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Bulletin No 39

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 39 (5.3.11)

Once again, there is a great deal to report, beginning with

Northumbria league division one

The Tans have played two matches since the last e-bulletin. The first was at home to Jesmond Knights on Tuesday Feb 8th. David Wrigley has kindly provided the following report:

“This time last season, the Jesmond Knights had their fleeting title ambitions squashed by a Reivers side who didn’t win anything else all season. The Jesmond Mob were clearly out for revenge: their bottom board outgraded our top, and it looked like a tough night ahead.

Dave Foster had to deal with Amarvansh Singh, a junior and fellow tactical bod whose grading will probably be stratospheric next season. Amarvansh sprang a witty trap in the opening and Dave’s queen took an early bath. 0-1

Peter had white against Tim Adams, and they agreed upon a Queen’s Gambit Declined. Peter felt he had a reasonable game until the late middle/early end game, with each side sporting 2 rooks, 1 minor piece and 5 pawns. Under slight time pressure he lost his way and missed a fairly straightforward tactical shot which lost a piece and the game. 0-2

Seconds later, Jesmond had the points they were looking for. David Wrigley had accepted an offered pawn early on, but Ed Dodds was clearly more familiar with the position and David wasted too much time trying to hold on to it. Ed won back his pawn, then another, and kept his grip on the position. David, short of time (and despairing) went into swindle mode, but couldn’t drum up any activity whilst Ed efficiently swapped down to a hopeless ending. 0-3

Tim Wrigley had a dream opening against Paul Bielby. Coerced into doing some prep, he correctly predicted Paul’s opening and dealt with it impressively, sidestepping a couple of traps and entering the middlegame with much the better of it. Tim managed to maintain his advantage until the cusp of the endgame, but the effort required depleted his clock-time, and Paul was able to simplify into a mutually tricky Rook & Queen ending. Tim looked a good bet to secure an excellent half point, but Paul sprang a sneaky mate. 0-4

Dave Weldon writes: “We played a Vienna Game and as black I swapped off John’s King’s Bishop for Knight, with an equal game coming out of the opening. White later developed pressure with a kingside pawn push and I incorrectly concluded that the position would be improved by evacuating my king towards the queenside. Unfortunately it never got there as I was tied up fighting white’s numerous threats. In hindsight if it had remained on g8/h8 the position would have been cramped but tenable, albeit with less time on black’s clock than white’s.” 0-5

Tans 0-5 Jesmond Knights
Dave Weldon 0-1 John Turnock (184)
Peter Crichton 0-1 Tim Adams (172)
David Wrigley 0-1 Edward Dodds (169)
Tim Wrigley 0-1 Paul Bielby (168)
Dave Foster 0-1 Amarvansh Singht-Wadwha (168)

Humbug. Once again, for long periods it looked like we might muster a match point or two, let alone game points, and 5-0 is no reflection of the games played. The big slip down the league continues….”

The Tans’ next match was away to Newcastle on Tuesday Feb 22nd. Again, thanks to David Wrigley for the following report:

“Newcastle aren’t the force they were at the start of the season, having lost big gun Andy Lawson. In light of this, the Tans had reasons to be optimistic, though there was no question of being anything other than big underdogs.

Dave Weldon had a very quick game, and a long wait! Jon King offered a draw on move 10, by which time the queens had been exchanged and all the bishops were headed the same way! There was no poison in the position for either player so Dave felt duty bound to “take one for the team”, shake hands and sit around twirling his thumbs for 2 ½ hours. 0.5-0.5

Mike had a good tussle with canny opposition. He writes: ““I was pleased to reach equality quite early, getting in a key … d5 to force a superior queenside pawn structure.  It was the sort of move which wasn’t obvious but which became a candidate because I knew it was a recognised equalising strategy for Black in so many opening systems.  Learnt yonks ago from Reuben Fine’s classic The Ideas Behind The Chess Openings.  I can see where I gave up my sharp-play strategy and succumbed to the fatal play-safe one.  When Gary played Bf4 to threaten my unprotected c7 pawn, I thought long and hard about … Re8, a zwischenzug which threatened a discovered attack on his queen.  Because I couldn’t calculate all the consequences, I opted to protect the c7 pawn, which slightly displaced my queen.  Then with my sights firmly set on securing the e-file, I quickly played … Qd7.  Only to allow Gary to play Qg4 which, combining with his knight on f5, gave him the most appalling double attack – Qxg7 mate, and Nh6+ winning my queen. All because I changed my mind-set.” 0.5-1.5

Peter had an excellent game against tactically astute opposition: “My opponent was Michael McBeth who, as black, played a Nimzo-Indian defence. Play became very tactical and I probably missed a couple of opportunities that could have won a pawn and given me the initiative. As it was I played a line which led to exchanges and a fairly even end game which both sides were content to agree drawn.”


Steve, hired gun for the evening, found himself playing Andy Robinson for the second time this season. Could he make it 2 each, and 2 out of 2? “Andy played the Pirc defence, which gave me an open position, in which I could press a kingside attack. Unfortunately, though I won one of his kingside pawns, I wasn’t able to find a move to press home my advantage and, in seeking to crack open his defence, I allowed him to come back at me with his rooks. A forced swap followed, involving my queen and his two rooks, and though that was OK in itself, the initiative passed to him at a time when I was in acute clock trouble. Playing first and thinking afterwards, if at all, I was soon mated. But at least I gave him a run for his money.” 1-3

David promoted himself in a gross vanity exercise, and was determined to enjoy it: “Experimenting in the opening with black against John Wheeler is probably not a great idea, but I found moves the theory books deem reasonable and managed to survive the opening. John had a space advantage and a slightly safer king, but I felt I had attacking options on the kingside, if ever I needed to muddy the waters. John’s play was focussed on eliminating my fiancettoed kings bishop, but in doing so he allowed me to exchange his dangerous knights and take control of the centre. In time trouble and panicking, I rejected a simple win, pinching a pawn instead, but John had more time with which to steer the game into a dead-drawn ending. Upon hearing the match was won, John generously agreed to a draw, with twenty five minutes to my four.”

Newcastle 3.5-1.5 Tans
Dave Weldon 0.5-0.5 Jon King (187)
David Wrigley 0.5-0.5 John Wheeler (177)
Peter Crichton 0.5-0.5 Mike McBeth (173)
Mike Nicholson 0-1 Gary Murphy (174)
Steve Larkin 0-1 Andy Robinson (134)

We was robbed! The grading gap wasn’t really in evidence on any of the boards, each game (Dave’s GM draw on top board notwithstanding!) was well played, and well worthy of Div 1 chess. Another unfortunate result means the teams at the bottom are suddenly the teams just below us. Relegation is suddenly haunting captain David’s thoughts…”

Since the Tans are currently eighth out of twelve with a comfortable margin over the lowest teams, I think David can sleep soundly at night till the end of the season!

Division two

Two Reivers’ matches to report. First was an away match against a surprisingly strong Forest Hall B side on Friday Feb 4th. The line-up was

1. J.Wall(142) v Mike Nicholson(147)
2. J. Bentham(132) v  Bruce Reed(127)
3. R. Millar(?) v Steve Larkin(121)
4. K. Brooks(131) v Malcolm Reid(115)
5. J. Baird(129) v Dave Foster jr(91)

First to finish was Dave, who held his opponent up to the endgame, before a mistake led to resignation. 1-0

Next Bruce scored a fine victory, repulsing a determined kingside attack before setting up one of his own. He writes: “Jeff Bentham (playing white) responded to my Sicilian defence with what I understand is called the Grand Prix attack. The opening sequence of 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. f4 was probably handled rather better by black in a 2001 match between Sergei Tiviakov and Garry Kasparov at Corus Wijk aan Zee*, where it continued 3… g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bc4 Nc6 6.O-O e6 7. d3 Nge7 8. Qe1 O-O (where it is said that Kasparov demonstrated how best to handle the Grand-Prix attack, something I know now but not then!) Jeff did 7 of those 8 opening white moves, while I failed to fianchetto my king’s bishop. Ultimately, this turned out to work for me as Jeff launched a slightly premature attack on move 20 by removing my king’s rook’s pawn (then on h6) with his bishop. Ignoring it, I began a four move sequence leading to my bishop pinning his queen again his king, and his resignation on move 24. “ 1-1

Malcolm had a good game as well, holding Keith Brooks in a game of nip and tuck
where the slight initiative lay first with one side, then the other, before they agreed to call it a day with honours even. 1.5-1.5

Steve’s match against his ungraded but very competent opponent was played very much on the back foot. While unable to launch any sort of counter-attack, Steve was able to defend his position, until a couple of errors allowed his opponent to force a pawn through to queen. 2.5-1.5

Mike writes of his game with John Wall: “I started, despite myself, with not the least idea about a choice of opening. Result: complete stodge leading to tense but congested and difficult-to-fathom middle-game tactics. We both managed to avoid significant slips until we simplified into a double rook and pawns ending. This I played very badly, twice giving John winning opportunities. Both of these lasted for several moves without his noticing them and without my having the chance to escape from them. He then allowed me back in, and in my last five minutes I missed a clear win. After that the draw was inevitable, though John still had a big clock advantage.” 3-2
Given the strength of the opposition, this was not a bad result, though if the skipper had got his act together we could have salvaged a welcome match point.

The Reivers’ next match was at home to Gosforth Regents on Tuesday March 1st. With Mike Nicholson discovering late in the day that he had double booked for this date, Derek Blair kindly stepped in, giving the following line-up:

1. Derek (139 v J. Peterca (151)
2. Bruce (127) v R. Heyman (130)
3. Phil (120) v S. Wilde (122)
4. Steve (121) v D. Turner (117)
5. Malcolm (115) v B. Ord (104)

It looked as though a close match was in prospect and so it proved. Malcolm was first to finish, his unorthodox opening so phasing the Gosforth captain that he, Malcolm, was a rook and a pawn up after just five moves! 1-0

Next to finish was Phil, who had what appeared to be a dead level game throughout. When his opponent offered a draw, Phil had no hesitation in accepting. 1.5-0.5

Derek battled well, went a piece down, recovered it, lost another and finally had to call it a day, after an enjoyable game. 1.5-1.5

Steve got hugely behind on time while prosecuting what he believed would be a terminal attack against his opponent’s kingside. Alas, he couldn’t break through and had to retreat his pieces, though somehow (he has no idea how) he emerged from the exercise a piece up. This advantage he then lost to a clever move and, with twelve minutes left on his clock to his opponent’s forty-five, it wasn’t looking too good. Mercifully, his opponent blundered a rook and promptly resigned. 2.5-1.5

Which left Bruce likewise pressing a powerful kingside attack and likewise substantially down on time. He writes: “The match against Bob Heyman was ultimately lost on time because I spent too much time trying to find a way to break down his resolute defence – without success. After a quiet Nf3 Nf6 opening which turned into a Queen’s Gambit declined, I developed a strong attack on his kingside castled king. Combining queen and two bishops with knight and ultimately rook on the h file all bearing down against his king blockaded onto h8 he kept finding ways to combine his pieces to protect his embattled king.  That he did so with less time than me, while I spent time on fruitless efforts to work out if it was possible to break down the defences once I had bottled him up, was the reason he deserved his success. My failure to settle for (and to propose) a draw that he later said he would have accepted was the result of my conviction that there must be a way through somehow.” 2.5-2.5

Given the line-up, the end result might perhaps have been predicted. The match point earned leaves the Reivers in sixth place out of eleven teams and looking safe from the embarrassment of finishing amongst the bottom two sides.
South Tyne League

One game to report here. The Dyvels played Friars on Feb 15th, squeezing a win by the narrowest of margins, 22 points to 21.  On top board Peter Crichton drew with Goerge Glover, as did Bruce Reed against Bruce Wallace on board 2. Phil Taylor defeated Daniel O’Dowd on board 3 and Raoul Weston lost to Bill Hardwick on board four. The only detailed account I have is from Phil, who writes: “As always, games against Daniel are very tight. I was a bit flabbergasted by his taking 25 minutes over his 6th move but as this worked in my favour all it cost me was a little frustration plus it gave me loads of thinking time for my 7th move. When on move 11 I moved Nc4 I didn’t spot the Nxd5 supposedly winning a pawn but managed to find the right reply after NxN and Q move with Bxb4 checking & winning my pawn back. After that it was pretty even until he allowed me sight of his Knight on f3 protected only by his g-pawn. I thought the trade-off of my Bishop for his Knight was worthwhile given I was doubling pawns & exposing his King but Daniel made a mistake trying to prevent this. He moved his Queen to e3 with dual threats on my Knight on e7 and Bishop on f3. What he didn’t spot was Nf5 which allowed me to take his d-pawn forking both Queen and Bishop and leaving me a pawn up when his Queen took the Bishop. (He didn’t really have an option as otherwise he would have gone a piece down.) After this the game became more of a mechanical exercise with me trying to swap pieces off and Daniel trying to avoid this. As he was down to his last 10 minutes he was not able to do this very effectively and I managed to get to an end game where he probably should have resigned. Daniel lost on time but his position was already lost and given his lofty 136 grading I came away a little too pleased with myself – Pride always comes before a fall!”

Since then, the Dyvels team has played Haydon Bridge, but a report on that game must wait till the next e-bulletin.

Club championship

Some significant changes here. Mike moves up from 7th to 2nd equal, Phil whizzes from 13th to 7th and Tim progresses from 12th to 9th.  With just four more Tuesdays before the cut-off date, it will be interesting to see who misses the cut. Full marks to Peter Booker who resolutely goes on gathering eggs!

Dave Foster sr 5/7
Derek Blair 4.5/7
Mike Nicholson 4.5/7
Bruce Reed 4/8
Steve Larkin 3.5/8
Jack Bradshaw 2.5/3
Phil Taylor 3/5
Peter Crichton 2.5/4
Tim Wrigley 2/2
Jeremy Handley 2/4
David Wrigley 1.5/2
Malcolm Reid 1.5/6
Raoul Weston 1/1
Peter Booker 0.5/10
Dave Foster jr 0/2


Individual championships.

David Wrigley sends this report on his round 4 and 5 games in the Sell competition: “My r4 game in the sell went thus: I trotted out my queen’s knight on move one, in a half-hearted attempt to sidestep the sicilian Ron Plater had trounced me with in our previous meetings. Ron met this with e6, and we agreed on a Rubinstein French. I was pretty pleased with myself, but I don’t really know the Rubinstein, and I had a nagging suspicion that he might’ve been planning a french all along. The middlegame arrived and I allowed the exchange of most of the minor pieces, which gave Ron a bit of pressure in an otherwise level position. I slipped, allowing Ron the chance to exchange queens and win a pawn, but he “just didn’t see it” and I had time to patch up my defences. We arrived in a rook & 5 vs rook & 5 ending, but my king was slightly better placed and my pawns slightly less vulnerable, so when Ron offered a draw I declined, despite having 5 minutes to his 10. A furious blitz finish ensued, and when Ron’s flag fell I had a winning position, but there was probably scope to make a mess of it in the time I had left. So I find myself in sole 3rd and entertaining leader Paul Bielby in the next round… hope springs eternal!”

An excellent result, that, and David wasn’t finished with the big guns in the Sell, witness his round 5 report:

“Paul Bielby was tournament leader going into round 5, with Ron Plater half a point behind and me a further half point back, so victory would put me right in the mix. I successfully predicted his opening, but didn’t research it well enough and he built a potent, flexible setup whilst I tied myself in knots preventing threats that weren’t. Paul chose the wrong attacking line, missing a cute tactic that allowed me back into the game, though I was still on the defensive. My position just about held together, and Paul overpressed, blundering a pawn for naught. We reached an endgame where I had all the winning chances, but I didn’t have time enough to form a coherent plan. We both ended up with rooks on the other’s 7th rank, and no progress could be made by either party. A draw! though I might’ve won and I deserved to lose. Paul will meet Ron in the rounds to come, so my hopes of catching both of them are slim.”

It is so good to see David mixing it with the best in Northumberland. Anybody playing him in the Sell knows they have a game on their hands, and the next step up, to the Zollner, starts to beckon. I wonder how many years have elapsed since there was a Tynedale player in that event?

Mercifully your editor does not need to pass at this point from the sublime to the ridiculous, since he has yet to play his round 5 Newcastle match.

Peter Crichton was the club’s sole representative at the Northumberland rapidplay event, held in Heaton. Peter writes: “I played in the Major and had two draws (Amarnath Singh and Nigel Villareal) and two losses (Darren Laws and John Horton). Amazingly I won a grading prize without winning a game!” Peter is nothing if not a master of the succinct!

Cumbria Chess Championships. Three members attended this event, held at Penrith on Feb 25th-27th. Peter Crichton, with a grading of 151, had no choice but to enter the Open event (the cut-off point for the Major was 149). There were eleven entries and Peter was tenth in order of grading (the eleventh player withdrew after one round!). Peter opened his account with a bye in round one, then suffered four successive defeats. As Peter himself puts it, “This weekend was a tournament of two halves – both a disaster! Four games, four losses although three were good games and two should have been drawn; the fourth against eleven year old Michael Fernander was an embarrassing loss in fifteen moves and minutes.”

Mike Nicholson played in the Major, where he was third equal highest graded player of the 19 entries. He took a bye in round 1, had a win in round 2, a game he was delighted with, drew in rounds 3 and 5 (in the latter game he was a pawn up and had a ferocious attack which his opponent managed to defuse only at the last moment), and lost in round 4 for a total of 2.5/5.

Your editor was the highest graded of the 9 players in the Minor. He started well enough, winning his first-round game after a long, hard tussle. However, in round 2 he was given a hard time by a callow youth with a grade of just 93 and lost. Round 3 was a game of blunders on both sides, so a draw was a fair result. His opponent in round 4 failed to turn up and round 5 brought a further draw, giving him a rather flattering 3/5 and fourth place overall.

So the Tynedale contingent did not exactly cover themselves with glory, but it was good to have a club presence at the event, particularly as there were only 39 players in total. Is Cumbrian chess in terminal decline? Certainly, this event made the corresponding Northumberland event look extremely healthy!

Forthcoming events.

April 15-17 Durham Chess Congress

July 1-3 Harrogate Chess Congress

Sept 23-25 Northumberland Chess Congress

And that’s it for this time.

Steve Larkin

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