THE Penarth Chess Club’s second team, the Piers, have been hovering near the middle of the third division, but three wins in quick succession rather changed the placings.

Travelling to Pontypridd to encounter their second team, the Phoenix, produced a very satisfactory outcome. Mike Servini was first to finish on board 4 when he managed to break through in the centre against Jim Davies and score a quick victory. Sam Warburton was less successful on middle board as he never managed to improve the slight edge he had against Roger Phillips and had to agree a draw in a locked position. Tony Gutteridge went into an endgame against John Callan with a position that seemed to favour the home player but Tony cunningly swapped off to a bishop and pawns against rook and pawns; normally a win for the rook. However, Tony noticed that he could block the rook whilst queening a pawn and so won. The second board pitched Steve Cronick against Roger Jenkins in a seemingly drawn position with an active mating threat against Steve, who came up with a well-judged combination, winning his opponent’s queen. The final, top board, game went to time, with Ben Thomas having a good position against Callum Harris, but then letting it slip away. The 3.5 to 1.5 victory for the Piers boosted their hopes.

Then, the next Monday, the Piers hosted an under-strength team from Bridgend and achieved a whitewash. Two days later, confronting Caerphilly Knights, they had a tougher task. Warburton, again on middle board, was unable to break Clive Silver’s defensive barrier so accepted the proffered draw. Gutteridge outplayed Steve Lambourne and took the point, whilst Servini was blocked by Mike Joslin and unable to do better than a draw. Thomas, again the top board, was confronted by the veteran Bob Hurn who has demonstrated once again that he is a master of acquiring draws from inferior positions. The final game, Edd Chwieseni against Beryl Hughes, went into a bishop and pawn v knight and pawn endgame in which the advantage was all to Beryl’s bishop. Edd kept escaping, but eventually the game turned decisively against him and so the match ended in a draw.

With three matches still to play, these results put the Piers into the promotion band of Division 3; the job now is to keep them there.

The club meets every Monday at 7.30pm in Penarth Conservative Club. All are welcome. The junior section meets every Wednesday from 6.30 to 8.30pm at the Kymin.