Monarchs v Dyvels December 19th 2012

This was the first match in which the Dyvels were able to play their four highest graded players, so it was nice to see that it was against our friends in the Monarchs.
As team captain I had the vicarious pleasure of being able to watch the four games as they evolved.
Board 4, Phil Taylor (handicap 4) against Dave Foster Junior (handicap 7), was first to finish. Dave had opened with the Polish b4 (also known as the Sokolosky). It is also called the Orangutan because Tartakower, playing Maroczy, used it after asking an Orangutan in the local zoo what opening he should play the next day!
The opening had the desired impact. Dave played well, and Phil ‘winged’ it. Within a few minutes Dave’s attack was flowing nicely, with knight, bishop and queen in action (the queens were off on move 8), and Phil cramping his pieces in a queenside corner retreat to defend against the knightly attack (which won a pawn).
In the middle game the attack switched to the king’s side where Phil had castled, and Phil had to ensure very correct defensive play to avoid being overwhelmed while gradually moving his rooks and bishop into a co-ordinated assault that took full advantage of the fact that a price of Dave’s early attack was a failure to castle his king to safety, and more open options to allow black to threaten forks and ways to reclaim the material.
With white’s kingside underdeveloped Phil swung a knight across to combine with a bishop to win the exchange. Nothing daunted, Dave countered with strong threats, and a near mate, requiring accurate responses from Phil to stay in the game. When Dave left a bishop en pris, however, it was the beginning of the end for white, and Phil made his material advantage tell.
Meanwhile, on board 1 Dave Wrigley was testing the Dyvel’s Jeremy Handley by responding g6 and f5 to white’s opening d4, c4.
The Leningrad Dutch main line is, with possible changes in move order: 1 d4 f5 2 c4 Nf6 3 g3 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Bg2 d6 6 0-0 0-0 7 Nc3 Qe8. As a non-expert, I was interested to see that this rarely-played-at-grandmaster-level opening offers real chances for black to win, but has weaknesses that white can exploit.
Jeremy duly exploited them, and with 20 minutes to go was a bishop for a pawn up in a rook and pawn ending. With only a few minutes on his clock Dave fought like a tiger, and took full advantage of a couple of slips first to win back the bishop for pawns before being allowed to get his king in front of the only remaining (white) pawn with only a single rook each. With Jeremy unable to force a win an honourable draw was agreed.
With two exciting games concluding it was too much to hope for more excitement in the other games – but the hope was fulfilled.
In Tim Wrigley’s game against the Monarch’s captain Derek Blair, Derek opened with the f4 Bird’s, or Dutch attack. Then both played cautiously to reach what looked like a closed position with pawn chains supported by minor pieces, rooks and the queens.
Derek then opened it up, and the resulting exchanges left Tim with two bishops against a knight and bishop. Tim found a way through to the back of the pawn chains with one of his bishops and cut them down faster than Derek could counterattack. The early slow burn was followed by some simple, very effective, attacking chess by black, and an overwhelming advantage of unstoppable passed pawns.
When Derek resigned, the Dyvels had 2.5 points to the Monarchs 0.5, but on handicap the scores would finish level if the Monarchs won the final game.
Everything depended on whether the rejuvenated Alex Ashworth (who has been playing some fine, sharp chess in recent games after a drop in form last year) was able to beat the ever sound Peter Crichton.
Peter’s Queen’s gambit had quickly resulted in a white pawn on d5 and another on b5, split by a black pawn with a fianchettoed bishop on b7 and the Queen on its rook file optimising the diagonal threats. A relentless pressure of attacking (and responsive defending) on both sides with combinations of two rooks, bishop and queen from black homing in on a key pawn on c4 defended by two rooks, knight and queen while other moves were parried and countered made it a complex and exciting game.
A pawn won early in the game by Peter was eclipsed a few moves later following one of these side thrusts, with Alex winning one back. As the end neared, with less than five minutes on each clock, the thrusts, counterthrusts and exchanges became more frantic as both tried to secure a winning advantage.
Towards the end with rook and a few pawns apiece, and a slight advantage on the clock for Peter, it seemed obvious that there was insufficient time for either player to win over the board, and an honourable draw was agreed. Phew!
Net result, a decisive 3-1 win for the Dyvels, and 23-19 win allowing for handicap.


Monarchs v Dyvels

Tue 18-Dec-12










David Wrigley





Jeremy Handley
Derek Blair





Tim Wrigley





Peter Crichton
Dave Foster Jr (Mon)





Phil Taylor
Monarchs Total





Dyvels Total

Reivers v Forest Hall B

The line-up for this match, played at the Dyvels on Dec 11th, was

1. Bruce Reed (121) v Jeff bentham (135)

2. Phil Taylor (126) v Jeff Baird (127)

3. Karl Skowronski (u) v Dave Turner (119)

4. Peter Booker (77) v Steve Bowey (110)

5. Dave Foster jr (82) v Phil Walker (95)

Dave jr had come in on board 5 to replace Dave sr (board 2), who was in too much pain to play, and Phil had come in at the last minute for Malcolm Reid, who failed to show up, so the Reivers had a fairly long tail and were comprehensively outgraded to boot.

First to finish was Karl, who played a long (71 moves) and aggressive game, but who couldn’t overcome the handicap of a bishop blundered on move 18. 0-1

Next Peter, with an exposed king, fell foul of a neat centre of the board mate when there were still plenty of active pieces about. 0-2

Bruce, who had been adamant he wanted a crack at Jeff on board 1, played a fine game and was a pawn up in the rook and 5 pawns v rook and 4 ending, but could find no way of making that slight advantage tell. 0.5-2.5.

Phil had an excellent game against Jeff Baird and gives the following account: “My standard Queen’s Gambit declined soon morphed into a Tarrasch defence but I took black’s c pawn and chased his bishop back with b4 and c5. This gave me quite a lot of space. By move 10 we were out of book and the only game I’ve found that was similar was Wallace v Crane, Sydney 1893, where white won. The game was evenly balanced until I pushed my e-pawn on move 19. Jeff took and this gave my bishop and queen a strong position on the h1a8 diagonal. It led to my winning black’s b pawn and his black-squared bishop. After that, and with black short on time, it was simply a matter of not making a silly move (easier said than done). Fortunately this time I managed to avoid all the traps and pitfalls until black resigned with 1 second left on his clock on move 48.” 1.5-2.5.

So it was all down to board 5, where Phil had gifted Dave a bishop early on in the proceedings. Further pressure by Dave increased that advantage to a rook, but later Dave’s advantage was down to just a pawn. Eventually it came down to Dave’s king and rook versus Phil’s king and pawn. The won ending eluded Dave and the game was drawn. 2-3.

So the match was lost, but there had been plenty of good play along the way against opponents who were often on significantly higher grades.

Next day news came through that Newcastle University were defaulting the Reivers’ next match, due to be played in January.

Austins v Monarchs


Austins vs Monarchs – Mon 26 Nov




Chris Royle  




David Wrigley
Bruce Wallace




Derek Blair
Bill Hardwick




Dave Foster  Snr
Drew Millar




Malcolm Reid










Tans vs Gosforth Empire

The visit of Gosforth Empire to the Dyvels on Tuesday 4/12 represented a good chance for points – Gosforth have been punching above their weight a bit, and would be slight favourites on paper, but the Tans had a fighting chance

Dave Weldon didn’t make much headway with the white pieces against Roy Bagnall (172) and agreed a quick draw as an even rook and minor piece ending loomed.

Dave Stebbings (155) played a fairly unadventurous opening against Tim Wrigley and Tim was able to take the game to Dave. Tim found himself with the bishop pair and nice open lines to work with, but Dave managed to bring his rooks into  play quickly enough to neutralise Tim’s bishops. A mass exchange of pieces followed, resulting in a rook & bishop vs rook & bishop ending where Tim’s pieces were less well coordinated. To his mild surprise, Dave immediately offered a draw and Tim accepted.

David Wrigley was in trouble quickly against Mike Yianni (181). Mike played an unusual line in the exchange french, and David had to leave his king in the centre, the sole defender of a backwards e-pawn. Mike played conservatively, and David was able to confuse matters with a kingside pawn advance. A flurry of tactics followed, and David had managed to shore up his own position and win a pawn. David missed the chance to win another pawn, and a rook ending arose where Mike was able to restore material equality. A draw was the natural result.

Jeremy Handley sacrificed a pawn  early onagainst Paul Sumner (152). He got plenty of play for it, but Paul defended stoutly and eventually they were left with a rook each and opposite coloured bishops. Jeremy fell foul of some tactics, and Paul double his pawn advantage. Jeremy had to throw caution to the wind and had a good go at Paul’s king, but the pawns kept dropping and Jeremy wasn’t getting enough for them.

Derek Blair and Geoff Harrison (147) had a fascinating tussle – Derek seemed to gain a positional advantage, but their pawns chains found themselves locked together and it was difficult to see how either playedrwould be able to make progress. Derek managed to win a pawn, but Geoff’s Queen was able to penetrate threateningly in return , and they agreed a draw in severe mutual time trouble.

Tans 2-3 Gosforth Empire

David Wrigley ½-½ Michael Yianni (181)
Dave Weldon ½-½ Roy Bagnall (172)
Jeremy Handley 0-1 Paul Sumner (152)
Derek Blair ½-½ Geoff Harrison (147)
Tim Wrigley ½-½ Dave Stebbings (155)

So the Tans fall just short again, and a tough scrap against relegation looms in the new year.

Dyvels v Friars

Like many matches,  the play in the first hour and a half looked fairly even across all the boards.

Daniel O’Dowd (B) slowly developed his pieces against Jeremy Handley’s favourite Sicilian variation, and Dave Jackson (W) piled forward with a central push from his English opening with Phil Taylor steadily countering, while Peter Crichton (W) and Jason Maxwell balanced each other with thrusts developed, a passed pawn contained and a very even position overall- perhaps with a slight edge to Peter.

In the game between Bruce Reed (W) and Bill Burgess black developed a strong pawn counterattack on white’s castled kingside backed up by minor pieces and then the queen.

In the final half hour it all slowly changed.

Phil’s explanation of how he lost began with a minor lapse: “The game was fairly even until my position drifted away from me and I made a tactical error on move 27 losing a pawn. I was tired and playing too quickly and that’s never good against a similarly graded opponent. Eventually the game drifted even further away from me and I was left trying to get a result on time (my opponent was down to his last 3 minutes). When facing a barrage of pawns with only a rook to defend against them 3 minutes can be an awfully long time and it soon became apparent that it would be enough for my opponent to defeat me. ”

Peter Crichton, in a three pawn and minor pieces end game, explained “I suddenly lost a pawn, and although the rook and pawn ending was still ‘theoretically drawn I managed to lose.”

Bruce was slightly more fortunate as his opponent allowed him first to take control of an open d file, then to move his queen into a very attacking position, which, in combination with an advancing H file pawn, a rook and a knight quickly trapped the black queen as black tried to counter, and then overran his opponent’s king’s side defences – and secured a rare mate as Bill sought to promote a passed pawn.

Jeremy swapped a rook for a knight to break up the slowly building pressure in the middle game, and gradually become overwhelmed by Daniel’s well co-ordinated attack. Daniel’s excellent performances in the British championship (especially his second place in the under 160 section) suggest his current grading belies his real chess strength. 

                                                  Match points  (Handicap points in brackets)

Jeremy Handley    (2)                   0          4          (3) Daniel O’Dowd (white)

Peter Crichton       (3)                    0          4          (3) Jason Maxwell (black)

Phil Taylor            (4)                     0          4          (4) Dave Jackson  (white)

Bruce Reed          (4)                      4          0          (5) Bill Burgess      (black)

                               (13)                   4          12        (15)

Combined totals                     17        27