Bulletin No 28

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 28

It’s nice to start with a success story, so let’s begin by looking at

Northumbria League division 2

Here the Tans have got off to a rip-roaring start, admittedly against slightly modest opposition but, as we all know, a win is a win etc. etc. After the first two rounds, the Tans find themselves in second place, just half a game point behind the leaders, Gosforth Empire. This is how it came about.

The Tans’ first match was against Alnwick, on October 7th. In the past, this opening match of the season has been a fairly gentle stroll against Alnwick B (last year we won by 4.5 to 0.5). But this season Alnwick are running just one team and in consequence are a much stronger outfit, as the pairings below show.

1. D. Foster 134 v M. Trolan 152
2. P. Crichton 130 v J. Pharoah 125
3. S. Larkin 126 v D. Patterson 117
4. T. Wrigley 124 v R. McEwan 84
5. M. Reid 113 v H. McLoughlin 65

Certainly we had the edge, especially on the bottom two boards. Malcolm, with white, was first to make his mark with a comfortable victory. Next up was Dave, who played out of his socks to record a fine draw against Mike Trolan. Indeed, Dave was on the offensive throughout and it was only his opponent’s ability to wriggle out of tricky situations which led to the draw. Peter, with black, also got a draw, albeit a more defensive one than Dave’s. Then Tim finally broke his opponent’s resistance and moved on to a clear-cut win. Which left your editor sweating it out till the final minutes. Fortunately for him, the match was already won by then, for he was conducting a desperate rearguard action with very little time left on his clock. Luckily, the potentially winning passed pawn was despatched and a draw agreed, giving the Tans victory by 3.5 to 1.5 – an encouraging start to the season. Many thanks to Dave and Tim, who joined us from the Reivers’ squad and thus spared us the embarrassment of needing to rearrange our opening fixture! 

Next, on October 20th, the Tans met a depleted Morpeth C side who could field only four players. The line-up was as follows:

1. D. Blair 131  v J. Horton 144
2. P. Crichton 130  v J. Hill 105
3. P. Taylor 122  v D Foster jr 99
4. B. Reed 121  v D Watson 98

Again, with the notable exception of board one, the Tans had a clear edge grading-wise, and in the event every game went according to grades. Phil was first to finish, scoring an emphatic victory over Morpeth’s captain, one Dave Foster! Next Peter, who appeared to be rather on the back foot early on, recorded a win and the match was in the bag. Bruce put icing on the cake by grinding his opponent down in the latter stages. As he told me later,

“the fact that I had blocked his bishop in a corner, and had more attacking chances counted more than his slight material advantage and the time pressure I had created on myself. My opponent resigned when faced with a mate in one. He had had chances earlier to force a draw by repetition, but instead manoeuvred to pick up one of my extra (passed) pawns instead – leaving him unable to withstand the final attack.” Meanwhile, Derek was up against it on board one. He came out fighting in the early stages, only to be gradually rolled back and obliged to concede. So overall, a comfortable victory against a rather weak side. (Your editor apologizes for the sketchy nature of these notes, the blame for which rests with one Malcolm Reid, who monopolised your editor’s attention throughout the evening.)

Northumbria league division one

Just one result to report here, against Leam Lane on October 27th. As expected, the Reivers were massively outgraded, the more so when Phil Taylor had to come in as a literally last-minute replacement for Jack Bradshaw. New Reivers’ captain David Wrigley writes:

“Tuesday saw the visit of Leam Lane Aces to the club, for the Reivers’ first match of the season. A mix-up in communication meant that Phil Taylor was pounced upon and drafted in at five minutes notice. I (David Wrigley) was quite bogged down in my game and missed most of the action on the other boards, so I leave it to the players to describe their endeavours.

First to finish was Dave on top board, where he was tussling with the monstrously strong Jonathan Hawkins. He writes: ‘I played a Kings Indian, and the centre became blocked early in the game. Jonathan had the better of it from the opening and all middle game play revolved around the open g-file. I made a mistake on move 29 resulting in heavy material loss – an alternative move would have given me a difficult position and possible drawing chances – though with my 10 minutes remaining against his 40, it was always only going to go one way – south I’m afraid!’

So Leam Lane took the lead. Dave can relax, safe in the knowledge that his toughest challenge this season is behind him! Next past the post was Hired Gun Phil:

‘My game was fairly straightforward – Queen’s Gambit declined – swapping off pieces – both sets of pawns pushing up across the board forming an almost impenetrable barrier for either side. Queens & Rooks both still on at the end & there might have been a way for Robert to break through but he was getting short on time & would have had to risk a counter attack. I offered the draw earlier but he declined so at the end it was my opponent who offered the draw.’ A good half point against a tough player, which kept Tynedale within touching distance.Tim was next to finish, playing the White against John Marsh’s Budapest, Tim spent a lot of time successfully avoiding traps, entering the middle game with a good position. The time he’d lost, though, meant he missed some good opportunities and his momentum fizzled out. His opponent was left with the bishop pair, which was manoeuvred into a pawn, and then a pretty double attack slew Tim’s knight, effectively ending the game.A few moments later, I came unstuck on board 2. My opponent played the Sicilian, so I merrily met it with the grand prix attack, only to find my opponents move order had deprived me of my kings bishop. Confused at being without my favourite piece, I continued conservatively, and far too slowly, whilst my opponent developed comfortably and took an equal share of the centre. Getting low on time, I lashed out, exchanging central pawns to get to his uncastled king, but he side stepped my advances and his rooks poured through the gaps in the centre. From that point on I was positionally dead, and after a little blitzing I had to concede.So the match was lost, but things are looking brighter on board 3. ‘I got a great opening with black against Jason Daglish, resulting in an extraordinary set of pins and threats against his under-developed queen-side.  His QB on its c1 square was attacked by my queen on a1 and via pins by my rook on c8 and bishop on g5, all supported by my only other piece, my knight on d4. At this stage I missed several tactical improvements, then allowed an escape simplification, but remained a pawn up and with a strong position.  A misjudgement or miscalculation (or both) then gave me knight plus five versus bishop plus four, and only then did I realise that it was difficult to save my extra pawn, and might even be worse.  Fortunately I had been ahead on the clock until that point (pause for gasps) and a good long think found a less-than-obvious solution which, helped by  two or three inaccuracies by my opponent, saw me home with the best part of a minute in hand.’

Mike’s heroics gave the final score a less gloomy appearance –

Tynedale Reivers 1½-3½ Leam Lane Aces
D Weldon 0-1 J Hawkins
D Wrigley 0-1 K Fomin
M Nicholson 1-0 J Daglish
T Wrigley 0-1 J Marsh
P Taylor ½-½ R Forsythe

This is probably a fair result, though on another day we could’ve nicked a point. Onwards and upwards!

South Tyne League

Again, just one result to report, an incestuous but fascinating contest between last year’s top of the table Monarchs and bottom of the table Tynedale. It turned out like this.

“Monarchs v Tynedale, October 13th

Threats of having to play in the changing room didn’t materialise. No other event was being held in the club, and the threat of changing room matches in the future seems to have been lifted.

Monarchs Tynedale    
David Wr.(2) 0-4 Mike (2)
Derek (3) 0-4 Jack (2)
Tim (4) 4-0 Dave F (3)
Ian (8) 0-4 Peter B (8)
Handicap 16-14  
Result 20-26  

An entertaining match brought a reversal of last season’s form for both teams. The handicap under the new gradings gave a slight advantage to Monarchs, such that a drawn match would have sufficed to give them victory. They started well. Tim’s game with Dave Foster was progressing satisfactorily for both players, I believe, until Dave spotted a move he knew he would definitely have to avoid … but then didn’t. Resignation followed promptly. On top board David answered 1.e4 with a Centre Counter, as we oldies prefer to call the Scandinavian. Neither player was familiar with it and David erred badly on move 6, leaving him undeveloped and desperately weak on white squares and various files and diagonals. Mate on move 18. Derek’s game with Jack was highly tactical and unbalanced. Derek won a pawn and later a piece, and had what looked like an overwhelming attack against Jack’s sparsely-defended king on the queen-side. Jack however had taken the precaution of setting up a mating threat of his own on the opposite rook’s file, and when Derek needed an extra move and didn’t block out the mate threat, he pounced. All now hung on Ian Emmerson’s game with Peter Booker. Peter had threatened an attack which Ian had repulsed, but when Ian appeared to be gaining the advantage, Peter drew Ian’s king forward on the rook’s file, where he promptly mated it with queen and rook. This was Peter’s first win since joining the club, and he is to be congratulated on maintaining his concentration throughout a game which went almost to the three hours. So three wins to Tynedale, but all still to play for for both teams. “ Many thanks to Mike for that report. As the Monarchs’ captain Derek observed afterwards, Monarchs face an uphill struggle to retain their crown.

Club Championship

Phil stays on top of the pile, thanks to his blistering start in September. Dave Foster is the only player left with a 100% record.

Phil Taylor 2.5/3
Dave Foster 2/2
Mike Nicholson 1.5/2
Matthew Taylor 1.5/2
Jack Bradshaw 1.5/3
Steve Larkin 1.5/3
Peter Crichton 1/2
Derek Blair 1/3
Bruce Reed 1/3
Malcolm Reid 1/3
David Wrigley 0.5/1
Peter Booker 0/3

Miscellanea

As last year, the club has just one participant in the three individual championships (Zollner, Sell and Newcastle) which run every year. Having pretty much propped up the table of the humblest of these, the Newcastle, for the last two years, your editor is hoping for better things this time round and indeed he scraped a win in his opening encounter. He urges fellow members to consider entering in future years and assures them that these competitions offer a wealth of masochistic delights!

As a club we are still very short of regular players, and both the Reivers and the Tans have already had to “import” from outside the relevant squads in order to field full teams. Please try to spread the word, whenever you get the opportunity, about what a wonderful bunch of people we are and how there is absolutely nothing to compare with the delight of winning a game of chess!

Which seems a suitably uplifting note on which to conclude.

Steve Larkin

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