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Bulletin No 06

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no. 6 (4.4.07)

As last month, there is no question about the lead story for this bulletin, so here it is,

Jack’s Triumph

It’s not very often that we have a Northumberland champion in our midst, so it is a great pleasure to report that, on March 10th, Jack Bradshaw outclassed all his opponents to win the Northumberland under-15 Chess Championship. Indeed, such was his dominance (he scored a straight 7/7) that he can really be regarded as the under-18 champion as well, since he defeated the player to whom that title went and had a clearly superior overall record, as the table below shows:

Northumberland U-15 Championship

Played at ChristchurchSchool, North Shields, on 10th March, 2007

OVER-11 Section

1|Jack Bradshaw (QE Hexham) | 11w1| 4b1| 2w1| 3b1| 7w1| 5b1| 8w1 7

2|Tom Gholkar (RGS) | 7w1| 8b1| 1b0| 5w1| 3b1| 6w1| 10w½ 5½

3|William Morris (Astley) | 6w½| 10b1| 5b1| 1w0| 2w0| 7b1| 9b1 4½

4|Thomas Langley (RGS) | 9b1| 1w0| 8w1| 7b0| 6w½| bye| 11b1 4½

5|Andrew Douglas (RGS) | 10w1| 6b1| 3w0| 2b0| 8b1| 1w0| 7w1 4

6|Alex Gardner (Kings) | 3b½| 5w0| 10b1| 11w1| 4b½| 2b0| bye 4

7|Aine Beldon (T’mouth) | 2b0| bye| 9w1| 4w1| 1b0| 3w0| 5b0 3

8|Chris Gauld (RGS) | bye| 2w0| 4b0| 9b1| 5w0| 11w1| 1b0 3

9|Megan Pattie (T’mouth) | 4w0| 11b1| 7b0| 8w0| bye| 10b1| 3w0 3

10|Oliver Rice (QE Hexham) | 5b0| 3w0| 6w0| bye| 11b1| 9w0| 2b½ 2½

11|Jonathan Shaw (WBHS) | 1b0| 9w0| bye| 6b0| 10w0| 8b0| 4w0 1

Jack Bradshaw is County U-15 Champion; Tom Gholkar is U-13 Champion; William Morris is U-18 Champion. Aine Beldon and Megan Pattie share the U-14 Girls Championship.

 Well done, Jack! May this be the first of many such titles. 

Northumberland League Division 1

This item ought to carry a government health warning, since anyone of a nervous disposition who also takes an interest in the fortunes of the Tynedale Reivers is in for a nerve-racking ride. As you all know, the Reivers have been battling all season to avoid relegation. This is how the last few matches turned out.

 On March 6th they played Kings A, one of the strongest sides in the division. Next day, Mike Nicholson wrote:

“Bump! Bump! Bump! Bump! Down to earth again! OK, it was a rather
optimistic to think we might just repeat last season’s win against
Kings A, but we got our comeuppance well and truly. We lost 1/2 –
4.1/2, and that after Kings B had overtaken us in the league by
thumping Haymarket Sages the previous evening by the same margin.
[…] Kings A outplayed us, winning the first four games without too much
difficulty. Tim started well enough but miscalculated an exchange,
Mark got a shade behind in development and suffered a marauding
bishop pair, Dave ran into time trouble, and Colin was gradually
squeezed out of it. These things happen. I had spent a whole two
days preparing for John Wheeler, and correctly anticipated his
opening. Of the two different directions I had available, I finally,
not long before we left for the match, persuaded myself to reject the
more exciting one, on the grounds that it was just the sort of game
which I tend to lose through failing to find a plan late on. Good
decision. He went straight into the prepared line, and I got an
advantage which I held throughout. I even had two minutes in hand at
the time control, having already declined a draw offer. Objectively
around this time I might have had sufficient control and threats to
go for a win, but I opted to take even tighter control (good N v bad
B, with Rs still on) and show I didn’t need to snatch at a draw.
Putting a marker down for next time we meet. But I was tired.
Parked the car in the drive, took my league handbook into the
house … and didn’t think another thing about it till the morning
when Jill found an unlocked car still there.”

You have to admit that, as team captain, Mike puts everything – and more! – into these matches and certainly leads by example. The Reivers’ situation became more desperate still a few days later when Alnwick beat Tynemouth Hobbits, thereby relegating the Reivers to bottom place in the division. With two matches left, could they escape the drop? Their next opponents were Tynemouth Trojans, another team chasing the league title. Mike’s match report reads as follows:

“Another bad night for the Reivers. Apart from a win by default for Peter (substituting for a snow-bound Colin) we were white-washed by a very strong side. 1-4 leaves us at the bottom, and all depending, as feared on the must-win last match next Tuesday against Kings B.
In brief, David and Mark, both with black, fought long and hard but appeared to get slightly inferior positions which were steadily exploited. David’s pieces were too loosely arranged, and although boith kings appeared exposed, the initiative favoured the opposition. Mark had to contend with a passed pawn. Derek and I both eventually lost on time. Derek had what appeared to be a promising position with an outside passed supported pawn which he maintained through to the end, but there was just too much to do and no time to do it in. I had a strange game in which a severe development deficit transposed in a few moves to complete freedom, total development and two bishops for two knights, simplifying to a very satisfactory QB v QN ending, but after the queens had been exchanged I contrived to blunder into a knight fork and lost my bishop.
On the whole we played well, but were beaten by a better side.”

 A couple of days later, he added this postscript:

 “This afternoon at the Golf Club Peter Crichton set up a position he recalled from my game and asked if he had got it right. Of course not, because there was a simple, obvious mate in two for me. So I went over the game at home later […] and sure enough I had missed a mate in tow! Anger now compounded by frustration! I remember setting up the threat and then being surprised by my opponent’s reply, but I only saw what he had seen and forgot what I had threatened If I had got that, Derek Blair would have needed a draw for a drawn match. Thus are relegation issues settled. But to be fair, my opponent had missed a strong and probably winning sacrificial continuation earlier, which one of his colleagues had suggested to him in the post-match analysis.”

 Poor Mike! It really wasn’t his day. And so to the final, crunch match against Kings B. Anything less than a draw meant certain relegation. Here’s Mike’s report:

League Division 1, Kings B vs Tynedale Reivers

AR Lawson      1 0       CFS Davison
R Ditchburn      1 0       DJ Weldon
M Holborow    ½ ½     ML Nicholson
R Mitcheson     0 1       Mark Taylor
Default             0 1       TJ Wrigley
 2½ 2½

Well, that doesn’t tell the story, does it? The match started in chaos, as the opposition didn’t turn up till well after the start time, which meant boards had to be set up and even a table brought in and all fitted in between people playing club games and county championship games, including a play-off game for the Zollner itself. Dave got his clock going before everything had settled, but my opponent, the captain, was still in a high old state when he sat down to play. Not good! Tim’s opponent never showed, and we were left wondering whether his name had been put on the match list just so that Tim wouldn’t feel too hard done by turning up with no opponent. At least it got us off to an encouraging start in our quest for the drawn match which would lift us above Alnwick. We were also pleased to note that Jonathan King wasn’t playing – he’s been top board for most of the season.
When the four of us were settled things seems to get off to a promising start, and got even better when Mark notched up a win with little more than half the evening gone. His opponent had blundered on move 1 … well, he intended to open 1.e4 and for some reason picked up the d-pawn instead, or was it the other way round? No matter, he found Mark in confident aggressive mood. Queen and bishop targeted the king, while simultaneously pressure was exerted on the queen side. Classical stuff, and eventually the pressure told. Already we needed just the one more half point to at least draw the match, and the top three games were all looking safe as houses, if you can say that about any Reivers games this season.
Then the drama started. Dave’s apparently solid position simplified, with all the pawns disappearing from the queen-side, but his opponent had active pieces, and they proved too strong, and all of a sudden one of our drawing possibilities had gone and it was up to Colin and/ or me to do the stuff. Crikey! While trying to find the right moves to counter a gentle minority queen-side attack, I injudiciously switched my queen over from the king-side and exposed myself to a murderous and unstoppable Nf2 threat, supported by a queen. At first I thought I could defend it, but no, it cost me a piece. Thank goodness Colin’s position was looking completing drawn – a knight and five pawns each, and Colin with 15 minutes against 5. Thank goodness!
I struggled to activate and coordinate my remaining pieces, but suffered exchanges and the odd pawn loss in the process, and I didn’t like the way the vultures were gathering round the board waiting for my demise. Then catastrophe! Colin has somehow been swindled, there’s an unstoppable pawn, and he’s resigned. My only saviour now is that I’ve activated my rooks and a knight, and can give my opponent something to waste time thinking about. You know what’s coming. The clocks run down, my opponent’s catches mine up, and the only advantage I now have is greater experience of such situations. While he tried to make good moves, I made any move at all, including allowing his last pawn to fork my last rook and king. Could he mate my lone king in time? Not on your life! His flag fell, and the game was drawn (you can’t mate with a king alone). I think he had three minor pieces left, so it was a real swindle, but who cares?”

Another brilliant report, Mike! One can feel the tension coming off the page.

So division 1 ended up (more or less) looking like this:

Tables, Season 2006-07

Division 1

  Played Won Drawn Lost Game Points Match Points
Kings A 10 9 1 0 37½ 19
Leam Lane Aces 9 8 0 1 28 16
Tynemouth Trojans 9 7 1 1 31 * 15
Jesmond Knights 10 7 0 3 29 14
Gateshead Libs A 10 4 3 3 24 10
Tynemouth Hobbits 10 4 1 5 24½ * 9
Kings B 10 3 1 6 23 7
Haymarket Sages 10 3 0 7 17½ 6
Morpeth A 10 1 3 6 20½ 5
Tynedale Reivers 10 1 2 7 17½ 4
Alnwick A 10 1 1 8 17½ 3

Clearly Alnwick go down, but are the Reivers safe or not? That decision is in the lap of the gods, otherwise known as the county executive. Normally two teams are relegated, but Forest Hall pulled out of the division early on, so either one team (Alnwick) will be relegated and two promoted, or two will be relegated (Alnwick and Tynedale) and three promoted. The gods may well not decide until September. You see what I mean about a health warning?

Northumberland League Division 3

The more or less final table looks like this:

Division 3

  Played Won Drawn Lost Game Points Match Points
Tynedale Tans 10 8 * 1 1 * 37 * 17
Gosforth Regents 10 8 0 2 33½ & 16
Jesmond Pawns 10 7 0 3 32½ 14
Alnwick B 9 2 0 7 15 4
Gateshead Checks 8 1 * 1 6 * 13½ * 3
Tynemouth Sprites 9 0 2 7 7½ & 2

 A job well done by the Tans.

South Tyne League

Tynedale finished the season with a victory 2.5 to 1.5 over Austins, to secure the title. Mark Taylor, Derek Blair and Matthew Taylor all drew, while on board 4 newcomer David Foster scored a decisive win. Overall, Tynedale won 4 of their 6 matches, losing one and drawing one (both against HaydonBridge). As the table below shows, Derek has managed both to involve a large number of players and to achieve success – a very nice combination deserving of our congratulations.

  Played White Black Points
Malcolm Reid 4 2 2 3.5
Derek Blair 3 3 0 2
Mark Taylor 2 0 2 1.5
Matthew Taylor 2 0 2 1.5
Phil Taylor 2 1 1 1.5
David Foster 1 0 1 1
Bruce Reed 1 0 1 1
Colin Davison 2 2 0 1
Steve Larkin 2 1 1 1
Peter Crichton 1 1 0 0
Ralph Fawcett 1 1 0 0

 Club Championship

This is the state of play as at 4.4.07:

Jack Bradshaw 12.5/19
Mike Nicholson 9.5/12
Peter Crichton 9/14
Derek Blair 8.5/14
Steve Larkin 8/14
Matthew Taylor 7/10
Mark Taylor 4/6
Malcolm Reid 4/8
Bruce Reed 3/8
Phil Taylor 2/12
Dan Woodhouse 1.5/9
David Wrigley 1/1
David Foster 0/3
Stephen Porritt 0/8

 Not content with sweeping the board in the Northumberland Junior Championships, young Jack continues to lead the field here. The most notable change since last month is the rise of Peter Crichton, who became the first player to defeat Mike Nicholson in the championship. Matthew Taylor’s record, unchanged this month, is very impressive, so there is a whole clutch of players in hot pursuit of Jack. The question is, can he keep his nose ahead till June 26, when the competition closes?


1.   Yesterday, several club members took part in an afternoon devoted to chess at HaydonBridgeHigh School. Mike Nicholson was the prime mover in this, and as a result some 50 children had a chance to make the game’s acquaintance or develop their skills. There was certainly a lot of enthusiasm in evidence and we can only hope that it pays dividends in the future. It’s nice to see, in this connection, that Jack now has a chess club up and running at QEHS. Once again, well done Jack!

2.      The summer knockout. Two teams have been entered, Tynedale 1a and Tynedale 1b (no prize for ingenuity in choice of titles!). 1a is captained by Mike Nicholson and 1b by Peter Crichton. 1a has a bye in the first round and 1b is drawn against Gateshead Gauchos.

3.      At the NCA Quickplay tournament on 18 March, Mike Nicholson notched up three draws and two losses in the Open and Peter Crichton one win and four losses in the Major.

4.      CountyDurham Chess Congress. Several club members are playing in this event (April 14-15). The closing date for entries is 12 April.

And that’s all for this time. A happy Easter to all our readers and we look forward to meeting you over the board in the 12 weeks remaining before the club championship closes!

Steve Larkin

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