Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 40 (3.4.11)
It being that time of year, I thought I would start this issue by highlighting the
The identity of the eight players who make it through to the knockout stage of the competition can now be revealed! Comparison with last year reveals that six of the eight likewise reached this stage then. Two – Jack Bradshaw and Malcolm Reid – have fallen by the wayside, to be replaced by Mike Nicholson (who did qualify last year but withdrew in the mistaken belief that his departure from these parts was imminent) and Jeremy Handley, who of course wasn’t here to qualify last year. Overall the number of players taking part has gone up from twelve last year to sixteen this, and the cut-off point has moved up from two to three points. Interesting to note that Phil Taylor’s meteoric rise continued to the end and took him into second place, while current club champion Peter Crichton only squeezed in at the last moment in eighth place!
|Dave Foster sr||5/7|
|Dave Foster jr||0/3|
Phil is seeded above Derek and Jeremy above Peter (and Raoul above Matthew) according to the rule which states that where two players have the same number of points from the same number of games, the player with the lower grade will be seeded above the player with the higher grade.
So the draw for the quarter-finals is as follows:
A Dave Foster sr v Peter Crichton
B Derek Blair v Steve Larkin
C Phil Taylor v Jeremy Handley
D Mike Nicholson v Bruce Reed
In the semi-finals, the winner of A plays the winner of B, and the winner of C plays the winner of D.
The onus is on the higher seeded (not graded) player to contact his opponent to arrange a date for the game. If humanly possible, quarter-finals should be played by the end of April. Colours will be drawn by lot on the night. A copy of the rules governing the championship is available on the championship board, which should be at the Dyvels every time a game is played. Good luck and may the best man win!
Time now to move onto
Northumbria league division one
The Tans have played three matches since the last e-bulletin, and I am grateful to David Wrigley for providing reports on all three. First up were Eldon Leisure.
“The Tans went into the match with Eldon Leisure with a 3 point cushion over their hosts with 3 games to play, so splitting the points would more or less guarantee Div.1 chess for another season.
We stood a good chance of being grading favourites on most of the boards, provided their oft-absent big gun Alan Harvey didn’t show up on top board…
Tim had the white pieces, Peter Hubbard the black. Peter played a creepy-crawly opening set-up, inviting Tim forward, and forward he came! Things looked promising when Tim doubled Peter’s f-pawns for seemingly little compensation, but Peter’s new f-pawn found it could harass Tim’s centre and redress the balance. Tim found himself in a finely balanced middlegame – his Bishop looked a bit less mobile than Peter’s knight, but his major pieces were more threatening. Somehow Tim’s sickly bishop managed to sneak into Peter’s draughty kingside, where it was reborn, a great champion leading the fight! Unfortunately, so keen was Tim to push his bishop forward that he missed a cute retreat which would’ve picked up the knight. As it happened, the queens came off and they agreed a draw.
Alan Harvey did show up. Dave had the pleasure! Their game was a classy war of manoeuvre, both players built up their positions to their likings without allowing tactical shots from the other. With neither player making headway on the board, the game was cruelly decided on the clock. With flagfall fast approaching, Alan was able to put Dave under pressure, and he slipped – Alan’s f pawn forked Dave’s king and rook and that was that. 1.5-0.5
For the first 2½ hours, Peter had an excellent game against Paul Robson. He dealt with Paul’s aggressive opening effectively, played an accurate central pawn break and picked up a loose pawn. Paul got a short term initiative, but Peter was able to defend his position, keeping his pieces well coordinated and hanging on to the stolen pawn. Tragedy struck, seemingly from nowhere, as time began to run short. Peter, eager to swap off bits and head towards a favourable endgame, offered to exchange Paul’s bishop on f5, which unfortunately allowed Paul’s rook to march down to f2, from where it could gobble his queen. 2.5-0.5
Derek was tangling with Martin Beardsley on 4, and slowly outplayed him – Martin kept Derek on edge with tactical threats, but Derek was well equipped to handle them, and accrued a couple of extra pawns for scant compensation (on the board). These pawns came at the price, however, of clock time, and Derek was on the cusp of entering a winning (though not yet won) endgame when he was forced to agree a draw, or lose on time. 3-1
On 2, Stefan played an opening system that David was unfamiliar with, so he was rewarded with early pressure on the kingside. The pressure was released when Stefan failed to stop David from trampling his powerful light squared bishop, and though Stefan retained the initiative, the attack had lost its bite. David had time to rattle his swords on the queenside, but mass exchanges soon followed and they arrived in a dead-drawn same-coloured Bishop and pawn ending. With the match score at 2.5-0.5 and in mutual time trouble, David played a risky double pawn sacrifice to drum up some play. Stefan captured the second offered pawn the wrong way, allowing David to exchange into a winning pawn ending. 3-2
So Eldon Leisure creep up to within a point, and relegation looms a bit. Each game was well contested, we’re a bit unfortunate to come away without a match point (or two!)
|Eldon Leisure||3-2||Tynedale Tans|
|Alan Harvey(191)||1-0||Dave Weldon|
|Stefan Hartmann(159)||0-1||David Wrigley|
|Paul Robson (169)||1-0||Peter Crichton|
|Martin Beardsley||0.5-0.5||Derek Blair|
|Peter Hubbard (113)||0.5-0.5||Tim Wrigley”|
The Tans next match was against Leam Lane Aces. David writes:
Leam Lane are the league’s bully boys. They arrived at the Dyvels with 20/20 match points, 40/50 game points, and with their top 2 boards on 10/10 for the season. Not the most promising stats, but no one is invincible…
David had a night to forget on board 2. Instead of setting about Nick Tavoularis, he played passively and unimaginatively, failed to cause any problems, and had little option but to chuckle when Nick announced “checkmate” after 33 moves. 0-1
Derek made a better fist of things on board 4. Chris Wardle played the bamboozling 1..c5 and 2..f5, and though Derek recovered well from the initial shock, Chris was able to direct him into a sea of tactics, where the Good Ship Derek ran aground. (The brevity of this report reflects the fact that the game was over by the time David had stopped crying. Apologies to DB!) 0-2
Mike shared a ripsnorter with Richard Doyle. He writes “Although I played right into an opening familiar to him, and down a line of which I recalled not one jot, I outplayed him. My QN didn’t move until move 9, but by move 13 it was sitting pretty on a1 whence his QR had never stirred. It remained there for as long again, but by that time I had consumed enormous chunks of minutes dealing with his rook-down counter-attack. I had over-estimated the strength of this, but even so had found a way through and was still on top until move 25. At that point, faced with a still-complicated board and only a minute or so left, I sacrificed a rook in the vain hope of snatching a perpetual with my queen against his exposed king. It didn’t work. Had I had more time, the obvious 25. … Qxa2, bringing that knight back into play, would have led to a long forcing but complicated winning sequence. It had been a great battle. I’m just sorry I hadn’t got a valuable game point.” DW caught the end of this one, and it was excellent value for money. 0-3
Dave Weldon was stuck with the black pieces against the toughest nut in the North, IM Hawkins. He acquitted himself stylishly, equalising in the opening and gaining a slight advantage in the middle game. Jonathan, keen to create imbalances in the position, sacrificed the exchange for a pawn, and bashed up Dave’s kingside pawn protection to boot. Dave’s position was tenable, but it was pregnant with tactics and Dave left himself open to a shot which Jonathan found, prompting a grin and a swift resignation. 0-4
So it’s down to Tim to try and save face… Tim and Bob Forsythe managed to transpose through 3 fairly different openings before arriving in a middle game where Bob had an attractive protected passed pawn, which kept Tim a bit cramped but Tim had decent prospects of undermining it. Bob played a couple of unsure moves and Tim was able to remove the pawn’s protection.
Bob might’ve been expecting a bit of compensation, as winning the pawn had pulled some of Tim’s pieces away from the kingside, but Tim’s play on the queenside was energetic, and he won a second pawn. The game was decided for good when Bob left his queen en prise, and resigned before Tim noticed his mistake! 1-4
|Tans||1-4||Leam Lance Aces|
|Dave Weldon||0-1||IM Jonathan Hawkins (235)|
|David Wrigley||0-1||Nick Tavoularis (188)|
|Mike Nicholson||0-1||Richard Doyle (162)|
|Derek Blair||0-1||Chris Wardle (160)|
|Tim Wrigley||1-0||Bob Forsythe (150)|
The result reflects the grade differences pretty well. Shenanigans on board 2 apart, everyone played spiritedly in the face of hefty grading disadvantages.
One match to go, and things remain tight.”
And finally, Tans v Tynemouth Trojans. David writes:
“The Tans went to Tynemouth on March 29th with heavy hearts – survival looked less and less sure, and only match points from our final match would provide solace. Tynemouth Trojans have been ticking over in mid-table this season, and we’d almost certainly all be outgraded. When we arrived, we had one bit of good news – their team was exactly as expected, so our hours of preparation hadn’t been wasted! This match report can be found with diagrams at http://www.longwrigley.freeserve.co.uk/Tanstrojansdiag.htm.
First to finish was David:
(13) Cornwall,G – Wrigley,D [A81]
1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nh3
Gary said after the game that this was an idea of Karpov’s. White’s kingside is a bit more flexible, but black is under less pressure in the centre.
4…Bg7 5.0-0 d6 6.c4 0-0 7.b3 Nc6 8.Bb2 e5 9.d5
[9.Bxc6 looks like it might win a pawn, but after 9…bxc6 10.dxe5 Ng4 black will regain the pawn on e5, and white will miss his light squared bishop.]
9…Ne7 10.Nc3 h6 11.f3 g5 12.Nf2 Ng6 13.e4 f4 14.g4 Nh4 15.h3 h5 16.Nd3 b6?! 17.b4 Bb7 18.c5 bxc5 19.bxc5 Ba6
Black has been shuffling around on the queenside, allowing white to expand naturally – the base of Black’s pawn chain looks like a long term target.
20.Re1? Gary steps out of the pin with the intention of playing Nb4, when black’s bishop would be short of squares. There is a tactical shot here, however. [20.Rf2 does the same thing, but prevents the shot]
20…Bxd3 21.Qxd3 hxg4 22.hxg4 22…Nxg4! 23.fxg4 f3 24.Rf1
[24.Bxf3 sacrificing the exchange might bring white some practical chances, as black’s bishop is horrible, though there are lots of open files for the rooks to work in.] 24…fxg2 25.Rxf8+ Qxf8 26.Bc1?? spot the easy win!
26…Qe7? retains some advantage, but there was a much nastier continuation 27.Nd1?
[27.Be3 might hold on for a bit longer, e.g. 27…Rf8 28.Bf2 Qf6 29.Bg3 Qf3 30.Qxf3 Rxf3 31.Bxh4 gxh4 32.Nb5 h3-+]
27…Rf8 28.Qe3 Rf1+ 0-1
Next up was Mike, playing John Morton. The last time these two played, Mike made an error in the opening which John exploited. There was a good chance they would lock horns, so Mike came prepared with improvements! Notes by MLN
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Qa5 8.0-0 0-0 9.Bb3 d6 10.h3 Bd7 11.Re1 Rac8 12.Qe2
Not a bad move, but in view of the role of the bishop on b3, 12.Nxc6 was a fair option here. 12.Nd5 was also playable. In fact I was still playing a Carlsen game from what might have been an inaccurate memory, so may have paid the penalty of not starting to think myself properly into the game. 12…Nxd4 13.Bxd4 Bc6 14.Qe3 Again, not a bad move, but 14.Rad1, completing development, was more logical.
14…b6 15.Nd5 Here I overlooked … Bxd5 which, if followed up correctly, would have thrown John the advantage. 15.e5 was to all intents and purposes forced, otherwise my bishop would have been trapped by … e5.
15…Bxd5 16.exd5 Nxd5 17.Qe4 Bxd4 18.Qxd4
18…e6 Here John missed the chance for a distinct initiative. 18. … Nb4 19.c3 Nc6 saved his pawn structure and pawn plus.
19.c4 A square too far. John could still have played … Nb4, an advantage despite returning the pawn.
Draw offered and accepted. In a relegation affected match, we needed a match point to save our place in Division 1. David Wrigley had already pulled off a win on board 2, and it seemed wrong to continue for a win if there was any risk of losing. Trojans 0.5 Tans 1.5!
Dave provided the best and biggest upset of the night:
(17) Weldon,D – Henderson,D [A00]
1.c3 Dave said after the game that he’d meant to play d4 first, so he was pleased to see David’s response
1…d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.e3 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bd3 Ne4the most aggressive response, though the knight may become exposed here
6.0-0 Bd6 7.Qb3 Nd7 offers the b7 pawn, but it looks a bit poisonous.
[8…Nec5!? looks interesting 9.dxc5 Nxc5 10.Qc3 Nxd3 11.Qxg7 Rf8 12.cxd5]
9.Qxc4 0-0 10.Qc2 Ndf6?
Well intentioned, but robs the e5 knight of a precious escape square [10…Ng5 11.Bxf5 Nxf3+ 12.gxf3=]
11.Ne5 Nd5 12.a3 Nc5? drops a piece, but black might have struggled to save it anyway
[My ageing copy of Fritz suggests 12…Bxe5 13.dxe5 Ng3! 14.Rd1 Bxd3 15.Qxd3 Nh5 16.e4 Nb6 17.Qe2 Qh4 18.g4 when black, er, still loses a piece] 13.dxc5 Bxe5 14.e4
The fork decides matters. Dave had used very little time, and David was down to his last five minutes! Was it all down to the psychological hammerblow of 1.c3!? Trojans 0.5- Tans 2-5!! A match point in the bag, relegation worries eased somewhat. But we weren’t going to stop there.
(20) Wrigley,T – Smith,C [A21]
1.d4 d6 2.c4 e5
Chris has played this against Tim a couple of times before, so he was ready for it!
3.Nf3 A novelty for Tim, though not without preparation. Taking the e-pawn and exchanging queens isn’t terrible for white, but black can hide his king on c7 and gets a reasonable game.
3…e4 4.Ng5 f5!? not part of Tim’s plans! 5.Nc3 Be7 6.Nh3
[6.Nd5!? looks like fun, black can’t take the knight and white can snap the bishop off if he so chooses]
6…Nf6 7.e3 0-0 8.Be2 c6 9.Bd2 c5?! defeats the point of 8..c6. A tempo has been lost.
10.d5 Nbd7 11.Qc2 Ne5 12.0-0-0!? Typical mindless aggression from Tim!
12…a6 13.f3 exf3?! Opens up the g-file for free. Black should be playing down the queenside. Chris’s next few moves are a bit too passive
14.gxf3 Bd7 15.Rhg1 Kh8 16.Nf2 Ng8 17.Rg2 Qe8 18.Rdg1 Rf7
19.f4 Tim has been building towards this for a while. Fritz thinks he should’ve done it a while ago, but conditions are definitely good for it now!
19…Ng6 20.Bh5 Bh4 21.Bxg6 hxg6 22.Nh3 Rf6?! the bishop on h4 has no moves 23.Qd3 Nh6
24.Ng5 b5 Chris plays the right move at the wrong time. The bishop on h4 is toast [24…Rf8 saves a piece, but Tim still has the best of it.]
25.Nf3 Bf2 it had nowhere to go! 26.Rxf2 Trojans 0.5- Tans 3.5!!! Two match points in the bag, and safety assured. Derek could now relax completely.
(18) Jarema,D – Blair,D [B07]
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nge2 Bg7 5.Ng3 An interesting knight deployment. The knight is well placed here to support pawns crashing down the kingside and reinforces the e4 pawn. On the flipside, white has spent two tempos when the knight would have been well places after one, and the d4 pawn looks like a big target for black
5…c6 6.Bd3 Nbd7 7.Nce2 0-0 8.c3 c5 Contact! Dave has started sedately, but his pieces are fairly well placed. Challenging the centre must be the right plan for Derek.
9.Qb3 a6 10.a4 Qa5 11.0-0 b5
Dave seems content to play on the queenside, and Derek decides to take him on!12.Bc2 Bb7 13.Bg5 Qb6 14.a5 Qc7 15.Rfc1 Rae8 16.h3 h6 17.Be3 h5 18.f3 h4!?
At some point around here, Dave Weldon notched up his win and we had a match draw in the bag (enough for probable survival). Derek could start playing risky stuff and still be guaranteed a seat in the car on the way home! His h-pawn clearly wants a fight, and it finds a target. g3 looks very appealing, though the pawn might prove hard to support.
19.Nf1 Nh5 20.Qa2 Dave wants to regroup and attack g6 with queen, bishop, and perhaps f pawn? Looks like a slow plan to me. 20…Kh7 21.Qb1 Bh6?! surrenders the bishop too cheaply, weakening the dark squares around Derek’s king
22.Bxh6 Kxh6 23.Rd1 c4 24.Qc1+ g5 [surrendering the h pawn with 24…Kg7 might have been a better option 25.Qg5 Rh8 26.Qxh4]
25.Ne3 e6? Derek misses a tactical blow. A real pity, as his position was promising until a few moves ago.
26.Ng4+ Kg7 [26…Kg6 doesn’t save our hero. 27.e5+ f5 28.exf6+ Kf7 29.Bg6+! Kxg6 30.Qc2+ Kf7 31.Qh7+]
|David Henderson(186)||0-1||Dave Weldon|
|Gary Cornwall(173)||0-1||David Wrigley|
|John Morton(152)||½-½||Mike Nicholson|
|Dave Jarema(147)||1-0||Derek Blair|
|Chris Smith(133)||0-1||Tim Wrigley|
A great team effort! Dave, David and Tim all won well against higher rated opposition, Mike’s preparation paid off in neutralising a dangerous opponent, and Derek would likely have got something out of his game, had the rest of us not romped home so quickly! Brilliant!
|League result breakdown|
Massive thanks to everyone whose been bullied into playing at one time or another. Whilst each one of us has been consistently outgraded, there have been very few mismatches on the board, and the standard of play on display has been good.”
A big thank you to David for this extra special report and congratulations to the team on this extra special result! David has done a fine job captaining the Tans and emerges from the league season with an excellent record.
And so to
Northumbria League division two
One Reivers’ match to report, their final league fixture at home to an unbeaten Morpeth B side. The line-up was as follows:
|1. Mike Nicholson (147)||v||Les Whittle (151)|
|2. Derek Blair (139)||v||Phil Eastlake (143)|
|3. Bruce Reed (127)||v||Jeremy Handley (141)|
|4. Phil Taylor (120)||v||Geoff Loxham (140)|
|5. Steve Larkin (121)||v||Alex Ashworth (131)|
First to finish was an in-form Phil, who writes: “My game as white with Geoff Loxham was a tight one. d4 f5 I believe is the Dutch Defence although my timid e3 probably took it out of book straight away as g3 is better and I now know why. We both built our positions steadily over the next 6 or seven moves and then Geoff manoeuvred his Queen to g6 ready for a heavy King-side attack. I think he was a little surprised that I attacked his Queen with Bh5 and after Qg5 offered the exchange with Qg4. So much so that he ignored the exchange & moved his a-rook to e8 gifting me the exchange up. The game was fairly even after that with Geoff using his active bishops to threaten all sorts of demolition to my pawns. Fortunately for every threat he posed I could maintain the status quo until I missed a bishop move which pinned my rook against my King – even material. The game continued with Kings coming more into the centre of the board – opposite coloured bishops, a knight each & four pawns each in pairs of two. Geoff was the first to offer the draw on move 33 and I declined, feeling I had the more active knight. Two moves later and I started to get cold feet & he accepted my offer of the draw. Fritz agrees that I was ahead by 1/2 a pawn or so but that required a precision of play which is beyond me at the moment so I was pleased with my draw against someone graded 140 vs my lowly 120. “ This was a fine result for Phil, who has had an excellent season for the Reivers. 0.5-0.5
Next up was Derek, of whose game I am afraid I know nothing but the outcome, which was a draw. 1-1
On top board, Mike too recorded a draw. He writes:”Les Whittle played cautiously against me, so when I played sharp moves he tended to look for quiet replies rather than tangle. Although I fell 15 minutes behind on the clock in the early middle game, my sharp play cost him a lot of time. As we neared the time control he was in serious difficulties clock-wise. However, when the position simplified to something very book-drawish, I accepted his third offer rather than do the very unsportsmanlike thing of winning on time. I really can’t imagine what difficulties might have arisen trying to play ten or more moves a minute and having to make my opponent’s moves as well. And that’s nothing to what Les himself would have had to cope with.” 1.5-1.5
Bruce writes of his game: “There is nothing so frustrating in chess as missing an opportunity to force a winning advantage, so this was ultimately a frustrating game. Until a mistaken choice by me, playing black, this game was very evenly balanced.
On move 24 Jeremy Handley – responding to my knight (d5) moving to attack his queen (c3) – placed his knight on c4 to attack my queen on b6 (which was helping to defend a pawn on c5).
[Position after White’s 24th move: White had pawns on a2, b2, f3, g2, h2; on the back rank he had B on b1, R on c1, R on d1, K on g1, and elsewhere had a Q on c3, and N on c4; Black had pawns on a6, c5, f7, g7 and h6, rooks on b8 and e2, B on b7, N on d5 and Q on b6]
The likely exchange sequence, as we both saw it, would go like this:
25 Black N (on d5) x Q (on c3), White N (on c4) x Q (on b6)
26 Black N x R (on d1), White N x R (on c8 – threatening N x R on e7),
27 Black B (on b7) x N, White R (on c1) x N – leaving the position even in material, but with Black having two isolated pawns.
What Jeremy and I both missed was an alternative move for black on move 27: Re1 mate! (with white’s rook on c1 unable to recapture the black rook because of the intervening knight on d1, which also covered the white king’s escape square of f2). It would not, of course, have happened like that, because Jeremy would have seen the mate threat after Black’s 26th move because my knight would by then have been seen to be covering the f2 escape square we both thought the king (on g1) had. To stop the mate White would, however, have been forced into an inferior exchange (loss of rook and at least one pawn for a knight) to prevent the mate, leaving black with very strong further attacking chances as well as the material advantage.
Instead – because I thought that after the removal of queen and one rook each I would find it had to protect my isolated c pawn – I made an inferior move (Qf6), queens were exchanged, White was soon a pawn up, and Jeremy secured a win.” It was indeed a case of the one that got away! 1.5-2.5
By the time Bruce’s game was over, the most that Steve could hope for , barring a blunder from his opponent, was a draw. The game had been largely even throughout, Steve gaining a pawn advantage then losing it, then himself going a pawn down. When the ending simplified, all that was left was the two kings and a white pawn. More by luck than judgement, Steve managed to block the pawn’s progress and, with only seconds on the clock, Alex offered the draw. 2-3.
So the Reivers lost, but not without a fight, to an outfit that will certainly be able to look after itself in division one. The Reivers finish in seventh place in division two, with the following record: Played 10, won 3, drawn 2, lost 5, game points 25, match points 8. Individual performances were:
|Dave Foster jr||2||0||0||2||0||5|
Phil has had an excellent season and Mike, obviously, will be a huge loss (assuming he manages to sell his house). Malcolm’s record speaks for itself – if only he had been available more often! Bruce has battled well in the rarefied atmosphere of board two.
South Tyne League
The Dyvels have played one match, against Austins. I am grateful to Peter Crichton for this report: “The Dyvels went down in a close match at Hallbankgate: the teams were:
|Jeremy Handley||v||Paul Rivers |
|Phil Taylor ||v||Kevin Southernwood |
|Raoul Weston ||v||Syd Cassidy |
|Peter Booker ||v||Sam McStay |
We needed one and a half points from the match to take advantage of the handicapping system. Peter on board 4 was the first to finish, losing to young Sam McStay largely as a result of over- ambitious play with black which led him to sacrifice a knight on F2; unfortunately the exposed position of Peter’s uncastled king left him vulnerable to a counterattack which ultimately prevailed.
Meanwhile on board 3 Raoul found himself up against Syd Cassidy and enjoyed a fairly even game for a long time; Syd eventually won a pawn and then, with Raoul’s clock running down, a bishop check left Raoul’s queen exposed to a discovered attack following which it was plain sailing for Syd.
With Jeremy two pawns down the match position was looking bleak, however against the odds and by pursuing active counter-play Jeremy pulled off a splendid victory when his opponent overlooked an attack on his king which, although not winning outright, left Jeremy with a winning position.
This left the result dependent upon Phil’s result and for a considerable period it looked as if he might secure the draw that the team required to win the match; his opponent always had a small edge but Phil put up an energetic defence and it was only an endgame slip under time pressure that prevented him from taking a half point. So the team went down 3-1 or, after the application of the handicaps, 26-23.”
Meanwhile, the Monarchs have been in action twice, with Haydon Bridge their opponents on both occasions. Derek writes: “We locked horns with Haydon Bridge twice in seven days to complete both fixtures, one of which had been postponed from November 2010.
The first match played at Haydon Bridge (on 3/3) resulted in a clean sweep (4 – 0) in favour of Monarchs. Basic wins were completed on Boards 3 and 4 but David Wrigley had to produce some skilful play with minor pieces to secure his exchange advantage on Board 1; and Mike Nicholson, despite time pressure, did enough to force his opponent to squander her scarce
resources and resign.
The return match on 8/3 was played on neutral ground in the afternoon at the Hexham golf club and proved a competitive one. Malcolm Reid unfolded his Kings Gambit against Damian and used his greater familiarity with this attacking opening to put his opponent
under pressure from the start. He even developed his queenside to support his critical e pawn advance to e6 and this fine opening win was achieved in under 30 moves.
Steve calmly dealt with David Tulip’s normal English and mustered his rooks to capitalise on white’s exposed king executing him in impressive fashion. A second good win.
Meanwhile Tim was undermining Christine’s response to his Queen pawn opening. She developed her pieces reasonably well behind a solid pawn structure, but Tim controlled most space. On move 14 he advanced his e pawn to force Black’s queen away from its central position and to restrict black’s development. He captured the queen rook’s pawn and in attempt to free her position a second pawn and then a third queenside pawn fell creating a huge defensive problem for black. Once white had castled by move 23 and readjusted his pieces in response to black’s doughty defence the joined up rooks became powerful. Black’s queen reentered the battle circuitously via f7 and f8 but could not prevent a conclusive simplification, finally around move 50. Another fine win against an opponent who had been playing well all season.
Finally. Mike’s game ‘broke all time trouble records’ according to his own admission. After 21 moves he was a pawn up with a win likely, but then he blundered an unfavourable piece exchange on move 22 . He then consumed a vast amount of time in trying to hold his position for another 40 moves. He had secured his king’s position in an impregnable fortress position but alas his clock was the final arbiter.
So the result after handicaps were considered was an honourable draw.
Monarchs continue to occupy pole position in the S T league but with two further matches to play against strong opponents, nothing is certain, yet.
David Wrigley sends this report on his round 6 game in the Sell competition: “Frank Moon and I shared an Evans gambit, and went down a line I feel comfortable in. He returned the gambit pawn without much compensation, and I was quite pleased with my position when he blundered a bishop. A real pity for him, and I was a little disappointed too, as an exciting tussle was on the cards. He resigned, rather than play on a piece down.” David’s excellent form in this competition continues and with one round to go it is very interesting to see where he will finish.
Steve’s round five Newcastle match was another disaster. He started well enough against Tynemouth’s Dave Mear, gaining a slight advantage from the opening, before surrendering it during the middle game and then embarking on a spell of lemming chess which brought him his fourth successive defeat in this competition. Oh dear, oh dear!
April 15-17 Durham Chess Congress
July 1-3 Harrogate Chess Congress
Sept 23-25 Northumberland Chess Congress
And that’s it for this time.