Summer KO @ Morpeth

Silver-plated performance by Tynedale
A Tynedale B team travelled to Morpeth on May 29th for the first round of the Summer Knockout tournament. We were drawn against Morpeth B, with the following line-up:
1. John Horton (147) v Dave Foster sr (117)
2. Geoff Loxham (142) v Steve Larkin (107)
3. Alan Walsh (139) v Christine Moorcroft (100)
4. Dennis Patterson (126) v Damian Rudge (68)
Morpeth are past masters in the art of maximising the strength of their teams in this competition by staying just under the maximum grading total allowed for the various categories. Thus their total grading of 554 kept them in the intermediate category with just six points to spare. By contrast, our team was 12 points over the maximum limit to qualify as a novice team. The upshot of this was that we gained just 1.5 handicap points and so needed another 1.5 points from the match to win.
Our advantage was all but cancelled out from the start when Christine, under the mistaken impression that the match was being played at Morpeth Golf Club, failed to show up. 1 – 1.5
However, Dave put us back on course with an assured victory over John. Sacrificing a pawn for development early on, he pressured John, doubling his rooks to great effect against John’s weak pawn structure and exposed king, and forcing resignation in fine style. 1 – 2.5
By contrast, Steve was utterly outplayed by Geoff from the moment he went knight for pawn down on move 16. Thereafter Geoff controlled the board in masterly fashion, denying Steve’s queen any active square and steadily building up to a decisive central break-through. 2 – 2.5
Which left Damian, who was playing out of his socks to hold his opponent. Indeed, for much of the game it was Damian who was applying the pressure. Eventually, and with time running out, a miscalculation by Damian led to the loss of a bishop, and though he kept his queen hyperactive, the issue was not in doubt. He lost on time, but the position on the board was also lost. Even so, this was a game he could be proud of, as was Dave’s on board one.
So the match was lost by the narrrowest of margins, 3-2.5, and Tynedale B head for the Plate competition, though they had certainly “medalled” on boards 1 and 4.

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