London League Division 2.

Mushrooms

Woodbridge

1

R. Harris

1 -0

V.B. Rumsey

2

M. Prizant

½-½

J.R. Cooke

3

R. O'Kelly

½-½

C.R. Ramage

4

T. Pelling

1 - 0

R.D. Manning

5

D. Sedgwick

1 - 0

R. Watts

6

S. Lorber

½-½

J. Davenport

7

P.J. Sullivan

0 - 1

R. Johnson

8

P. Gait

1 - 0

G.T. Gooding

9

D.G. Smith

1 - 0

C. White

10

C. Carew

½-½

R.G. Chisholm

7 - 3

The start to the new season for the Woodbridge Club was a portent of things to come. Having struggled all last season to avoid relegation, Woodbridge actually managed the feat, but only because one of their main rivals, Gravesend, were docked points as a penalty for too many defaulted games. In this match, the Mushrooms board 9 had a grade of 172, compared with 170 for the Woodbridge board 1.

Colin Ramage and John Davenport were both offered draws, and both accepted. Richard Manning's game also finished early, but with a different result. John Cooke marked his 100th League Match fror Woodbridge with a very fine performance, holding a strong opponent to a draw. Ron Chisholm also shared the spoils, in this case overcoming a grading difference of 38 points. Rod Johnson scored the only win for Woodbridge, after finding a wonderful combination which won his opponent's queen for two pieces. George Gooding reached a promising position from the Vienna but blundered.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It would be entirely understandable if Woodbridge played this match in a sombre frame of mind. Tony Gascoyne, a faithful servant to the Woodbridge Club for many years, died suddenly during the summer as a result of a heart attack. He was 50. The son of a retail butcher, Tony followed on in his father's trade. Apart from a brief spell during the late 1960s, he lived all his life in the East End.

Amongst his interests were Horse Racing and the Unexplained, but his over-riding passion was for the game of Chess.

He joined the East Ham Club in 1972, for whom he made several appearances in the Essex League, and became Club Champion in 1984. He greatly appreciated the Combination, and made many unsuccessful sacrifices in an attempt to emulate his idols. In the 1994-95 season, he achieved the Best Performance for the Woodbridge Club, an achievement which surprised him but nonetheless gave him much pleasure. He played 68 times for Woodbridge, and was a fine team member. A quiet, unassuming man, he admitted to feeling nervous when he was winning.

Tony Gascoyne will be sorely missed by all who knew him. The Woodbridge Club will almost certainly dedicate a new trophy to his memory.

(Acknowledgments: Richard Manning and Tony Compton)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is always a source of amusement when a Top Player makes a hash of things. At the British Championships in Nottingham in August, the round 6 game on top board was between International Masters Chris Ward and Aaron Summerscale. During the previous five rounds, these two had each scored 4½ and were sharing the lead. Of course, it was the game which demanded the greatest amount of attention from the Commentator (GM Julian Hodgson), and the accident which befell Summerscale in this game had already been seen and analysed by the multitudes in the Commentary Room. Interestingly, the last time anything quite so unfortunate happened to one of the leading players it was Chris Ward when, a couple of years ago, Britain's leading exponent of the Sicilian Defence was given a real hiding in that very opening by James Howell.

Ward, Chris - Summerscale, Aaron

British Championships, 1996

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 dxc4 4.e4 b5 5.a4 b4 6.Nb1 [6.Na2] 6...Ba6 7.Nf3 Nf6 8.e5 Nd5 9.Ng5 h6! 10.Qh5 hxg5! 11.Qxh8 Nf4 12.Be3 Qd5 13.f3 [13.h4] 13...Ne6?! [13...c5] 14.Nd2 Nxd4 15.0-0-0 c3 16.Nc4 Bxc4?? [16...c5 17.Bxd4 cxd4 18.b3 Nd7 19.Bd3 Nc5] 17.Rxd4 Qxe5?? 18.Qxf8+ 1-0