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Bulletin No 42


Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 42 (5.10.11)

With a new season upon us, it is appropriate to open this bulletin by extending a warm welcome to some new members.

New arrivals

Following in the footsteps of our club champion Jeremy Handley, who has elected to play for Tynedale full-time this year, Alex Ashworth has also joined us from Morpeth. Between them they should strengthen our first team in the Northumbrian league quite considerably. David Scott and Tim Fyfe have also signed up with us and they will be looking for help and encouragement along the way. And it is nice to see Raoul Weston back in the fold.

And now let us turn to the action. First a somewhat belated account of happenings in

The Summer Knockout

The Tans were drawn against Forest Hall A in the opening round, and I am indebted to David Wrigley for the following account:

“The Tans hosted Forest Hall in the first round of the summer K.O. and the handicap was definitely against them. 1.5 points were required, their expected return (according to grade) was only 0.77 points.

Dave Foster sr played his usual “two fingers up at the french”, and got exactly the sort of position he wanted. He was somewhat better coming out of the opening into a tactical middlegame against Mike Smith (to whom he ceded a mere 29 grading points). Disaster struck, Dave left a piece en prise and got nothing for it except the chance to go and play Peter Booker’s 4-way knightmare. 0-1

The summer rustiness continued on board one, where David Wrigley was wasting tempi by the bucketload against big gun Alan Harvey. Alan didn’t need to do much to tease David’s dodgy pawn structure into a collapse, whilst David set a few desperate traps. Two lost pawns, one lost exchange and absolutely no compensation. 0-2

Dave Foster jr made a good fist of taking on ex-England international Sophie Seeber. They both played quite cautiously, but Sophie picked up a pawn in middlegame exchanges. The position simplified to an endgame slightly too quickly for Dave, he couldn’t quite build the defensive formation required to save a draw, and Sophie converted her material advantage impressively. 0-3

Bruce put up the stiffest resistance to the Forest Hall tide on board 3. He writes:
“An early effort by black to put pressure on the castled king (on h2 behind pawns on h3 and g3) was repulsed, leaving Black’s two knights sidelined and out of the action as white marshalled his active pieces on the queen’s side. The game was evenly balanced until move 27 when an attempt by Black to break up his pawns as part of a counter-attack with bishops and rooks introduced a fatal weakness into Black’s defences which Martin was able to exploit with his two knights. Black’s sacrifice of a rook for a knight to get counterplay was ineffective, and white gradually got more on top, leading to resignation on move 39.
So we lost four nil, and can look forward to taking the plate by storm!”

Alas, it didn’t quite work out that way, and once again Forest Hall were the fly in the ointment. This time it was their B team who provided the opposition. They had a handicap advantage of 1.5 points and the match turned out as follows:

1. Dave Foster sr 0.5-0.5 Jeff Bentham
2. Matthew Taylor 1-0 Steve Bowey
3. Bruce Reed 0.5  0.5 Phil Walker
4. Phil Taylor 0.5-0.5 Dave Turner

So the final score was Tans 2.5 Forest Hall 3 and the Tans duly exited the competition. (I apologize for the fact that I am unable to give more than the bare bones of this fixture).

As for the Reivers, they were drawn away to Tynemouth Warriors in the first round, a match played on June 21st. The line-up was:

P.Jackson (121) v D. Weldon (161)
D. White (120) v P. Crichton (151)
B. Batten (111) v D. Blair (139)
D. Beagerie (e100) v S. Larkin (121)

Based on aggregate gradings, Tynemouth were classed as a Minor team while we were a Major team, which meant that we had to give them 2.5 handicap points, which in turn meant that we had to win the match 3.5 to 0.5 in order to progress. Derek got us off to a brisk start, despatching Bob Batten after 90 minutes. Next, Peter defeated the Tynemouth captain after a much closer game in which he nonetheless had the edge. David’s game on top board followed a similar pattern to Peter’s and we found ourselves 3-0 up. However Steve, who looked to be heading for a draw, found himself in acute time trouble and was unable to prevent his opponent from forcing his way through on the queenside. As a result, Tynemouth won the match by 3.5 to 3, or so it seemed until next day, when the competition organiser Dave Walshaw ruled that Steve’s opponent should have been graded 131, not 100. The Tynemouth captain accepted this ruling without demur and as a result Tynemouth Warriors became an Intermediate team, thus reducing their handicap points from 2.5 to 1.5. And so the Reivers won the match after all, by 3 to 2.5 points!

The second round saw them travelling to Morpeth to play defending champions Morpeth B, with this line-up:

Phil Eastlake (143) v Peter Crichton (151)
Jeremy Handley (141) v Derek Blair (139)
Geoff Loxham (140) v Tim Wrigley (131)
Alex Ashworth (131) v Steve Larkin (121)

Both teams were of Intermediate strength, but our lower total aggregate meant that in the event of a 2-2 draw we would win. So our target was two points. First to finish was Peter, who struggled throughout and lost to impressive play by Phil. Tim finished next. Having lost a pawn fairly early on, he clawed his way back to a drawn position but was unable to improve upon that. Steve gambited a pawn early on, but was unable to exploit an advantage in development. The game looked to be heading for a draw when a neat sacrifice by Alex opened up the position, enabling him to queen a pawn. With the match now lost, Derek, with just two minutes left on his clock, was happy to settle for a draw with Jeremy, in a re-run of their club championship final. So the Reivers, like the Tans before them, made their exit from the competition.       

And now for something more up to date.

The Northumberland County Chess Congress
The 47th version of this event was again held at The Parks Leisure Centre in North Shields. Numbers were noticeably up this year, with 116 competitors overall, and Tynedale numbers were up too, with eight members taking part.
For the first time in a good many years we had a representative in the Open (29 entries), where David Wrigley, seeded 20th, had a fairly torrid time, losing to Charlie Storey (gr 204), Andrew Ball (166) and John Boyd (189). Then came an enforced bye followed by a win in the final round over Raymond Hett (167) of Peterborough for a score of 2/5. No doubt David will have learned a lot from this baptism of fire!
Of the 39 entries in the Major (for players graded between 136 and 165) three came from Tynedale. Tim Wrigley was seeded 23rd, Alex Ashworth 27th and Peter Crichton 33rd, so it was always going to be tough. With one win, a draw, an enforced bye and two losses, Tim ended up on 2.5/5. Peter had a win, a draw, a half-point bye and two losses for 2/5. Alex, in his first ever Major competition, had to settle for just one win. Like David, he will have been on a steep learning curve. The best individual result was probably Tim’s draw with Stephen Hall of Hetton, graded 164.
The Minor (for players between 106 and 135) had 37 entries, including four from Tynedale. Matthew Taylor was seeded 7th, Phil Taylor 15th, Bruce Reed 16th and Steve Larkin 21st. Star of the event for Tynedale was undoubtedly Bruce, who started with a draw against the top-seeded player, Crouch (134) of Kings Head. Next he defeated Davy Marshall (119) of Tynemouth, then took a half point bye in round 3 to watch Newcastle United win their game. Suitably inspired, he finished with two more victories, over Peter Harker of Hartlepool and Colin Gilroy of Gateshead, for an excellent final score of 4/5 and third place overall.
Phil had a good congress too, scoring two wins and two draws in the first four rounds, only to go down to Ken Boswell (128) of Peterlee in the last round and so finish out of the prizes on 3/5.
Steve took a half-point bye in round 1 and followed this with a win, a loss and two draws for 2.5/5. Matthew started very solidly with three draws but had no luck in the last two rounds and finished on 1.5/5.
If Tynedale did not exactly dominate proceedings, they at least made their presence felt intermittently and it was particularly good to have Bruce amongst the prize-winners.

Club Championship

The action here has been thick and fast, with thirteen players already taking part. The usual suspects are at or near the top, but spare a thought for Peter Booker, he of the longest row of eggs in club history. Not only did he pull off a sensational victory over Bruce Reed in his first championship game but he came within an ace of repeating the feat against Peter Crichton. Peter C was on the ropes and offered a draw, which Peter B (rightly) declined, only to lose his way and the game under acute time pressure. Had he won he would have been top of the table! Chess can be a cruel game!

Derek Blair 2/3
Peter Crichton 2/3
Alex Ashworth 1.5/2
Dave Foster sr 1.5/2
Peter Booker 1/2
Jeremy Handley 1/2
Bruce Reed 1/2
Matthew Taylor 1/2
Phil Taylor 1/3
Steve Larkin 0.5/1
Tim Wrigley 0.5/2
Malcolm Reid 0/1
David Scott 0/1


The new season’s gradings appear below. The figure in brackets reflects the change from last season’s grading.

David Wrigley 172 (+25)
David Weldon 157 (-4)
Tim Wrigley 145 (+14)
Alex Ashworth 142 (+11)
Jeremy Handley 141 (=)
Peter Crichton 139 (-12)
Derek Blair 138 (-1)
Dave Foster sr 131 (+1)
Jack Bradshaw 130 (-7)
Matthew Taylor 129 (-1)
Phil Taylor 124 (+4)
Bruce Reed 123 (-4)
Steve Larkin 119 (-2)
Malcolm Reid 111 (-4)
Dave Foster jr 85 (-6)
Peter Booker 66 (+1)

Clearly the Wrigleys had a wonderful 2010-11 season, and for the first time in years David Weldon is not top of the pile. Also for the first time in years, we have one player listed amongst the top grades (above 170) in the North-East. With the + and – totals both coming to 41, we have collectively neither lost nor gained ground. However, this is thanks very largely to the two Wrigleys and Alex, since while five players have improved their grade, nine have seen it deteriorate.

The English Chess Federation is proposing to publish two grading lists this season, the second of them in December, I believe. So if you want to improve your position in the above list, start winning now!


Mike Nicholson has sent me the following information about his shot at the Correspondence chess World Candidates Competition:

“Here’s the list of my opponents in my World Candidates. You will see that half of them are GMs and I’m the lowest rated of the five SIMs. There are just a couple of mere IMs, the only two rated below myself. As if all that isn’t tough enough, only the winner will go through to a world final. Looking for the good news, some opponents have been away from competition for some time, and may be competing because this is their last chance to take up their entry qualification. These few are offset by those who are not only much more highly rated than myself, but are still shooting upwards!
1. 950295 SVK SIM Helbich, Dr. Ján (2523)
2. 900005 CRO GM Krivic, Davor (2565)
3. 240099 ITA GM Casabona, Dr. Claudio (2598)
4. 160468 ESP IM Manso Gil, Ángel-Jerónimo (2453)
5. 210153 ENG SIM Nicholson, Mike L. (2487)
6. 460917 FIN SIM Siikaluoma, Auno (2499)
7. 83154 GER SIM Gleichmann, Matthias (2540)
8. 421250 POL IM Sawiniec, Dr. Jaroslaw (2416)
9. 141647 RUS GM Zhak, Boris Mikhailovich (2670)
10. 80732 GER SIM Repp, Heinrich (2512)
11. 131093 CZE GM Zidu, Jan (2579)
12. 450393 SWE GM Olofson, Dan (2563)
13. 720001 GUA GM Blanco Gramajo, César Augusto (2552)
I would have to score at least 7.1/2 points in this Category 12 event for a second GM norm. I would need 6 even to justify my SIM standing, i.e. 12 draws, or every loss balanced by a win. However, I wish to emphasise that these titles and ratings are not going to affect my style. I intend positive fighting chess, as risk-free as my ability and program allow. There’s only one object in playing the event, and I must get at least three wins to stand any chance at all. GM Zidu has opened 1.Nf3.”

I am sure we all wish Mike well and will follow his progress with great interest.

Forthcoming events.

October 9 Carlisle Rapidplay

October 21-23 Scarborough Chess Congress

3. Stop press. Last night the Dyvels beat the Monarchs fair and square, winning over the board by 2.5 to 1.5, just as they did last season. Will this be their year? Are the Monarchs in terminal decline? Watch this space!

That is all the news for this time. Here’s wishing you all a successful new season!

Steve Larkin

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