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Monarchs v HB

Posted by dwhump3yahoocouk on March 27, 2018

Played on Thursday 22 Mar-18, we saw the Monarchs taking on the league leaders Haydon Bridge at home. Due to lack of players in the Tynedale club, we had to recruit some outside help. Ian Mackay, captain of the Haydon Bridge club, was kind enough to loan us Damian Rudge. As things turned out, possibly not one of his better decisions!

Having lost to the Austins on the 20th Mar , the Monarchs were thirsting for blood ( AB negative goes down particularly well…..with a nice bottle of chianti!!)

The line-up for the monarchs was as follows:-

Board 1- Pete Chrichton (h/c 3)

Board 2- Derek Blair (h/c 5)

Board 2- Dave Humphreys (h/c 7)

Board 4- Damian Rudge (h/c 9)

Club and team stalwart Pete, with black,  faced off against long term sparring partner, Ian Mackay. These two are very evenly matched, and have done battle many times before. Ian opened with a classic left hook, 1.c4, the English Opening. A flank opening, it it the fourth most popular opening in modern master play. White stakes his claim to the center by grabbing control of the d5 square from the wing [ almost like a Sicilian with colours reversed]. Although the opening can go off into strictly English byways, it is most often used as a trans-positional device that can lead to the Queens Gambit, Nimzo-Indian or Grunfeld, giving the opening a high degree of flexibility.(Ref:-Wikipedia)

Keeping his cards very close to his chest, Pete’s report of the game was  brief and to the point. He sacked a pawn early on, getting some good compensation. Improving his position, he was able to regain the pawn,and, through a clever tactical manoeuvre, won a further pawn. At this stage, there was much reduced material, and, due to some stubborn defense from Ian, Pete was unable to convert his material plus to a win. A draw was therefore agreed.

Derek, with white, banged heads with Phil Walters. Play opened 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6, this looked like a Chigorin variation without the 3.c4 thrust. Both sides developed their queen bishops to active squares; Derek to f4 and Phil to g4. Derek played actively in the center, while Phil grabbed the b2 pawn with his queen on move 12. All this resulted in Derek’s pawn structure being severely compromised, with doubled e-pawns and isolated pawns on a2 and c3. Derek, in his usual aggressive style, decided to sack a knight for two pawns, in order to get control of the, now, fully open b-file. By move 28, after an attempted king-side pawn storm by Derek, the pawn structure had changed dramatically. The pawn count at this point was 4-6 in black’s favour, but, black’s extra pawns were now doubled, and isolated on c4 and c5. In addition, black had doubled f-pawns on f5 and f7 which were on the half-open f-file. A queen/knight combination can be deadly. Black started to manoeuvre his queen and knight to more active squares, and by move 34, had succeeded in netting white’s e5-pawn. The queens came off by move 40, leaving Phil with a very active knight on c3, and rook on f8, versus Derek’s bad bishop on f2, hemmed in by pawns on g3 and f3, neither of which could advance due to Phil’s pawn on f5, and inactive rook. At move 42, Derek tried a desperate sack of his rook for one of Phil’s c-pawns, which had started to inch their way ominously down the board. Alas, it was to no avail. Phil advanced his leading c-pawn to the 2nd rank and managed to pull off a knight fork of Derek’s king and bishop. Moving the king to cover the bishop would have allowed the c-pawn to queen, so Derek was forced to resign at move 42.

Playing on board 3, I crossed swords with Tom Bradford for the second time this season. Having lost my away game to him last December, with the white pieces, I was determined to do better with the black. Tom also went for the English opening. I assayed the Kings Indian Defence set-up. White transposed into the classical KID arrangement with his knight on f3 and pawns on e4, d4, and c4, and his king bishop on e2. White will try to gain space in the center and black tries to hit back with either the …e5 or …c5 counter strike. After exchanges on d5, I established a pawn on e5. This shortened the range of my fianchettoed bishop on g7 but gave me the excellent d6 square for my knight, which was free of any pawn attack. Tom forced open the f-file and gained control of it with his rook. However, I had control of all possible access squares making it impossible for him to invade my position. Meanwhile, play shifted to the queenside where I had established a 3-2 pawn majority. Move 23 saw Tom invade on my weak a7 square with his queen, forking my rook, on b8, and my a6-pawn, but she was a lone raider without support. I defended my rook, he took the pawn, but this allowed me to force the exchange of queens. My feeling was that, if I could drive away his c3 knight, I could get back the pawn by attacking his a and b pawns down the now, half open a-file. Sadly for Tom, when I attacked his knight, he played it to the undefended a4-square, right in the firing line of my queen bishop. Having been in this situation before, when a stronger player leaves a piece en-prise, you have to ask is it a brilliant sacrifice or blunder? On this occasion……………..it was a blunder!! My game plan from then on was simple; exchange down to a winning endgame. This I was able to do, and, when I got my passed e-pawn to the 3rd rank to support both my bishop and rook, and Tom’s king was trapped on the first rank, he was unable to avert the further loss of material, and sportingly conceded the game on move 40.

Our guest team member Damian, with white, did battle against clubmate Christine Moorcroft. He opened with 1.e4 and Christine responded with the Sicilian defence 1…c5. With 2.d4, it looked like Damian might be going for the Smith-Morra gambit, where, after 2…cxd4, white plays 3.c3 offering a pawn in exchange for rapid development. However, Damian went for 3.Qxd4. This allows black to gain and important tempo with 3…Nc6, which Christine played. Although not very fashionable, I have 88 master games in my database where this line has been played. However, white only scored 29% wins. In dragon-esque style, Christine fianchettoed her king bishop and opted for short castling. Play continued with both sides manoeuvring for central control. The d file was opened, and Christine doubled her rooks there. Damian, after establishing a 3-2 queenside pawn majority, decided to play on the queeside with a push to c4. At move 30, I think that Christine must have missed the pawn fork that hit her queen and rook when Damian pushed on to c5. At move 34, Damian decided to give back a little material by sacking the exchange. I’m not sure what he had in mind here. Eventually, by move 50, Damian had rook, knight and 5 pawns against Christine’s rook and 5 pawns, all on the king side, although she had doubled e-pawns on e5 and e6. She managed to win Damian’s a-pawn, but, with his active rook behind her own pawns, she could not avoid the loss of more material and resigned at move 56.

This win must have been a sweet one for Damian as he was giving away the maximum of 3 handicap points to Christine, and I had no hesitation in naming him the man of the match! This also concluded the Monarchs games for this season. It was also my first season as joint captain, along with Bruce Reed, and, on a personal note, I would like to thank all members of the Monarchs, both regulars and guests, for their support, and it was great to finish the season on such a high note. Long may it continue into next season. Have a great summer everyone!!

Dave Humphreys



One Response to “Monarchs v HB”

  1. Phil Walters said

    Good and entertaining report, with excellent positional analysis.
    Pity we lost!
    But thank you.

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