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Bulletin No 37

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 37 (8.12.10)

The wintry weather and your editor’s associated back problems have combined to delay somewhat the production of this e-bulletin. Apologies for that, and without more ado straight into the action in

Northumbria league division one

The Tans have played two matches since the last e-bulletin. The first was away to Jesmond Rookies on Friday 12 November. David Wrigley has kindly provided the following report:

“The Tans very nearly didn’t turn up. Without regular driver Tim at the wheel, crossing Newcastle to Jesmond seemed a bit too much for David, and Derek, Dave & Dave successfully guided him into at least one city centre car-park. Peter avoided all the drama by making his own way there.

Having wrestled with and conquered the snaking roads of Newcastle, a trifling chess match held no fear for the brave and bold of Tynedale. As expected, the Jesmond team that we met outgraded us a bit, but there weren’t any mismatches. Due to a lengthy slog on board 3, captain David missed most of the action.

Dave Weldon was playing wunderkind Amarvansh Singh on top board. He writes “No fireworks in this game. Played a Colle System and on move 9 opened the centre with e4 to slight advantage. Minor pieces were all soon exchanged and a draw was agreed on move 28 with queens and rooks remaining and no real winning chances for either side.” An excellent half point for Dave against a dangerous opponent. 0.5-0.5

Dave Foster was next past the post, to the sound of gasps from his opponent. His account:

“Mike Beaty was always going to be a tough one as he is at least 20 grading points in front of me, so time for settling into a tried and tested opening…NOT….so my experiments with pushing the king’s pawn to PK5 continue.  The odd variation is almost bound to lose me the Queen’s Bishop pawn somewhere along the line and it duly disappeared as Mike started choking me on the Queen’s side.  He allowed me to swap Queens which helped, at least the mating attack was gone after I castled immediately. On trying to survive I “lost” a knight on a five move positional play by Mike’s black bishop and I was struggling to find even a pawn to compensate for the loss.  It was an obvious game losing position, however, Mike got a little bit greedy and tried to turn the Knight into a Rook loss, pushed a pawn too far and I was able to swap the “lost” Knight for his white Bishop.  Due to this tactical error he turned my fairly innocuous central and pawn protected white bishop into a match saver and when I started pushing pawns on my King’s side, he had blocked his own retreat.  His queen side attack then featured both his rooks, two pawns and his black bishop, along with one of my rooks in a block of six squares and when I swapped my rook for his very strong Bishop his attack dissolved. My pushed pawns were unstoppable if he continued his queen side attack.  I offered the draw which was rejected and then he realised I was just about to Queen before he did.  He offered the draw which I accepted.  On reflection, If I had refused his offer I probably would have won but I was happy with the draw, at least I enjoyed the game for a change.” Just what the captain ordered. 1-1

Peter Crichton had the unenviable task of Black against Paul Bielby:

“I managed to maintain a fairly level game against Paul with a kingside initiative countering his queenside advance; at the end I was a pawn up but behind on the clock and conscious that I had the capacity to make a mistake under time pressure offered a draw which was accepted.”

Another good half for the team and the pressure builds on boards 3 and 4. 1.5-1.5

On to board 4, where Derek was playing Robert Archer:

“Having not been white yet in a competitive match this season I ventured a ‘Tango’ defence against my opponent’s d4 opening. And quickly was on the back foot, trying to cope with an e5 pawn advance on move 7 which forced my knight back to e8 and left me facing a threatening arsenal of white pieces aimed at my weak castled position. I played a risky f6 pawn move and made 3 consecutive moves with my queen to try to shore up the gaps in my position, and also retreated my one developed bishop from b4 to d6 after it was attacked. All this by move 14, but with central pawn exchanges I had some counter play. My opponent decided to advance on the queen side giving me time to play an e5 move releasing the potential of my hitherto undeveloped white bishop. He then played a flawed defensive h3 move allowing me to sacrifice with the bishop and win his knight. Suddenly my pieces were better coordinated than his and more mobile. I began to gain time as he struggled with his defence, missed a good chance to win what would have been a conclusive material-winning tactic on move 25, escaped a scare on move 27 when I had to give up my exchange advantage, but finally won further material on move 28 when my queen attacked two of his pieces simultaneously. His clock fell at that point and I felt better! Perhaps I will get a chance to play white sometime.” Derek shows nerves of steel, and it’s 2.5-1.5

A point in the bag, the second one hangs on board 3, where David Wrigley was up against Theon Rogers.

“Theon and I played last season, and this game was very similar. We played the same opening (again), the centre closed up early on (again) and we expanded on opposite sides (….again!). Whilst I charged into a kingside pawn storm, Theon calmly went about freeing the centre and managed to get a protected passed pawn on e3. He then rebuffed my attack, and I’d lost all momentum just as Derek reported his win. In mutual time trouble I played a dodgy sacrifice and only succeeded in putting my pieces on awkward squares. Theon took the initiative, and was one move from liquidating my remaining pieces (when his pawn would’ve queened), but he missed the coup de grace. He kept harassing my King with his queen, not realising that he was repeating moves! On the third repetition I claimed the draw, which Mike Beaty graciously corroborated.” 3-2

Jesmond Rookies 2-3 Tynedale Tans
Amarvansh Singh(168) 0.5-0.5 Dave Weldon
Paul Bielby (168) 0.5-0.5 Peter Crichton
Theon Rogers (159) 0.5-0.5 David Wrigley
Robert Archer (155) 0-1 Derek Blair
Michael Beaty (151) 0.5-0.5 Dave Foster sr

Jesmond will feel they should’ve won about 4-1. Resilient stuff from the Tynedale mob, they just couldn’t finish any of us off!”

An excellent result and already the Tynedale first division team has twice as many victories as in the entire season last year!

Next up was a home match against newly promoted Gosforth Empire on Tuesday Nov 23rd. David writes:

“David confidently predicted that the Tans would outgrade, if not outgun, the freshly promoted visitors from Gosforth. Unfortunately, Geoff Harrison called on some previously unseen faces (at least this season) and it was the top Tans boards who were left feeling the heat. No early baths tonight!

Peter’s blood was the first spilt, about 2 ½ hours in. He had made the early running, and had the bishop pair, but the centre was firmly blocked and his opponents’ knights were dancing. There followed a Kings Indian defence-style kingside pawn storm, which Peter resisted admirably, but his pieces were cut off from the action by his own pawns, and, just when it looked like his king might be able to leg it to the queenside, he fell into a very pretty mate. 0-1

The Blair Express trundles on, a seemingly unstoppable juggernaught! After some wrangling in the opening, Derek came out with a positional advantage, and by far the more active minor pieces. He gradually improved his position whilst denying Geoff Harrison any meaningful counterplay. Geoff is not a man to give up easily, and played on in search of a swindle until the bitter end, but Derek was relentless. 1-1

The axe fell very swiftly on the next two games, so neither captain David (in a time scramble on the other side of the room) nor Tim (one of the protagonists!) could work out who finished first.

Dave was up against Daniel Tomé, a newcomer to the region, so it’s difficult to gauge his strength. His results have been promising, and they continued in that vein at the Dyvels. Dave spent the whole game on the back foot, nursing vulnerable queenside pawns and trying to keep material parity, whilst his opponent prodded and probed and tried to make the most of his more active pieces. The minor pieces were largely swapped off and when both queens came off I thought both sides were gearing up for a long, level endgame battle. The end came quickly, however, Daniel’s rooks inexplicably found themselves on the 7th rank and Dave couldn’t resist them. 1-2

Tim and Dave Stebbings had a bit of a thriller. They started fairly quietly, but the game erupted when Tim allowed Dave to blow open the fianchetto in front of his King. At first sight things looked black for Tim, but Dave’s pieces weren’t very well placed for an immediate assault, and Tim suddenly had an open file to work with. His pawn shield, too mangled for passive defence, was shunted forward and the game became a tactical minefield. Both sides missed opportunities to pick up material, but when the smoke cleared Dave had managed to keep the balance and Tim’s naked king looked a little bashful. The fog of war descended once again, and Tim saw a tactic to eliminate both queens, freeing up his king for active service, but there was a sting in the tail and his knight fell, and with it the game. 1-3

The last game to finish is David, again. A dour and slow opening brought about a tepid and dull middlegame,. The game was brightened considerably by an ugly blunder on my part, Paul found a cute two-mover which won bishop & knight for rook. Materially down, and well back on the clock, I went about swapping off Paul’s most active pieces (and most importantly, a pair of rooks) until we were left in a rook & 5 pawns vs 2 knights & 5 pawns ending, with plenty of open files for my rook to work in. He let me swap off all but one of his pawns, then I sacced my rook for the last pawn. It was pointed out to us afterwards that Paul missed a fork to win my rook, and keep his all-important last pawn. The ensuing position (2 knights vs 1 pawn) was winning for Paul (if he was a supercomputer) but in order to try and win it, he would’ve had to leave my pawn on the board, and risk losing on time. We agreed a draw! 1.5-3.5

So the Tans rollercoaster continues. We have a couple more winnable fixtures coming up before we meet the big guns in the New Year!

Tans 1.5-3.5 Gosforth Empire
Dave Weldon 0-1 Daniel Tomé (ungraded, probably 180ish)
Peter Crichton 0-1 Paul Janiak (184 rapid)
David Wrigley 0.5-0.5 Paul Sumner (140)
Derek Blair 1-0 Geoff Harrison (137)
Tim Wrigley 0-1 Dave Stebbings (139)”

Many thanks to David for those reports. Four points from eight is not at all a bad start to the season.

Division two

Like the Tans, the Reivers are finding this season to be a bit of a rollercoaster, with neat victories followed by crushing defeats. Having won two of their first three games, they were duly blown away by Gateshead A, whom they entertained at the Dyvels on Tuesday Nov 16th. With Mike Nicholson away house-hunting and Dave Foster junior newly available, the line-up was as follows:

1. Tim Wrigley (131) Gagik Abaryan (143)
2. Bruce Reed (127) Peter Welkls (133)
3. Steve Larkin (121)  Bill Noble (131)
4. Phil Taylor (120) K. Owen (?)
5. Dave Foster jr (91) Colin Gilroy (103)

On paper it looked like a close match, but it didn’t turn out that way, as the bottom three Tynedale boards collapsed in fairly quick succession. First to go was Dave, who confessed he was short of match practice. After losing a knight, forked when Colin’s queen checked him, he was subsequently unable to stop Colin penetrating a rather loose pawn structure and mating an exposed king. 0-1

Next to go was Phil, who writes of his game:

“My opponent last night was very experienced. I don’t think he has played a lot recently as I couldn’t find a grade for him but he knew his positional chess. His response to the QGD opening was e6 followed by f5 – the idea being to plonk his knight on e4 supported by two pawns so I took the knight out with my black bishop & managed to get a similar position with pawns on e4 & c4 supporting a knight on d5. My opponent eventually managed to get his knight on d4 supported by a couple of pawns so it was a little stale. I should have been less aggressive though & maybe could have had a draw but I moved my rook across to h3 with a plan to exploit weakened pawns on the K-side. All I managed to do was lock my rook out of play & in peril of being taken by one of a hungry pair of bishops occupying central squares. My next mistake was to unlock the centre by moving my supported knight. His series of double threats behind locked pawns had to cause me trouble at some point & his push of the c pawn eventually had my ropey position disintegrating rapidly. It ended with a knight fork on King & Queen which I had seen coming several moves before – probably should have resigned a lot earlier than I did.” 0-2

Steve followed a bit later. After a level opening, he carelessly let a pawn slip in the early middle game, whereafter he was always in difficulty as Bill’s two knights, playing in combination, harried him continually. The endgame came down to Bill’s queen, rook and 6 pawns against Steve’s queen, two knights and four pawns. It was already looking dodgy when two disastrous moves in the space of a couple of minutes gifted the game to Bill. Inexcusable! 0-3 and match lost!

Next to finish was Tim, who played a fine game. He writes:

“My game was a French Defence Advanced Variation. Gagik played a little tentatively, allowing me to castle on the Queen side and attack through my mangled kingside Pawns. There followed an unbalanced middle game, leaving me a Pawn ahead with Queen, 2 Rooks, a Bishop each, and a strong initiative. I was particularly pleased with the transfer to the ending, when I gave back the pawn, and swapped all the pieces off leaving me a relatively straightforward won pawn ending.

Fritz, as always, saw a different game, Gagic made a mistake on move 6, developing a Knight to f3, but allowing me to take his e5 pawn. Both of us missed this at the time. Fritz was also rude about my fine finish, and confirmed that Gagic could have had a draw by perpetual check. He would have needed to be brave, and my take is that Fritz plays scary open games better than me, so I’ll stick with safer moves that suit my style of play.”

Many thanks to Tim a) for taking Mike’s place and b) for saving the Reivers from a complete whitewash, and doing so in style. 1-3

Last to finish was Bruce, who writes:

“For most of the game the play was very even, with both of us creating threats that were effectively countered by the other. Much of the game was focused on control of the key central squares with pawns, knights, bishops (on b2, g2, g7), rooks and queens all engaged. After an unsuccessful attempt to break through Peter’s advanced pawn structure, an exchange of pawns and minor pieces left him with a slight positional advantage. In trying to counter it I left a pawn that I thought was protected unprotected (retaking it would have resulted in a knight fork, and lost rook). After that we both got passed pawns, but, with little time on both clocks, he played the better chess, and I lost on time just before he would have queened his pawn.” Bruce certainly battled to the bitter end and gave his opponent plenty to think about, but it just wasn’t quite his day. 1-4

The Reivers’ next match, against Tynemouth Warriors, having been postponed till the new year, we must wait to see if the rollercoaster process continues!

South Tyne League

Both the Dyvels and the Monarchs have been in action, and I shall start with the latter. Derek Blair has kindly provided the following report on their home match against Friars on Tuesday Nov 2nd.

“Unfortunately, Friars only mustered 3 players on the night so Tim recorded an immediate win on Board 4 leaving the rest of the team to secure 1.5 points for the win, which they duly did but not without a struggle and a bit of excitement.

Playing Black on Boards 1 and 3 Mike and I struggled to secure draws.

Mike and his old foe, George Glover, traded some pieces in the middle game but retained 6 pawns each to clog up the board. George missed some chances and Mike’s experience made the draw inevitable.

My handicap was superior to my opponent’s (Bill Burgess) but that did not prevent me getting behind on time and failing to play optimal moves in a Pirc position with which I was reasonably familiar. I wrongly manned off pieces in the middle game thereby improving my opponent’s position and from then on I struggled. I was relieved that he accepted my offer of a draw. ‘Could do better’ is an apt summary!

The quality game was on Board 2 where Bruce Wallace and David Wrigley locked horns in a repeat opening of their last match. Despite pressure and space control from David playing white, Bruce was solid and even ventured a sally deep down the queen side. However Bruce was always under pressure with a piece down. What was telling was David’s sharp and accurate coordinated central thrust which left Black struggling to hold a tenuous position. When White advanced his rather off-side/backward knight deep into central territory Bruce could barely prevent the threatened forks on his beleaguered queen, rooks and king. Meanwhile the clocks were ticking away on both sides as everyone craned to enjoy the winning coup de grace. A fine game and win.”

Since that match, the Monarchs have been involved in a welter of postponements, so as yet there are no further results to report.

Meanwhile the Dyvels have managed two matches, the first of which was against Friars early on in November. Dave Foster sr has kindly sent me this report:

“We lost heavily although it seemed fairly even over the grading points before we sat down. We were up against George Glover, Kevin Southernwood, Daniel O’Dowd and Bill Hardwick, handicap for Friars being 13 against the Dyvels 12: therefore we had to get two and a half to win. Apart from Peter Crichton getting a very creditable draw with George the rest of the team seemed cursed with tactical blunders and just downright blindness in my case. Both Phil Taylor and I made serious errors in the opening and continued to miss the obvious attacking moves made by our opponents throughout. Jeremy Handley’s game against Kevin seemed ok until he lost a rook in a very complicated centre game. We finally went down three and a half to a half with the board points being a massive 27 – 14 against. Hammered on a dull, wet and dreary night!”

Oh dear! Would better luck follow in the match against Austins on 24 November? Dave writes:

“We were: Jeremy on board one, myself on two, Phil on three and Peter Booker on four. With our handicap all we needed to do was draw the match to win overall.

I was first to finish, losing to a very difficult opponent, Syd Cassidy. Not an impressive start, with the usual bad thinking and rash attacks. Jeremy seemed to be fairly even against Alan Hiatt and agreed a good draw. It was then down to Peter and Phil. Phil had a very good end game against the young Marco Ho (who seems to be improving by the minute) and had a two pawn advantage. However Marco wriggled out of the position and a draw was inevitable. Peter on four had a lost position against Drew Millar but Drew succeeded with great aplomb in mismanaging his attack and after raised eyebrows all round agreed the draw. We lost the game 24/25 mainly down to my rubbish thinking.


  h/c res res h/c  
Dyvels   24 25   Austins
Jeremy Handley 3 2 2 3 Alan Hiatt
Dave Foster 3 0 4 3 Syd Cassidy
Phil Taylor 4 2 2 3 Marco Ho
Peter Booker 8 2 2 6 Drew Millar
  18 24 25 15 24.11.10

Many thanks to Dave for those perhaps excessively downbeat reports. I am sure there will be better times ahead for the Dyvels.

 Club championship

Some activity here, the most notable change being that former champion Derek Blair has muscled his way into the top trio. Dave Foster senior’s record remains impressive.

Dave Foster sr 3.5/4
Derek Blair 3.5/6
Steve Larkin 3.5/6
Jack Bradshaw 2.5/4
Mike Nicholson 2.5/5
Jeremy Handley 2/4
David Wrigley 1.5/2
Peter Crichton 1.5/3
Tim Wrigley 1/1
Bruce Reed 1/4
Phil Taylor 0.5/1
Malcolm Reid 0.5/3
Peter Booker 0.5/5
Dave Foster jr 0/1


Individual championships.

David Wrigley sends this report on his round 2 game: “Amarvansh Singh vs DW

I was on the black side of an exchange French. Amarvansh used the extra tempo to good effect, bamboozling me into dropping a pawn, but all the minor pieces came off and I felt I had good chances to hold a draw. Amarvansh allowed all the rooks to come off soon after. His advantage in the resulting queen ending was fairly minimal, as my Queen proved more active and his King was a bit more exposed. I stole back the pawn, and our queens danced around each other for a bit, trading pawn for pawn, before the inevitable peace broke out.”  A good result for David, who is on 0.5/2

In round 2 of the Newcastle championship, your editor was drawn against defending champion Dave Stebbings and had black into the bargain. After what seemed to Steve a highly unorthodox opening (some sort of variation on the Caro-Kann apparently), Dave steadily cranked up the pressure, forcing no less than four of Steve’s pieces into a cluster of mutual defence. However, Dave overreached himself and had to let a knight go for a pawn, but Steve’s moment of glory was shortlived: two moves later, under time pressure, he fatally misplaced his king. A series of checks followed and when Steve’s clock fell, mate was only a matter of moves away. Ah well, next time perhaps! Steve’s score 1/2

Perceptive readers will have noticed that there is no further talk of your editor’s unbeaten run of games. Indeed, they will have observed that he managed to lose two in as many days, first to Bill Noble and then to Dave Stebbings. As the saying goes, all good things come to an end. But of course one can always start again for, as another saying goes, hope springs eternal! And with that encouraging thought, I shall conclude this e-bulletin.

Steve Larkin

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