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Bulletin No 12

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin 12 (2.12.07)

The lead item this month has to be the following conundrum –What are the Tayloes putting in their tea?

What are the Taylors putting in their tea?

At the time of writing, the Taylor dynasty collectively has played eight league matches during November and returned an outstanding score of six and a half points! While it is invidious to make distinctions, one cannot help but notice that our club chairman has contributed a straight three out of three to that total! That’s what is called leading by example. So, keep up the good work, lads, and er, could you let us all have a copy of the secret recipe?

Northumberland League Division 1

The Reivers were at home to Kings A on Nov 13th, and Mike has sent me this report:

DJ Weldon ½ ½ A Harvey
ML Nicholson 0 1 D Graham
Mark Taylor 0 1 JD Wheeler
DJ Blair 0 1 R Plater
TJ Wrigley ½ ½ R Mitcheson
  1 4  

With three county champions on the top three boards, Kings A were always likely to be too strong for us, but I was pleased with our performance nonetheless. Dave continued his excellent form this season, and had the beating of Alan Harvey but for the 20 seconds remaining on his clock. If Dave’s performance was solid, Tim’s was just the reverse. According to opposition reports, Bob Mitcheson missed a mate and several opportunities to win pieces, but Tim hung in and had equalised when the draw was agreed – a fine example to the team. I had a perfectly good opening and level game with Dean Graham until I misjudged the transition into the endgame and was overrun by his King. Derek fought long and hard the exchange down against Ron Plater, while Mark, with arguably the toughest task of the evening, was the only one not to worry his opponent, losing Queen for Rook on move 15. Despite this, we stand in mid-table having played a match fewer than most other teams. We have two strong Tynemouth teams to face before Christmas as well as Morpeth A, postponed from late October. Another couple of match points before the break would do very nicely thankyou..

The Reivers’ second match this month was away to Tynemouth Hobbits, on Nov 27th. It went as follows:


  Tynemouth Hobbits vs Tynedale Reivers
1. M Hubbard ½ ½ DJ Weldon
2. L A L Barnes ½ ½ ML Nicholson
3. J Clarke 0 1 Mark Taylor
4. K Rockett 1 0 DJ Blair
5. D Jarema 1 0 S Larkin
  Totals 3 2  

Mike reports:

Oh so close! This really was one that got away. As the match drew to its close, we stood 1.1/2-1/2 in the lead, with Dave right on top and with a big time advantage, and Steve also with a fine position and time advantage. But both expected to win and couldn’t press home their advantages as the clocks intervened. Both had played superbly, as earlier had Mark, who took the full point from hitherto unbeaten John Clarke. I had been out-played by Lara Barnes, but tiredness and shortage of time persuaded her to simplify when in a dominant position, and she offered the draw despite a big time advantage. Derek wasn’t so lucky against Keith Rockett, playing much of the game the exchange down, and bravely being the last to finish. Still, we shall pick up more points if we go on like this. Dave’s record of two wins and two draws is a great example to the rest of us.

Honesty obliges your editor to correct Mike’s kind report in one respect: while Dave on board one really was denied victory by acute shortage of time, yours truly, with time on his hands, managed to lose his game to an opponent who was in deep time trouble.

So at this stage of the season, the Reivers remain on 3 points from 4 matches and have, not unexpectedly, slipped down the table somewhat. Their next match, against Morpeth A, is clearly a crucial one and should see the Reivers at full strength, provided Mark’s university commitments permit him to play.

Northumberland League Division 2

The Tans have likewise played two matches this month. The first, against Jesmond Rookies, produced a splendid 4-1 victory. Not surprisingly, team captain Phil Taylor wrote the following very full report!

Jesmond play on a Friday at the earlier than normal time of 18:45 which meant an early tea for those travelling from Tynedale. Having played first team members Tim Wrigley and Derek Blair in previous matches on top board, Mark Taylor was selected to cover the position as he was still available, not having yet played on one of the top three boards for the first team. Peter Crichton continued as board 2 and Jack Bradshaw was brought in to play board 3 allowing Matthew Taylor to drop to board 4. As usual, I played myself on board 5.

Jesmond had moved the match location from the RGS junior school refectory, which was used last year, to a quieter first floor classroom which was good for concentration but challenged older muscles as the chairs and tables were significantly lower.

Jesmond’s top board, Craig Borwick, had recently played Mark in a division 1 game. Both had the same colours but Craig had called in to say he’d been delayed and so was not in the best frame of mind to play when he turned up half an hour late. Consequently, despite starting later, Mark finished him off quickly and was the first to register a point for the Tans.

I was next to finish. My opponent was the experienced Tony Davey and although his grade had dropped from 85 last season to 62 this he still played a very solid defence to my Queen’s Gambit Declined. Fortunately for me he allowed a strong King Side attack and with my active pieces stripping away his King’s defence I was able to force mate while his queen was stranded on the other side of the board. 2-0 to Tynedale.

The other games were all looking tight although Matthew had got the upper hand against Dave Walshaw. Peter Crichton was next to finish against Theon Rogers. He managed to wrest the initiative with a Queen move which exploited White’s unconnected pawns. Theon thought for what seemed ages and tried to conjure up something from nothing but Peter had a strong position and quickly finished the game to tie up the match points. Matthew, meanwhile, had managed to relinquish his piece advantage and made the conclusion of his game harder than it should have been. A final knight fork on King & Rook however broke down Dave Walshaw’s resistance.

Jack was the last to finish – he had played Asef Zahed before in junior tournaments. The game was a tight battle with neither side gaining a significant advantage. It came down to an endgame with Jack having a pawn advantage but the disadvantage of doubled pawns. As is usually the case with endgames they are trickier than they look and everyone watching on had opinions on how the positions should be played. In the end, Asef made the most of his connected pawns on the King side to Queen first. Even then, Jack did not make it easy for him to conclude but eventually Asef found a way through and Jack resigned.

Winning away 4-1 was a great boost to our early results in Division 2 and now the team has another away game to play against Eldon Leisure on Monday 19th November.

That second match resulted in a narrow defeat, which may have something to do with the brevity of Phil’s report !

  Eldon Leisure vs Tynedale Tans
1. Stephan Hartmann (-) ½ ½ Derek Blair (110)
2. Martin Beardsley (102) 1 0 Peter Crichton (107)
3. Norman Marshall (95) ½ ½ Matthew Taylor (95)
4. Geoff Shearing (93) 1 0 Steve Larkin (82)
5. Peter Hubbard (82) 0 1 Phil Taylor (74)
  Totals 3 2  

Gradings were close. Tough close match.

My own impressions, quite possibly inaccurate as I had plenty on my plate, were that Derek’s game was an even one in which both players had chances and where a draw was perhaps the safest outcome. Peter’s game was the last to finish and he would almost certainly have squeezed a draw out of it had he not been so short of time. Matthew’s seemed a very solid draw. I was on the back foot throughout and could not stop a pawn surge. Phil, despite being in time trouble, produced a brilliant finish in which an apparent knight sacrifice led to mate (I thought he’d blown it!).

So at this point the Tans stand 6th out of 10 teams with 3 match points from 4 games, just like the Reivers. As expected, every match this season will be crucial to survival in division 2.

South Tyne League

Here the Monarchs continued their losing ways, and the question-marks hanging over the future of manager Derek Blair get bigger and more numerous by the match! On this occasion he selected a squad so strong that a 3-1 win would merely achieve a draw against HaydonBridge, so no pressure, lads! Looking for a clean sweep, the Monarchs were soon into their stride when your editor, on board 4, defeated a below par David Tulip, who had spent all day in hospital having tests and understandably had other things on his mind. Next to finish was top board Tim Wrigley, who succumbed to Ian Mackay’s active rooks, after earlier losing a knight. David Wrigley, on board three, was third to finish, eventually breaking down the fierce resistance offered by Jim Dixon (maybe Jim’s second/third drink had something to do with it?!). So now it was all down to Malcolm Reid on board two  – could he pull off a win with black against Christine Moorcroft and so salvage the draw which would give the Monarchs their first match point this season? Alas, Malcolm was too chivalrous to oblige and, after going a piece down, nobly resigned when his opponent uncharitably forced the swap of queens. So 2-2 over the boards and a defeat 32-28 on handicap leaves the Monarchs propping up the league table. The odds on Derek Blair following Steve McLaren into managerial oblivion are shortening by the minute!

By contrast, the Tynedale team is faring much better than the Monarchs, though they found themselves up against a very strong Friars team in a home match on Nov 20th. One and a half points would suffice for a Tynedale win, and that man Phil Taylor was again in splendid form, mating his opponent very neatly and being first to finish, on board 4. Next Bruce Reed, on board 2, went down after a good fight against a strong opponent: the combination of being the exchange down and finding himself in a positional disadvantage eventually sealed his fate. Matthew Taylor, on board 3, put up an heroic defence, but the handicap of being a piece to a pawn down proved too much in the end. So it was all down to board one, which looked very drawish. Peter Crichton, under huge time pressure, strived might and main to stay in the game but eventually the clock got the better of him. So Friars emerged 3-1 winners and also won on handicap.

Next, Tynedale played Austins and emerged 3-1 winners over the boards and 26-12 winners on handicap. Peter Crichton defeated Sid Cassidy on board 1, Bruce Reed lost on board 2, Phil beat Drew Millar on board 3 and Dave Foster won by default on board 4. Those are all the details I have to hand at present.

The Club Championship

There has been less activity this last month, given all the league matches. Nonetheless, Derek continues to set the pace – and what a pace! Nice to see Dave Foster’s perseverance paying off as he breaks his duck in the championship not once but twice. Interesting to observe that, if now were the cut-off point, Mike would scrape into the top half and Matthew would be squeezed out!

Derek Blair 4.5/5
Peter Crichton 4.5/6
Jack Bradshaw 4/7
Steve Larkin 3/4
Bruce Reed 3/5
Dave Foster 2/6
Mark Taylor 1.5/3
Mike Nicholson 1.5/3
Matthew Taylor 1.5/4
Malcolm Reid 1/4
Phil Taylor 1/5
David Wrigley 0.5/1
Will Higgs 0/3


Mike Nicholson sends the following report on his trip to Spain, where he was officially invested with the title of International Master.

Jill and I spent three weeks combining a holiday with attendance at the annual congress of the International Correspondence Chess Federation at Benalmadena, west of Malaga in Spain. Although I was only a visitor to the Congress, with a walk-on part to receive my International Master certificate and medal on the Tuesday morning, I was made to feel every bit a part of the English delegation and of the Congress as a whole. It was all very interesting, and an honour and privilege to be there. National delegations were almost entirely from Europe and the Americas, with a smattering from Africa and one from the Middle East. All proceedings were in English, with no translation facilities. All business and some social events took place in the four-star Hotel Alay.The award ceremony was extensive. A few individuals, plus a more substantial Spanish contingent, were there to receive Grandmaster, Senior International Master or mere International Master titles, one of the Spaniards being Manuel Bescos Anzano whom I had played en route to my title in a game published recently in the NCA bulletin. It was great to meet him and his wife and to struggle to exchange news, views and experiences … in Spanish. National delegates took away all the certificates and medals for their own absentees, Germany getting ironic laughter for this year collecting only a small plastic carrier-full instead of their usual sack-load. The warmth and friendliness was delightful, helped not least by the presence of four former world champions – Rittner and Baumbach from Germany, Palciauskas from the USA, and Hamarat from Austria. The latter arrived by car as we did, and in the course of having parking places found for us by the hotel (and at the time not knowing who he was) found that he had driven in from Vienna, and shortly before that from Turkey, his native country. A week later he began the return trip.Actual chess-playing was less than forecast. A scheduled match versus Malaga was curtailed in size because of shortage of opponents, and I dropped out, being not only a visitor but also the lowest rated FIDE-equivalent player. A simultaneous versus GM Pia Cramling was cancelled through lack of interest on our side. That left only a popular blitz tournament which attracted around 50 players. We were divided into two groups of approximately equal strength. Since I have been practising blitz at the end of most of my league matches for many years past, I shouldn’t be surprised that I did better than my rating position forecast, winning four and drawing two. Social events included opening and closing banquets in the hotel, with appropriate Spanish dancing and singing, and a splendid lunch- time banquet in Granada prior to a visit to the Alhambra.Finally on the Congress, a most unfortunate event occurred, the outcome of which is not yet fully understood. The ICCF President, Mohamed (Med) Samraoui, was arrested from his hotel room on the Monday night and duly taken to Madrid for questioning. I will write more on this in an article I shall submit for the NCA bulletin. Suffice it to say here that my own assessment is that he is the victim of having spoken publicly against events in his native Algeria. He now holds a German passport.

Thanks very much for that, Mike, and once again hearty congratulations on a fantastic achievement.

From the sublime to the ridiculous. Your editor distinguished himself in the second round of the Newcastle championship by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in a way that only he can do. He will now be at or near the bottom of the pile with half a point from two games, and serve him right!

The Gosforth Rapidplay is scheduled for Sat Jan 12th, 11 till 5.30ish. Enquiries to Noel Boustred on 07903913786.

That’s all for this time.

Steve Larkin


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