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Bulletin No 46

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 46 (12.3.12)

In stark contrast to the previous e-bulletin, there is relatively little to report this time, owing in part to the postponement of both of the Reivers’ February matches and in part to the fact that Messrs Wrigley currently have other pressing matters on their hands and so are unable to provide reports on the activities of the Tans. In consequence, I am afraid that all I can do is report the bare results. No doubt David and Tim will be able to fill in the details next time around.

Northumbria League division one

 The first match was away to Morpeth B on February 28th. It produced the folowing result:

George Ellames 0-1 David Wrigley
Les Whittle 0.5-0.5 David Weldon
James Chadwick 0.5-0.5 Tim Wrigley
Alan Welsh 0-1 Jeremy Handley
Geoff Loxham 0.5-0.5 Peter Crichton

So a comfortable win for the Tans by 3.5 to 1.5.

The second match was at home to Tynemouth Trojans.

David Weldon 0-1 David Henderson
Tim Wrigley 0-1 Gary Cornwall
Jeremy Handley 0.5-0.5 Mick Riding
Derek Blair 1-0 Dave Jarema
Peter Crichton 0.5-0.5 Chris Smith

So a narrow loss for the Tans, 2-3.

Northumbria League division two

Just one match to report on here, an away fixture against Alnwick at Morpeth on Wednesday March 7th. These days, Alnwick just run one team and so provide sterner opposition than in the old days when they ran two. The line-up was as follows:

1. Mike Trolan (142) v Derek Blair (138)
2. David Wallace (144) v Phil Taylor (124)
3. Ralph Firth (132) v Dave foster sr (131)
4. James Pharaoah (122) v Steve Larkin (119)
5. Rob McEwan (85) v Peter Booker (66)

A close match looked in prospect, and so it proved.

First to finish was Dave, who settled for a whirlwind draw in just 45 minutes! He writes: “My opponent was Ralph Firth and as I had the white pieces PK4 was the obvious opener. His response was PK3 which I hate. I tried something new PQR3 and a flurry of pieces started being swapped. Ralph was in a hurry it seemed! 26 moves gone and we were down to a Queen each and I had only 82 minutes left on the clock….. I had blundered a pawn away in the exchange which obviously scared Ralph enough to offer me a draw. He must have thought his eighty minutes were not enough to force his pawn advantage through and I had some kind of devious plan. So I shook his hand and we had a jolly good chat about missing friends.”   0.5 – 0.5

Next Peter clocked up a splendid win against a seasoned and much higher- graded opponent (though we all know that Peter’s grade is due for massive upward revision!).  Peter writes: “ As usual, I opened with the Queens gambit, declined. I pushed the Q.B. pawn on to the 5th to cramp his development. After a few moves, he tried to break out on the ‘a’ file and brought one rook out. I prevented him bringing in reinforcements but it cost me two pawns. He tried to open up the kingside but my two free bishops were able to counter that and I won a knight. He tried to attack through the centre but I ambushed his queen which he exchanged for a knight and a rook. As we approached the end game, I pushed my passed a pawn. He chased it so I let him catch it but took his two central passed pawns. With Q v R, I chased his king until I could fork K/R and he resigned. Just as well as I was down to my last ten minutes! As usual! “   0.5 – 1.5

Phil had a tough call against David Wallace and finally succumbed to a pair of linked, passed pawns. He writes: “My game against David Wallace was a close Sicilian O’Kelly variation with much strategic manoeuvring during the opening. There were some significant threats on both sides and getting the balance right between attack & defence has never been my strong point. At move 15 I noticed all my pieces were still on the last three ranks. I had seen the threat of the skewer on my Queen and Rook but thought the support for the Bishop would come from a knight move and so thought I had an extra move before I needed to block it. Unfortunately I missed White’s Queen supporting the skewer and then went the exchange down. From that point onwards I was always playing from behind. I managed to keep material to just the exchange down but eventually white’s 2 passed pawns on the a&b files were too strong.” 1.5 – 1.5

Derek was dissatisfied with the way he played the opening but he clawed his way back to equality. He writes: “I responded to my opponent’s Pirc defence rather passively which saw him develop his pieces rather more aggressively than mine.

The battle raged on the king side where all forces were eventually mustered but white managed somehow to curtail Black’s threats. Manning off by white at first,

then more conclusively by black, left both sides with 6 pawns each, centralised kings and nothing but a draw. “ 2 – 2

And so the match result hinged on the last game to finish. Steve faced his second English opening in two days and spent much of the game paying for an early and unwise advance of his queen (5 queen moves between moves 6 and 14, going up to 10 queen moves by move 25!!). Thereafter things settled down a bit, though he still had 15 queen moves by move 37, but at least most of these were not forced! The game came down to queen, rook and five pawns each. James launched an assault on black’s slightly exposed king but, in seeking to avoid a swap-off of queens, he allowed Steve to fork rook and queen with a pawn. The only answer, which James found, was to sacrifice the rook with a check, and then force a draw by perpetual check with the queen.

And so the match was drawn, a result with which the Reivers can feel reasonably content. No doubt about the man of the match though – that man Booker continues to make his mark on the chess scene!

South Tyne League

Quite a lot of action here , and exciting stuff too, with the championship title wide open.

The first match to be played was Dyvels at home to Friars on February 14th. I am indebted to Bruce for reports on all the Dyvels’ matches:

“The match against Friars was tougher than expected – not least because Syd Cassidy was back for a short visit and able to play for them. We were slightly out-graded on boards 1, 3 and 4, but equal on handicap, so everything depended on the game results.

On top board Jeremy Handley secured a draw against George Glover (replacing Daniel O’Dowd who has reportedly stopped playing), having been a pawn down for much of the game. Dave Foster (on board 3) also went slightly down on material before succumbing to Syd Cassidy. Peter Crichton repeated his draw from the first match against Friars against Paul Rivers in an enjoyable and hard-fought contest. On board 4 I repeated Phil Taylor’s trick*, lost a piece against Jason Maxwell, and fought on for an hour and a half trying to find a way to get something out of the match. Jason’s accurate play proved too much for me, however, and Dyvels lost the match overall with only 2 draws to show for a hard (but enjoyable) night’s work.
*Peter C. was in charge of the team the first time we played Friars and wrote: 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”.

The match result, taking account of the handicaps, was Dyvels 17 Friars 25.

The Dyvels’ next opponents were HaydonBridge on February 21st.

 Bruce writes:

“The second game against Haydon Bridge saw the Dyvels team slightly changed from the previous match, resulting in Dyvels needing to win 3.5 – 0.5 on the handicap system. Anything less would have resulted in an overall loss or a draw.

In the event, Jeremy Handley had another hard fought draw against Ian Mackay. Peter Crichton had a slightly easier game against Christine Moorcroft than in the previous match, as she lost a couple of pawns in exchanges on which Peter was able to build an overwhelming advantage.

David Foster’s game against Ralph swung from his being behind on material to his gradually being able to get his pieces combining in an overwhelming attack, winning first a minor piece and then a rook, resulting in Ralph’s resignation.
The game against David Tulip was a little different from the matches played on Wednesday afternoons in Hexham (where Tynedale and HaydonBridge players often meet for a sociable afternoon of quicker games). My rapidly playing bishops to b2 (Larsen’s opening) and c4 to combine with the knights against his King’s Indian response first won a central pawn, and then – as he sought counterplay – a rook as he tried to combat the pressure building on his king.

  H’cap     H‘cap Result
Ian Mackay 3 2-2 3 Jeremy Handley
Christine Moorcroft 5 0-4 3 Peter Crichton
Ralph Fawcett 6 0-4 3 Dave Foster sr
David Tulip 7 0-4 4 Bruce Reed
  21 2-14 13  
    23-27    
         

The next South Tyne league action involved the Monarchs, who took on Austins at Hallbankgate on February 28th. Reinforced by the return of their captain, Derek Blair, but depleted by the absence of their top board player, David Wrigley, who was busy with a Zollner fixture, the Monarchs needed 2.5 points to win this match.

They got off to a good start when Steve Larkin, on board three, won inside ninety minutes. After an early attack, sustained pressure on Camas Millar’s exposed king eventually forced the sacrifice of a bishop. Then came a double check which led inescapably to checkmate. 0-1

Promoted to board one, Tim Wrigley went a pawn up fairly early on against Bruce Wallace. Thereafter, play was even, the game coming down to Tim’s knight and five pawns against Bruce’s knight and four. Tim got his king through enemy lines and engineered an unstoppable pawn break. 0-2

On board two, cap’n Blair went a pawn up against Bill Hardwick in the middle game, with rook and queen controlling space in the centre. Bill’s surviving bishop was pinned and lost and, after a queen exchange, he resigned a hopeless position. 0-3

Board four was a real humdinger, as Raoul Weston pressed Drew Millar very hard on the queenside, with his queen on Drew’s second rank, supported by a rook, and with a knight poised dangerously on the kingside. Drew’s position looked untenable, but he defended doggedly and when Raoul, coming under time pressure, accepted a queen swap-off, the impetus of his attack collapsed and he lost a knight in the process. Now it was Drew’s two bishops and two pawns against Raoul’s rook and five pawns. With Raoul in acute time trouble, Drew swapped bishop for rook, picked off some of the pawns and eventually gobbled up the only passed one, at which point only the kings were left on the board. 0.5-3.5

So, after losing their first three matches, the Monarchs’ revival continues. Word has it that, against all the odds, they are still in with a shout of the league title!

Result

1. Bruce Wallace 3 0-4  2  Tim Wrigley
2. Bill Hardwick 5 0-4  3  Derek Blair
3. Camas Millar 5 0-4  4  Steve Larkin
4. Drew Millar 5 2-4  6  Raoul Weston
  18 2-14 15  
    20-29    

And so to a match with a great deal at stake, Monarchs v Dyvels on March 6th. The line-up was

Tim Wrigley v Jeremy Handley
Derek Blair v Alex Ashworth
Steve Larkin v Bruce Reed
Raoul Weston v Phil Taylor

With the handicap slightly in favour of Monarchs, Dyvels need 2.5 out of 4 to draw the match. Bruce writes: “It was fitting that the Dyvels should play their last match against the Monarchs. The result – and the Dyvels success in the league this year – might (or rather maybe, perhaps) have been different if Peter Crichton had not said he was unable to play because he was recovering from illness. I would have loved to have seen him and Derek fight it out. It would have enabled Alex to play on board three, and me to watch instead of play. As it was, we were beaten by a better team on the night, with success for Raoul (against Phil) and Derek (against Alex), and a draw for Tim (against Jeremy) giving the Monarchs 2.5 – 1.5 game points on the night, and victory.”

Derek writes of his game: “This was a Pirc defence by Alex to counter white’s rapid queenside development including castling long. Black opened up his position before castling so that his king became rather exposed to white’s superior mobility – a weakness that was compounded when white won a kingside pawn. However, black had counter-attacking chances with queen and bishop aligned on white’s queenside. White used his mobile castles to penetrate black’s heartland and exchange off all black’s pieces to leave a match-winning pawn majority on the queenside.”

Phil writes of his game: “Playing Raul on board 4 for the Dyvels vs Monarchs was a painful experience made worse by my own mistake. Early on in the game I allowed myself to be seduced by a Bishop sack on h3 getting me 2 pawns for my Bishop and exposing white’s King quite significantly. As most of his pieces were on the Queenside I thought I might have had time to bring more pieces into play – it wasn’t to be. Raul played an excellent defence and exposed my unsound Bishop sack for the folly it was. His coup de grace at the end was as graceful as his defence, spotting a way to remove my defending rook with a check, which forced my King from its defence. Then he forked rook and King – needless to say I resigned before the fork and left with my tail between my legs. If Raul doesn’t get a 140 grading by next summer I’ll be surprised.”

Steve writes of his game:”Last to finish was board three, where Bruce played his favourite English opening. The game was soon even, but Steve lost a lot of time over the first 15 moves and this was to prove decisive. Bruce set up a potential attack on black’s king, with queen and bishop operating on adjacent diagonals, but Steve launched a kingside attack of his own, which meant that Bruce had to divert pieces for a defensive role. This he did very effectively, slamming the door on Steve’s attack, at which point black’s time ran out.”

So at this point no fewer than four of the five teams involved in the South Tyne league could win the title. Dyvels have played all their matches and sit on top of the table with 9 match points. Friars and Monarchs both have one match to play and are both on 8 match points. HaydonBridge have two matches to play and are on 6 match points. With two match points for a win, the situation is clearly very fluid, with HaydonBridge in the dual role of aspirants to the title and potential king-makers. Watch this space!

Club Championship

No changes in the first six places, but Peter Booker muscles himself into seventh spot and looks to have qualified for the knockout phase for the first time in his chess career. Alex must be looking nervously over his shoulder! Three weeks to go and the top eight to qualify.

Derek Blair 6/8
Peter Crichton 5/7
Dave Foster sr 4.5/6
Jeremy Handley 4.5/6
Bruce Reed 4.5/9
Phil Taylor 4.5/10
Peter Booker 4/9
Alex Ashworth 3/6
Raoul Weston 2.5/4
Steve Larkin 2.5/8
Tim Wrigley 1.5/3
Dave Foster jr 1.5/4
David Wrigley 1/1
Matthew Taylor 1/2
Malcolm Reid 0/1
David Scott 0/8

Miscellanea

Zollner. I hope to be able to report on David’s progress in this competition in the next e-bulletin.

Forthcoming events:

Durham Chess Congress, Houghton-le-Spring March 16-18.

British Chess Championships, North Shields July 22 to August 4

Northumberland Chess Congress, North Shields September 21-23.

It would be good to see Tynedale players supporting all three of these local events. After all, congresses are like local shops – you use them or lose them!

Steve Larkin

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