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Bulletin No 43


Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 43 (9.11.11)

With the season now in full swing, there is plenty of action to report, starting with the

Northumbria League division one

Two matches to report here. The first was at home to Gosforth Empire on Oct 11th. I am indebted to David Wrigley for the following report.

“The Tans began their season welcoming a Gosforth team who finished comfortably in mid table last season. The team who actually arrived matched us pretty much toe-to-toe.

First to make his mark this season was Peter Crichton , who took shared a point with Noel Boustred in a finely balanced middlegame position. Noel is a dangerous proposition, and consistently under-graded, so an early-ish draw is a good idea. 0.5-0.5

Alex had a rough time against Roy Bagnall, who has recently returned after a couple of years away from chess, but was clearly refreshed by the lay-off. A valiant effort, but our man went down . 0.5-1.5

Tim played the match of the night on board 3, his game with Dave Stebbings was a violent whirlwind, eventually ending in a perpetual. See the games section for the game in full. 1-2

Dave Weldon was trading blows with Paul Sumner on board 2. He writes: “Played my usual Colle opening and game went into a reversed queens gambit semi slav kind of position. White maintained a slight spatial edge throughout most of the game and black never quite managed to equalise. The game boiled down to a favourable rook & pawn ending, it may not have been 100% winning, but black did not defend it accurately.” Dave’s endgame technique was assured and impressive. 2-2

So it all hangs on board 1….

David Wrigley was up against Michael Yianni, another who’d recently returned from a chess sabbatical. David blundered a pawn, Michael kept developing with threats and David couldn’t find any active counterplay. David, by now deep in time trouble, gave away a couple of knights for good measure.2-3

The Tans don’t quite get off to the start they’d wanted, but there were some good individual performances.

Tynedale Tans 2-3 Gosforth Empire
David Wrigley 0-1 Michael Yianni (ug)
Dave Weldon 1-0 Paul Sumner (145)
Tim Wrigley 0.5-0.5 Dave Stebbings (143)
Alex Ashworth 0-1 Roy Bagnall (ug)
Peter Crichton 0.5-0.5 Noel Boustred (137) “

Next up were Forest Hall A in an away match on Oct 28th. Again thanks to David for the following report:

“The Tans’ greatest challenge was getting to Forest Hall with all players in tow! We just about made it after a winding ride along the valley, via Hexham, Prudhoe, Lemington and outer Mongolia. Peter serenely made his own way and he calmly finished first! John Wall offered an(other) early draw in (yet) an(other) interesting middlegame position. Peter asked for advice on the match position and David more or less said “Do what you like”. So he did. 0.5-0.5

Dave Weldon might well sweep all aside on board two this season. He and Alex Raison castled on opposite sides, and Alex was the first to get his pawns rolling towards Dave’s king. Whilst Alex invested tempi in these pawns, Dave was loosening the centre, and he found a nice tactic, forking h1-rook and a2-pawn with his queen. Alex decided to let the rook go, hoping to either snare the queen or box her in long enough to make good his kingside attack. Dave coolly dealt with the tricks, and simplified the position sufficiently to kill Alex’s hopes. Brutal. 1.5-0.5

Our own Alex got well stuck in to Mike Smith. He entered the late middlegame a pawn down, but Mike’s pawn structure didn’t look too clever, and Alex’s minor pieces were keeping Mike on his toes. Mike was able to coerce Alex into some piece exchanges, and Alex was left staring at connected-passed-centre pawns, his pieces were all too busy doing other things to get back and stop them. Undeterred, Alex harried Mike’s kingside, and managed to conjure passed connectors of his own, but Mike’s pawns were by now too far advanced, and he could hold on no longer. 1.5-1.5

Phil was drafted into the first team earlier in the week for what he claims is only the second time ever (surely not). He remains unbeaten in top flight chess. He writes :

“Having been asked to step up to the first team last night I played board 5 against Sophie Seeber of Forest Hall A. I had only played against Sophie once before in a Durham Congress where I was fortunate enough to win while she was still developing her chess experience. She is now graded 130 and finished above me in the Northumberland Congress so I needed to be cautious, steady and hope for an opening – at least I was white – some slight advantage.

The game started out tentatively enough with pawns and pieces developing from a Queens Pawn opening. At one stage Sophie’s b,c,d & e pawns on the 6th rank faced my c,d & e pawns on the 4th. She pushed her d pawn allowing me to chase her f6 knight back to the 8th rank with e5. I then thought I saw a way to break through on the queenside with Knight b5 forking Queen and a-pawn followed by Queen a4 putting extra pressure on the a-pawn and eventually her unprotected knight on d7. Alas it wasn’t to be and it led to a hairy few minutes while she pushed her Q-side pawns attacking Queen & knight. Black slightly ahead here.

I needed something to distract her so manoeuvred my Queen to f5 with the plan that I would sack my Bishop for black’s h6-pawn and try to make as much of the K-side attack as possible. Black’s defence was good and although I managed to get 2 pawns for my bishop my attack had been repulsed. At least black had been distracted from the Q-side. Worse was to follow, however, and black developed a K-side attack which threatened to break through on numerous occasions – finding the right defensive moves was imperative with mating threats several times over. The attack, however, was costing black material and white went 3 pawns up for the bishop and then, following some dubious sacrifices, a piece and a pawn up.

By this time both clocks were running to the wire. Sophie’s clock was closer than mine and time pressure had her making moves which only weakened both her attack and her position. With white having a protected passed a-pawn and a piece extra black’s flag fell – a full point contribution. Phew.”

The Tans have their first match point of the season! 2.5-1.5

David had Martin Seeber to deal with on top board. They started off in weird fashion, but ended up in a Sicilian Grand Prix. Martin played the opening effectively, and ended up better developed with good pressure on the c-file against a backwards c2 pawn, whilst David boasted a space advantage on the kingside. David ventured a pawn sac but Martin returned the pawn immediately in order to simplify the position, then sacrificed a pawn of his own! David could pinch it and safely consolidate his position. Time trouble arrived, they swapped down to a rook ending where David’s advantage dissipated. With only half a point needed to win the match, and with Martin’s clock showing 00:00:10, David’s sense of fair play got the better of him and he offered a draw. 3-2

Forest Hall A 2-3 Tynedale Tans
Martin Seeber 0.5-0.5 David Wrigley
Alex Raison 0-1 Dave Weldon
Mike Smith 1-0 Alex Ashworth
John Wall 0.5-0.5 Peter Crichton
Sophie Seeber 0-1 Phil Taylor

So the Tans chalk up two valuable points, Dave emerges as a contender for Tans MVP, and Phil’s reputation as a ringer is enhanced. Smashing.”

So all in all an encouraging start for the Tans.

Stop press: Last night (8/11) the Tans went down 1.5 to 3.5 to Tynemouth Hobbits. Full match report in the next e-bulletin.

Northumbria League division two

The Reivers’ first match, on October 18th, involved an early start to accommodate the requirements of their young opponents, the Jesmond Sharks, a team with an average age of about eleven! Dave Foster senior, on board two, was first to finish, despatching his opponent very briskly with a lethal kingside attack which was left unchallenged till too late. Last to finish was Derek Blair on top board.. For a long time this game was even and Derek was not a little relieved when his opponent blundered his queen away. In the other three games, the Reivers were up on material at a relatively early stage, but the youngsters defended stoutly, determined not to give in. This was best exemplified on board five, where Dave Foster junior’s opponent cheekily offered a draw when a rook down!

1. Derek Blair 1-0 C. Wilson
2. Dave Foster sr 1-0 S. Trevelyan
3. Phil Taylor 1-0 D. Sharma
4. Steve Larkin 1-0 J. Ferrier
5. Dave Foster jr 1-0 N. Fajardo

Despite the result, the youngsters played some decent chess and will doubtless go on learning very rapidly.

The Reivers’ second match was away to Tynemouth Castles on Nov 1st. I am inbebted to Phil, who took over as acting captain, for the following report:

“Dave was first to lose on board 3 – tactical error. I then won on 4 (my opponent blundered under pressure 5 moves after having offered a draw and my declining it). Bruce had a good attack against Dave Mear’s solid defence but miscalculated an exchange sequence and lost. Alex was next to go – he’d had a long day at work, used public transport to go direct to the venue, played a sterling game on board 1 only to lose to a couple of late tactical errors and resigned. His opponent was short on time but unlikely to blow the pawns & king finish. Knowing the match result, Derek agreed a draw with his opponent .

My game was a close one against Ray Garside. Ray’s grading had gone up last year from 109 to 111 but he plays a lot stronger. He opened d4 followed by e3 so I followed suit with d5 & e6 (never played this before as far as I can remember). It was a close affair with some minor tactical threats on both sides but eventually I managed to clear the a & b files of pawns. Material was still even and Ray offered a draw on move 28 but I had looked up his results on the Northumberland League web site earlier in the day & seen that he’d lost both of his league games so far this season. On the basis that his grading was lower than mine and he’d lost these previous games I declined and immediately found a way to exploit the open files, moving my rook via b1 to b3, (supported by my c-pawn). Now if he wanted to exchange it would give me a passed pawn. He declined but his response allowed me to bring my queen into the attack on a3. The pressure was growing on his c-pawn and his supporting pieces were away on the k-side hoping for an attack of his own but he chased my queen to b2 by his Ra1 and followed this with a cheap check with Ra8. Unfortunately he had forgotten that this square had been defended for most of the game by my quiet bishop on d5 and so immediately resigned when he saw the blunder.”

Of his game against Keith Rockett, Derek writes: “Keith and I always seem to lock horns! And we are probably about level on past games. This was another draw! I was a pawn up but the match was lost so we shook hands. Recalling how he got rather muddled last time with a Queen pawn opening, he switched to e4 which took me into a Pirc type defence.

I anticipated (correctly) that his rapid queenside development was to enable him to castle queenside and then start a king side pawn roller. I decided to swap my black bishop early which brought his queen to h6 where I knew it would prevent me castling kingside. Instead I pushed pawns on the queenside, and castled long despite a rather airy position. He was now persuaded to castle kingside but with his queen and knight rather off side I began to control the middle, winning a central pawn. There was still a lot of play left in the position with both players still having queens, 2 rooks and 2 minor pieces. White probably had more problems than black with a central pawn down but my clock was less favourable. So honours equal after an interesting tussle.”

1. D. Hair (145) 1-0 Alex Ashworth (142)
2. K. Rockett (136) 0.5 0.5 Derek Blair (138)
3. K. Marshall (119) 1-0 Dave Foster sr (131)
4. R. Garside (111) 0-1 Phil Taylor (124)
5. D. Mear (108) 1-0 Bruce Reed (123)

A slightly disappointing result for the Reivers, who really need to win matches like this if they are to improve on their rather lacklustre performance in the league last season.  Perhaps the opening fixture against the Sharks lulled us into a false sense of security!

South Tyne League

Quite a bit of  activity here, starting with an all-Tynedale opener between the Monarchs and the Dyvels. This match was played on October 4th, with the following line-up (Monarchs names first):

1. David Wrigley v Jeremy Handley
2. Tim Wrigley v Alex Ashworth
3. Derek Blair v Dave Foster sr
4. Steve Larkin v Phil Taylor

Non-playing acting captain of the Dyvels Peter Crichton writes:

“The result of the night for the Dyvels was undoubtedly Jeremy’s fine win on top board against David, who by all accounts was over-ambitious with his sacrificial play. Alex held Tim to a draw on two but Dave F fell to his nemesis Derek on three. Fortunately for the Dyvels, Phil managed to edge a keenly fought game on board 4 (actually Phil steamrollered me: I was never in the hunt: ed), leaving a victory of 2.5 to 1.5 which was not affected by the handicap system.“

A straw in the wind for both sides? Well, precisely the same result last year was followed by a third successive league title for the Monarchs and a fairly dismal season for the Dyvels, so what would follow this time?

The Dyvels next match was against Friars on October 24th. Peter C writes:

“The match against Friars was also very close, with the teams having the same handicap count and the match going to the last game to finish, where Jeremy was just unable to secure a win against Daniel O’Dowd on top board. On two Peter had a steady game with black against Paul Rivers which was agreed drawn when both players decided that they could see no obvious way to improve their side of an even position. On three Dave F secured a draw against Dave Jackson, both players graded 131. Dave F writes: “I started with my normal PK4 (e4) and he responded with a typical Sicilian (I think). His replies were a bit slower than mine and although his position became stronger through the latter part of the game his clock was against him. He had a seemingly invincible attack on my castled kingside due to what he may have perceived as a blunder, however my calculated “mistake” let me in on an attack on his unprotected kingside forcing a perpetual check. He could either spend clock time losing material or offer a draw, I happily accepted the draw. The later analysis was uncertain if I could have forced a win.” Finally Phil went down to the fast improving Jason Maxwell when, in a fairly level position, he, in his words, “blundered away a knight”and then fell into an “unseen mating net” – a rare reversal for Phil who has been enjoying a very solid early season.”

So the Dyvels lost by 1.5 to 2.5 and seem to be repeating last season.

What of the Monarchs? Their second match was also against a Carlisle side, the Austins, and this was played on Nov 1st. Tim Wrigley has kindly supplied the following report:

“Last season’s S Tyne League winners Tynedale Monarchs fell to their second consecutive defeat. First to finish was Dave Foster jr, who lost a bruising pawn endgame to Drew Millar. Fallowfield favourite Tim Wrigley once again played a variation of the English Opening he didn’t know and had to rely on native wit to pull through against Bill Hardwick. Raoul Weston was caught with a weak back rank when winning against Camas Millar, which left David Wrigley to win a tight match against Bruce Wallace. Under the S Tyne handicap system this meant a loss even though the scores were level across the board .

Monarchs H/c   H/c Austins
David Wrigley 1 4-0 3 Bruce Wallace
Tim Wrigley 2 4-0 5 Bill Hardwick
Raoul Weston 6 0-4 5 C Millar
Dave Foster Jnr 7 0-4 5 Drew Millar
Total 16 8-8 18“  

So it rather looks as though the balance of power is beginning to shift across the Pennines. No doubt members of the Monarchs squad can expect the peppiest of pep talks from their captain before battle is joined again!

Carlisle Rapidplay

Held at the Carlisle Working Men’s Club on Sunday October 9th and organized for the first time by Daniel O’Dowd, this event was not very well supported, with total numbers probably well below fifty. Four members of Tynedale took part.

In the Open, David Wrigley lost his first game, against Carlisle’s Stephen Barnes (grade 155), on time and his second to the top-seeded Robert Patla (200+). Two wins followed, against Lewis McAteer (Penrith 146) and Ian Stone (Cockermouth 150) and David seemed to be “in the groove”. Alas, a blunder under time pressure lost him his final game, against Daniel O’Dowd (143), for a score of 2/5.

In the Major (under 150), Tim Wrigley started like a man on a mission, winning his first three games, against Bill Henderson (131), Neil Jones (145) and Eggert Freuternacht (146), to lead the field. Then he ran out of steam, losing to Peter Crichton and then to Mark Hambly(?, 131), for a score of 3/5.

Peter started with a full point bye, drew with Mark Hambly(?), beat Bill Hardwick (105) and Tim, before drawing – “a grandmaster draw”, he said wearily on being quizzed about his three passed pawns – with Neil Jones, for an excellent score of 4/5 and first place! He was certainly Tynedale’s man of the moment.

In the Minor (under 120), Steve Larkin was top seed, though to see him play you wouldn’t have thought so. He had a point gifted him when his first opponent failed to turn up. Time trouble obliged him to settle for a draw against Camas Millar, Drew’s son, in round 2. Next came a win against young Jason Maxwell (110), and things weren’t looking too bad. But he blew his last two games, against Peter Blackmore (109) and Alastair Ridley (100), for a dismal 2.5/5.

Club Championship

It is nice to see that there is still plenty of action here. Dave Foster sr has moved into pole position. First-timer Alex Ashworth remains handily placed, as does reigning club champion Jeremy Handley. Several members are making a slow or non-existent start and, with fourteen players involved already, they could soon find that they have left it too late.

Dave Foster sr 3.5/4
Derek Blair 3.5/5
Peter Crichton 2.5/4
Alex Ashworth 2.5/4
Jeremy Handley 2/3
Bruce Reed 2/4
Phil Taylor 2/5
Tim Wrigley 1.5/3
Peter Booker 1.5/4
Matthew Taylor ½
Dave Foster jr 0.5/2
Steve Larkin 0.5/2
Malcolm Reid 0/1
David Scott 0/3


1. Individual championships. David Wrigley is the only club member taking part in these events this season. He has bravely pitched into the Zollner, the top competition, and found himself up against top seed Charlie Storey in the first round. David’s account of this game is brief and to the point:”Top seed Charlie Storey was out of book for all of two moves before he won enough pawns to render David’s resistance futile. A learning experience!”

Club AGM. I must apologise for omitting to give any details of our AGM held at the beginning of September. Basically, everything continues as before, except that Dave Foster senior has stood down as captain of the Dyvels and been replaced by Bruce Reed. Derek Blair has taken over from Bruce as publicity officer.

Forthcoming events.

28 Dec – 5 Jan Hastings Chess Congress

6 – 8 Jan York Chess Congress

Nothing else to report.

Steve Larkin

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