Tuesday, 7 May 2019

First Team relegated from A division

Thursday, 25 April 2019

ECA 0 - 6 Stockport A

Last match of the season - we had to win to avoid relegation but instead we came across a very classy Stockport team.  We battled hard and still had 4 boards playing at 10.00 but the word of the night was "squeeze", we all seemed to end up in a collective zugzwang and got squeezed out with the inevitable pawns dropping late on.

Geoff  0 - 1  Alex Longson (221)
Geoff battled really hard in a Scandinavian and was the last man standing before an extra pawn became decisive.

Jim  0 - 1  Allan Beardsworth (215)
Another long game before being squeezed out and an eventual piece sac led to an unstoppable pawn.

Kev  0 - 1  Sarah Longson (200)
To be fair to Kev he is trying to extend his already extensive opening repertoire and learnt a bit more about the French Tarrasch last night.  He ended up taking aggressive action to avoid being squeezed but his sac turned out to be faulty.  At least he castled without incident (thank God for that!).

Tudor  0 - 1  Andy Reeve (203)
Tudor put up a really good show and even had a nice time advantage before the inevitable squeeze late on.

Paul  0 - 1  Mike Taylor (165)
I managed to throw some pieces at his King and then later he was worried about his Q being trapped but he defended skillfully and then came up with some nice tactical threats before picking me off.

Nick  0 - 1  Mike Tunstall (156)
Nck unfortunately developed an eye infection just before the game and was playing virtually blindfolded and did well to compete as well as he did in the circumstances.

So there we have it, it's Division 2 for us next season and after last night that's not such a bad thing!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

ECA 1.5 - 4.5 Chorlton

We entertained Chorlton last night and this was our last realistic chance of avoiding relegation.  The evening started well - they were missing several first team players and although they were still pretty strong we certainly had a chance of pulling something off.  Dave Broadbent's decision not to have a punt on us at 1,000-1 was beginning to look a bit foolish......

Alas, it wasn't to be.  We just didn't turn up on the night.

John  1/2  Piotr Niedbal (176)
John had a significant edge but his opponent played well and forced a draw.

Steve  1/2  Austin Elliott (174)
Steve was very comfortable throughout and was offered a draw which he eventually accepted when he realized the match result had slipped against us.

Keven  0 - 1  Dennis Owen (160)
Kev put up a decent show and competed well but eventually lost on time.  There was a little bit of "attitude" in this one when his opponent queried Kev's castling technique with a 2 handed shuffle but all was resolved later.

David T  0 - 1  Stan Foulkes (160)
David is normally the last to finish and is doggedly solid but unfortunately something went wrong here and he lost material and the game.

Tudor  1/2  Graham Phythian (129)
This game was played at rapidplay pace and with many exchanges with Tudor equalizing comfortably for the draw.

Paul  0 - 1  Alan Beresford (130)
I faced a double fianchetto defence and never really came up with the right plan and eventually lost a pawn running out of time.

So we have just one more match left - against the mighty Stockport, and we'll be without Reed and Tranter.  Mr Broadbent was clearly no fool to keep his money in his pocket!  Our odds have probably now slipped out to 5,000-1.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

ECA 1 - 5 Holmes Chapel

Tudor's description of last Wednesday's battle:


Here’s the pseudo captain’s report. Suspect I won’t have to problem about being ineligible for second team next season!

The battle against Holmes Chapel

The unpredictability of chess. Arrive from the match to find I have not sent my willingness to play reply to Captain Paul.
Who shows willingness to hand over his chair to me if I do the captain’s duties, which  this post. So here goes.
The headline news is the the team was demoralised at this change, rather like Barcelona subbing Messi shortly before the kick off. 
Paul hopped it to see the Man U game (with Messi still playing for Barcelona).
Silence descends as EC prepares to do its best.
A tight match. No one seems to be in a hopeless lost positions even after half an hour.
A quick prowl confirms this splendid situation.
Then I fall into difficulties and prowling ceases.  I have an utterly lost game.  My opponent has broken through my Q side defence against my castled king.  My counter attack in the centre falls one move short of crushing it and him.  On the principle it can’t get worse I find a ridiculous resource and ward off the multiple mate threats, even leaving me with chances of a good rook against a very naughty bishop and sick looking knight. 
Time passes. The others approach and write their results on the scorecard.  Wow, Geoff and Steve have drawn their games.
Then David’s Fort Knox gives up (remember the scene in Goldfinger).
Keven’s bold advances perish against the hedgehog style (spines?) of his opponent. 
John has found brilliant opening play almost solving the mystery of the Schleswig-Holstein gambit. Alack, one casual move and his play against at IM rated opponent foundered. 
Long into the night I hold out.  First his knight then the bishop extricate themselves. 
Last man standing yields.  It is all over.  So there we have it.
Another valiant display from the latter day Rork’s Drift warriors.  The First Division will miss us next year.
 
 
BdEast Cheshire AHomeAwayHolmes Chapel
1Reed, John S01Blackburn, Jonathan LB
2Tranter, Steve½½Bennett, Patrick
3Brindle, Geoffrey½½Turner, John M
4Holton, Keven R01Hancock, Michael L
5Taylor, David R01Bates, Ian
6Rickards, Tudor01Lee, Michael A
 
 

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Maccclesfield B 5.5 - 0.5 ECA

It was a big match last night against Macc B which was pretty much a relegation "decider".  Unfortunately it didn't go our way and it now looks as though we are heading back to Division 2.

However our next match is at home to Holmes Chapel who tend not to play their strongest team out on their travels - therefore the season is not over yet!  We still have every chance of staying up!

Tudor's view on last night's activities:




"On the positive side, Chauffeur Jim provided excellent limo service. No added fee for front seat bum warmer (recommended for all arthritis sufferers.
On the negative side, the gentlemen of Macclesfield put out a team strong enough to get back into the first division if it were to be relegated. Which, after this performance they won't be.
Steve uncharacteristically departed early. His mimed gesture suggested he had lost, or was going home to slit his throat.
The Brilliant Brindle shone again, providing 100% of our points. later he said modestly it was a dull stodgy game. He should be so lucky.
Keven concurred about his own stodgy game. Maybe preoccupied with stock market fluctuations or the fate of his garden sticklebacks, he fell into a comatose state and drifted to defeat.
Chauffeur Jim, as far as I could see, defended with the Celtic fortitude of the Welsh rugby team.
Glancing to my left, I saw he had been handicapped with pieces far too small for the size of board which made calculations tricky. Even so, he nearly grabbed a win in a multiple blunderfest with a minute or so on each clock.
On board five, I felt unusually outplayed by my opponent. This season I have more often found ways of outplaying myself. In another trial of Larson's subtle 1 b3, I found a promising but dubious line looking like a Fromm gambit. A sacrifice take back control of the black squares seemed promising, but the 32 white squares did for me.
Then, in the last game to finish, Nick's bold plan of sacrificing a bishop for two pawns gradually turned into an ending in which Nick could have kept us waiting even longer, if he hadn't finally left a piece where it could be taken.
This was shortly after the lights fused and then came back on to dazzling effect. (Only a modest level of hyperbole in the telling)
So there we are. Opinions are split as to whether we should have a clean exit from the first division, or beg for an extension...
My opinion is split on whether I should persist with 1 b3, or try something less European, such as the English opening, or the Scotch game."


BdMacclesfield BHomeAwayEast Cheshire A
1Gartside, Carl10Tranter, Steve
2Soames, Anthony R½½Brindle, Geoffrey
3Davison, Colin FS10Holton, Keven R
4Laurence, Geoff10McKie, Jim M
5Cattermole, Philip J10Rickards, Tudor
6Trier, Joachim10Flaherty, Nicholas C



Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Chorlton A 4.5 - 1.5 ECA

Tudor's report below on last night's activities:

This being an honest account of our expedition to the South West frontier post of Chorlton.

A gallant effort against high-flying Chorlton in division 1. The results on the top three boards deserve highest accolades. 

Mostly outranked, and missing Captain Paul’s inspirational presence, we competed well, to the regular faint sounds of goals being scored across the city at the Etihad stadium. 

John wrestled in vain with IM level opponent Hope Mkhumba on board one.

Steve grabbed an impressive draw against Piotr Niedbal

Geoff cunningly got into trouble requiring a neat swindle causing visible dismay from 
Austin Elliot who chuntered on with two rooks against Geoff’s knight and queen hardware, before subsiding like a member of the ERG at the defeat of their plans to take back control.

Jim muttered about being gradually strangled in his game, which added to his discomfort though an unsound gambit on the ski slopes a few days earlier.

I had an interesting game against Mr Doney, although somewhat disconcerted by his Trappist vow of silence, only briefly interrupted mid-game as he consumed an apple. I probably resigned a bit early, faced with a long endgame a pawn down, with no counter play. 

Steve on board six hung on grimly as Dennis Owen chewed up his position.

So
Mkhumba (194) 1 Reed 0
Niedbal (180)1/2 Tranter 1/2
Elliot (174) 0 Brindle 1
Lee (178) 1 McKie 0
Doney (162) 1 Rickards 0
Owen (160) 1 Tatlock 0

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Macclesfield A 4 - 2 ECA

A narrow defeat last night against a strong Macc team.  David Taylor's report below:

A SHAW        1:0    S TRANTER
J HEPPELL        1:0    J READ
D RISLEY        0:1      G BRINDLE
S DAVISON    0.5:0.5    J McKIE
A SOAMES    0.5:0.5    K HOLTON
C GARSIDE    1:0        D R TAYLOR
 
                        4 : 2
 
 
Steve (168) was faced by Shaw (200) and unfortunately exposed a rook down the long diagonal, which enabled his opponent to establish a fierce attack by queen and bishop against both the rook and the king’s position on the other side of the board.  Steve struggled valiantly to cope but was eventually overwhelmed.
 
John (168) played calmly against Heppell (187) and seemed to have good scope in the endgame with two connected outside passed pawns, supported by two bishops,  against a pawn majority in the centre which included one passed pawn.  However his opponent’s knight and bishop finally enabled  Heppell’s king to approach and forced an exchange of bishop for knight resulting, in the final minutes, in a resolution in favour of Heppell.
 
Geoff (157) outplayed Dave RIsley (172) and his strong attack on the king’s position proved decisive.
 
Jim (141) was not fazed by his strong opponent (C Davison, 163) and a tense stand-off involving multiple threats by doubled rooks and minor pieces eventually dissolved into a drawn game.
 
Keven (141) never looked to be in trouble against Soames (156) and a tightly blockaded stonewall sealed a draw.
 
David (135) playing against Carl Gartside (157), who played at High Peak in years gone by, missed a combination in a Kings Indian that won a knight around move 20, and never managed to regain any momentum, resigning after another 15 moves as more material began to drop off.                                     

Friday, 15 February 2019

Holmes Chapel 4.5 - 1.5 East Cheshire

Our glorious run in the Charnley Cup came to an end at the semi final stage last night as we crashed out to Holmes Chapel, but not without the usual fun and games.

John arrived literally hot foot from the airport and had to face a professional chess coach and put up a good fight before having to admit defeat.  Steve McCall played a solid game and his opponent needed no hesitation when a draw was offered.  The other Steve (Tranter) got a good initiative but unfortunately it didn't lead to a knock out punch and he had to settle for a draw.

My opponent threw the kitchen sink at me and I ended up a rook up but was unable to defend precisely which allowed him a perpetual.  Interestingly (or not!) there was an incident which reminded me of the infamous "Marplegate" of a few years ago.  The position had got particularly tense and I was testing the old brain trying to find the best defense when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my clock had stopped - I was down to 12 minutes and Ian had about 25 at this stage.  I then could  hear a couple of spectators talking who had obviously noticed it too and the next thing is one of them picks up the clock and starts messing with it.  I immediately blurted out "Oi, get your hands of the bl@@dy clock!".  It all ended amicably enough but didn't help my concentration much.  I'm not sure what the ruling is on spectator interference....

Anyway, this all meant that we now had to win the 2 remaining games to make it through to the final.  As it happened both Tudor and David T just got edged out in interesting endgames.  Oh well, at least we avoid having to play Stockport in the final.

1 - 0  Jon Blackburn (207) v John
1/2    John Turner (173) v Steve Tr
1 - 0  Patrick Bennett (176)  v David T
1 - 0  Mike Hancock (161) v Tudor
1/2    Ian Bates (146) v Paul
1/2    Malcolm Roberts (137) v Steve Mc
4.5 - 1.5

Thursday, 17 January 2019

ECA 3.5 - 2.5 Macclesfield B

It was an epic battle last night in the crunch relegation dogfight against the only team in Division 1 who we have a realistic chance of beating.  It didn't start well for us though.

I was the first to finish.  I'd had the better of the opening and was in creative mode until I over egged it and it backfired badly losing a piece.  Tudor also started well, so much so that his opponent felt he had to execute a desperate piece sacrifice.  Unfortunately a few moves later this seemed inspired when Tudor succumbed to a deadly counter attack.

Meanwhile Geoff was a pawn up but his position looked awkward and was relieved when his opponent agreed a draw.  So, at the halfway stage we needed to win all of the remaining 3 games to bring home the bacon.  At this point that looked unlikely and even a draw might be pushing it.

Steve had an advantage in material, first a pawn then an exchange but then the position became very open with attacking chances on both sides.  Steve handled it well though and put together a decisive Q and N attack that finished things off.  John's game looked pretty even to the untrained eye (like mine!)  with his opponent having double R's on the open c file and an active Q but John had it all worked out and after a series of piece swapping he emerged 2 pawns up in a winning K and R ending.

This all meant that the match result was now all hanging on David's game.  By this time both players were very low on time but with David a pawn up and a minute better on the clock.  A draw offer came in which David may normally have been tempted to accept but in the interests of the team he soldiered on.  And in a very tense finish he played it well under pressure to force a resignation.  Well done David!

So we ended up winning a very exciting match and this rockets us off the bottom of the league.  Survival in Division 1 (if we want it!) is now pretty much in our own hands.

1 - 0  John v James Heppell (160)
1 - 0  Steve v John Paul Taylor (156)
1/2    Geoff v Phil Cattermole (151)
1 - 0  David T v Geoff Laurence (149)
0 - 1  Tudor v Phil Colville (140)
0 - 1  Paul v Joachim Trier (136)
3.5 - 2.5