Reivers v South Shields A

This match took place on Thursday April 18th in South Shields, with the following line-up:
1. Kevin Rowden (132) v Peter Crichton (137)
2. Ian Maughan (u) v Dave Foster sr (117)
3. Stan Johnson (119) v Steve Larkin (107)
4. Olaf Ericsson (u) v Dave Foster jr (82)
5. Jack Burnett (u) v Damian Rudge (u)
First to finish was Damian who startled us all by exclaiming loudly on throwing away a bishop for nothing in a game he felt he could have won. 1-0
Next up was Dave jr, who had blundered a piece in the middle-game but had gone on to push a pawn to the seventh rank, so that the position was finely balanced and a draw was agreed. 1.5-0.5
Of his game on top board, Peter writes: “I was on the white side of a Grunfeld and, believing my opponent would probably be better versed in the theory, I adopted a rather unambitious set-up which led to an even game with neither side able to break the deadlock. When it seemed inevitable that both sets of rooks would be exchanged we agreed an honourable, if rather boring, draw.” 2-1
Next came Dave sr who was always on the back foot against a strong player returning to chess after quite an absence. Steadily outplayed, Dave eventually succumbed. 3-1
Last to finish was Steve, who had the better of the opening and went rook for bishop up. With Stan’s queen bottled up and out of the game, things were looking good for Steve, but he became so preoccupied with his “winning” attack that he allowed not one but two rooks to drop for a knight and a bishop and ended up struggling. With Steve’s queen and knight still active and the match result in the bag, Stan offered the draw – a very generous offer which Steve gratefully accepted. 3.5-1.5
With the final match now over, no fewer than 14 players have turned out for the Reivers during the season – many thanks to all. Here are the statistics:
Steve Played 11 Won 5 Drawn 3 Lost 3 Ave 59% Ave board 3.6
Phil 11 4 2 5 48% 1.5
Dave F jr 8 3 3 2 56% 4.5
Bruce 7 0 3 4 21% 2.0
Peter C 4 2 2 0 75% 1.25
Alex 3 1 1 1 50% 3.3
Dave F sr 3 1 0 2 33% 2.3
Malcolm 3 0 1 2 17% 3.3
Damian 3 2 0 1 67% 4.7
Karl 3 1 0 2 33% 4.0
Derek 2 1 0 1 50% 1.0
Peter B 2 0 0 2 0% 4.5
Jeremy 1 0 1 0 50% 1.0
Dave Scott 1 1 0 0 100% 5.0

Reivers v Jesmond Sharks

This match took place at the Dyvels on Tuesday, April 16th with the following line-up:
1. Derek Blair (150) v Andy Trevelyan (166)
2. Steve Larkin (107)v Dave Walshaw (149)
3. Dave Foster jr (82) v Peter Owen (60)
4. Damian Rudge (u) v Abel Harvie-Clarke (u)
5. Dave Scott (u) v Sam Trevelyan (89)
Derek was first to finish, decapitating white’s queen on move 14, before the rest of us had barely picked up our pens. Just to show it was no fluke, he proceeded to run rings round his opponent twice more in friendlies, before a haggard-looking Andy called it a day! Those of you who aspire to become club champion beware! Mr Blair is razor-sharp! 1-0
Next, Dave jr trapped his opponent’s queen in front of his king with a rook check in the early middle game – game over! 2-0
Some time later Dave Scott, making his debut in the league, scored a convincing win which ensured full match points for the Reivers. He writes:” In spite of his youth, Sam Trevelyan was by far the better player on board 5. However, he played quickly and didn’t spend long enough considering the impact of some moves. He made a solid e4 start with strong moves following but, anticipating a rook and knight exchange, forfeited his queen for only a rook, giving David the upper hand. Sam tried trick after trick but eventually lost the game when David gained a econd queen.”3-0
Later still, Damian clinched his second league win in five days and a whitewash was in prospect. He writes: “I played e4 with a standard opening. My young opponent acquitted himself well but overlooked a pin on his queen and bishop. This meant that bishop had to take pawn, then my knight, backed up by my queen, took his bishop. This piece advantage proved to be the turning-point in the game.” 4-0
Which left Steve slogging it out with Dave Walshaw for another 45 minutes at least. Steve had the better of the opening but Dave came back strongly and built up pressure on Steve’s uncastled king. Hoping to improve his prospects, Steve castled at the worst possible moment and was forced to drop a knight for a pawn. Dave exploited this advantage to great effect, before finishing off with a very neat pawn checkmate. 4-1
A second victory in five days to consolidate our mid-table position.

Forest Hall A v Tynedale Reivers

This match took place on Friday April 12th at Forest Hall, with the following line-up:
1. Martin Seeber (158) v Derek Blair (150)
2. Rolf Millar (137) v Peter Crichton (137)
3. John Wall (139) v Phil Taylor (126)
4. Dennis Shippen (102)v Steve Larkin (107)
5. Johnny Wall jr (u) v Damian Rudge (u)
First to finish was Steve, whose opponent was rather generous with his pawns from quite early on. After that, the pressure from two rooks and queen working together on white’s second and third ranks prompted a somewhat premature resignation. 0-1
Next up was Peter, whose opponent held the upper hand for the first half of the game. Having equalized, Peter offered a draw which was declined. He then went on to build a two-pawn advantage in the endgame (bishop and 4 to bishop and 2), at which point his opponent resigned. 0-2
Phil’s was a long, hard game, evenly balanced till he decided to push his a-pawn. As a result black emerged with two linked, passed pawns. Phil resigned when they reached the sixth and seventh ranks respectively and were impregnable. 1-2
Damian had his young opponent under pressure for much of the game, with doubled rooks menacing black’s e-pawn, while queen and bishop worked powerfully on a diagonal. Eventually the queen broke through on the g-file and Damian gained two pawns, leaving black’s king rather exposed. Ignoring three offers of a draw, Damian pushed his unopposed pawns forward on the kingside and in the centre, before a queen check which picked up a rook decided the outcome. 1-3
Derek’s game went pretty much to the wire and was closely contested throughout. Eventually he dropped a bishop for two pawns, but his pawn advantage was neutralised by his opponent and Derek resigned when it became clear that there was no way through for the white pawns, while a single black pawn would indeed queen. 2-3
A welcome victory which ensures a somewhat more respectable position in the division.

Monarchs v Austins

S Tyne League

Monarchs played their last match of the season  on 9/4 against Austins of Carlisle and had to win 3-1 to edge past Friars who had captured pole league position the previous night with a win over Tynedale Dyvels.

David Wrigley was first to finish on Board 1 surviving an imaginative trap to end up a piece to the good and give Monarchs a good start. However this was cancelled out with a defeat on Board 4 where Dave Foster Jnr put up a courageous but eventually losing fight.

On Board 3 Steve Larkin survived a shakey opening but recovered with a strong king side attack down the f file yielding a big pawn majority and eventual win.

The respective captain’s were locked in battle on Board 2 with Bill Hardwick of Austins a pawn to the good.  However, a blunder meant his knight was lost and later his two rooks were forked to give Derek Blair the points.

Therefore Monarchs retained their S Tyne title for the fourth year but only just.


Durham County Chess Congress

The 34th edition of this congress was held at Houghton le Spring on April 5th-7th, 2013. Just two Tynedale players took part, both in the Minor section for players under 125 grade. Of the 18 entries, Steve Larkin (109) was seventh highest graded and Dave Foster junior (89) eleventh.
Steve took a bye on the Friday night, but Dave had the misfortune to be pitched in against the top seed, Dennis Beagarie (124) from Tynemouth. Dave was in the match till the endgame, when he blundered.
It was the same story for him in round 2, on the Saturday, when another miscalculation in an otherwise even endgame presented Dave Watson (112) of Morpeth with the point.
In the same round, Steve had a surprise win against Peter Wright (80) of Hetton Lyons. The surprise took the form of what seemed to Steve a premature resignation. He was a couple of pawns up, but both players had queen, two rooks and a bishop on the board and there seemed to be plenty to play for. The epitome of politeness, Steve did not argue and took the point!
In the afternoon, Dave raced to an emphatic win over Russell Wides (estimated grade 77) and was one of the first to finish.
By contrast, Steve was one of the last as he locked horns with Stan Johnson (119) of South Shields. A risky kingside foray involving knight and bishop backfired and for the next 15 moves or so Steve was sweating, trying desperately not to go a piece down. A slip by Stan meant that they emerged from this phase of the game equal. In the endgame, Steve had the edge but not enough for it to be decisive and a draw was agreed after an exhausting three and a quarter hours of play.
A shadow was cast over Sunday morning’s activities when Colin Gilroy was taken ill mid-game and had to be hospitalised. (We learned the following day that he had died in hospital – a sad loss to chess in the north-east). By then, Dave had long since despatched young Rowan Rawat (80) of Jesmond. Dave pressed his Bird’s opening vigorously and it was all over in 20 minutes!
Steve’s charmed existence in congresses this year came to an end when he lost on time (but also on the board) to Alan Harris (115) of Tynemouth, who still had an hour left on his clock! He may play very quickly but he was also very accurate, exploiting the weaknesses in Steve’s pawns to great effect in the endgame.
The final round saw Dave paired with William Metcalfe (115) of Darlington. The game came down to a level ending, each player having a rook and four pawns, but for the third time at this Congress Dave blundered in the endgame and lost, finishing on 2/5. With tighter play at the end, there is clearly scope for a big improvement on that score.
Meanwhile, Steve faced top seed Dennis Beagarie, whom Dave had played in round one. Steve managed to lose his e pawn early on and things were not looking good. However, a vigorous kingside attack worked out very nicely, with a pawn on f6 proving decisive in a mating combination which Dennis was powerless to resist. So Steve finished on 3/5 and may even have sneaked his way into the prizes (though he awaits confirmation of that).
Hopefully, there may be a slightly larger Tynedale contingent present next year.

Dyvels v Friars, 8th April 2013

Friars put out their strongest team of the season to play their last match against the Dyvels, with John Kelly (grade 165) brought in for his first game of the season on board 1, and team captain Daniel O’Dowd, who had scored 6.5 out of 7 he had mainly played on board 2 or 1 dropping to board 4.

It was clear from the Friars line-up that they were keen to win so that they could take the top spot in the league table ahead of the Monarchs final game against Austins.

John Kelly (grade 165) played against Jeremy Handley on board 1. Like many of the Austin / Friars players, John is a member of the Carlisle club (see, which offers the Austin / Friars teams a powerful resource to draw upon for crucial games.

John played a Dutch Defence (f5, responding to d4), and Jeremy (grade 151) appeared to have the better of it until, right near the end he managed to leave a rook en pris, handing the game to his opponent.

On board 2 Tim Wrigley (grade 149) had a battle against Paul Rivers (grade 151), whose only previous outing had been a draw on board 1 against Ian Mackay of Haydon Bridge.

Paul pressed with advanced white pawns on the Queen’s side, and Tim had a hard fight for equality. In the end the match resulted in a draw, claimed by Tim on the grounds that the position had been repeated three times.

Tim wrote : “Paul Rivers and I played a French Defence Advanced variation, that I should have been familiar with, but I went wrong early on, and ended up going backwards, Paul pushed his Queen side pawns, and had all the initiative. He then tried to weave a trap to catch my Queen, harassing my King & Queen with his Bishop & Queen. In the process he repeated a position three times and I was glad to take advantage of the “Three position repetition rule”. With hindsight he should probably have swapped the Queens off for a won ending of “Bishop & 4 Pawns against Bishop & 3 Pawns”.

Paul Rivers disputed this (on the incorrect grounds that the position had to be consecutive repetitions – see the relevant rule at the end of this report), but, with fellow Carlisle club members Bill Hardwick and Ian Mackay in attendance to help arbitrate, the game was replayed and Tim’s result was upheld as a draw.

With Friars needing to secure 2.5 out of 4 games to win the match, Friars were particular anxious not to let the match slip away, following an excellent win by Peter Crichton (137) against Jason Maxwell (grade 133).

Jason has had a terrific season, with 5 wins out of 5 playing on boards 2 and 3 for Friars. Peter, however, had one of his most assured games of the season:

Peter wrote: “I was on the White side of a Queens’ Gambit. The opening was fairly even but my opponent, Jason Maxwell, allowed me to push my d pawn to d6 where, if it could survive, it would cause disruption to his slightly cramped position. It did survive and with most of his major pieces isolated on the queenside I was able to generate a kingside attack which yielded a pawn and the exchange. Jason fought on but, constrained by the d pawn, he was unable to generate any counter play and when a pair of rooks came off he was forced to sacrifice a knight for the advanced pawn leaving a hopeless position which he duly resigned.”

With the match at 1.5 all, and the Dyvels needing only a draw to win on handicap, it all came down to the result of the final game between Daniel O’Dowd (grade 130) and Bruce Reed (grade 121).

Daniel has had a magnificent season, finishing joint second in the British under 160 grading championship – a performance which has helped take his previous grading of 130 to 147 in the latest ECF grading adjustment.

Daniel O’Dowd has played thoughtful and very committed chess recently, and triumphed earlier in the season against Jeremy Handley on board 1 of the Dyvels v Friars home match – annotated, as one of several of his South Tyne games, on You Tube:

The game between the captains was closely fought throughout , with Bruce electing to play an Accelerated Fianchetto Sicilian defence (e4 c5, Nf6 Nc6, d4 cxd4, Nxd4 g6) – also known as the Accelerated Dragon.

Until the last 5 minutes (under 3 minutes on Daniel’s clock, and under 2 on Bruce’s) the game looked fairly even with a lot of potential play on both sides, and two rooks, minor piece and six pawns apiece.

Under pressure, however, Daniel’s play was far superior. A mistake by Bruce – trying for the third positional repetition which would have resulted in a drawn game and drawn match – leaving Dyvels sister team, the Monarchs, to get only a draw in their final match of the South Tyne League to win the League title – allowed Daniel to break open his defence, and seize the initiative in the final rapid play scramble. Bruce resigned, material down, with 4 seconds remaining.

The relevant thrice recurring position rule in the FIDE laws of chess is 9.2, is as follows:

The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by the player having the move, when the same position, for at least the third time (not necessarily by sequential repetition of moves)

a. is about to appear, if he first writes his move on his scoresheet and declares to the arbiter his intention to make this move, or

b. has just appeared, and the player claiming the draw has the move.

Positions as in (a) and (b) are considered the same, if the same player has the move, pieces of the same kind and colour occupy the same squares, and the possible moves of all the pieces of both players are the same.

Positions are not [considered to be] the same if a pawn that could have been captured en passant can no longer be captured or if the right to castle has been changed. (FIDE 2005, Article 9.2)

Dyvels (away)         Friars (home)
  H’cap Result points points Result   H’cap
Jeremy Handley 2 0 0 4 1 John Kelly 1
Tim Wrigley 2 1/2 2 2 1/2 Paul Rivers 2
Peter Crichton 3 1 4 0 0 Jason Maxwell 3
Bruce Reed 4 0 0 4 1 Daniel O’Dowd 3
Totals 11   6 10     9
Combined scores   17     19    

(This Table was revised by Tim W in the light of Daniel’s comment on the post – 9:03 on Apr 10 )

Reivers v Leam Lane Comets

This match took place at Leam Lane on Tuesday April 2nd, with the following line-up:
1. John Marsh (150) v Peter Crichton (137)
2. Bob Forsythe (138) v Phil Taylor (126)
3. Alan Young (144) v Bruce Reed (121)
4. Dave Stewardson (130) v Steve Larkin (107)
5. Colin McGarty (93) v Dave Foster jr (82)
This was a full-strength Comets team, indeed the team which has seen them win 11 of their 12 matches and left them unchallenged at the top of division 2, so even strengthened by the inclusion of Peter Crichton, the Reivers were always going to find this a tough match.
First to finish was board 4, where Steve’s opponent was on eight and a half points from his previous ten league games. He seemed very familiar with Steve’s Benko gambit, rattling off the opening moves. However, the game evolved in most unBenko-like fashion, with black exerting huge pressure not on the queenside but down the f file. To stave off a potentially devastating attack, Dave had to swap queen and knight for two rooks, but Steve kept the pressure up and Dave resigned when on the brink of losing a further knight. 0-1 to us after just 40 minutes!
Phil was next to finish. As usual he had prepared carefully for this match and everything went according to plan for the first 14 moves. On move 15 he lost his c pawn, then blundered a bishop a little later and resigned when a knight was about to go the same way. 1-1.
On board 5, Dave accepted a grandmaster draw after just 18 moves, with the position dead level and no obvious way for either player to get at the other’s castled king. 1.5-1.5.
Much later Peter, on top board, had a very slight positional advantage in an otherwise even game, but it was far from clear how that advantage, in the shape of a passed pawn, might be pressed home. When his opponent engineered a passed pawn of his own, Peter quite rightly accepted the offer of a draw and so lived up to his newly-coined title as “The Stopper”. 2-2
Which left the match hanging on Bruce’s game. For a long time it looked as though he could hold the draw, as he built a fortress around his castled king to withstand the pressure applied by doubled rooks down the f file as well as the black queen on a dangerous diagonal. The decisive moment came when Bruce moved his queen in a bid to open up the game, only to see black’s knight fork rook and king. A series of forced exchanges followed which left black with two linked, passed pawns which could not be stopped. 3-2
So the match was lost but we had certainly given the Comets a run for their money, in a display which bodes well for the Reivers’ final three games.