Sunday, 18 December 2011

A dramatic win at Altrincham: the victor explains ....

After a dramatic win away at Altrincham on 13th December '11, Edwin writes:
Finally after three matches I won my first game for East Cheshire and what a ripsnorter it turned out to be! Playing white and after a steady opening from both players, my gambit was to clear the diagonal so that I could capture his rook with my bishop. This involved a careful and extensive piece exchange disseminating the middle of the board to open up the channel. In response my opponent took my bishop with his queen allowing my queen to charge forward and reek havoc through his defenses. However once I was so far ahead, a little complacency crept in and I almost allowed myself to be mated after a careless move. In desperation to avoid check mate I lost both my rooks and ended up in an inferior position. Enter the end game, I had 3 pawns, 1 knight and 1 queen versus 5 pawns, 1 rook and 1 queen. After being perpetually checked and having pawns picked off, my opponent ran out of steam and I finally had a chance. I returned the salvo of constant checking bringing my knight into the game to assist the queen for the kill. A thoroughly enjoyable rollercoaster of a game. Victory at last!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

C Team draws away vs Altrincham B

Andy Buckley (Captain) writes:
Alan on board one played a Q I D, lost a piece early on and was ground down.
Paul's game led to an all pawn finish and a draw was accepted.
Bill won on board 3 with a strong finish despite being a knight down.
Andy lost after a poor middle game left him three pawns down.
Edwin made sacrifice after sacrifice for position and a good win.
Scoresheet reads:
1. Callum McNulty 1, Alan Stokes 0
2. Pete Arland 1/2, Paul Bamford 1/2
3. Stephen Ward 0, Bill Tait 1,
4. Tom Hague 1, Andy Buckley 0,
5. John Roff 0, Edwin Cooke 1.
Total 2.5 2.5 (Draw)

Friday, 2 December 2011

Denton B 3 ECA 3

East Cheshire A earned its first point of the season on Wednesday night in a dynamic match against a relatively weak Denton team.

Dave T and I had a night to forget, losing with bad blunders, but Tudor and Keven had smooth wins to equalise the match for us.

1. K Ahmadi (155) 0.5-0.5 J Reed

John had to take on a stodgy Czech Benoni and managed to build an impressive pawn centre but his opponent created sufficient counterplay to draw the game.

2. D Boulden (146) 1-0 P Ramsey

I had a good opening and won a pawn but then got into time trouble. I played a combination that didn't work, panicked and allowed a mate in one! Not my finest hour.

3. D Holt (139) 0.5 - 0.5 D Newall

Dave N built up a winning attack but misplayed the execution of it and ended up a piece down for nothing. Fortunately Dave H offered a draw as he was about to lose on time.

4. P Boyd (123) 0-1 T Rickards

Tudor gradually outplayed his opponent in an even middlegame and built up a strong attack on his opponent's King which he finished in fine style.

5. D Taylor (114) 0-1 K Holton

Keven systematically turned the screw against his elderly opponent and eventually found a narrow path to victory.

6. D Cook (107) 1-0 D Taylor

David T won a pawn early on in a strange French Defence. However David's King's Rook was hemmed in the corner and, under some Queenside pressure, David blundered his other Rook.

We have a couple of months off now until 24th Jan when we are away to Macc. A.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

C Team 2, Macclesfield B 3.

An outgraded C Team (our average grade 111, theirs 134) lost 2-3 at home to Macclesfield B on 23 November 2011, but with an excellent win by Andy B and draws against strong opposition by Paul (fighting the opponent featured in Tudor's game vs Macc A (blog, passim)) and Sion.
The scoresheet and grades are:
B1 Paul Bamford (130) 1/2 G Laurence (150) 1/2
B2 Bill Tait (120) 0, R Pomeroy (137) 1,
B3 Sion Howells (110) 1/2, R Murphy (134)1/2,
B4 Andy Buckley (100) 1, A Brough (131) 0
B5 Ian Vaughan (93) 0, A Sime (117) 1.
(Nerd alert: the C Team's grades are almost an arithmetic progression.)
The return match away, on a Tuesday, will be postponed probably until early January 2012.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Tudor gives up his Queen

Here is a recent win of Tudor's playing for our A team against Macclesfield A.

One thing for King's Indian players to note is that Tudor's move order allowed White to transpose to the Pirc (playing e4 without c4.) If you want to avoid this you should play 2. ... g6 so that you can reply to 3. Nc3 with d5.

Now over to Tudor.

The game involves a bishop sacrifice as only way to keep attack going. Then I found a nice queen sacrifice which was not just a variation of a known one.

The interesting thing for me was the very thematic way the game unfolded with black backing the Q side pawn storm against white’s superior centre. ICC analysis suggests white was always slightly ahead until 21 Ka3 (Kb1 leaves black having to find a win for his pressure and B sac. ).

During last few moves I was trying to get all my pieces coordinated into attack. I had noticed possibilities of Bf8 pinning White’s Queen but it did not quite work. Only then did I look for something better and noticed the very satisfying Queen sac (which seems a bit more obvious after the game.)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

EC C 3, 3Cs 2

This was only the second match for 3Cs in the Stockport League: this keen team deserve their place. Bill notes:
"It was a really friendly club with photos of every World Chess champion on the walls and an impressive cabinet full of silver trophies etc. Tea was on offer on arrival ( no John Willie Lees) and the team played against young but strong competetion.30 mins home - an easy run. Worth giving this young team a go but travel could be awkward on a really bad night (but would it be any worse than Buxton?)."
Ian (er, that would be me) miscalculated and never recovered. Mike won a hard fought French Defence. Andy won and Bill maintained a strong mid game advantage to seal the match.
Edwin writes:
"This was my second match for East Cheshire and roughly my tenth game of chess in the last twenty years. I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge! It has dawned on me that my openings need some serious work as in both matches I have conceded too much ground and played the middle game on the back foot, one piece down. I havemanaged to rally in each game during the middle game and seize the initiative, only to succumb to a foolish move giving away a match winning piece. Either that or I am kidding myself! (Must try harder D-)"

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

ECA 2 Chorlton A 4

Aaaaagh Aaaaagh Aaaaagh

If our loss to Macclesfield A was frustrating then this defeat was a kick in the proverbials.

We managed to throw away 3 winning positions against a strong Chorlton team.

Keven's game was first to finish with Keven being ground down in a Reti / Catalan. David then won his game, winning a piece in the middlegame. This left the match at 1-1 and at least three of the remaining matches were winning for us.

Paul played a great modern defence and was the exchange and pawns up but allowed a swindle.

Sion was easily winning with a strong Kingside attack but in time trouble lost his Queen.

I had my best scalp ever, winning on the Black side of a mainline Sicilian Dragon. Once we had banged out all the theory Hope went wrong quite soon, allowing a piece to be trapped. In bad time trouble I managed to find the right plan to close out the game efficiently.

This left Tudor needing to win to draw the match. As he had Queen against Rook and Bishop this looked achievable. However when all the pawns were traded except for the Kingside ones it became rather technical. Tudor wanted to accept the draw offer but gamely agreed to continue for the sake of the team. I still maintain that he had winning chances but unfortunately Tudor lost.

So two defeats out of two. The good news is that we should have Dave Newall and John back for the next game - away to Denton B in three weeks.

1. Phil Ramsey 1-0 Hope Mkhumba (184)
2. Keven Holton 0-1 Philip Olbison (162)
3. Tudor Rickars 0-1 Alan Beresford (150)
4. David Taylor 1-0 Steve Fogg (150)
5. Paul Bamford 0-1 David Kierman (143)
6. Sion Howells 0-1 Khalid Khokhar (128)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

C Team vs Ashton 26 October 2011

Well okay, we lost our first match of the season, but congratulations to our points-gainers Sion (playing a 127 grader) and Qasim (playing a 77 grader). Special thanks to Alan for agreeing to play Ashton's P Armstrong (graded 174) on board one - we salute you.
Score was East Cheshire C 1 1/2: Ashton 3 1/2.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

ECA 2.5 Macc A 3.5


We almost had the result of the (admittedly young) season last night with a narrow loss to a very strong Macclesfield A side.

With just my game remaining the score was 2.5 each. Sadly I had thrown away my advantage and had no time left to find a swindle so we lost. Here is the scorecard:

1. P Ramsey 0-1 A Soames (172)
2. K Holton 0-1 D Risley (171)
3. D Broadbent 0.5-0.5 V Kumar (155)
4. D Taylor 0-1 D Lobo (153)
5. T Rickards 1-0 G Laurence (150)
6. P Bamford 1-0 P Caulkett (148)

Their average grade was 158 against our 137!

I had a nice King's Indian against Soames. He had no threats at all in the middlegame whereas I had a Kingside pawn storm so I turned down his draw offer. Sadly at one point I pushed the wrong pawn and lost a pawn for not enough compensation. I managed to create some threats in the late middlegame but his time advantage was too great and he found a way to exchange into a winning endgame. An enjoyable game though.

Keven was gradually ground down by Risley who had long-term Queenside pressure on Keven's pawns.

Dave B had a great opening against Kumar and was a pawn up at one stage. He exchanged off into a good endgame but Kumar managed to draw.

David T lost the exchange to Lobo and then won it back but was ground down in the ending.

Tudor has a great King's Indian as his opponent castled Queenside and Tudor flung his pawns forwards. Laurence had little counterplay and Tudor's attach was irresistible.

Paul had a great opening against Caulkett and was far ahead in development. Next time I looked Paul was defending an endgame 2 pawns down but he managed to win it!

A great performance. We will play weaker teams in future and field stronger teams so if we can keep this level up we will be fine.

Next match in two weeks at home to Chorlton.

Friday, 22 April 2011

C Team finishes on a high note, but ...

For their last match this season the C Team played hosts to Chorlton B and conceded only half a point to win 4.5 to 0.5. Unfortunately the visitors had been unable to muster a full team and defaulted on Board 5. In addition, their Boards 3 and 4 arrived very late and were each 20 to 30 minutes down at the outset even after a clock start of 7.50 p.m. However, no Chorlton player lost on time, and all enjoyed a friendly match (with the exception of Andy W), which is the main thing. Special thanks to Andy W for playing a cool game of musical chairs.
The scorecard reads:
1. Paul Bamford 0.5 0.5 Howard Hughes
2. Bill Tait 1 0 John Haines
3. Mike Cunnane 1 0 Philippe Noel
4. Andy Buckley 1 0 Chris Hallsworth
5. (Andy Walker present) 1 0 default.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Wilmslow A 2 ECA 4

Last night Wilmslow A had their chance to avenge the defeat they suffered against us last week. Happily for us they didn't take it and we collected another valuable 2 match points.

1. S Shepherd (158) 0.5-0.5 J Reed

John managed to play another Queen's Gambit Exchange and, shock horror, did not win! Steve forgot to follow the script and created some kingside counterplay, forcing John to exchange Queens and force the draw.

2. C Guffogg (126) 0.5-0.5 G Ball

Chris proved that his draw last week was no fluke with another cut and thrust game taking on Graham's Dutch Defence.

3. R Warhurst (122) 0-1 P Ramsey

I continued to ride my luck with another unconvincing victory. I played the opening and early middlegame rather smoothly, trying the Catalan again and winning a queenside pawn. Then in time trouble I played a horrendous move which gave Robin two ways to win a piece. Fortunately he spotted neither of them and I then ground out the endgame.

4. M Palmer (114) 0-1 D Newall

Dave seemed to get the better of things quite rapidly with his Dutch Leningrad and then Mike blundered a piece to bring things to a rapid conclusion.

5. T Flynn (109) 0-1 K Holton

Tony merrily flung his pawns forwards without bothering to castle and Keven eventually made him pay for his bravado.

6. C Jackson (108) 1-0 D Broadbent

Dave once again wheeled out his Cambridge Springs Defence but Chris played well, won a pawn and then unleashed an unstoppable attack.

So 2 more match points and 4 more game points for ECA. Now we just need to win against Denton B and Macc A!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

ECA 4.5 Wilmslow A 1.5

ECA discovered that winning feeling again last night with a comfortable win over Division II strugglers Wilmslow A. Here is what happened:

1. John Reed 1-0 Steven Shepherd (158)

Playing against the English John got a great position out of the opening and never let go, eventually winning the exchange and a pawn. A great win against their strongest player.

2. Graham Ball 0.5-0.5 Chris Guffogg (126)

Knowing that he was playing a weaker opponent and taking on his own favourite French Defence Graham must have thought he would have an easy night but Chris more than held his own in an exciting game and in the end Graham was happy to take the draw.

3. Phil Ramsey 1-0 Robin Warhurst (122)

My swindling skills have improved this season - I have now won at least three games that should have been drawn. Robin played the solid Torre Attack but I managed to get a good endgame only to throw away my advantage in time trouble (as usual.) Robin was better in the knight endgame but then miscalculated and let me queen a pawn.

4. Dave Newall 0-1 Colin Mills (120)

Dave played his favourite Bird's opening and had a very long think on move 4. This cost him dearly later as he ended up in desperate time trouble and allowed a snap checkmate.

5. Dave Broadbent 1-0 David Booth (111)

Dave has had a lot of success with his Cambridge Springs System recently but David played all the right moves and didn't succumb until the endgame.

6. Keven Holton 1-0 Tony Flynn (109)

Keven played his new Bird's Opening which ended up looking more like an Advance French Defence. Keven had a lot of space and eventually swept Tony away with a Kingside attack.

Wilmslow will get their chance for rematch on Monday night. See you at the Ship Inn?

Friday, 18 March 2011

The Stockport Jinx strikes again

East Cheshire have lost every match against a Stockport team that I have been involved with and last night the run continued against a weakened Stockport C. Dave B got us off to a good start with a quick win as Black and then Dave N won to keep us in the lead but things went downhill after that. Here is what happened:

Andy Coe (148) 1-0 John Reed

Andy played a strange kind of Queenside Scandinavian Defence and John built a very strong position. However the wily Coe got a sniff at John's King and duly built a winning attack. Ouch.

Peter King (146) 1-0 Graham Ball

Peter played the Catalan and gradually built up an overwhelming position.

Mark McNulty (144) 0.5-0.5 Phil Ramsey

In a Classical King's Indian I never found a way to build an advantage and in the end was glad to take a draw a pawn down in the endgame.

Vic Rushworth (139) 0-1 Dave Newall

Playing his favourite Accelerated Dragon Dave won a pawn with a clever tactic and then won Vic's queen.

David Preen (131) 1-0 Keven Holton

Keven inadvertently invented a new gambit, losing a pawn on move four. He had insufficient compensation and eventually had to give up his bishop to avoid a back rank mate.

Ray Bradney (80) 0-1 Dave Broadbent

Ray fell into an opening trap against Dave's Cambridge Springs Defence and lost in 12 moves. Well played Dave!

We out-rated Stockport on every board so a disappointing result. Maybe we will do better against Wilmslow next Wednesday?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Another QGD, another win for John

John is doing his best to persuade us all to play the Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation. The game below, with notes by John, explains why.

Friday, 25 February 2011

C Team avoids whitewash - just

The C Team hosted the dedicated under 18s of Ashton Community Chess Club on 23 February 2011, and only Mike's win on board 2 saved a whitewash. Well done Mike. In a year or two it may well be the A Team whom Ashton visit.
East Cheshire C 1, Ashton 4.

Friday, 18 February 2011

C Team beats Stockport D

In a close contest the C Team scored a near win against Stockport D last night (Thursday 17 February 2011). The scorecard (below) involved only integers this time ...

Stockport D.....................East Cheshire C
1....D. Preen........0...1......B. Tait
2....J. Kelly..........0...1......G. Clarke
3....M. Jackson...1....0.....M. Cunnane
4....I. Anderson ..1....0.....I. Vaughan
5....A. Prime.........0...1.....A. Buckley

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Three wins and a near miss

East Cheshire A kept their promotion drive on track with a 3.5 - 2.5 victory at Altrincham.

Graham lost a game he could have won and Dave N won a game he should have lost so in the end the luck cancelled out and our strength showed.

1. John Reed 1-0 Y Kolodiy (160)

Is the Queen's Gambit Exchange Variation a forced win for White? John thinks so and here is more evidence. John bashed out his first 15 moves in about 5 minutes and ultimately had to apologise for knowing the opening so well. Kolodiy played actively but got ground down.

2. Graham Ball 0-1 K Lockett (159)

Graham appeared to have a slightly dodgy opening (too many pawn moves on the Kingside maybe?) but played actively and created some nasty threats. He appeared to be winning but then allowed Karl a mating attack.

3. Phil Ramsey 1-0 N Lowe (148)

I played a Reti / Catalan hybrid and Nick seemed rather unsure what to do against it. After 20 moves Nick had used nearly all his time and he then collapsed in the middlegame complications.

4. Dave Newall 1-0 R Clucas (UG)

Dave played his favourite Accelerated Dragon and got a very nice position from the opening with pressure on White's queenside pawns. However he then blundered a piece but still managed to win by pushing his central passed pawns.

5. Alan Stokes 0-1 T Tomkins (131)

Alan played a very patient English opening but finally lost his Queen and the game.

6. Dave Broadbent 0.5-0.5 D Hughes (130)

Dave played the French Defence and quickly assumed the initiative with a kingside attack. However David defended well and eventually managed to block off the whole board!

Thanks everyone for making the long trip to Altrincham.

ECA has a few weeks off now until we play Stockport C on March 17th.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

C Team gains 2 from stronger Wilmslow B

On 9th February 2011, the C Team gained 2 points from Wilmslow B, even though outgraded on every board. The points came from Geoff's win, and two draws from the Andys B and W. An interesting match.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Defeated but not disgraced

Last night ECA played Holmes Chapel at home in the semi finals of the Charnley Cup. As expected we were heavily out graded but we went down fighting, losing 4-2 in the end.

1. Graham Ball 0-1 P Bennett (190)

Graham was gradually ground down as he took on Patrick's Pirc defence. In a typical Pirc game Graham set up a big pawn centre and Patrick systematically dismantled it.

2. Phil Ramsey 0-1 J Turner (182)

The problem with the Sicilian defence is that you often come up against someone's pet anti-Sicilian system which they have been playing for twenty years! So it was last night as John played an obscure system I had not encountered before and I fell into an opening trap which left me virtually lost after ten moves or so. Back to the books for me.

In the unlikely event that anyone is interested in this trap a similar game can be found here. I unwittingly followed it for 13 moves before playing the inferior 14. ... b5 and doing even worse than the Black player in that game.

3. Dave Newall 0.5-0.5 M Hancock (181)

Playing against another Pirc Defence Dave played solidly and had his draw offer accepted in the middle game.

4. Dave Broadbent 0-1 I Bates (170)

Ian played the Tarrasch against Dave's French Defence and a wild game ensued where Dave had an extra pawn but had his King stuck in the centre. Ian played accurately in the end to finish Dave off.

5. David Taylor 0.5 - 0.5 A Raeburn (157)

Playing his favourite Reti David played solidly, swapped off the pieces and got the draw.

6. Keven Holton 1-0 M Roberts (139)

Keven gave the Sicilian a try and it seemed to work - leaving him three pawns up in the middlegame. Keven duly converted the full point.

So as expected we struggled on the top boards and did better at the bottom. Sadly even if Dave B had won we would have lost the match due to their wins being on higher boards but still it was a good performance.

Now who fancies a trip to Altrincham next week?

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

C Team draws at Mac. B, 31 January 2011: a match of two halves.

This was the C Team's first visit to Macclesfield's new venue. Unfortunately the Captain (who is that person?) had forgotten to tell everyone that the Club now meets at the Liberal Club on Boden Street, which accounted for boards 1 and 2 finishing later on in the evening, with Geoff and Paul having arrived by the scenic route.
The match was one of two halves not only chronologically, but also scoreologically, with Ian, Andy and Roy accumulating 2.5 points between them before Paul and Geoff had hardly sat down. Paul and Geoff were left to it, in the knowledge we could not lose. Needless to say, Macclesfield were set on not conceding any more points, and achieved the draw, late into the night, with at least one of those games going to the wire with only minutes on each clock. Thanks to Geoff for doing the score card.
1 P. Bamford 0 1 J.P. Taylor (139)
2 G. Clarke 0 1 R. Murphy (126)
3 I. Vaughan 1 0 P. Jones (50)
4 A Buckley 1 0 E. Nathan (50)
5 R Burrows 0.5 0.5 A Howe (50)
Totals 2.5 2.5

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

How to hunt a King

John had a nice win recently in our first team match against Bramhall. Using his favourite Schliemann Defense he sacrificed the exchange to force his opponents King into the centre of the board.

See how it happened:

Thursday, 13 January 2011

ECA whitewashes again

Last night ECA beat Bramhall 6-0 but this was hardly a fair reflection of the games.

Bramhall are without their two strongest players this season and were not able to field a full team so we started the match at 1-0.

Here is how it developed:

1. John Reed 1-0 Peter Thursfield (134)

John played his favourite Schliemann Ruy Lopez and Peter was clearly uncertain how to handle it. Peter castled Queenside and was attacked mercilessly, ending up with his King in the centre of the board.

2. Phil Ramsey 1-0 Nick Flaherty (125)

Playing my new English opening I achieved a small advantage from the opening but didn't find a winning plan. However when we reached a Bishop vs Knight ending I decided to play on as a Bishop is normally stronger than a Knight when there are pawns on both sides of the board. I managed to create some pressure and then my opponent, flustered because he thought he was lost, missed a simple draw.

In the above position with Black to move Kc7 gives a simple draw as after Kxd5 Kd7 Black has the opposition and I will not be able to get to his pawns.

However he played d4?? and after Kxd4 Kc7, Ke5 his pawns were toast.

3. Dave Newell 1-0 Keith Hodgson (108)

In a Colle System vs. Dutch Keith held his own until the endgame where Dave finally won some pawns and the game.

4. Keven Holton 1-0 Hartley Oldham (101)

Keven took on the Sicilian again and didn't seem to get much out of the opening. However, knowing that Hartley is a time trouble addict, Keven kept the position complicated and then launched a winning attack in his opponent's time trouble.

5. Dave Broadbent 1-0 Geoff Smith (71)

In a Queen's Gambit Declined Geoff forgot to develop his pieces and allowed Dave to build up an imposing position which he duly converted.

6. David Taylor 1-0 default

So ECA back on track. Next up is Holmes Chapel at home in the Charnley Cup semi final - Feb 9th.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

C Team draws at Ashton, 5th January 2011

On 5th January the C Team played Ashton Community Chess Club, the first visit by any East Cheshire Team. Ashton CCC is a community resource set up for u18s and before the match we saw a room full of keen students of the game intently watching a lesson /demonstration. This Club may well progress to higher divisions in the League in future years.
The results were
East Cheshire C Ashton CCC
1 Geoff Clarke 0 1 Phil Armstrong
2 Mike Cunnane 0.5 0.5 Tim Chatos
3 Ian Vaughan 1 0 Daniel Bowden
4 Andy Buckley 1 0 Edmund Jones
5 Andy Walker 0 1 Jack Latham
TOTAL 2.5 2.5
Geoff discovered his opponent was graded at 166. Geoff decided to play actively, as he put it to enjoy the game more despite the almost inevitable result.
Ian's game quickly resulted in a centre with tactical possibilities and with the centre pawns gone. A blunder by black enabled a bishop check with a discovered attack on the queen that proved decisive.
Andy W writes:
" I tried really hard not to be put off by the tender age of my opponent .. or his higher ranking (90 to my 75). but unfortunately, my undefeated run so far this season seemed doomed from the outset. Post match analysis revealed that I could have captured his queen on move 12 and then, although being a bishop up from move 16 on and when under pressure, I gave him the positional advantage when in reality I could have played into a winning position. So I resigned on move 20 to avoid the inevitable checkmate. My consolation? He would probably have played badly too if he'd been at work all day ... or maybe not. Bah!"
Mike's game was the last to finish when at 9.15 he accepted a draw. Mike writes: ' I played the black side of a French Defence in which my oponent played an early Nd2, which is the first time I've encountered this. I then played Be7 and later had chances to win a pawn, but did not as it allowed better rook placement for white. The game petered out into a draw.'
The consensus was that Mike may have been slightly behind in an even game, and had made a good call.