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Frairs v Monarchs

Posted by Tim W on March 11, 2020

Dave’s Comments – taken from an email :

As last night’s match brought the Monarchs’ season to a close, I’d would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for last nights sterling effort! To recap,

Tim held Roy to a draw. No mean feat for someone rated over 180. Brilliant stuff!

My thanks to Derek for stepping into the breach for us at short notice. Its been a season of postponements due to illness and lack of availability and your efforts on our behalf were much appreciated.

And Jonny? Following on from your win over John Lydon last week, another win against a stronger opponent! That should have an effect on your grading for the coming season. Well done!

As things stand now, the Monarchs have won 3 matches and lost 1. The only team that can catch us is the Reivers, who have 2 games in hand against the Friars. If they win both, then they share the title with us. If not, the Monarchs will be outright winners for the second year running!! So I’m delighted with that!!

Match Played at Stone Inn – Hayton Tue 10 Mar 2020
Friars Monarchs
Roy Ellames 0 2-2 2 Tim Wrigley
Bill Burgess 4 0-4 3 Derek Harris
John Lydon 5 0-4 5 Dave Humphreys
Bill Hardwick 5 0-4 6 Jonny Kearney
14 2-14 16

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Monarchs v Friars

Posted by Tim W on March 6, 2020

Match Played at Corbridge Thu 5 Mar 2020
Monarchs Friars
Tim Wrigley 2 0-4 0 Roy Ellames
Dave Humphreys 5 4-0 4 Bill Burgess
Jonny Kearney 6 4-0 5 John Lydon
Tim Barmby 8 0-4 5 Dave Willey
21 8-8 14

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Reivers v Monarchs

Posted by Tim W on January 31, 2020

Match Played at Corbridge Thu 30 Jan 2020
Monarchs Reivers
Peter Crichton 3 2-2 2 Tim Wrigley
Steve Larkin 5 4-0 5 Dave Humphreys
Christine Moorcroft 5 4-0 6 Johnny Kearney
Dave Foster Jnr 8 0-4 9 Tim Barmby
21 10-6 22

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Monarchs v Austins

Posted by Tim W on May 10, 2019

Match Played at Haydon Bridge Thu 9 May 2019
Monarchs Austins
Tim Wrigley 2 4-0 4 George Glover
David Wrigley 2 4-0 4 Bill Burgess
Dave Humphreys 6 2-2 4 John Lydon
Dave Foster 6 0-4 5 Bill Hardwick
16 10-6 17

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Posted by dwhump3yahoocouk on December 9, 2018

The game was played at the Tynedale Chess Club on Thursday 6th December. The team selection was in doubt up to the last minute. Two of the team mainstays, Pete and Bruce, both suffered illness. Bruce recovered in time to step into the breach. Sadly, Pete couldn’t make it, but, at the eleventh hour, Tim kindly offered to play, and took over Pete’s position on board one. With only 1 point between the handicap scores, it had all the hallmarks of being a close contest.
Board 1:-
Tim, playing black, was up against Phil Walters. Both are 2-handicap players, so they were strong and evenly matched. Phil opened with 1.e4, and Tim replied with 1…e6, the French Defence. *This is most commonly followed by 2.d4 d5, with Black intending …c5 at a later stage, attacking White’s centre and gaining space on the queenside. White has extra space in the centre and on the kingside and often plays for a breakthrough with f4–f5. The French has a reputation for solidity and resilience, although some lines such as the Winawer Variation can lead to sharp complications. Black’s position is often somewhat cramped in the early game; in particular, the pawn on e6 can impede the development of the bishop on c8. *[Ref:- Wilkipedia]. The opening transposed into the Advance Variation. With 3.Nc3, white blocked his c-pawn, which is commonly needed to support the pawn on d4. After 5…c5, unable to protect his pawn with 6.c3, Phil elected to play 6.dxc5, exchanging a center pawn for a wing pawn, ceding a small, but important central advantage to black. Development followed normal lines, with Black playing an early 9…f6 to demolish white’s center altogether. More cracks appeared in white’s strategy when he played 14.Na4. Here, the knight was UNDEFENDED. As is often the case, undefended pieces become a magnet for tactics. Tim spotted one right away. His 14…Nd4 opened a discovered attack on the hapless knight, with his queen, whilst simultaneously attacking white’s queen on e2. The knight was vanquished on the next move. However, capturing the knight took white’s queen away from the kingside. White had no fewer than 4 pieces aiming at black’s king; his queen, knight and both bishops! White, hoping for a mating attack, then sacked his remaining knight with 16.Nxh7. Assessing the strength of sacrifices is never an easy task, but Tim calculated that he could weather the storm. Taking up his guage and smiting white firmly across the face, before casting it at white’s feet, he confidently accepted the sac with 16…Nxh7, with the battle cry ‘Show me what you’ve got, big boy?’ resounding through his mind. With 17.Qh5, white was eyeing down on black’s h7 knight with queen and bishop, but Tim calmly blocked the line of the bishop with 17…Nf5. With 18…Qh4, attacking white’s queen and forcing it into passivity, black repelled all boarders and the ‘storm’ fizzled out into a light shower! Tim went on to win, in 25 moves, with his own kingside attack, utilising the half open f-file, which led to the win of pawn and rook for a bishop, giving him an overwhelming advantage in material.

Board 2:-
Due to Pete being unable to play, I had to put Steve in on board 2, with white, facing Ian Mackay. This meant that Steve was giving away 2 handicap points. That said, it was no easy walkover for Ian.
Steve opened with 1.e4, best by test according to Bobby Fischer, and Ian replied with 1…c6, the Caro Kann. *The Caro–Kann is a common defence against the King’s Pawn Opening and is classified as a “Semi-Open Game” like the Sicilian Defence and French Defence, although it is thought to be more solid and less dynamic than either of those openings. It often leads to good endgames for Black, who has the better pawn structure.The opening is named after the English player Horatio Caro and the Austrian player Marcus Kann who analysed it in 1886. Kann scored an impressive 17-move victory with the Caro–Kann Defence against German-British chess champion Jacques Mieses at the 4th German Chess Congress in Hamburg in May 1885: * [Ref:-Wikipedia] With 2.d4 d5 3.e5, Steve decided to close the center and grab some space. White’s pawn structure is the same as in the advance variation of the French. Once the center is closed, play, necessarily moves to the wings, with White playing for a kingside attack and Black looking for counterplay on the queenside. By move 5, the game has indeed transposed into an advanced French. Steve played 5.Bb5. However, for the next two moves this bishop remained UNDEFENDED, and we all know what can happen when there are undefended pieces in the position. Ian, after breaking the pin on his c6 knight with 6…Bd7, set a small trap for White. After 7.0-0, Black sprung the trap and played 7…Nxe5 attacking the undefended bishop on b5. If 8.Bxd7 then 8…Nxd7 and Black has won an important, central pawn. Play continued until White lost a second pawn. Black then traded down to a queen + pawns versus queen + pawns endgame. Black, with  passed d and g pawns, then managed to infiltrate with his queen and forced Steve’s resignation on move 48.
Hard luck Steve, but there’s always next time!!

Board 3:-
Here, Bruce, with black, took on Dave Willey, who was conceding one handicap point.
The opening played, as I later managed to discover, was the classical Reti opening, with 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4. My database contains 14340 games using this opening, of which 57.8% were won by white. *White plans to bring the d5-pawn under attack from the flank, or entice it to advance to d4 and undermine it later. White will couple this plan with a kingside fianchetto (g3 and Bg2) to create pressure on the light squares in the center. The opening is named after Richard Réti (1889–1929), an untitled Grandmaster from Czechoslovakia. The opening is in the spirit of the hypermodernism movement that Réti championed, with the center being dominated from the wings rather than by direct occupation.*[Ref:- Wikipedia].

After a couple of tactical oversights by white, which, lets face it, we are all prone to, Bruce was able to penetrate white’s position with his queen and secure an overwhelming, material advantage. White sportingly capitulated on move 17.

Board 4:-
Dave Foster met Christine Moorecroft, both with a handicap of 6. Due to errors and omissions on both score sheets, I can’t give a very detailed account of the game. Dave opened with 1.d4 and Christine replied with 1…d5. From here, there are many highways and byways along which both sides can travel. White can stick to Queen’s Gambit territory or play for the Colle System, which turns into a sort of Caro Kann with colours reversed. The pawn structure remained symmetrical for quite a while, which often signals a possible draw. Dave managed to go a pawn up, but then came a series of exchanges that led to a bishops of opposite colour ending. Dave’s extra pawn was firmly blockaded by Christine’s king on d5 but Dave’s bishop was the wrong colour do drive it away. Dave’s three kingside pawns were on light squares. Christine had a dark squared bishop. So, with the kings in front and behind the passed pawn, we had a classic drawing scenario, and a draw was agreed at move 46.


So the Monarchs won 28-23 on handicap. Taking down last seasons league champions was no mean feat, and I extend my heartiest congratulations to the team.

The next outing for the Monarchs is scheduled for 21Feb19, our home, return match against our start-of-season nemesis, the Austins.

As its that time of year again, let me wish everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and continued success in the new year.

Dave Humphreys 09Dec18

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AUSTINS v MONARCHS:- Tues 13 Nov 2018

Posted by dwhump3yahoocouk on November 14, 2018

Well, the first Monarchs game of the season got off to an ignominious start with a heavy loss to the Austins 31-23 on handicap.
The Monarchs lineup was
1.Pete Chrichton
2.Derek Blair
3.Dave Foster
4.Dave Humphreys

Pete was the only one to salvage a score with a quick draw against George Glover. Pete, with the white pieces, decided on a double fianchetto setup and an early, queen side expansion, but, after a flurry of exchanges, which left the position devoid of any real chances for either side, the game was agreed drawn on move 19.

Derek, with black, faced off against Bill Burgess. Opting for a Dragon Sicilian, the game became very tactical right from the start. Derek went for an aggressive charge down the h-file with Harry, the h-pawn! However, white was able to exchange off a well posted knight on g4 and quickly neutralise the king side pressure. Derek then took the bold, some might say reckless, decision to castle long, putting his king on the half open c-file. With white castled on the king side, we had a classic, opposite side castles duel. White, with two extremely active knights, invaded black’s position with tempi against his queen, and soon forced the win of an exchange. The game simplified down to a rook plus 7 pawns for white versus a bishop plus 5 pawns for black. White managed to generate two, powerful, connected passed pawns in the queen side, whose rapid advance forced Derek’s resignation on move 48.

Dave Foster, who has made a welcome return to the club this season after completing his studies, locked horns on board 3 with John Lydon. Dave, with white, went for the London system. Black forced open the c-file and gained a strong initiative by doubling his rooks there. Coupled with a queen side pawnstorm, black was able to force the win of a rook. From here the game was similar to Derek’s. Black penetrated white’s position with two, active knights coupled with the invasion of a rook on the 2nd rank. Dave was forced to resign after 35 moves.

I faced Bill Hardwick. Our last meeting was at the Summer Jamboree, where I managed to win. This time however, Bill got his revenge! He opted for a Reti opening, with an early fianchetto of the queen bishop. I couldn’t recall the last time that I had faced this line, and had no idea what the current theory was. I tried to steer the game down a Kings Indian Defence line. Having both castled short, I tried a well known attacking variation, involving locking the center, and playing for a king side pawn storm, supported by queen, both knights and bishops. Bill played another standard idea by attacking on the queen side. He forced open the c-file, and pushed his a and b pawns. I decided to ignore what he was doing, and went for a counter pawn storm on the king side. However, I badly misjudged the position that resulted in his advanced b-pawn on b6, which gave him an outpost for his rook on c7, allowing him to penetrate my position with an attack on my queen. The a2-g8 diagonal was also open. Then, I regained an early pawn loss with a capture with my knight. This left the knight on an undefended square. I realised that at the time, and fully intended to either re position it, or defend it later. You can probably quess what happened!! I forgot all about it and blundered it away on move 30, in my usual, suicidal, way!! The pressure eventually became too much and, rather than prolong the agony, I resigned on move 32

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Monarchs v HB

Posted by dwhump3yahoocouk on March 27, 2018

Played on Thursday 22 Mar-18, we saw the Monarchs taking on the league leaders Haydon Bridge at home. Due to lack of players in the Tynedale club, we had to recruit some outside help. Ian Mackay, captain of the Haydon Bridge club, was kind enough to loan us Damian Rudge. As things turned out, possibly not one of his better decisions!

Having lost to the Austins on the 20th Mar , the Monarchs were thirsting for blood ( AB negative goes down particularly well…..with a nice bottle of chianti!!)

The line-up for the monarchs was as follows:-

Board 1- Pete Chrichton (h/c 3)

Board 2- Derek Blair (h/c 5)

Board 2- Dave Humphreys (h/c 7)

Board 4- Damian Rudge (h/c 9)

Club and team stalwart Pete, with black,  faced off against long term sparring partner, Ian Mackay. These two are very evenly matched, and have done battle many times before. Ian opened with a classic left hook, 1.c4, the English Opening. A flank opening, it it the fourth most popular opening in modern master play. White stakes his claim to the center by grabbing control of the d5 square from the wing [ almost like a Sicilian with colours reversed]. Although the opening can go off into strictly English byways, it is most often used as a trans-positional device that can lead to the Queens Gambit, Nimzo-Indian or Grunfeld, giving the opening a high degree of flexibility.(Ref:-Wikipedia)

Keeping his cards very close to his chest, Pete’s report of the game was  brief and to the point. He sacked a pawn early on, getting some good compensation. Improving his position, he was able to regain the pawn,and, through a clever tactical manoeuvre, won a further pawn. At this stage, there was much reduced material, and, due to some stubborn defense from Ian, Pete was unable to convert his material plus to a win. A draw was therefore agreed.

Derek, with white, banged heads with Phil Walters. Play opened 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6, this looked like a Chigorin variation without the 3.c4 thrust. Both sides developed their queen bishops to active squares; Derek to f4 and Phil to g4. Derek played actively in the center, while Phil grabbed the b2 pawn with his queen on move 12. All this resulted in Derek’s pawn structure being severely compromised, with doubled e-pawns and isolated pawns on a2 and c3. Derek, in his usual aggressive style, decided to sack a knight for two pawns, in order to get control of the, now, fully open b-file. By move 28, after an attempted king-side pawn storm by Derek, the pawn structure had changed dramatically. The pawn count at this point was 4-6 in black’s favour, but, black’s extra pawns were now doubled, and isolated on c4 and c5. In addition, black had doubled f-pawns on f5 and f7 which were on the half-open f-file. A queen/knight combination can be deadly. Black started to manoeuvre his queen and knight to more active squares, and by move 34, had succeeded in netting white’s e5-pawn. The queens came off by move 40, leaving Phil with a very active knight on c3, and rook on f8, versus Derek’s bad bishop on f2, hemmed in by pawns on g3 and f3, neither of which could advance due to Phil’s pawn on f5, and inactive rook. At move 42, Derek tried a desperate sack of his rook for one of Phil’s c-pawns, which had started to inch their way ominously down the board. Alas, it was to no avail. Phil advanced his leading c-pawn to the 2nd rank and managed to pull off a knight fork of Derek’s king and bishop. Moving the king to cover the bishop would have allowed the c-pawn to queen, so Derek was forced to resign at move 42.

Playing on board 3, I crossed swords with Tom Bradford for the second time this season. Having lost my away game to him last December, with the white pieces, I was determined to do better with the black. Tom also went for the English opening. I assayed the Kings Indian Defence set-up. White transposed into the classical KID arrangement with his knight on f3 and pawns on e4, d4, and c4, and his king bishop on e2. White will try to gain space in the center and black tries to hit back with either the …e5 or …c5 counter strike. After exchanges on d5, I established a pawn on e5. This shortened the range of my fianchettoed bishop on g7 but gave me the excellent d6 square for my knight, which was free of any pawn attack. Tom forced open the f-file and gained control of it with his rook. However, I had control of all possible access squares making it impossible for him to invade my position. Meanwhile, play shifted to the queenside where I had established a 3-2 pawn majority. Move 23 saw Tom invade on my weak a7 square with his queen, forking my rook, on b8, and my a6-pawn, but she was a lone raider without support. I defended my rook, he took the pawn, but this allowed me to force the exchange of queens. My feeling was that, if I could drive away his c3 knight, I could get back the pawn by attacking his a and b pawns down the now, half open a-file. Sadly for Tom, when I attacked his knight, he played it to the undefended a4-square, right in the firing line of my queen bishop. Having been in this situation before, when a stronger player leaves a piece en-prise, you have to ask is it a brilliant sacrifice or blunder? On this occasion……………..it was a blunder!! My game plan from then on was simple; exchange down to a winning endgame. This I was able to do, and, when I got my passed e-pawn to the 3rd rank to support both my bishop and rook, and Tom’s king was trapped on the first rank, he was unable to avert the further loss of material, and sportingly conceded the game on move 40.

Our guest team member Damian, with white, did battle against clubmate Christine Moorcroft. He opened with 1.e4 and Christine responded with the Sicilian defence 1…c5. With 2.d4, it looked like Damian might be going for the Smith-Morra gambit, where, after 2…cxd4, white plays 3.c3 offering a pawn in exchange for rapid development. However, Damian went for 3.Qxd4. This allows black to gain and important tempo with 3…Nc6, which Christine played. Although not very fashionable, I have 88 master games in my database where this line has been played. However, white only scored 29% wins. In dragon-esque style, Christine fianchettoed her king bishop and opted for short castling. Play continued with both sides manoeuvring for central control. The d file was opened, and Christine doubled her rooks there. Damian, after establishing a 3-2 queenside pawn majority, decided to play on the queeside with a push to c4. At move 30, I think that Christine must have missed the pawn fork that hit her queen and rook when Damian pushed on to c5. At move 34, Damian decided to give back a little material by sacking the exchange. I’m not sure what he had in mind here. Eventually, by move 50, Damian had rook, knight and 5 pawns against Christine’s rook and 5 pawns, all on the king side, although she had doubled e-pawns on e5 and e6. She managed to win Damian’s a-pawn, but, with his active rook behind her own pawns, she could not avoid the loss of more material and resigned at move 56.

This win must have been a sweet one for Damian as he was giving away the maximum of 3 handicap points to Christine, and I had no hesitation in naming him the man of the match! This also concluded the Monarchs games for this season. It was also my first season as joint captain, along with Bruce Reed, and, on a personal note, I would like to thank all members of the Monarchs, both regulars and guests, for their support, and it was great to finish the season on such a high note. Long may it continue into next season. Have a great summer everyone!!

Dave Humphreys


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Austins v Monarchs

Posted by dwhump3yahoocouk on March 23, 2018


The line-up for the postponed Austins v Monarchs match was as follows:-

Board 1-Pete Chrichton (h/c 3)

Board 2-Derek Blair (h/c 5)

Board 3-Dave Humphreys (h/c 7)

Board 4-Damian Rudge (h/c 9)

Sadly, due to a mis-communication, Damian was a no show, so the remaining three made their way to Hayton and the Stone Inn to take on the Austins.

Pete, with white, was up against George Glover (rated 143). Opening with 1.e4, George responded with the Caro Kann. The opening is named after the English player Horatio Caro and the Austrian Marcus Kann who analysed it in 1886. It is considered to be a ‘semi-open’ system like the Sicillian and the French, although it is thought to be more solid and somewhat less dynamic than either of them. It can often lead to a better endgame for black due to his better pawn structure. Pete reports that some tactical opportunities were missed on both sides and a draw was agreed, which both players felt, was a fair result.( Ref:- Wikipedia)

Derek, with black, faced Bill Burgess (rated 114). Bill opened with 1.e4 and Derek replied with 1…c5, the Sicilian, the most popular and successful reply. However, Derek chose an atypical central pawn configuration resembling a Stonewall-like setup, with pawns on c5, d6, and e5. The middle game revolved around competing, kingside attacks. However, Derek made too many weakening pawn moves, and, when he castled short, Bill was the first to take advantage, forcing the win of a knight on move 22. The queens came off at move 24. Following a common idea, Bill sort to make the most of his material advantage with further exchanges and steered the game into a rook+bishop+6 pawns against black’s rook+3 pawns endgame. Move 45 saw Bill weave a mating net with rook and bishop, forcing Derek’s resignation.

I played white against an old sparring partner, John Lydon (rated 107). I’ve been studying the Colle System this season, but, I have to say that my results with it have not exactly been spectacular! The system was introduced by the Belgian master Edgard Colle in the 1920’s, and further developed by George Koltanowski. However, I thought I’d stick with it in the hope that my understanding of if would improve. The Colle is more or less the Slav system with colours reversed. White creates a triangle of pawns on c3, d4, and e3, castles short, and he must try and prepare the important pawn break e4, to free his queen bishop. Sadly, there are a number of ways that black can get control over e4 and completely prevent white’s idea! The game then tends to turn down Queens Gambit declined lines. Such was the case here. Black managed to occupy e4 with his knight on move 6. Black opted for a Stonewall formation and the position transposed into a sort of Dutch Defence set-up. I pushed through the center, trying to take advantage of black’s king, which, by move 13, still had not castled. Bill brought his queen out to c6, on the same diagonal as his king!! I saw the chance to force the gain of material. With the duel threat of pinning his queen and forking two minor pieces, Bill sacked his bishop for my h2-pawn. This weakened my kingside as now, both the f and h-files were open and he still had the battery of queen and bishop on the a8-h1 diagonal plus a 3-1 pawn majority. He was able to get good compensation for his piece and managed to generate a winning kingside attack, that led to him forking my king and knight as my clock ran out!! (Ref:-Wikipedia)

With one game defaulted, the final result was and Austins win, 27-17 on handicap.

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Angels v Monarchs 04 Jan 2018

Posted by dwhump3yahoocouk on January 5, 2018

The Angels v Monarchs South Tyne league game was played at the Tynedale Chess club on the 4Jan18. The Monarchs were the clear underdogs, but came through as worthy winners 15-19 on handicap.

The line-up saw Tim Wrigley(b) (h/c 2) taking on Pete Crichton(w) (h/c 3) on board 1. These two have played each other many hundreds of times in the past and know each other’s styles intimately. Pete opened with 1.d4 and Tim replied with a Schmid Benoni. Play goes 1.d4 e6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 exd5 4. cxd5 d6. White gains space in the center and black tries to push his queenside majority. However, Tim admitted that he made an error with the move order and elected instead for a kingside attack. The early middlegame saw Pete managing to force the exchange of black’s central pawns, and capturing black’s c5 pawn with a fork on Q and R, winning the exchange. However, the effort left Pete’s pieces somewhat uncoordinated, allowing Tim to make a double attack on knight, with a pawn and rook with his queen, allowing him to quickly regain the lost material. This was pretty much the pattern for the game. It was tit-for-tat until the resulting queen+rook+pawn endgame was sportingly agreed drawn.

This is the position after Tim (black) played e4

PC v TW after 31 ...e4

On board 2, Derek Harris(w)(h/c 3) faced off against one of the doyens of the Monarchs team, Derek Blair(b) (h/c 5). We saw DH open with another 1.d4 and DB responded with the flexible 1…Nf6. Play can go down a variety of channels from here; Queens gambit; Nimzo indian; Benoni; or Kings Indian Defense to name but a few. Black chose a Kings’s Indian setup with white opting to fianchetto his king bishop. By move 9, both queens had been exchanged on b6, a rarely seen line in master play, giving DB a half-open a-file at the expense of a slight weakening of his queenside pawns. With his central pawns giving him more space however, DH was able to force open the long white diagonal and eventually invade the black position through the center, with rook, bishop and knight coordinating nicely to attack the weakened, black pawns, which eventually forced black’s resignation.

On board 3, club chairman Steve Larkin(b)(h/c 4) took on his old sparring partner Bruce Reed(w) (h/c 5). Play started with 1.c4 the so called English opening. According to Wikipedia, the English is the fourth most popular opening in master play. In hypermodern style, white stakes a claim in the center from the queens wing. The opening is often used to transpose into a number of other lines. Steve opted for the sharp response 1…e5, going into a reversed Sicilian setup. Both players castled kingside. The c-file was opened, and Steve built up some strong pressure with his queen and both rooks along that highway. However, in his efforts to gain space on the kingside, Steve had left his king somewhat exposed. Although he went on to  generate some lethal looking pressure along the a7-g1 diagonal, Bruce, maintaining his Buddah-like serenity, dodged and ducked the blows, took advantage of a slight lapse in concentration by black, and was able to penetrate the black position with his queen, supported by his well posted bishop on b3. Trapped in the middle of the board, with vital escape squares cut off by his own pieces, black’s king became ensnared in a fine mating net, forcing his resignation.

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Friars v Monarchs

Posted by dwhump3yahoocouk on November 8, 2017

The match was played at the Stone Inn in Hayton on 7th November.  The Friars started out with a 4 point handicap deficit of 20-24. So they had to win 3 out of the 4 games to win the match. It was an overwhelming win for the Friars, 34-26 on handicap which translates to 3.5 to 0.5.
The line-up for the Monarchs was:-
1) Pete Crichton.
2) Derek Blair.
3) Dave Humphreys.
4) Damian Rudge.

Pete (w)(143) was up against Alan Hiatt (b) (126). The opening chosen was the Old Indian Defense.This opening is distinguished from the King’s Indian Defense by Black developing his king’s bishop on e7 rather than the fianchetto at g7. Although considered sound, the bishop on e7 tends to be less active than on the long diagonal (Ref:- Wikipedia).
The game quickly turned down a tactical labyrinth. Pete and Alan wrestled for possession of Ariadne’s thread! Sadly for Pete, Alan got there first and was able to navigate his way through the maze with greater precision, forcing Pete’s resignation.

Derek (b)(112) faced Mike Byrne (w) (123). From what little I saw of the game, it turned into a drawish looking rook + bishop + pawn endgame. Then, with both players desperately short of time, there was a flurry of exchanges that simplified the game down to a king + pawns v king + pawns. White had a pawn on h6, blocked by a black pawn on h7. There were 3 vs 3 pawns on the king-side, but Derek’s were more advanced. With Derek’s king on d4, blocked by Mike’s on f5, the dying seconds of the game became a race to see who could get the first queen. Mike won by 2 moves, at which point Derek had connected, passed pawns on b7 and a6. After a few, desperate check’s to gain time, the game was agreed drawn as the flags fell! Our thanks go to Derek for preventing a total whitewash!

Dave(w) (82) took on Drew Millar (b) (102). Dave faced, for the first time, what amounted to a reversed Scandinavian Defense when his 1.d4 was met with 1…e5. If black gambits a pawn, it is generally good practice to accept it. The trick is not to try to hold on to it! After 2. dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf6 Qe7 4.Bf4?…Dave walked right into 4…Qb4+, which leads to the forced loss of material as early as move 9! In order to make the score sheet slightly less embarrassing, he hung on for as long as he could, blundering 2 further pawns along the way, and resigned on move 24.

Damian (b)(51) battled it out with Mike Hodgkinson (w)(85). Damian’s game looked fairly even in the king+rook+bishop+pawns endgame. However, with a forced sequence of exchanges, Mike was able to invade Damian’s position on the king-side to wipe out his pawns, giving him a pair of connected passed pawns on the f and g files. Damian, ever the stalwart battler, refused to give in as first one, then the other of Mike’s pawns both achieved royal status. Desperately hoping for a stalemate, as the flags on the clocks began their inevitable rise along the hour hand, alas, it was not to be, and Damian was mated in short order.

Lets hope that the Monarchs can rise to the occasion on their next meeting with the Friars.

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