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2003 League Standings

"Chess Notes" from County Down Spectator, 18 Dec 2003

Division 1

Groomsport

Last week, Groomsport wrapped up their 2003 campaign with a successful visit to league leaders Civil Service; cruising to a comfortable 3.5 - 1.5 victory.

Top board clash was the first to finish. Steve Scannell opened with White to a King's Indian. Steve sacrificed a central pawn early to gain the initiative. Black defended carelessly to give Steve a straight-forward victory.

Damien Lavery's game on board 2 was a quick, rather dull draw. In a line of the Scandinavian Centre Counter defence, a replay of a previous game between Damien and his opponent, no inspiration was forth-coming from either side.

Next to finish was Martin Rogers, late of Templar, on board 5. Leading with White, Martin obtained a passed pawn against a King's Indian. Martin duly converted the advantage to a convincing win.

With the team 2.5 - 0.5 up, the final two boards quickly drew; Ron Henderson from a pawn up, Richard Proctor from an even position (after a few shenanigans earlier on).

"An impressive victory proving we are not out of our depth in the premier division" beamed Richard Proctor, captain of the newly promoted Groomsport Team. It would be surprising if the team's confident challenge pretended anything other than satisfaction at a job well-done.

League Standings

With only 7 teams competing in Division 1, 2003 fixtures have been completed due to begin again in the first week of January.

===< division 1 - end 2003 >==========================
                  games     match       bonus   total
Place + Team      played    points      points  points
----------------- ------    ------      ------  ------
1 Civil Service     5         13.5        6     19.5
2 Clifton House     4         12.0        6     19.0
3 Bangor Groomsport 4         10.5        5     15.5
  RVH Hawks         5         11.5        4     15.5
5 Fisherwick A      3          7.0        3     10.0
6 North Belfast     3          7.5        2      9.5
7 Bangor Carnegie   4          8.0        1      9.0

===< division 1>======================================

No clear leader yet although Clifton House look like they may be beginning to give themselves some breathing space. New entrants, Bangor Groomsport making a significant impact and a serious challenge at the top.

North Belfast have surprised with their lack-lustre start to the season while Bangor Carnegie have failed to earn bonus points despite good performances from the team. The league remains open with lots to play for in 2004, even for Carnegie.

Division 2

Winston

Bangor Winston entertained RVH Ravens last Thursday evening. Winston badly needed to earn themselves some bonus points to bolster their position in the league.

Evan Bell defended on board 1 with Black. Playing a sound Najdorf, Evan won in convincing style.

On board 2, Ken Browne led with White. After an unsuccessful sacrifice failed to gain advantage, Ken was forced to play-off eventually getting mated in a corner.

Board 3, Richard Morrow defended with Black. Richard launched a Queen-side counter-attack winning the game with a neat combination.

David Symington attacking with White on board 4, applied considerable pressure on Black's defences. After losing tempo with injudicious play, David's attempts to recover allowed Black to mount a successful counter-attack and claim the game.

Owen Wilson on board 5 maintained a strong position into the middle-game. Reaching the transition to the end-game with a slight advantage, Owen blundered a Rook in a trade-off, losing the game.

A disappointing night for Winston despite two good, clean wins. No bonus points from the match keep the team near the bottom of the league with an unpleasant match against Fisherwick in prospect and unlikely to improve things.

Templar

Plagued with absentees, Templar were forced to ask for a postponement against Fisherwick. The match against Division 2 league leaders has been rescheduled for Wednesday 7th January.

League Standings

Winston and Templar teams finish their league matches for 2003 this week. Winston face league leaders Fisherwick on Wednesday while Templar entertain Hillsborough at home on Thursday club night.

===< division 2 - 13th December >=====================
                  games     match       bonus   total
Place + Team      played    points      points  points
----------------- ------    ------      ------  ------
1 Fisherwick B        4     15.0        8       23.0
2 CIYMS               4     12.0        7       19.0
3 Bangor Templar      4     12.0        5       17.0
4 Bombardier          4     11.5        5       16.5
  Fortwilliam         4     11.5        5       16.5
6 RVH Ravens          4      8.0        3       11.0
7 Bangor Winston      4      8.0        1        9.0
8 Hillsborough        4      7.0        2        9.0
9 Randalstown         4      5.0        0        5.0
===< division 2>======================================

So far Fisherwick have kept a clean sheet gaining full match bonuses to dominate the league. Bangor Templar have managed to score consistently against strong competition but need some clear wins to hold their position in the New Year. Bangor Winston teetering on the edge desperately need to score bonus points to do themselves justice.

Christmas Break

Thursday 18th is the last club night of the year, with the league taking time off for the Christmas break too. Club nights begin again on New Years Day with league matches restarting the week after.

"Chess notes" will be back in the New Year with a report from the Ulster Senior Championship starting on Saturday 27th December in Fortwilliam Golf Club. The Championship is spread over 4 days finishing on Tuesday after 7 rounds.

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