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Bulletin No 16

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no. 16 (26.3.08)

For the past six and a half months a sword of Damocles has hung over the head of every member of the club, whether they have realised it or not! On the stroke of midnight last night the sword duly fell. No doubt then about the lead story for this month’s bulletin: it is of course the

Club Championship

With phase one (all play all) of the championship now over, the situation is as follows:

Derek Blair 8/11
Jack Bradshaw 8/12
Bruce Reed 6/10
Mike Nicholson 6/10
Steve Larkin 5.5/10
Peter Crichton 5/8
Phil Taylor 4/10
Matthew Taylor 3.5/7
Malcolm Reid 3/9
David Wrigley 2.5/4
Dave Foster sr 2/3
Dave Foster jr 2/10
Mark Taylor 1.5/3
Will Higgs 0/7

The changes in the line-up from last month are that your editor has overtaken Peter Crichton, Matthew Taylor has moved up five places (in part because that wily old bird Derek Blair had recorded a lost game as a won one!), Malcolm Reed has climbed two places, and Dave Foster senior has entered the fray.

The competition now enters its second, knockout phase, with the top eight players taking part in a major competition and the remainder competing in a minor contest. Competitors are seeded from 1 to 14 in accordance with the list above (Bruce has been seeded above Mike in accordance with the rule which states that where two or more of the finalists have the same score from the same number of games they will be seeded by reverse order of grading). So the line-up for the Major is:

  1. Derek Blair v Matthew Taylor
  2. Bruce Reed v Peter Crichton
  3. Jack Bradshaw v Phil Taylor
  4. Mike Nicholson v Steve Larkin

And for the Minor:

  1. Malcolm Reid – bye
  2. Dave Foster sr v Will Higgs
  3. David Wrigley – bye
  4. Dave Foster v Mark Taylor

In the Minor, the first and second seeded players get byes as there are no seventh and eighth seeds for them to play. In both competitions, it is the responsibility of the first named player to contact his opponent and arrange a date for the game. All games, including replays where necessary, to be completed by the end of April. Colours to be drawn by lot on the night. For rules governing replays etc, see the document circulated in September 2007. In the semi-finals, the winner of A plays the winner of B, and the winner of C plays the winner of D. In the final round, the two winners contest the title and the two losers compete for third place. Good luck to all!

And now it is time to turn our attention to league matters.

Northumberland League Division 1

With relegation avoided and a match still to play, Mike Nicholson could afford himself the rare luxury of attending the final match, against the University, as a spectator. Peter Crichton, deputising for Tim Wrigley, took over board four, while Matthew Taylor was drafted in to play on board five, in view of his excellent record for the Tans this season. Alas, the University could produce only four players, so Matthew was left to relieve his disappointment by destroying your editor in a club championship game. As for the match itself, Mike has submitted the following report:

“Reivers vs NewcastleUniversity, 04 Mar 08

DJ Weldon 0-1 P Gayson
Mark Taylor 0-1 A Bak
C F S Davison 0-1 S Aitchison
JP Crichton 0-1 G Bosworth
Matthew Taylor 1-0 Default
  1 4  

A sad end to the season for the Reivers. With our Division 1 status secured, Tim and I dropped out to make way for Peter and Matthew, but University turned up one short and Matthew didn’t get his much- deserved game after all. Thereafter nothing went our way. For Mark, Tuesdays this term have always been tough days at the office, and again this turned into a bad day at the office chess-wise too, defeat coming very early to level the scores. Things didn’t look too bad thereafter, but in various ways the games were lost. Colin came under central pressure, conceded a passed supported pawn, managed to remove the supporting pawn but not the passed pawn itself, and succumbed to an attack on the king position. Peter appeared to have an excellent set-up, queen and both rooks firing at Bosworth’s king position down the half-open g-file, with both bishops directly or indirectly targeting the same area from across the board. However there was no break-through to be found, and Bosworth came back with his own successful counter-attack. The quality game was undoubtedly on top board, where Dave again showed his great positional skill. An early tactical exchange led to a most unbalanced position, Dave the exchange for a pawn down but with four pawns to one on the queen-side versus one pawn against three on the other wing. He was clearly relatively comfortable, as he gained time on the clock against his 193-rated opponent, Peter Gayson. In due course, as time and material diminished, Gayson returned the material to leave queen and two pawns each, but at the expense of a clock down to seconds rather than minutes. With more advanced pawns, Dave could have offered a queen exchange, but instead advanced his king towards Gayson’s own king still in its corner with its pawns. Maybe Dave was afraid he might otherwise be accused of just shuffling pieces to use up Gayson’s clock time, but whatever the reason, he contrived to manoeuvre his king into a mating trap. Only three seconds more and the game would have been his: one of the most heart-rending and cruel endings I can remember.

A 4-1 win instead of a 4-1 loss would have moved us up a place in the league table. As it is, we finish just above the relegation places with two wins and two draws. Our individual performances are as follows:

Dave: played 11, W3 D3 L5, 40.9 percent, average board number 1.2
Colin: p9, W3 D1 L5, 38.9pc, abn 2.1
Mike: p10, W3 D4 L3, 50pc, abn 3.0
Mark: p10, W4 D0 L6, 40pc, abn 3.2
Tim: p7, W2 D3 L2, 50pc, abn 4.9
Peter: p3, W0 D2 L1, 33.3pc, abn 4.7
Jack (D1, bd.5), Derek (L2, bd.4) and Steve (L1, bd.5) have also played.

With results like those, we could have finished higher up the table, but we tended to score reasonably well in most matches, on only one
occasion (Gateshead Libraries) all coming good together. And what are percentages anyway? If Dave hadn’t walked into that mating trap, he’d have finished on 50 percent. Anyway, many thanks for everyone’s support through the season, and congratulations on keeping us in the top flight.”

Thanks for that, Mike, and once again congratulations to the Reivers on surviving in division one. They finished 3 points clear of relegation but 2 points adrift of the team above them. Next year Gosforth Empire and Alnwick A move into the division. It will doubtless be another close-run thing!

Northumberland League Division Two

The Tans also had one game left to complete the season, but in their case there was a theoretical possibility of entering the relegation zone, so Phil Taylor put out his strongest possible team. As Phil reports, it turned out like this:

“Many thanks to everyone who supported the Tans’ last match of the season yesterday and a big thanks to those who played. It was an exciting affair with league safety assured early on as Dave Foster won on board 5. Then Matthew (4) and Derek (1) lost tight games to put us 2-1 down. David managed to make the best of a pawn advantage on board 2 to level the match and it was then down to Peter’s tight game on board 3. His opponent offered the draw with about 20 minutes each left on clocks but Peter had the more active pieces and declined. His opponent moved more into time trouble and Peter managed to finish the game with a threatened mate to which there was very little reply. Given Peter’s unstinting dedication to playing some of Division 2’s toughest opponents on Board 1 throughout the season with no complaint it was very satisfying that he should have the honour of scoring the point that took us to 6th out of 10.”

Thanks for that, Phil. The full result was:

Derek Blair 0-1 Julian Peterca
David Wrigley 1-0 Dave Turner
Peter Crichton 1-0 Steve Wilde
Matthew Taylor 0-1 Ed Brown
Dave Foster sr 1-0 Brian Bell

So the Tans finished in sixth place, but only one point behind Eldon Leisure who finished third, so tight was the division overall. The prospects for next season look good!

South Tyne League

Again there is just one match to report here, Tynedale v Austins at Hallbankgate on March 11th. Mike Nicholson provided the following report:

Austins Handicap   Handicap Tynedale
David Siddall 2 2-2 2 Mike Nicholson
Dave McMath 3 4-0 4 Peter Crichton
Syd Cassidy 3 4-0 6 Dave Foster jr
Bill Burgess 5 4-0 8 Will Higgs
  13 14-2 20  

Result: Austins 27-22 Tynedale

(In accordance with league rules, Tynedale handicaps on boards 3 and 4 were adjusted upwards from 8 and 10 respectively) We ventured forth on a blusterous and potentially very much more blusterous night, and were blown away by our Force 10 opponents. The games finished in reverse board order, and by the time the games score had reached 0-3 and there were still 80 minutes available, it was high time to sue for peace and take the tail wind home. We had been out-graded on boards 2-4, with Syd explaining very reasonably that he never knew how strong a team to field against Tynedale. Will felt he never got into the game, though his opponent was more generous. Dave was going well until he re-captured fxg3 instead of hxg3, leaving a nasty check (Syd reckoned that otherwise the position was dead level). Peter went a pawn up at the expense of an uncastled king, the latter proving the decisive factor. My opponent got his favourite Sicilian but then started to get cold feet, played some weak moves and left me a pawn up and right on top when home beckoned. We beat the forecast gales, which never seemed to reach Hexham anyway.”

Both Tynedale and Monarchs have one match left to play, but Monarchs’ grip on bottom place looks secure!


Peter Crichton (2.5/5) and David Wrigley (2/5) took part in an NCA Rapidplay event on 16 March.

Final reminder that the Durham Chess Congress is on April 25-28. Enquiries to Graham Marshall on 01429-426374.

The club has, I believe, decided to enter two teams in this year’s summer knockout competition.

Steve Larkin

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