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Bulletin No 29

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 29 (7 Dec ’09)

A lot of league activity to report this time, starting with

Northumbria League division 1

The Reivers have played three matches, and I am indebted to David Wrigley for supplying the following reports.

“Tynedale Reivers v Eldon Leisure

In their first match, Eldon had recruited the 180-odd graded Alan Harvey, which made them a difficult proposition, so when swapping teams I was a little relieved to see he wasn’t playing – our uphill struggle had turned into an even contest. As we settled in, I felt that Tim’s position looked a little perilous, Mike had equalised and was looking bloodthirsty, both Dave F and I had dropped/(sacrificed?) pawns for development and Dave W looked to be making some headway.

Dave F was first to finish, his lead in development hadn’t borne fruit, and he was on the wrong side of a knight & 4 v knight & 2 endgame. For a while it looked as though he was going to hold Nigel, who looked increasingly frustrated, but eventually the pawns won through.

Next up was Mike, who writes: “I was blessed with a repeat of the opening from my first game of the season, so got off to a quick start, helped by my opponent being in a mood for passive play.  I was soon level at least, and in fact had the initiative after my opponent’s queen-side castling (king-side wasn’t much better) gave me an attack. In fact there probably was nothing conclusive in it, but it was impressive enough to gain me clock-time and put my opponent into a pessimistic frame of mind. That eventually induced him to put a rook en prise, and when after some

time I realised I could take it, he resigned.”

Tim, playing a solid Classical French, adventurously castled queenside and was under pressure from Ted for a good length of time. He ended up a pawn down in a double-edged bishop v knight ending. He was happy to hold on, and they agreed a draw, though at the end Ted may have overplayed his hand and a little post-match analysis suggested Tim had chances in the final position. 1.5-1.5 and things are getting a little tense.

Dave Weldon’s game was an entertaining tactical tussle, it seemed every time I looked over there was a mate threat somewhere. He was the exchange down for a couple of pawns and the Bishop pair, so things looked promising, though Stefan’s rooks were leering down open files. I missed the crux of the game, but wholesale exchanges must have occurred, leaving Dave with a pawn on the seventh supported by his lone Bishop. He had no way of advancing it, and Stefan’s rook could go about munching Dave’s extra pawns, so Dave did the honourable thing.I found myself improvising on move 3 after Paul played an unusual Modern/Sicilian hybrid. I obtained a pleasant lead in development and a chunky centre for a mere pawn, but Paul was able to get his knights going and take a share in the centre. I then blundered the exchange, needlessly sacrificed a Bishop and all looked lost as mutual time-trouble loomed. I ploughed on, hoping for a swindle and was rewarded when a cheap one-move trap picked up his queen for my rook and cracked open his King’s defences. A couple of blitzed moves later, I’d picked up the exchange, a couple of pawns, the lead on the clock, and then a bishop. Paul resigned gracefully, and chatted enthusiastically afterwards, when many (myself especially) would have been rueful and sulky. And so:

Tynedale Reivers   Eldon Leisure
Dave Weldon 0-1 Stefan Hartmann
David Wrigley 1-0 Paul Robson
Mike Nicholson 1-0 Martin Beardsley
Dave Foster 0-1 Nigel Villalard
Tim Wrigley ½-½ Ted Jarah
  2½ 2½  

Probably a fair result, though no doubt Eldon Leisure will feel they should’ve won. We sit proudly above the relegation zone! Maybe we’ll even win one somewhere down the line.”

“The Reivers travelled back to Eldon Square for the second time in a fortnight, undaunted by the behemoth that awaited: Kings A, a fingernail’s width from being champs last season and likely to outgrade us all the way down. Peter met the rest of us outside the playing room, and informed us with a grin that Kings were at full strength. Tynedale’s underdogs started well. My opponent was nowhere to be seen, both Mike and Dave looked in good shape, Peter was sizing up Ron Plater nicely and Tim had a big centre and looked better developed. 20 minutes in, my opponent turned up, looking slightly sheepish, and the wheels began to fall off for the team.Dave had yet another highly tactical game against classy opposition, and his creditable opening advantage was stolen away when he allowed Dean to castle with an attack, and he was able to regroup from there. Another blow came later in a hairy-looking position, Dean picked up the exchange and the advantage proved too much.Seconds later, my clock squeezed me into resignation. A KIA against my French left me badly cramped, and I spent too long trying to find simple moves. A couple of pawn sacs in an attempt to open lines for a fiery blitz finish brought nothing but misery, and I was forced to give up. Grim.Mike had the totally undeserved honour of bringing home the loss. He writes:

“There were two turning points tonight in my game with John Wheeler.  He played a Modern Defence, and I got a good opening with good development.  I lost the advantage when I needed to analyse carefully to find a sound reply to his Qb6 threat.I lost a pawn, but recovered and set up a pretty and symmetrical blockade.In retrospect, the blockade was sound, but the second turning point came when I tried to be too clever and blew a piece.” The match was lost, but there was still time for some heroics:

Peter and his opponent were still in the late middle-game, his knight and his opponent’s King were eyeing each other nervously on the kingside whilst each side had centralised rooks. Time was running short for both sides so peace was declared, an excellent result for Peter against a real tough cookie.

Tim was last to finish, making the rest of us sweat a bit. He picked up a clean pawn in the middle game, but tactical exchanges returned it, and left isolated c-pawns butting heads. The battle revolved around control of these pawns. Tim’s pawn was the one to fall, and he was left a passed pawn down in a dark-squared Bishops endgame. However, Tim quickly exchanged pawns on the Kingside, leaving his opponent with only h and c pawns –Tim was able to sacrifice his bishop for the c pawn and plant his king on h1. Andy quickly realised he’d be unable to queen his pawn and Tim chalked up his half point.

Another game we might’ve eked something from, though the result was a fair one. All the games (bar the damp squib on board 2) were well contested and I’m happy with the season thus far. Go Reivers!

Kings A   Reivers
D Graham 1 0 D Weldon
J King 1 0 D Wrigley  
J Wheeler 1 0 M Nicholson  
R Plater ½ ½ P Crichton  
A Robinson ½ ½ T Wrigley  
  4 1  

On Tues 24th November, Reivers waded into their first real “4-pointer” of the season – the visitors, Jesmond Rookies, are fellow relegation candidates, so this result may have repercussions later in the season.Dave Weldon was first past the post, peace breaking out on board one in fairly quick time. The view from board 2 was that Dave’s game was a bit less tactical than the storming melées he’s been playing thus far this season, which may have come as a relief. At this point, I thought that I was slightly worse, whilst Mike, Jack and Dave each had good-looking positions. Then three games seemed to end practically simultaneously: My game was a bit of a mess. I played 2.Nc3 against the Scandinavian, which I thought I was comfortable with (after dabbling a little with 1.Nc3) and my opponent, blithely making it up as he went along, proceeded to cramp me horribly. Opposite-sided castling gave me some respite, his weak queenside, a blockade on my kingside and a fixed centre making up for my poor development. Eventually I was forced to offer him a choice: a safe perpetual or facing down a scary attack, but a bishop up. He took the perpetual, and I was quietly relieved. At about the same time, Dave Foster was in the darker reaches of a dead-equal pawn endgame. Wholesale exchanges had left him with a slightly passive position, but he outplayed his opponent positionally, and was the only one with winning chances in the closing moments of the game. It wasn’t to be, and a third draw was agreed.Jack played an attractive game, he garnered a nice spatial advantage and a good bishop vs a restricted knight, but his opponent was hanging on doggedly. Jack overpressed and his king found itself stuck for squares in the middle of the board, where it fell into a pretty (if tragic) checkmate.And so, in a comfortable but not especially potent position, Mike finds himself forced into playing for the win. Here is his account:“Once again I was off to a good start, and again reached a critical position which cost me time.  My knights on f4 and h4 not only forced the capture of Robert Archer’s pawn on g2, but also threatened queen forks.  But it was a poisoned chalice.  Not only had I no option but to carry out my threat, but opening the g-file opened the game for White’s rooks.  At this stage I enjoyed a substantial clock advantage, Archer playing even more slowly than myself, and I resolved to keep it that way and win on time.  Easier said than done, and in a cramped position I went from bad to worse, finally being mated after a frantic time scramble … yes, I was even out-scrambled. I could have taken the draw earlier, but with the whole point needed to save the match, I played on and paid the penalty.”

Tynedale Reivers   Jesmond Rookies
David Weldon ½ ½ Mike Beaty
David Wrigley ½ ½ Theon Rogers
Mike Nicholson 0 1 Robert Archer
Jack Bradshaw 0 1 Alastair Williamson
David Foster Snr ½ ½ Dave Walshaw
24 Nov 09 1½ 3½  

An unfortunate result as both Jack’s and Mike’s games could have gone the other way and Dave F wasn’t far from the full point. Perhaps a change in management structure is required?! Nah. “ So at this point the Reivers sit second from bottom in division 1, but as David’s reports show it is not all doom and gloom and there is a definite prospect of picking up points later in the season.

Northumberland League Division 2

Three matches to report here as well. The first was away to Gosforth Regents on November 3rd. On the face of it this looked like a promising contest for the Tans. We had played and won two matches, they had played and lost two. However, where our victories had been over somewhat weak sides their two losses – against their own first team and against Morpeth B – had been against very strong ones. Gradings and instinct suggested a close match and so it proved to be. Fortune seemed to be on our side when their top board, Peterca, failed to materialise and they had to reshuffle, introducing Brown as a last-minute stand-in. The resulting line-up was

1. S. Wilde(137) Derek(131)
2. D. Turner(124) Peter C(130)
3. R. Heyman(117) Steve(126)
4. E. Brown(112) Phil(122)
5. B. Ord(87) Malcolm(113)

First to finish was Phil, who emerged from a closely contested middle game a pawn down. As the active pieces disappeared, it came down to a desperate rearguard action by Phil to keep his opponent’s king and two pawns at bay with his king and one pawn. Playing with fine precision, Phil managed to prevent what looked like a certain queening of one pawn and the game was drawn.Next up was Peter, who writes: “I was the black side of a fairly unexciting Nimzo-Indian defence which was dead level for the first twenty moves. Thereafter a couple of weak moves led to my opponent’s gaining a small advantage, so when he offered a draw I decided to accept and go and watch the Newcastle match on the telly!”Derek finished next. A close contest had left him with a single pawn advantage and an open file controlled by doubled up rooks. However, his opponent had a strong position, with a particularly influential knight in the centre and in the end Derek settled for a draw.So everything to play for, but things were not looking good. Steve emerged into the middle game two pawns down and never looked like winning them back. As the active pieces disapperaed, the prospect of stopping three linked pawns with just one pawn and a king seemed forlorn, but mercifully his opponent lost his way and Steve’s offer of a draw was accepted – phew!So it was all down to board five, where Malcolm had played even more gung-ho chess than normal, to emerge from a thwarted attack two pieces down. Amazingly, he fought his way back almost to equality, but his opponent had 20 minutes to Malcolm’s seconds and that handicap proved too much even for Malcolm’s ingenuity.

So we went down 3-2 to a side which lost its opening matches 5-0 and 4-1. There are clearly some stern tests ahead for the Tans!

The second match was at home to Tynemouth Castles. This had all the makings of a tough fixture. Tynemouth’s record – played 3, won 2, lost 1 – was identical to ours; their team was very settled – the quintet which played us had played in all their previous games; and by and large they had the edge on grades, plus the advantage of three whites. Here’s how the teams lined up:

1. Derek (131) K. Rockett (145)
2. Peter C (130) D. Hair (133)
3. Steve (126) K. Marshall (128)
4. Phil (122) D. Mear (126)
5. Bruce (121) R. Garside (113)

Suitably lubricated by alcohol, Phil was first to finish, rattling through his game in about an hour. Here’s how he describes it: “The game itself was nothing much to talk about – QGD even material for most of the game. Unusually Dave ended up with a reasonable Queen side pawn push but I managed to get a rook on the 6th Rank & appeared to leave it en prise. He fell for it & I forked King & Rook with my Knight leaving his Queen side in tatters & my strong King side ready to go so he just resigned on the spot.” Next to finish was Derek, who played very well to force a draw with black against a stronger player.  He writes: “For the third time out of four, I had black against Keith Rocket and my only win against him was with white last season. But we both had always enjoyed our games and this one was no exception, ending in an honourable draw after only 26 moves by which time both players had 7 pawns and two knights each in a symmetrical format. Black played conservatively but actually had the edge all the way through, using a somewhat irregular defence –‘ the tango’- which Keith had recalled I played last time! This time, he varied his response and failed to castle, giving black a better chance to control the centre. He walked his king across to h2, connected his rooks and persuaded black not to take any risks. So pieces off and a draw!! Anyway, Peter’s game next door was far more exciting!” Steve, meanwhile, was on the back foot, hemmed into the back three ranks and with no prospect of any sort of counter-attack. It was as well that his opponent opted for a draw by repetition, since he had a fiendish alternative which would have deprived Steve of his queen. Peter sacrificed a knight for a devastating attack to which his opponent eventually succumbed  and the match was won. Peter writes: “I was on the white side of a Ruy Lopez and found myself in a position` where I half remembered an old game where a knight had been sacrificed to allow a winning attack against the black king with active queen and bishops working together; in fact I played it incorrectly and could have fallen flat if my opponent had found the best moves – fortunately he didn’t and my attack became overwhelming with black resigning when significant material loss became inevitable. “ Which left Bruce to wind up the proceedings. With the clocks running out and the position balanced and well defended on both sides, Bruce offered a draw, which was accepted. And so the close match we had anticipated ended up a comfortable victory by 3.5 to 1.5 and the Tans find themselves once more near the top of the table!

The Tans’ most recent match was away to Gateshead Knights on December 3rd. As the following pairings show, this had the makings of a fairly close match:

1. K. Cox (139) Dave Foster (134)
2. A Johnson (115) Derek (131)
3. P. Nicholson (118) Peter C (130)
4. B. Davison (115) Steve (126)
5. R. McKay (104) Phil (122)

We certainly had an edge, but I don’t think any of us expected the match to turn out the way it did. Dave, guesting for the Tans, set the tone by demolishing his opponent in double quick time, going two pieces up before delivering mate. He was soon joined by Phil, who had his opponent audibly groaning (always a good sign!) from early on. Phil kept the pressure up relentlessly and the groans gave way to resignation. Derek was next to finish. Having sacrificed a bishop for a pawn, he launched an attack which proved decisive and the match was already won. Peter was very much on the offensive in his game, controlling the space and going several pawns up before his opponent threw in the sponge. Which left your editor to spoil the clean sweep. Though two pawns up, his advantage was not overwhelming and with almost no time left on his clock he was much relieved when his opponent sportingly agreed a draw.Overall an excellent result which keeps the Tans firmly in second place behind Gosforth Empire in division 2.

South Tyne League

The Monarchs have been in action twice this month, first against Friars on Nov 10th. Team captain Derek Blair reports: “With Top Gun Colin unavailable and the Wrigleys playing for the Reivers, the Monarchs team of Blair, Larkin, Reid and Emmerson in the rearranged fixture with Friars, was seriously outgraded on every board. So the outcome of 2-2, winning for the home team, was very pleasing and somewhat unexpected. It was the creative performance of Malcolm on Board 3 against the very solid Bruce Wallace that eventually won it for the Monarchs. With Black he played his usual b6 opening and again confused his opponent, who became subject to a coordinated king side attack. Malcolm cleverly offered a knight sacrifice, which was refused, but then castled queen side to release a pawn storm backed with rooks and bishop. White’s king was trapped in the corner and black executed an unstoppable mate attack. Monarchs had already secured a draw on Board 1, which according to the Friars player and subsequent analysis, should have been a win for Black’s Tango. With a pawn up and another one that should and could have been won, white would have succumbed to an overwhelming pawn-roller on the queen side, had black had the confidence to attack after 25 moves. But with a strong time disadvantage and outgraded by 30 points he took the easy way out! Meanwhile Steve, similarly outgraded on Board 2, was battling against the Caro Kann and was subject to pressure down the c file plus coordinated knights on second and third ranks. Despite the difficult pressure, Steve recovered a pawn deficit and may have held out for a draw but blundered under time pressure. Last to finish was Ian who again played an impressive game to hold the Friars Captain. He broke through on the king side and caused black’s king to beat a retreat but had insufficient pieces to finish the job.

So Monarchs are back in with a shout to try to hold on to their S Tyne crown, but with a difficult fixture looming against Haydon Bridge, followed by the victorious Austins side before Christmas, nothing can be taken for granted.”

The Monarchs second fixture was against HaydonBridge on Nov 26th. Derek reports:

“Monarchs achieved a rare clean sweep, winning 4-0, against a weakened HaydonBridge team. David Wrigley on top board played an aggressive opening against his experienced CaroKan opponent and secured an impressive attack of coordinated pieces against a rather inefficient defence. With rooks doubled and bishops arrowing in, white sacrificed a knight in a timely and conclusive blow whilst black’s defences were out of play on the other side of the board. Impressive flair. Meanwhile Malcolm on board 4 proved far too experienced and dangerous with his b6 defence as black, which confused his opponent and quickly led to a wipe-out across the board.On board 2, I introduced a rarity on move 2 against Christine’s expected ‘Haydon Bridge’ English which threw her into departing from her usual fianchetto king’s bishop line and generated a different structure. This allowed black to attack the king side which white weakened by some probably unnecessary pawn moves thereby encouraging a piece sacrifice to expose the king. As a diversion white tried a sacrificial tactic in the centre which backfired when her queen fell to an unforeseen block, thus ending the game. Meanwhile, Steve on Board 3 was struggling to come to terms with being a whole piece down due to a double attack which also reaped a pawn. The latter he won back pretty quickly but black’s centralised and coordinated pieces looked strong and at that stage game-winning. But true to character Steve hung in and somehow persuaded the HB captain to move his queen away from a pin thereby disconnecting his defences. Steve did not need a second invitation, did a quick scan and then swooped to completely annihilate the defence with a back row check and a simultaneous attack on black’s queen, ending the game.” Clearly the Monarchs have not given up on the idea of retaining their crown, though the Tynedale side may have something to say about this, having already defeated the Monarchs once this season. Moreover, Tynedale’s one game this month resulted in another win. Mike Nicholson reports:

“Tynedale met Austins at home on December 1st, represented by Peter C, Phil, Bruce and Peter B in that order. With the handicapping favouring us thanks to the highly-rated Jaroslav Vrubl on top board for Austins, and Peter B still benefitting from a high handicap for ourselves, we needed just 1.1/2 points to win the match. Phil, somehwat taken aback to find himself on board 2, nevertheless got us away to a splendid start by drawing with the able but rusty Stephen Lowis. ‘We’re both graded similarly’, notes Phil, ‘and both played without a major blunder. The middle part of the game had a few surprises both ways & neither of us knew enough to say whether it was a draw at the end. I think we were both too concerned that a mistake might lose us the game so we agreed the draw.’ Bruce secured the points by defeating Bill Burgess. He writes, ‘I played the Sicilian in response to Bill Burgess’s e4 opening. It allowed me to try out a set of early moves used regularly by Fisher and by Spassky as black (c5, d6, Nf6, e6, Be7, cd in response to d4, 0-0, a6) in their World championship series that I had noted gave each of them chances of equality in the opening. Fortunately, however, Bill did not quite get his attack going with the force of either of them. Instead he made three mistakes as the game developed. The first lost him the exchange of a rook and a pawn for a bishop, as he overlooked a linked bishop/knight/queen counterattacking sequence. The second blocked the escape route of a bishop under attack from my pawns as he sought to counterattack later in the game. The third was to overlook a combination attack that would have required him to give up a queen for a rook to stop a mate as he sought to get at least a pawn for his beleaguered bishop. When he recognised the only way to prevent the mate was to interpose his queen between my rook and his king he resigned.’ Well played Bruce! On top board it was Peter C with the short straw. Even so he fought long and hard before going under. He reports, ‘On the black side of a Catalan I had to give up a knight for 2 pawns; I managed to get some initiative that I thought might allow me a draw but blundered a pawn in time trouble which ended any chance that I might have had.’ And as in Tynedale’s first match, it was Peter B who was last to finish. This time he lost, but had been just a pawn down until a time deficit brought matters to a close. Even so, a highly creditable performance. No matter, the final 1.1/2 – 2.1/2 score saw us home with two handicap points to spare. Summary details:

Tynedale Austins

1. JP Crichton (3) 0-4 J Vrubl (0)
2. P Taylor (4) 2-2 S Lowis (4)
3. B Reed (4) 4-0 B Burgess (4)
4. P Booker (9) 0-4 D Millar (6)
Handicap 20-14  
Result 26-24  

It will be interesting to see if the two Tynedale sides end up battling it out for the title!

Club Championship

After a slow start, Derek has really got into his stride and shoots to the top of the pile, ending Dave’s 100% record in the process. It is, of course, early days, but it is interesting to note that as things stand neither the current club champion nor one of his predecessors would make the cut to the knockout stage!

Derek Blair 4/6
Phil Taylor 2.5/4
Peter Crichton 2/3
Dave Foster 2/3
Bruce Reed 2/4
Mike Nicholson 1.5/2
Matthew Taylor 1.5/2
Steve Larkin 1.5/3
Jack Bradshaw 1.5/4
Malcolm Reid 1/3
David Wrigley 0.5/1
Peter Booker 0/5

Miscellanea

1. My profuse apologies to David Wrigley who, unknown to me, has entered the Sell competition this year, where he is certainly holding his own.  He has very kindly sent me the following report on his progress to date: “Thus far, I’ve played Frank Moon & Paul Costello, both imaginative & entertaining players, both wrinkling their noses at my french. Frank played aggressively, with sacrificial intent, but then recoiled at the key moment. He was a pawn up, but offered a draw and I bit his hand off. The post-mortem suggested he still had a considerable advantage so i went home relieved. My game against Paul was pretty dry, we both missed tricks to pick up pawns but neither of us made much of an impression. We were heading for a Bishops of opposite colours ending and so we decided to call it an early night.”

Meanwhile in the Newcastle your editor has reverted to type, losing in round 2 to Chris Smith of Tynemouth, albeit after a c75 move epic!

2. Forthcoming events: York chess congress Jan 8-10.
As the next bulletin will appear at the end of January, it is time for seasonal greetings to all members. Your editor already has several New Year resolutions in mind, all of them relating to chess and none of them likely to come to fruition, but as the saying goes, it is better to journey hopefully.

Steve Larkin

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