Bulletin No 26

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 26 (29.6.09)

As I write there is still some unfinished business in the summer knockout but, as that could drag on into August, I will advise members of the outcome by normal e-mail, to avoid the news covered here becoming even more out of date!

Club championship

As the culmination of the internal season, this event deserves pride of place. Let me begin by celebrating the achievement of Dave Foster, who rounded off a very successful season by taking the title of Minor champion. Admittedly the Minor was rather a low-key event, with both Mark and Matthew Taylor withdrawing for perfectly good reasons, so that there was just one semi-final and the final to be played. Nonetheless, Dave’s path to the title was by no means easy, as he had to contend with Tim Wrigley in the semi-final. On paper, board 5 for the Reivers against board five for the Tans looked a foregone conclusion, but in fact Dave swept to victory in convincing style. And so to the final, which pitched Dave against recent newcomer Peter Booker. Peter was a little bemused to find himself  playing in a final, but he played the opening well and emerged with a slight advantage, before an error of judgement allowed Dave to get into his stride and score a decisive win. So Dave succeeds David Wrigley as Minor champion.

In the Major, the semi-finals saw Malcolm Reid paired with Derek Blair and Mike Nicholson with your editor. Derek has kindly submitted the following report of his game.

“REID’S FLAIR BUSTS BLAIR

Malcolm Reid continued his scything run through higher rated players by convincingly beating Derek

Blair in the first club semi-final for 2008/9 on May 25.

Malcolm, playing White, opened positively with a King’s Gambit which proved more than adequate for the insipid ‘modern’ defence employed by black. White’s advanced King’s Knight on g5 should have been kicked away by h6 but Black preferred to start a queen-side diversionary pawn advance.  This did produce a white bishop withdrawal but the diagonal threat remained and black failed to follow up the plan  vigorously.

Instead, White sacrificed his king’s Knight to open up Black’s king side, weakened from the outset with a misplaced defensive knight, and then played a double exclamation mark pawn f5 move, combined with a queen and bishop invasion down the h file.

Black decided to exchange off, knowing he was the sacrificed piece up and to try to shore up the pawns in front of his king.  But with his black bishop and queen’s rook still undeveloped, all Black did was allow White to cement a strong control with central passed pawns.  So Black decided to sacrifice his undeveloped bishop to try to win these two pawns.

With queen and rook each and White with only one extra pawn, Black briefly flirted with the hope of a draw, especially when White decided against what would have been a defining queen capture on move 26. Repeated offers of a draw were rejected for some reason and, with an exposed and vulnerable Black king, White proceeded to execute a skilfully engineered queen and rook attack which secured a long overdue resignation on move 37. 

Reid on a roll!”

The other semi-final offered a finely balanced game for the first nine moves (!), but your editor’s tenth effort was an ill-considered pawn move which fatally weakened his position. Mike, with white, proceeded to exploit the blunder with clinical efficiency and it was all over in 21 moves.

And so to the final, played on June 9th. Mike again had white, and this is how it went.

e4 b6 2. d4 Bb7 3. Nc3 e6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bd3 c5 6. O-O Ng4 At this point Mike had a very long think, even by his standards!7. d5 a6 8. Bf4 b5 Malcolm comments: This quiet move undermines white’s central pawn advance.9. Qd2 h5 10. d6 c4 After ten moves, Mike had used 60 minutes to Malcolm’s 25 and this would come back to haunt him at the end. Already there is a graphic contrast between Mike’s classical development and Malcolm’s highly idiosyncratic style of play.11. Be2 b4. 12. Na4 Bxe4 Black’s moves have been building up to this capture, for black must stop white establishing a pawn on e5.13. Qxb4 Nc6 14. Qxc4 Bxf3 15. Bxf3 Rc8 16. Bxc6 Rxc6 17. Qd3 g5 18. Qd4 Rh6 19. Bg3 Qa5 20. f3 e5 Your editor thought this a killer move, combining threats to Q, N and d6 pawn. And Mike has just 7 minutes on his clock!21. Qa7 A neat response which preserves the N, though not the P… Bxd6 22. fxg4 Qxa4 23. Bf2 Forced, to prevent Bc5+…hxg4 24. Rad1 g3 25. Be3 Rxh2 26. Qa8+ Ke7 27. Rxf7+ Better was Bxg5+ Ke6, Qe8m; or Bxg5+ f6, Bxf6+ Kf7, Bh8+ etc… Kxf7 28. Rf1+ Kg7 29. Qe8 Rxg2+ Better was Rh8+, Kxh8 Qh4+, Kg1 Qh2m 30. Kxg2 Rxc2+ 31. Kg1 Rc1 32. Qxd7+ Qxd7 0-1 Mike’s queen blunder was made when he had just seconds left. An enthralling game which might have gone either way.So congratulations to Malcolm, our new club champion and the fourth player to hold that title in as many years.

Summer Knockout

TheTans progressed to the semi-finals of the main competition without lifting a pawn, their opponents in round 1 having withdrawn and round 2 producing a bye for them. So it was the moment of truth when they were drawn against Gateshead, the team which had earlier knocked out the Reivers. David Wrigley has kindly provided this report:

“Gateshead   The Mighty Tans
G Abaryan (119) 1/2 – ½ Thundering Tim Wrigley
P Wells (91) 0 – 1 David “f4” Wrigley
C Gilroy (91) 1/2 – ½ Dangerous Derek Blair
R McKay (66) 1 – 0 Malcolm “Indomitable Champion” Reid
  3 1/2 – 2  
     

Gateshead played the handicap well, their total grade and top board just snuck under the Minor limit, whilst we were stuck in the next tier up. Getting the three points we needed always looked tricky.
Coming up to 2 hours down the line, things were finely balanced. New club champ Malcolm was a pawn or two up with lots of play, Derek had a pleasant position with roaming Bishops, Tim’s pair of knights were holding their own against his opponent’s bishops, and I had a level game. Derek, under the impression he and Colin Gilroy were down to mere seconds, started flashing out moves like lightning, only to realise a few moves later that he in fact had half an hour left. His position survived apparently unscathed! As things slowed down on board three, Malcolm came unstuck on board four. Having been “lured into the attack like King Harold” by his opponent, he lost his queen for a rook and that was that. Next, wholesale exchanges left me in a drawish pawn endgame, but my opponent slipped and I suddenly had a nice passed pawn, which was plenty. Tim was next to finish, having to force a pretty perpetual in the face of dangerous advancing pawns. And so the match was lost, and Derek was free (after some deliberation) to take the early bath, his advantage on the board was less clear, and his disadvantage on the clock looming.
And there you have it. A free summer!”

This left the Reivers to try and restore some lost pride in the plate competition, where they were drawn against Alnwick B in the quarter-finals. The grading differential was so massive that only a 3.5-0.5 win by the Reivers would ensure victory. Peter Crichton, with white on board two, set the tone with a whirlwind win against Rob McEwan in what seemed like 10 minutes! Less than 50 minutes later your editor despatched his opponent, graded 2 (yes, two!). On board three, Dave Foster met with sterner opposition from Hugh McLoughlin but eventually prevailed. Which left Mike Nicholson on board one, playing a very measured game with black, to spring a surprise mate on his opponent after two and a half hours’ play. 4-0 and into the semi-finals, the draw for which has yet to be made.

South Tyne League

There is one result to report here, Monarchs v Austins played on May 19th. Derek has kindly provided the following report.

“Although Monarchs had already won the league title (for the first time!), the match was full of twists and turns and tension – a wonderful advert for the league’s special qualities.Syd Cassidy fielded a very strong team, led by Jan Vrubl who, with the highest grading in the League, gave hint to Syd’s murderous intentions.  Sadly, and perhaps critically, his Board 2 failed to appear, so Austins had to win all 3 games to win the match. Despite clock penalties for arriving late, Syd’s trio, laced with their pints of guiness, tore into the Monarchs team and soon had them reeling. Syd led by example, using his experience to counter Malcolm’s irregular black opening and gain overwhelming material advantage. In desperation, Malcolm engineered a brilliant tactic to win his opponent’s queen (which brought gasps of acclaim from onlookers and groans from Syd), only to discover that there was a twist in the tail. He lost another rook and the game! Derek Blair, the rested Monarchs captain, looked nervously at Boards 1 and 4 and began to realise that an upset was distinctly possible.  Steve had opened with his Closed Sicilian but had failed to get his usual attack going. With 15 minutes to go and his sole rook anchored to protect a vital central pawn, he was struggling to prevent his opponent from unleashing terminal queen side and/or king side strikes, with a pawn advantage. Both players had bishops of opposite colours but somehow Steve managed to manoeuvre his white one to block his opponent’s queen side threat. Not only that, but the same bishop then crucially captured a central pawn which undermined and destroyed Black’s original advantage. All this was happening with both clocks ticking ominously close to cut-off point, so Steve’s offer of an honourable draw was accepted. Phew!That actually won the match for Monarchs, but everyone was so engrossed by the titanic struggle being played out on top board.  Again, as is his wont, the Monarch’s non-playing captain was not over-optimistic. The Czech super star had a strong grip on the central area where Colin had marshalled his forces and then began to probe the queen side with a pawn advance to undermine Colin’s chain. Down significantly at this stage on time, Colin decided not to keep the position closed with an a6 pawn block, but countered with a c5 break. Suddenly Jan had to think long and hard. He didn’t find the best answer (whatever that was) for Colin swooped and invaded white’s heartland with sweetly coordinated knights, queen and pawns. Jan baled out with piece exchanges but it left Black with a solid central pawn mass. Both players, very short on time and with only queens left, agreed on a draw, although Black’s position was winning. The game was another great example of Colin’s capacity to withstand, and flair to overcome, dangerous attacks. One of the games of the season. So the Monarchs ended up with a 23-16 victory – a turn-around compared with what looked possible at  ten o’clock. Apologies for this lengthy report – lifting a title has not happened before for the Monarchs!”

Many thanks for that, Derek, and congratulations on leading the Monarchs from their habitual foot-of-the-table status to glory as unbeaten superstars! And this is perhaps the right moment to publish the end-of-season statistics for the two South Tyne League teams, even if, as team captain Peter Crichton remarked, the exercise smacks of sadism where the bottom-placed Tynedale team is concerned! So let’s get the painful bit over first, with thanks to Peter for providing the details.

 

  Played Won Drew Lost % Ave board
Mark Taylor 4 0 0 4 0 1
Mike Nicholson 7 3 4 0 71 1.6
Peter Crichton 6 1 2 3 33 2.5
Bruce Reed 4 1 1 2 37.5 2.75
Phil Taylor 6 1 1 4 25 3.7
Dave Foster 3 2 0 1 66 4

Matthew and Jack each played and lost one game.

Now for the Monarchs, courtesy of Derek and Syd.

  P W D L %
Colin Davison 8 6 2 0 87
David Wrigley 6 5 1 0 91
Derek Blair 7 4 2 1 71
Tim Wrigley 4 1 1 2 37
Steve Larkin 3 1 2 0 66
Malcolm Reid 2 0 0 2 0
Ian Emerson 1 1 0 0 100

A few more league statistics. Monarchs took the league title, five points clear of their nearest rivals, HaydonBridge, while Tynedale finished last, four points adrift of Austins. Of the league board prizes, Colin took first board prize, Mike second board prize, and David third board prize (with Derek in close contention). Only fourth board prize, which went to Bill Hardwick, eluded Tynedale. No doubt the knives will be out for the Monarchs next season!

Haydon Bridge Jamboree

This was held on June 17th. Six members of Tynedale attended and a good time was had by all. Four of them made up a Tynedale team which finished last, while the other two joined a composite team which did a little better. If memory serves me aright, David Wrigley was the most successful, with two wins out of two. A Friars team won the event and Tim Wrigley won the raffle!

Miscellanea

1)      Please make a note in your diaries that the club’s AGM will be held at the usual venue on Tuesday September 1st at 7.30 p.m.

2)      In this year’s Newcastle championship, your editor did not exactly cover himself with glory, finishing on 2.5 out of 7, which put him equal 14th of 18 players. At the Hawick congress, where he was again the only Tynedale representative, he ended up on 3.5/7 in the Minor section, where he was second highest graded player and so should have done better.

3)      Forthcoming events.

Sat Aug 15th Fourth Chillingham Rapidplay Chess Congress

Aug 29-31 Third Leyland Chess Congress

Sept 25-27 45th Northumberland Chess Congress

Oct 23-25 33rdScarborough Chess Congress

That brings you fully up to date. Enjoy your summer siesta and gear up for a new season with a whole new grading system, courtesy of ECF in their infinite wisdom!

Steve Larkin

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