPointsDivision 2PlayedPointsDivision 3PlayedPoints
Strand 1 11 60 Northern Lights 11 57 Bangor 2 12 62
Ballynafeigh 1 11 46.5 QUB 2 12 48.5 Fruithill Ravens 10 46
QUB 1 11 43.5 The B Team 12 39.5 QUB 3 9 42.5
Fruithill Hawks 10 40.5 Strand 2 11 37 Ballynafeigh 4 11 35
Kelly's Heroes 11 33 Bangor 1 11 34 Strand 3 10 35
Ballynafeigh 2 12 24.5 Fruithill Falcons 11 22 Strand 4 12 28.5
Civil Service 10 18 Ballynafeigh 3 12 17

The league now takes a bit of a break, with week 15 scheduled to commence on the 4th of March, but in the meantime there's no shortage of chess to fill the gap - rescheduled matches, the UCU Winter Tournament, a Luke McShane simul on Thursday the 21st, a rapidplay tournament in Groomsport on the same night, a blitz/bullet tournament in Lisburn on Saturday the 23rd - and the small matter of the Bunratty International Chess Festival.