Category Archives: Dyvels

Monarchs v Dyvels December 19th 2012

This was the first match in which the Dyvels were able to play their four highest graded players, so it was nice to see that it was against our friends in the Monarchs.
As team captain I had the vicarious pleasure of being able to watch the four games as they evolved.
Board 4, Phil Taylor (handicap 4) against Dave Foster Junior (handicap 7), was first to finish. Dave had opened with the Polish b4 (also known as the Sokolosky). It is also called the Orangutan because Tartakower, playing Maroczy, used it after asking an Orangutan in the local zoo what opening he should play the next day!
The opening had the desired impact. Dave played well, and Phil ‘winged’ it. Within a few minutes Dave’s attack was flowing nicely, with knight, bishop and queen in action (the queens were off on move 8), and Phil cramping his pieces in a queenside corner retreat to defend against the knightly attack (which won a pawn).
In the middle game the attack switched to the king’s side where Phil had castled, and Phil had to ensure very correct defensive play to avoid being overwhelmed while gradually moving his rooks and bishop into a co-ordinated assault that took full advantage of the fact that a price of Dave’s early attack was a failure to castle his king to safety, and more open options to allow black to threaten forks and ways to reclaim the material.
With white’s kingside underdeveloped Phil swung a knight across to combine with a bishop to win the exchange. Nothing daunted, Dave countered with strong threats, and a near mate, requiring accurate responses from Phil to stay in the game. When Dave left a bishop en pris, however, it was the beginning of the end for white, and Phil made his material advantage tell.
Meanwhile, on board 1 Dave Wrigley was testing the Dyvel’s Jeremy Handley by responding g6 and f5 to white’s opening d4, c4.
The Leningrad Dutch main line is, with possible changes in move order: 1 d4 f5 2 c4 Nf6 3 g3 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Bg2 d6 6 0-0 0-0 7 Nc3 Qe8. As a non-expert, I was interested to see that this rarely-played-at-grandmaster-level opening offers real chances for black to win, but has weaknesses that white can exploit.
Jeremy duly exploited them, and with 20 minutes to go was a bishop for a pawn up in a rook and pawn ending. With only a few minutes on his clock Dave fought like a tiger, and took full advantage of a couple of slips first to win back the bishop for pawns before being allowed to get his king in front of the only remaining (white) pawn with only a single rook each. With Jeremy unable to force a win an honourable draw was agreed.
With two exciting games concluding it was too much to hope for more excitement in the other games – but the hope was fulfilled.
In Tim Wrigley’s game against the Monarch’s captain Derek Blair, Derek opened with the f4 Bird’s, or Dutch attack. Then both played cautiously to reach what looked like a closed position with pawn chains supported by minor pieces, rooks and the queens.
Derek then opened it up, and the resulting exchanges left Tim with two bishops against a knight and bishop. Tim found a way through to the back of the pawn chains with one of his bishops and cut them down faster than Derek could counterattack. The early slow burn was followed by some simple, very effective, attacking chess by black, and an overwhelming advantage of unstoppable passed pawns.
When Derek resigned, the Dyvels had 2.5 points to the Monarchs 0.5, but on handicap the scores would finish level if the Monarchs won the final game.
Everything depended on whether the rejuvenated Alex Ashworth (who has been playing some fine, sharp chess in recent games after a drop in form last year) was able to beat the ever sound Peter Crichton.
Peter’s Queen’s gambit had quickly resulted in a white pawn on d5 and another on b5, split by a black pawn with a fianchettoed bishop on b7 and the Queen on its rook file optimising the diagonal threats. A relentless pressure of attacking (and responsive defending) on both sides with combinations of two rooks, bishop and queen from black homing in on a key pawn on c4 defended by two rooks, knight and queen while other moves were parried and countered made it a complex and exciting game.
A pawn won early in the game by Peter was eclipsed a few moves later following one of these side thrusts, with Alex winning one back. As the end neared, with less than five minutes on each clock, the thrusts, counterthrusts and exchanges became more frantic as both tried to secure a winning advantage.
Towards the end with rook and a few pawns apiece, and a slight advantage on the clock for Peter, it seemed obvious that there was insufficient time for either player to win over the board, and an honourable draw was agreed. Phew!
Net result, a decisive 3-1 win for the Dyvels, and 23-19 win allowing for handicap.


Monarchs v Dyvels

Tue 18-Dec-12










David Wrigley





Jeremy Handley
Derek Blair





Tim Wrigley





Peter Crichton
Dave Foster Jr (Mon)





Phil Taylor
Monarchs Total





Dyvels Total

Dyvels v Friars

Like many matches,  the play in the first hour and a half looked fairly even across all the boards.

Daniel O’Dowd (B) slowly developed his pieces against Jeremy Handley’s favourite Sicilian variation, and Dave Jackson (W) piled forward with a central push from his English opening with Phil Taylor steadily countering, while Peter Crichton (W) and Jason Maxwell balanced each other with thrusts developed, a passed pawn contained and a very even position overall- perhaps with a slight edge to Peter.

In the game between Bruce Reed (W) and Bill Burgess black developed a strong pawn counterattack on white’s castled kingside backed up by minor pieces and then the queen.

In the final half hour it all slowly changed.

Phil’s explanation of how he lost began with a minor lapse: “The game was fairly even until my position drifted away from me and I made a tactical error on move 27 losing a pawn. I was tired and playing too quickly and that’s never good against a similarly graded opponent. Eventually the game drifted even further away from me and I was left trying to get a result on time (my opponent was down to his last 3 minutes). When facing a barrage of pawns with only a rook to defend against them 3 minutes can be an awfully long time and it soon became apparent that it would be enough for my opponent to defeat me. ”

Peter Crichton, in a three pawn and minor pieces end game, explained “I suddenly lost a pawn, and although the rook and pawn ending was still ‘theoretically drawn I managed to lose.”

Bruce was slightly more fortunate as his opponent allowed him first to take control of an open d file, then to move his queen into a very attacking position, which, in combination with an advancing H file pawn, a rook and a knight quickly trapped the black queen as black tried to counter, and then overran his opponent’s king’s side defences – and secured a rare mate as Bill sought to promote a passed pawn.

Jeremy swapped a rook for a knight to break up the slowly building pressure in the middle game, and gradually become overwhelmed by Daniel’s well co-ordinated attack. Daniel’s excellent performances in the British championship (especially his second place in the under 160 section) suggest his current grading belies his real chess strength. 

                                                  Match points  (Handicap points in brackets)

Jeremy Handley    (2)                   0          4          (3) Daniel O’Dowd (white)

Peter Crichton       (3)                    0          4          (3) Jason Maxwell (black)

Phil Taylor            (4)                     0          4          (4) Dave Jackson  (white)

Bruce Reed          (4)                      4          0          (5) Bill Burgess      (black)

                               (13)                   4          12        (15)

Combined totals                     17        27

Austins v Dyvels

Austins v Dyvels

The evening started badly, we were ten minutes late starting because of an misunderstanding. Then we were treated to an eccentric lorry driver, who was either tired or drunk and seemed to want both sides of the A69. Just as Peter Crichton overtook the mad lorry driver, the police stopped us at Greenhead, because of an accident near Low Row. We tried a diversion through Gilsland, but had to turn back to Greenhead, and take the back roads via Lambley to Halton Lea Gate and then Hallbankgate.

It would nice to say that the evening improved, but Peter Crichton apart, the team continued in disaster mode. Tim played an English Opening, but after a promising opening, started going backwards and lost rapidly to Chris Royle. 1-0 to Austins. Next to finish was Phil Taylor, who caught the sharp end of a Bill Hardwick attack, and lost one of those open games where either side could have won. Bill managed to position a crucial knight where it stopped Phil’s pieces while supporting his attack. 2-0 to Austins. Peter Booker played Drew Millar, and played the black side of an English Opening. I’ve seen the scoresheet, and would describe it as an odd game where neither side took much notice of what the other was doing. This continued right to the end when Drew managed to rescue a lost position with a 2 move mate, just as Peter was looking really good. 3-0 to Austins. This left Peter Crichton trying to avoid a whitewash, Peter says Last night was indeed a night to be forgotten although I had a small silver lining: Bruce Wallace played a Benko Gambit against me but was never able to gain the compensating initiative that usually follows from the sacrificed pawn and, in time pressure, ended up succumbing to my advancing  a and b pawns. It was the third time that this defence has been played against me in the last couple of months and the first occasion where I have managed to gain a point.”

 As well as losing 3-1 (or 12-4) across the board we lost 19-17 on handicap, giving a final score of 31-21.

Dyvels open their South Tyne League season with a win

Dyvels secured a narrow win or a comfortable victory against Haydon Bridge, depending on how you count it.

With the result of South Tyne fixtures depending on a total of handicap points  – which are linked to gradings – and points for a match result (4 for a win, 2 for a draw, 0 for a loss) – the Dyvels had to win three and draw one of the four games as a minimum to come out on top.

In the first game to finish, David Foster Jnr (Dyvels) with a handicap of 7 played some exquisite combinatorial chess to push Damian Rudge‘s king out into the open, and win a rook for a bishop. Gradually piling on the pressure against his handicap 8 opponent he was the first to secure the 4 points for a win.

Next to finish was the Phil Taylor (handicap 4) v Karl Skrowonski (handicap 5) match. By the middle game Phil had a clear edge in material (bishop v pawn advantage) but Karl’s inspired resistance made it tough for Phil, and as the pieces on the board dwindled Phil had to give up material to counter Karl’s advancing pawns. At the end, Phil’s sole remaining piece – a pawn supported by his king – could not get past Karl’s knight (either blocking it or threatening to take it if it advanced), and a draw was agreed. 2 match points apiece. Karl, who has entered the second half of his tenth decade, plays his chess like someone one third of his age – strongly, and hard to beat.

The team captains (David Tulip – handicap 7- of Haydon Bridge, playing white, and Bruce Reed, handicap 4, of the Dyvels) were third to finish. As both players had played each other many times David dropped his usual c4 English opening (otherwise known as the Haydon Bridge opening) in favour of e4, leading to an Open Sicilian, with early novelties.

The outcome of the game hinged on Black’s attack with two knights, two bishops and a queen against white’s kingside-castled king protected by two knights in front of his three pawns. With White unable to get his other pieces from the queen’s side to help his king the massed Black pieces were able to remove White’s protective knights, open up the pawns and secure another 4 game points for the Dyvels.

This left Jeremy Handley (handicap 2) on top board against Christine Moorcroft (handicap 5) needing to win his game if the Dyvels were to emerge victorious. Unfortunately for the Dyvels, at that point Christine (as White) was playing brilliantly, and with a pawn advantage, pieces integrated and mobilised, and bearing down on Black’s king. Jeremy looked as if he would be doing well to force a draw as Christine swapped a rook for a bishop and two pawns to open up Black’s remaining protection for his king further.

In the end, as Jeremy sweated, and brought his two rooks, a bishop and his queen together for a well organised counter, Christine was unable to take full advantage of forking Black’s king and rook with her knight. She then stumbled as she moved quickly with her clock running down, and miscalculated a queen / rook exchange. Jeremy’s win – the hardest / most fortunate of the night – gave the Dyvels another 4 game points.

In the final scoring the Haydon Bridge 25 handicap points were added to their 2 game points to give them a combined total of 27. The Dyvel’s 14 game points (from three wins and a draw) were added to their handicap total of 17 to give an overall total of 31, and a win for the Dyvels by 31 points to 27.

The match result was much closer than the simple scores suggested, and the Dyvels were perhaps a little fortunate to get their season off to a winning start.