Bulletin No 48

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 48 (17.5.12)

With the league season now over and the summer KO competition not yet active, there is less to report this time, and pride of place goes to the

Club Championship

You will recall that the four quarter-finals were Derek v Alex, Jeremy v Bruce, Phil v Peter C and Dave F sr v Peter B.

Derek won his match and provides the following commentary: “I opened with a Queen’s pawn opening, developing my black bishop early in response to black’s immediate kingside fianchetto, persuading white to play e3 and f4 quickly to block and control

the centre. Black pinned white’s king’s knight with his bishop but it was chased with h3 pawn thereby persuading black to exchange with the result that white’s queen entered the battle efficiently and enabling white to castle long early in the game. Black fatally delayed castling, preferring to develop his queenside but this allowed white to attack down the centre. Despite some necessary queen readjustments black was unable to block all the threats and soon resigned.”

For Jeremy v Bruce I have no report, but I gather that this game went to the wire and that Bruce, under time pressure, chose the poorer of two options and lost.

Dave provides the following account of his victory over Peter B: “Peter drew white and opened D4. Now Peter and I have been rehearsing the Queens Gambit Accepted for a couple of years now so it was a variation to avoid. I replied G6 with possibilities of a Pirc variation, something my son and I have played for quite some time. Peter and I developed quite carefully however my Knights became quite active and Peter lost a couple of pawns which in hindsight seemed to open his attack instead of hinder. I had to be quite careful and his Bishops seemed strong. I calculated that I may have to lose the two pawn advantage and I was close to asking for a draw when Peter succumbed to a free pawn which was very, very poisoned. The response allowed me an overwhelming rook attack supported by a rolling pawn. The pawn Queened probably due to Peter’s time problems and he resigned before a mate could occur with seconds on his clock. I am impressed generally with Peter’s game over the last few months, his tactical awareness to attacking in the middle game has certainly increased and I consider this a hard fought good result.”

Phil v Peter C took two attempts to reach a conclusion, and Phil has written the following: “Close opening where Peter had a slight advantage in development. Moved into a middle game where Peter’s threats pressured me into sacrificing a Knight for 2 Pawns. As the game progressed Peter’s back rank weakness allowed me to win Knight & Rook for Rook leaving me 2 pawns up but I’d had to push my Kingside pawns up and eventually in an endgame of Queens & pawns I didn’t select the best moves to take advantage of the situation. Peter was down on the clock a little but I think it was more a case of we were both a bit tired. A draw was probably a fair result so I’ll be white in the replay.

Following our draw the previous week I had white and was wondering what innovation I could come up with that wouldn’t mean I was playing a game I had no experience of. I have 6 recorded games with Peter and in only one of them had I played white. (His record was 3 wins and 3 draws, the draws being the most recent games). I settled on the Catalan which follows white’s d4 c4 opening with g3 and Bg2. This was duly played and led to a very tight middle game and I could see Peter was finding it difficult to see what to do against my well set position. (I was having similar problems but was happy that my position was solid). As I strove to make something of this solid position the game simplified a bit and the little pressure I was exerting evaporated. My fianchettoed Bishop was exchanged at move 19 and on move 24 I completely missed leaving my a-pawn en prise. A pawn down – here we go again I thought. On move 35 we entered a swap-off sequence which should have taken Queens and Rooks off the board leaving me a Bishop and 5 pawns against Bishop and 6. I was resigning myself to my fate with a faint hope that I could get the draw when Peter decided not to swap off the last two rooks and took an en prise pawn instead. It was to be his undoing as my rook was able to go to the back rank with check, unpinning my Bishop to attack Peter’s Rook at the same time. I suppose what goes around comes around but it’s difficult to take pleasure from a win by a blunder when we all know how easily they are done & how annoying.”

And so into the semi-finals, which gave us this line-up: Derek v Jeremy (a repeat of last year’s final) and Dave v Phil. Phil emerged victorious from the latter game and sent this report: “My game against Dave last night was very tight. I’ve just analysed it using Fritz and there was hardly anything in it for most of the game. Dave flipped the coin and I lost the toss so he chose white. Dave’s e4 and my Sicilian O’Kelly are old friends now but I decided to try something different on move 6 with Bd7 to prevent the exchange of knights on c6. This seemed to work and Dave dropped his knight back to f3 after my Nc6 move on move 7. The game continued with very little in it for either side. I got the impression that Dave was playing a little less aggressively than normal and so we reached move 23 with all the minor pieces exchanged. Initially Dave had the better of our Queen and Rook manoeuvres but I was able to re-group and exert some slight pressure myself. My Queen became more active and Dave then made a minor tactical error on move 33 doubling his rooks on the 3rd rank while my rooks were doubled on the d-file. My Queen then managed to get round the back of his position, applying additional pressure on Dave’s backward d pawn while checking at the same time. So – a pawn up and an exchange of rooks saw the pressure increase slightly on Dave. Imagine my surprise therefore when he decided to leave his Queen en prise. I can only think that he had been distracted by the slender advantage I had just worked. As you know, I never like winning on a blunder & this now makes two rounds it has happened – I hope this doesn’t happen in the final!”

Congratulations to Phil, who finds himself in a club championship final for the first time ever!

The other semi-final proved to be a really protracted affair, and it was only at the third time of asking, after two full-length games had ended in draws, that a result was achieved. This time Derek and Jeremy had just ten minutes each for the entire game. Jeremy drew white and seemed to hold a slight advantage during the opening and early middle-game, with Derek also a bit behind on time. The turning-point seemed to come when Jeremy accepted Derek’s hanging a-pawn, taking it with his queen. As a result, the white queen was cut off from the action and Derek was able to apply pressure in the centre, causing Jeremy to use up more and more time till his clock fell.

So once again we are assured of a new club champion, as Derek faces Phil in the final, at a date yet to be decided.

Now it is time to report on the final action in the

Northumbria League division two

Given that Leam Lane Comets defaulted their match with us scheduled for April 17th, our match with Forest Hall B was our final league fixture. With just five players available, it was a case of lining up in grading order and waiting to see what Forest hall threw at us. Would this really prove to be a Friday 13th match for us?

The line-up was as follows:

Rolf Millar (142) v Peter Crichton (139)
Sophie Seeber (131) v Phil Taylor (124)
Jeff Baird (122) v Steve Larkin (119)
Roy Perrier (u) v Raoul Weston (u)
Dennis Shippen (107) v Dave Foster jr (85)

First to finish was Peter, who despatched his opponent in no time at all. He writes: “I was the white side of a Benoni and was able to successfully push my e pawn to disrupt his kingside; my opponent didn’t see the threat of my two well placed knights and I was able to win a bishop following which he quickly resigned.” 0-1

Next was Phil, who writes: “This was a return match with Sophie, who was out for revenge for my win over her earlier in the season playing board 5 for the Tans against Forest Hall ‘A’.

The game raced ahead with pieces flying off the board from move 11. Analysing the game on Fritz later it seems I tried to be too clever with some of my tactics during this period and went a pawn down. Early on I had opened up the h-file and despite my King’s precarious position, decided to hold onto this supposed advantage instead of castling and consequently was forced to move my King into the centre of the board. This was a big mistake and my King was chased all over the place with Sophie at one stage thinking she had mated me. I was like a cat with nine lives and had used up eight of them.

During the game I had allowed Sophie the luxury of two passed pawns and although I managed to remove one of them the other caused me a lot of trouble. By move 41 I had managed to get material even again, (probably using up my last life), but my position was very poor and I was always likely to lose to best play. In the end, however, it was a blunder that did for me, (and no lives left), allowing Sophie’s Bishop to skewer my King and Rook – at least the rest of the team did better.” 1-1

On board 3, Jeff played a Caro-Kann from which Steve emerged with a significant lead in development, until Jeff cleverly cancelled it out by a series of exchanges. A draw was agreed after 24 moves when the position had become completely static, with any move of any piece – even a pawn – by either side threatening to destabilise things. 1.5-1.5

On board 5, Dave came up with a fighting win. He writes:“As I was white I played the queen’s gambit and he played a standard variation of the king’s indian defence,  with pawns on g6, and c6, a bishop on g7 and a knight on f6. As I knew this opening quite well, I started to open my major pieces and got a good queenside pawn structure. Unfortunately my oponent made a big blunder and took a poisoned pawn on my kingside. He lost his queen but I lost two pieces in the exchange. I was still happy and continued to attack. I  had to sacrifice a rook for a bishop to open his kingside as he was playing defensively. I continued to push on, taking off his pawns with my queen. At the end of the game I had to push my king and a few pawns. The game looked drawish in the end game but he let me in with my queen at the last hurdle .A very good game indeed.” 1.5-2.5

Raoul’s game went to the wire. Raoul writes: “It was a very tight game, neither one of us wanting to try anything too audacious. I thought I managed to find some good positions, but any positional advantage I had was soon lost as he forced exchange after exchange. It was neck and neck until the final stages when, with time running short, a small oversight left him a pawn down. With my additional piece and my rook behind his pawn line, I was in a position to apply enough pressure for him to concede defeat. “ Another good result for Raoul and a match-winning point. 1.5-3.5

As a result of this well-deserved win and the defaulting of the Leam Lane game, the Reivers ended up in a rather flattering fifth position overall, with the following record: Played 12 Won 6 Drawn 2 Lost 4 Game points 35 Match points 14.

Individual performances were as follows:

  P W D L Ave Board %
Phil 10 6   3 2.6 65%
Steve 8 3 4 1 4.0 67%
Dave F sr 8 2 2 4 2.1 40%
Bruce 7 2 1 4 3.6 36.5%
Derek 6 2 3 1 1.3 59.5%
Dave F jr 4 2 1 1 5.0 62.5%
Raoul 3 3 0 0 4.7 100%
Peter B 2 1 0 1 5.0 50%
Jeremy 2 0 1 1 1.0 25%
Alex 2 0 0 2 1.5 0%
Peter C 1 1 0 0 1.0 100%

Many thanks to all who have played and for your willingness to move up and down the board order as circumstances have dictated. There has been healthy competition for places on the team and this augurs well for next season.

Miscellanea

Zollner. As David puts it, “Neither me nor my opponent have shown much interest in playing our Zollner round 7 match, so it’s likely to be a mutual default.”

Sell. I am afraid I have no news of the last two rounds in this event.

Forthcoming events:

16th South LakesChess Congress, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria June 8-10

British Chess Championships, North Shields July 22 to August 4

Northumberland Chess Congress, North Shields September 21-23.

Scarborough Chess Congress October 19-21

Editorial farewell. As this e-bulletin brings the record for this season more or less to a close, it seems an appropriate moment for your editor to announce that he will now be hanging up his pen (or keyboard!). The bulletin has run for 6 years and has, he hopes, fulfilled a useful function. He would be delighted if another member of the club would care to take over as editor, and there is plenty of time to consider that possibility between now and the AGM in September. Alternatively, there is time for reflection about how, if at all, the club might seek to keep its members informed in the future, in the absence of any sort of bulletin. And so he bids his avid (?) readers a fond farewell.

Steve Larkin

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