Bulletin No 13

Tynedale Chess Club: e-13 (29.12.07)

There is no obvious candidate for a lead item this month, so I shall get straight down to the business of reporting the month’s news.

Northumberland League Division 1

Tynedale Reivers vs Tynemouth Trojans, Dec 11th

DJ Weldon 0 1 R Coathup
C F S Davison 0 1 D Henderson
ML Nicholson ½ ½ J Morton
Mark Taylor 1 0 G Cornwall
JP Crichton ½ ½ B Ritson
  2 3  

It would be wrong to say that this one got away, but for quite a while we stood 2-1 to the good, and all we needed was luck to go our way for a change. And it could have happened. The two last games to finish were of course the top two boards, where Dave stood a sound pawn up but with a serious clock disadvantage, and Colin was pretty well level but also somewhat down on the clock. In the event, Colin slipped a pawn, and his position collapsed thereafter, and Dave’s clock problem proved too much (at one stage he had had approximately 6 minutes against 40, which improved to about 4 against 16, but it really was hoping for too much).
Now to the good news. Mark had a great game against his 150-rated opponent, fixing a knight on h6 supported by a g5 pawn against a fianchetto pawn formation, and when he took control of the long diagonal and brought up his other knight and the big guns in support, he was able to finish, as they say, comprehensively. I shocked everyone by agreeing a draw with only half the allotted time gone, and Peter escaped from early difficulties to set up an impregnable blockade against a marauding rook pair.

Trojans had arrived without their normal top board and board 4, so our struggle was not as hard as it might have been. If we didn’t get any match points, we did get what could prove to be two very useful game points.

Morpeth A vs Tynedale Reivers, December 5th

M Smyth 1 0 DJ Weldon
J Newberry ½ ½ C F S Davison
J Turner ½ ½ ML Nicholson
G Ellames 1 0 TJ Wrigley
L Whittle ½ ½ JP Crichton
  3½ 1½  

Another defeat has confirmed us in the relegation quagmire, with the two pre-Christmas matches which I hoped might yield us two match points in fact giving us nothing.

The match started with a problem to be sorted. The Morpeth team sheet included Newberry on board 2, and I knew from my homework that he wasn’t on the grading list and had played only once before, losing on board 5. I was assured that he was a returner to chess after a long lay-off, and that he had had a grading of around 180 when he turned out for Killingworth in that club’s hey-day … not that I remembered him. So I accepted the explanation. Morpeth are too fine a club to try knowingly to pull a fast one. However, the surprise order meant that only two of my forecast pairings, on 1 and 5, were correct.

We got off to the worst possible start. Dave, after his 75 percent start to the season, had to come unstuck some time, and this was it. Mike Smyth was 15 minutes late arriving (always a concentration problem for the opponent) and Dave had actually gained even more time advantage before he resigned before the first flag-fall. So early in fact that I never once saw the position on the board.
Thereafter the ship was steadied, though Tim was coming under strong piece pressure from George Ellames, and Peter went a pawn down without too serious an effect on his position. My own game was starting to look promising, and Colin, who knew nothing of the uncertainty about his opponent, was gradually sorting out his French.Although the score didn’t change till late on, it was Tim’s game which finished next. Capitalising on an open file in front of the castled king, much as had done against me last year, Ellames finished with two successive exchange sacrifices and we were 0-2 down. Colin finished next, now with the better position but no imminent win in prospect, and after noting that I was now a piece up and Peter the exchange to the good also, wisely took the safe course and accepted a draw offer. Peter however soon had but two minutes left on his clock – bad enough when there are no external factors, but impossible when you’re playing an unsighted opponent and have to declare your move and accurately make his moves as well as your own. Another wise draw agreed, and in fact the sort of situation we had envisaged before the match and agreed that a draw might be necessary whatever the match situation.

That left me to exploit my piece plus and save a little face, although the match was already lost. Although I made errors in the face of James Turner’s determined resistance, I had actually been moving at a decent pace throughout, and it was the sheer number of moves to win which led to time pressure. I first gave up my bishop to lead to an easy rook and pawn ending, and then allowed a pawn to the seventh and had to allow it to queen, whereupon I had a drawn rook and pawn versus queen ending. If my face wasn’t red, it should have been – very.

We did set one record in the evening. It took five cars to get us five players to the match.
Many thanks to Mike for those two very full and interesting reports. As he observes, the Reivers do indeed find themselves in what has become their accustomed difficulties in Division 1. They are currently third from bottom, with 3 points from 6 games, ahead of Morpeth B (1 point from 5 games) and Gateshead Libraries A (1 point from 6 games). However, the two sides immediately above them -NewcastleUniversity and Jesmond Reprobates – are both within reach, so there really is everything to play for.

Northumberland League Division 2

The Tans have played just one match since the last e-bulletin, at home to Gosforth Empire on Dec 4th. It went as follows:

Derek Blair 0-1 Paul Sumner
Peter Crichton 0-1 Geoff Harrison
David Wrigley 0.5-0.5 Noel Boustred
Matthew Taylor 0.5-0.5 Dave Stebbings
Steve Larkin 1-0 Steven Tulloch
  1.5 – 3.5  

Phil Taylor rested himself from this match but attended as non-playing captain and was kept busy mopping up the drink which your editor, in his exasperation, had managed to knock all over the board, necessitating a move to another table. Your editor understands that Peter fell victim to a back-row mate, but is otherwise unable to shed light on events, as he was busy grinding out a win in 68 moves in the last game to finish.

The Tans now find themselves fourth from bottom with 3 points from 5 games, the same as Gateshead Libraries Knights immediately below them. Jesmond Rookies and TynemouthCastles both have 2 points, Jesmond from 4 games and Tynemouth from 5. There is certainly everything to play for here since just 6 points separate the top team in the division from the bottom one. As Phil observes: 

If you look at the table we’ve been a little unlucky as we’ve got more game points than Gosforth Regents but are two match points behind. If we continue to play as well as we have so far then I’m sure we can avoid the last two spots. We can all relax for Christmas & use the time off to read all those chess books we have on our Christmas lists 🙂

South Tyne League

Two matches to report here. On Nov 29th Tynedale played HaydonBridge, with the following outcome:

Mark Taylor ½-½ Ian Mackay
Matthew Taylor ½-½ Christine Moorcroft
Bruce Reed 1-0 K. Walsh
Phil Taylor 1-0 Jim Dixon

On board 1 Mark had the edge but a good end-game by Ian saved the draw. On board 2 Matthew went a piece down but counter-attacked and, with Christine in time trouble, got the draw. Bruce had a solid win on board 3 against a new recruit for HaydonBridge. On board 4 Phil’s game was something of a roller-coaster. He had a good king’s side attack, only to give away a rook. Then Jim dropped a knight, got into insuperable time trouble and Phil won! The 3-1 result meant that on handicap the match was drawn.

On December 12th it was the Monarchs’ turn to play, away to Austins. Malcolm Reid, on board 2, was the first to finish, swept aside by Syd Cassidy after an attack built on sacrifice failed to deliver the goods. Then your editor, on board 4, after pressing with two passed pawns, managed to exploit a weakness in Drew Millar’s position to mate him. David Wrigley, on board 3, had a small material advantage, lost a piece and was then thrown a life-line when Alan Hiatt blundered a piece and settled for a draw. Finally, on board 1 captain Derek Blair clawed back a pawn’s disadvantage and went on to win a bishop. Pressing for a stylish checkmate, he sacrificed a piece only to find that there was no mate after all. So Austins won 2.5 to 1.5 over the boards and by the same margin on handicap, leaving the Monarchs at the foot of the table with their 100% record intact! Tynedale occupy second place, one point behind Friars who have played one game less.

The Club Championship

Not too much activity here, but some interesting developments. Jack slips into the lead, having played more games than anyone else, while Mike and Phil both improve their position significantly. Indeed  Phil would be the only member of the Taylor dynasty to make the cut, were it to be effected at this point in time!

Jack Bradshaw 5/9
Derek Blair 4.5/5
Peter Crichton 4.5/6
Mike Nicholson 3.5/5
Steve Larkin 3/4
Bruce Reed 3/6
Phil Taylor 3/7
Dave Foster 2/6
Mark Taylor 1.5/3
Matthew Taylor 1.5/5
Malcolm Reid 1/4
David Wrigley 0.5/1
Will Higgs 0/5

Miscellanea

Your editor continues to sink to his natural level in the Newcastle championship, having been comprehensively outplayed in his third game. ‘Nuff said!

Mike informs me that the £250 earned by club members who took part in a chess training day at HaydonBridgeHigh School has been payed over to the Sports Club as agreed. The Sports Club hopes to use it for a specific project, e.g. additional curtaining, rather than putting it into the general pot. We benefit by being given use of storage space in the back bar and by enjoying the support of the Sports Club and especially of Brian, whose thoughtfulness and attention to our needs is constantly in evidence.

The next club night is on Tuesday January 8th, when it may well be possible to observe a mad scramble to pick up not the latest sales bargains but an elusive club championship point!

Time now to wish all our readers a very happy and successful New Year.

Steve Larkin

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