Northumberland chess congress 2015

This event was held at North Shields on September 25-27, and Tynedale were well represented.
Our two new Romanian members, Klauss and Mariana Mosnegutu, competed in the Open event which had 23 entries, with Klauss ranked second and Mariana fourth. Klauss started strongly, defeating Szymon Palusha (ranked 14th) on Friday night and Paul Roberts (ranked 3rd) on Saturday morning. In the afternoon he was up against the top seed, Charlie Storey, and lost on time. On Sunday he lost to James Turner in round 4 and drew with Mick Riding in round 5, to finish on 2.5. However, it should be pointed out that between the Saturday and Sunday games Klauss worked a 12-hour shift, which must surely have affected his performance on the Sunday! Mariana lost her opening game against Mick Riding, then drew her next game with Szymon Palusha. In round 3 she had a neat win against Zheming Zhang, lost to Roger Coathup in round 4, and finished with a win against Ron Plater in the final round, so she too finished on 2.5.
Tim Wrigley played in the Major, where he was ranked 14th of the 30 entries. In round 1 he drew with Dave Stebbings of Gosforth (grade 131) and had another draw in round 2, this time with James Turner of Berwick (grade 134). Round 3 brought a win against Geoff Harrison of Gosforth (grade 136) and there was another win in round 4 against John Marsh of Leam Lane (grade 153), but this excellent run came to an end in round 5 when Tim lost to Mauro Usai of Durham (grade 156), to finish on 3 points.
Alex Ashworth and Steve Larkin both played in the Minor, with Alex ranked 15th of the 39 entries and Steve ranked 23rd. Alex tore into the opposition, winning his first 3 games, against John Eddershaw (grade 84), Rolf Millar of Forest Hall (grade 122), and Peter Harker of Hartlepool (grade 130). Sunday brought a change of fortune, with a draw against Mark Mallard of SASRA (grade 119), followed by a loss to the overall winner, Joe Chan of Gosforth (grade 127), which left Alex on 3.5 points. Steve took a bye on the Friday, lost his opening game against Peter Harker, and then beat Bill Hardwick (Carlisle 102). Sunday brought another defeat, this time by top seed Bill Noble (Gateshead 136), and a draw with David Watson of Morpeth (grade 99), making Steve’s total 2 points.
And finally in the Foundation event, Dave Foster jr was seeded 5th of the 11 entries. Here the format was 2 one-hour games against each of 5 opponents. Dave won one game and lost the other against each of his first two opponents, Jared Watson (Jesmond 34) and Brendan Glasper (South Shields 74), before winning twice against Harry Wilson (Darlington 65) and Sebastian Palusha (Durham 91). He finished with a win and a loss against Jamie McIntosh (Jesmond 73) to record 7/10 or 3.5 points and take first prize.
So a good Tynedale turn-out, with almost all making 50% or more, which bodes well for the coming season.

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Tynedale v Morpeth B

Summer KO Plate Final – Tynedale v Morpeth B

Tim Wrigley (147) ½-½ Phil Eastlake (166)
Derek Blair (135) 0-1 Geoff Loxham (141)
Alex Ashworth (124) 0-1 Martin Shaw (128)
Bruce Reed (106) 0-1 Harry Robinson (110)
½-3½

This match was played at Tynedale on Tues 25 Aug 2015. Tyndeale were an IOnter team, Morpeth a Major team, which meant Tynedale started with 1½ points and needed a further 1½ to win. Morpeth needed 3 points.

Tim was first to finish, gratefully accepting an early draw after a torrid advance French. From there it went downhill, with Alex, Bruce and Derek all losing.

Chester le Street summer congress

This event took place on August 21-23, 2015, with three sections: Open (15 entries), Major (under 171 grade, 29 entries) and Minor (under 136, 31 entries). Steve Larkin was the only club member to enter (why is it that, as a club, we make such a poor showing even at our local congresses?). He played in the Minor, where he was rated 22nd of the 31 entries. After a half-point bye on the Friday, he played Brian Whitaker of Thornaby, graded 111, on the Saturday morning. After the opening (a French Defence, Advance version), Steve had won a knight but had lost 3 pawns. However, this meant he had open files for his queen and rook to go marauding, trapping his opponent’s king on the queenside before delivering mate. In the afternoon he met Eddie Czestochowski of South Shields, graded 122. Steve’s improvised opening with black was wholly inept, leaving most of his pieces with no effective squares, and Eddie punished him accordingly.

Sunday morning saw him facing John France of Gosforth, graded 130, Playing with white, Steve produced one of his best games ever, making all his pieces tell, especially doubled rooks on a half-open file, before producing a move to which black could find no answer, even in the analysis room, and which led directly to a forced checkmate. Highly satisfying! Needless to say, the afternoon provided the usual antidote, as Steve was always on the back foot against Barry Edgar of Hetton, graded 133. The game came down to king and pawns on both sides, but Barry’s extra pawn proved decisive. So with 2.5 from 5 rounds, the outcome overall was average, but the game against John France will sustain Steve’s enthusiasm for months to come!

In the Major event, Ian Mackay of Haydon Bridge likewise recorded 50%, a creditable performance considering that he was rated 25th of the 29 entries.

In the Major, Ian Mackay of Haydon Bridge

Tynedale v Alnwick

Summer KO Plate Semi Final – Tynedale v Alnwick

Tim Wrigley (147) ½-½ G Ellames (147)
Derek Blair (135) ½-½ R Firth (123)
Alex Ashworth (124) 1-0 J Pharoah (116) – Defaulted
Bruce Reed (106) 1-0 M Lowery (27)
3-1

This match was played at Morpeth on Tues 29 Jul 2015. Both teams were at the same handicap level, but because Tynedale grading total was higher, we needed to win 2½-1½ across the boards.
Sadly Jo Pharoah did not appear, so Morpeth started 1 down.

Summer KO 2015

Having been knocked out of the major KO competition in the first round, Tynedale were duly entered into the Plate competition. They eased their way into the quarter-finals when their opponents from Tynemouth defaulted the match. So on July 6th 2015 they faced a Gosforth IV team at Gosforth. The line-up was as follows:
1. Joe Chan (121) v Jeremy Handley (144)
2. Gary Clarke (108) v Derek Blair (135)
3. Dave Turner (107) v Alex Ashworth (124)
4. Tony Neville (106) v Steve Larkin (107)
Gosforth’s grading total of 442 made them a Minor team while our total of 510 made us an Intermediate team, meaning that we ceded 1.5 points to Gosforth. So to win the match we had to score 3 out of 4. 2.5 would mean that the teams tied on points and Gosforth would go through, given their lower grading total.
All the games were quite protracted affairs, with Jeremy first to finish. With most of the pieces off the board, a race to queen a pawn ensued. Alas, Jeremy had miscalculated, Joe queened first and the game was over. 1-0
Derek and Alex finished pretty much together. Derek got much better initial development than his opponent, went the exchange up and by the endgame was a full rook up and coasted to victory. 1-1
Alex likewise went the exchange up and converted this advantage into a win. 1-2
So the outcome of the match hinged on board 4, which went to the wire. Steve emerged from the middle game a pawn up and proceeded to push his central pawns, but they had a long way to go and Tony’s rook and bishop were very active. Eventually Steve got two linked passed pawns on Tony’s third rank, supported by a rook. A queen and victory looked inevitable but in blithely advancing a pawn Steve left his rook en prise to Tony’s king. That would have turned victory into defeat, both on this board and in the match. Mercifully, Tony didn’t spot this any more than Steve had and a couple of moves later it was mate – phew!! 1-3
So the match was won by the narrowest of margins (3-2.5) and Tynedale find themselves in the semi-finals – and it all hinged on a double oversight!

South Lakes chess congress 2015

Two Tynedale club members took part in this event at Grange over Sands on June 12-14. Both entered the Minor 2 section for players graded 110 and below. There were 33 entries in this section, with Steve Larkin being ranked 8th and Stephen Rowley (who had been given an estimated grade of 95 which was clearly much too high) ranked 16th. Both took half-point byes on the Friday night.

On Saturday morning, Steve L had a fairly straightforward win over Jo Woollard (81) of Sheffield Nomads, though it took him 2 hours and 35 minutes to finish the job.Stephen played Robert Smialek (80) of Aigburgh and was still going strong after 2 and a half hours, with material even and Stephen enjoying a slight spatial advantage. The outcome, a loss for Stephen, was only decided in a time scramble in the last few minutes.

On Saturday afternoon, Steve L had a long game (c3 hours and 20) with Stuart Wood (97) of Kynock. Steve developed a strong attack and was pressing for two-thirds of the game but Stuart, though he dropped a couple of pawns, defended well and took full advantage of weaknesses in Steve’s defensive set-up. In the last 20 minutes, Steve made a series of errors, culminating in the loss of a knight. When Stuart offered a draw, in the belief that that reflected the overall run of play, Steve accepted gratefully, for by then the game was clearly lost. Stephen found himself up against Bill Burgess (107) of Austins, a really tough assignment for him. Blundering his queen early on ensured another loss.

On Sunday morning, Steve L faced Nick Holmes (92) of Teleport Shrewsbury. At one point Nick had 3 pieces en prise simultaneously and Steve felt sure a decisive advantage was coming his way, but a check by Nick transformed the situation into a series of exchanges and the game petered out into a draw after 90 minutes’ play. Meanwhile, Stephen was playing Jo Woollard (81), Steve’s opponent the previous day. Stephen mounted a strong kingside attack but Jo defended stoutly, picked up some loose pieces and went on to win. Even so, Stephen enjoyed the experience.

In the final round, Steve L played Dave Broderick (104) from Newport. Steve sacrificed a bishop for a potential mating attack early on, and Dave had to play very carefully for half a dozen moves and had to sacrifice a knight to see off the attack. Though only 20 moves had been played, over 2 hours had elapsed, at which point Dave offered a draw which Steve accepted, as the fatigue factor was kicking in yet again. So he finished on 3/5 and to his great surprise won a grading prize! Stephen was paired with Raphael Romaya (estimated grade 50), who by this point had played and lost 4 games. After 2 and a quarter hours Stephen was a pawn up and was taking the game to his opponent, but the latter was playing extremely slowly and when I left the venue the outcome was far from clear. What is certain is that Stephen will have leaned a lot from his first ever congress.

Also competing in the Minor 2 section was Tom Bradford of Haydon Bridge. He recorded an impressive 4/5 to share second place. Former Tynedale player Colin Davison competed in the Major event for players graded 170 and below and picked up a grading prize.