Scarborough Chess Congress 2013

Held on October 25-27, this popular event was very well supported: 50 in the Open, 74 in the Major, 65 in the Intermediate, 77 in the Minor and 77 in the Foundation! I was playing in the Minor (135 and under), my grade ruling me out of the Foundation (120 and under) in which I had played last year. Of the 77 entries I was 38th in the pecking order.
In round 1 I faced Paul Kent of Widnes, graded 125 like me. As black he played Alekhine’s Defence which had me guessing from move 2 onwards! I was soon a pawn down and every time I tried to exert some pressure, Paul came up with a move which not only removed the threat but also posed me problems. To ease the pressure on my kingside, I had to swap rook for bishop, and then proceeded to throw away bishop for pawn through a bad miscalculation. I soldiered on in the hope that, with both queens still on, Paul might overreach himself and blunder, but he didn’t and I resigned with mate imminent. Paul later told me that he had spent quite a bit of last season playing in events above his grading in order to sharpen up his game. An interesting tactic which certainly worked against me!
Saturday morning saw me with black against David Hartley (grade 122) of Poulton chess club. My Benko Gambit gave me a positional advantage but not a material one and around move 25 David offered a draw. We both had a single passed pawn and, as mine was much closer to queening, I felt I could make something of it and declined the offer. Sure enough, we quickly reached a position where only by sacrificing rook for pawn could he prevent my pawn from queening. As that would have left me with rook and five pawns to his six pawns, he resigned.
As a reward (?!) for that win, I was paired with one of the top three seeds, Omer Namouk (grade 135) of Hastings chess club. I had white and Omer gambitted a pawn early on for a lead in development which proved shortlived. I hoped the pawn advantage might prove decisive, but unfortunately I allowed him to build a very strong attack with queen and rook together on an open file. I managed to exchange queens but that left him with a rook on my second rank, with another rook threatening to join it. The only possible response was to attack his rooks with mine. Our rooks danced to and fro a few times before we agreed a draw. So I went home feeling pretty pleased with my Saturday’s work.
Sunday morning brought Paul Horman (grade 133) of Morecombe, who had white. Evidently he didn’t much feel like playing chess, as he turned up almost 20 minutes late, then asked me if I wanted a draw after 8 moves! I declined, since I at least was there to play chess for up to 4 hours, not 14 minutes. On move 13 I picked up a pawn and on move 15 saw the possibility of forcing an exchange of queens and strengthening my pawn structure in the process. Idiotically I opted instead for two moves which chased first his knight, then his queen to squares from where they, together with a bishop, bore down on the h pawn in front of my castled king. I could do nothing to defend it and mate followed a few moves later. A classic example of how to throw away a potentially strong position in favour of a calamitous defeat!
In the final round I had white against Keith Noons (grade 121) of Barton upon Humber. We sparred for quite a while in an even position, till I attacked his knight, which it seemed I could win. Alas, there was just one escape square and from there, operating in tandem with his other knight, this one proceeded to tear my position to pieces.
So Sunday, like Friday, brought me “nuls points” for a dismal overall score of 1.5. Nonetheless I enjoyed the occasion and the masochist in me, as in all chess players, will no doubt be back for more!

Reivers v Forest Hall B

This match was played at the Angel on Tuesday October 22nd. The line-up was
1. Phil (125) v Jeff Bentham (125)
2. Steve (125) v M. Young (U)
3. Dave Foster sr (120) v John Wall sr (131)
4. Dave Foster jr (91) v Roy Perrier (128)
5. Peter Booker (80) v Dennis Shippen (92)
First to finish was Peter, who pulled off a splendid victory. He began by building a strong centre, then castled queenside to avoid the kingside attack Dennis was putting together. Then he trapped one of Dennis’s rooks, which went for nothing. Dennis resigned when he threw away his other rook. 1-0
Dave senior felt that John had a slightly better position after the opening, but John left a bishop en prise, and when Dave forked rook and king John resigned. 2-0
Phil writes of his game with Jeff: “This was another game where mistakes played a significant part. I have only played Jeff once before as far as I know and lost then playing black. The opening was a Sicilian which Jeff turned into a Grand Prix Attack with f4 on move 3. I’ve never been comfortable playing this type of game and soon found myself on the back foot trying to defend an isolated e-pawn. This was probably a mistake in itself, pulling my pieces onto all the wrong squares. Eventually, on move 30 I left a bishop vulnerable to a Queen check fork and ended up resigning on move 35. After a good start in the Northumberland congress it’s back to the usual mistake-ridden games.” 2-1
Dave junior’s game was quite controversial. He had lost his queen and when Roy trapped his king with rook and queen it looked all over. Indeed Roy declared mate as he brought his queen to bear on Dave’s king and for a moment it seemed as though they were going to shake hands on the outcome when Dave senior, who was sitting right beside Dave junior, made clear that it was not in fact mate, which it wasn’t. All Dave had to do was to take queen with king, which he duly did, to equalise the position. In the event, Roy went on to win, after Dave sacrificed a knight for a pawn which proved to be an unsound move. Had the result gone the other way, there might well have been complications! 2-2
Steve’s was the last game to finish. Launching an early queenside attack involving queen, bishop and two knights, he put his opponent under a lot of pressure and a double check resulted in a series of exchanges from which Steve emerged, somewhat to his surprise, a piece for a pawn up. Thereafter a series of forced exchanges whittled away his opponent’s pieces, including an exchange of knight for rook in Steve’s favour. Black played on until it became clear that there was no way for him to push any of his pawns, at which point he resigned. 3-2 and a welcome second win for the Reivers.

Friars v Angels

Friars v Angels

The handicaps did the Angels no favours at Hallbankgate on Monday night. We started off 6 points down, and so need to win 3-1 across the boards, which seemed a little harsh.

Pairings were as follows

Jason Maxwell v David Wrigley
Chris Royle v Tim Wrigley
Bruce Wallace v Peter Crichton
Alan Little v Peter Booker

So score was 20-14 before we even start.

Tim Wrigley & Peter Booker finished almost simultaneously, Tim winning and Peter losing.

Tim writes “What a difference a week makes, last week I was taken apart by Paul Robson of Durham, whereas on Monday night, it felt I could do no wrong. I was playing the back side of a French in both cases, but that was the only thing in common. Chris put his Queen on b3 early in the game, it looked a plausible move, but quickly became a target, he lost a piece, and with it the game.”

Peter Booker’s game was a  Queen’s Gambit declined, with Peter having black. Perer writes “On Monday, against Alan Little, the game was fairly even until late on.
He opened with
Queens gambit which I declined with c6. We had a little
mid-field cavalry skirmish but no real advantage either way. After some
further exchanges which reduced the forces fairly evenly, we entered and
end game with Alan having a queenside pawn advantage. With only queens
and pawns on the board, he pressed on with his pawns. My king  was stuck
in the wrong corner and to exchange queens would have been curtains. I
chased his king around the board, hoping for an opening but none came
and instead he was able to link up with queen and pawns and I was unable
to prevent the breakthrough.”

24-18, and the Angels need 2 more wins

Both were interesting games and went the full distance.

David had the best of the game all the way through, and was disappointed not to have taken opportunities that were there all the way through. He ended up two pawns up in rook and pawn ending, but had an awkward passed pawn to deal with and was grateful for a draw at the end. All credit to Jason who defended a difficult position very well.

Peter Crichton’s game against Bruce Wallace finished with a king and five pawns each ending, with all kinds of subtleties. I think both sides would have been happy to take a draw, but with the match depending on a win for the Angels, they carried on. Both sides had to be wary of stepping outside the “defensive square”. Bruce was distracted by Peter’s h pawn, but managed to deal with the h pawn and then scramble back across to stop the a pawn as well. Bruce just managed to push his king in to the corner, and as Peter had no other pawns a draw was agreed.

Final result was 28 -22 to Friars

Played at Hallbankgate Mon 21 Oct 2013
Friars H/c res res H/c Angels
Jason Maxwell 3 2 2 1 David Wrigley
Chris Royle 3 0 4 3 Tim Wrigley
Bruce Wallace 5 2 2 3 Peter Crichton
Alan Little 9 4 0 7 Peter Booker
20 8 8 14
28 22

HB v Monarchs

Haydon Bridge v Monarchs played Thu 17 Oct 2013

HaydonBridge H/c res res H/c Monarchs
Ian Mackay 2 0 4 3 Derek Blair
Dave Foster Snr 4 2 2 4 Steve Larkin
Christine Moorcroft 7 0 4 6 Dave Foster Jnr
Damian Rudge 8 4 0 9 David Scott
  21 6 10 22  
    27 32    

Club Championship

Here are the current standings as of 18 October 2013:
Tim Wrigley 3/3
Christine Moorcroft 1.5/4
Alex Ashworth 1/1
Dave Foster sr 1/1
David Wrigley 1/1
Derek Blair 1/2
Peter Booker 1/3
Phil Taylor 1/3
Peter Crichton 0.5/1
Jeremy Handley 0.5/1
Steve Larkin 0.5/1
Bruce Reed 0/1
Damian Rudge 0/1
Dave Scott 0/1

The standings under Phil’s ingenious grading points scheme are:
Christine Moorcroft 13 points
Peter Booker 9 points
Jeremy Handley 2 points
Peter Crichton 1.5 points

Jesmond Wasps v Reivers

This match was played on October 11th. We didn’t quite know what to expect, given that Jesmond had disbanded its fourth team and moved its young superstars into the Jesmond Rookies side in division one. We found ourselves facing a very young side with not an English name between them!
1. Dingyu Chen (110 rapid) v Alex Ashworth (127)
2. Hanif Zaman (97 rapid) v Phil Taylor (125)
3. Darina Andriychenko (89 rapid) v Steve Larkin (125)
4. Weiming Xu (87) v Dave Foster jr (91)
5. Sandric Andriychenko (29 rapid) v Damian Rudge (68)
First to finish was Damian, who described his game as “very straightforward”. He developed his pieces better, used his knights to prevent castling and then set about picking off his opponent’s pieces. 0-1
Steve’s opponent played the opening well and was only a pawn down when a rash move cost her her queen. 0-2
Phil writes of his game: “Hanif played a solid opening with a very aggressive push against my King’s Indian defence. Although this distracted me it never looked terminal and at a late stage in his thrust I won a knight for a pawn. This should then have been game over but with space opening up on the board and my King’s defence denuded I decided it was time to blunder my piece advantage away and select the wrong piece to lose, thereby giving my opponent the opportunity to get a perpetual check. Too many errors creeping into my game – I wish I knew why. This should take nothing from my opponent who played a very good game and deserved his luck at the end.” 0.5-2.5
Dave’s game was evenly balanced and came down to a rook and 3 pawns on each side, then a rook and one pawn each, and finally one pawn each. As neither King could both capture and defend, it was a draw. 1-3
Alex’s game was the last to finish by quite a bit. It looked very even in the later stages, with Dingyu perhaps having the edge with doubled rooks on an open file while Alex’s pieces appeared to be rather tied down. When Alex allowed black’s knight to fork rook and bishop, it appeared to be all over, but Alex had seen much further ahead than his opponent. Capturing a pawn with his rook, he opened a file which led to a forced mate in two. A fine finish. 1-4
So a good start to te season, but of course sterner tests lie ahead.

Carlisle Rapidplay

Tim, David F Snr and Peter C crossed the Pennines to participate in the recent Carlisle Rapidplay. Tim and David found themselves the lowest graded players in the Open and Major sections respectively and suffered accordingly. Tim remarked that his games improved as the day progressed and that it was only the results that lagged behind! David saved his best performance for the highest graded player in the section but otherwise preferred to forget the occasion. Peter ended in the middle of the pack drawing some fairly boring games and losing the only interesting one. Still an enjoyable day well organised by Bill Hardwick.