Thursday, 27 November 2014

ECB 1.5 Marple B 4.5 (Wed 26th Nov)

Here we go, first time blog for ECB so hopefully this will work.

We knew Marple B had been whitewashed 6-0 by Denton B last week and we outgraded them on every board, so surely this was match was going to be a stroll?  Unfortunately, there was a turn up on virtually every board.....

1.  Tudor 0 - 1 Andy Jenkins (130)

This was a real see-saw of a game.  Tudor made a quiet start against a Colle but then went up an exchange and was on a charge.  Andy then some how managed to gain the initiative and even missed a mate but then went on to win a close end game when he was just able to promote a pawn first.

2.  David 1/2 - 1/2 Chris Baker (129)

It looked like David's English opening was doing well as he was a piece for 2 pawns up and had the possibilities for winning on time (for a change!).  The game then became quite tactical in time trouble with Chris finding a fork to win a queen and then David finding a pin to win back the queen but losing a piece in the process.  He held on though and a draw was agreed.

3.  Keven 0 - 1 Terry Cowling (127)

Kev set up a solid system against the Catalan but then overlooked a move which gave Terry the initiative and he went on to finish it off well.

4.  Alan 0 - 1 David Preen (125)

Alan had a reasonable middle game position but allowed his opponent to swap off queens and then unleash an unstoppable queen side pawn storm.

5.  Bill 0 - 1 Jeff Barlow (124)

Bill didn't get much play from his normally reliable Caro Kann and eventually succumbed after putting up a good fight.

6.  Paul 1 - 0 Trefor Thomas (100)

In terrible form (not won for the B team for 2 years and lost my last match after being 22.7 pawns up according to Fritz !)I managed to get a bit more activity against a Petrov defence and won a rook ending with an extra 2 pawns.

So, all in all, that was a result that not even Mystic Meg could have predicted.  But we'll bounce back from this and I'm sure we'll have a strong second half to the season.  See you next year!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

East Cheshire A 2 Stockport A 4

Another tough game for ECA at home to Stockport A but we sure made a fight of it. Here is how it went:

1. Steve 1 - 0 P Siddal (191)

A 9 move win as Black for Steve. What? Here are Steve's notes:

1. d4 e6
2. c4 f5
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Qc2?! (Ok I am out of the book, no idea why he played this.)
4. ... Be7
5. e4 (so, that's why! Has he got some patzer trap for me?)
5. ... f x e (what else?)
6. f3 (OK the penny has dropped, shall I play e3 to confound his plan? No need because if I castle fxe looks poor as I can play Ng4, with maybe e5 first) so   
6. ... O-O
7. Be3 (looks a bit iffy as the B is not protected but he was stuck for a good move. I need to avoid exf as he will retake with the g pawn)  so I develop ... 
7. ... Nc6
8. O-O-O (he wants a fight but his pieces can't develop easily and I can consolidate my pawn advantage), so ...
8. ... d5 (also preventing his d5 break and he is a pawn down and of course he can't play his next move!)
9.fxe?? Ng4 0-1

If he defends the B with his Q, I take with the N and then pin the Q to the K with Bg5; if he moves the B my N wins a R via Nf2; he cannot defend the B with his R as it leaves his B on f1 en prise after NxB, RxNch followed by Bg5, pinning the R.

I think he was a bit demoralised so elected to resign. Strange game!

2. John 0.5 - 0.5 A Reeve (186)

John had Andy on the defensive for most of the game but Andy defended well and after a certain amount of suffering got the draw.

Here are John's comments:
f5 speculative but if it works, gives up e5 but splits black forces, best prob Bxf5 then Ng5. After that I am doing well but he keeps on finding saving moves. He makes a mistake with Qf6 and I miss the lovely 23 Qh4!! Winning. After that it peters out.

3. Phil 0 - 1 P Cawley (185)

This game was similar to my previous one. I failed to equalise out of the opening, lost the exchange and then finally in the endgame got some pressure against his advanced pawns. My opponent elected to give back the exchange to win a pawn and I missed a simple perpetual check, going down in the Queen endgame. The moral is: stay alert, in most games an opportunity will present itself at some point.

4. Dave N 0 - 1 M Taylor (171)

Here are Dave's thoughts: "Played a difficult opening and early middle game pretty accurately as my opponent had lots of threats which I successfully countered. Then just as I had opened the position to my advantage I fell for a one move cheapo which lost the exchange but worse my position fell to pieces."

5. Tudor 0 - 1 D Toole (171)

Tudor ended up with an undeveloped Queenside on the Black side of a King's Indian and David seized the open e File and won with a Kingside attack.

6. Jim 0.5 - 0.5 M Tunstall (159)

A solid start for Jim on his first appearance for the A team. Despite ending up with a passive position he kept plugging away and did enough for a draw.

So, as expected, life in the A division is proving to be tough but we a battling hard and hopefully learning. I might even end my losing streak soon!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Holmes Chapel 5.5 ECA 0.5

Ouch! After a fantastic start to the season with a win against Chorlton, ECA were brought back down to earth with a bump against a very strong Holmes Chapel team. Boxing with the big guys ain't easy.

1. J Blackburn (UG) 1 - 0 John

In John's words: "Depressed. Completely outplayed J Blackburn. Gave up a pawn for huge position. Won back the pawn with won game. Missed a cheapo as time got short. Also clock was misbehaving."

2. J Turner (181) 1 - 0 Phil

Despite losing another game I did actually enjoy the latter stages of this one. My opponent had a slight pull out of the opening and I ended up giving up a pawn to get a playable position. However I managed to activate my pieces and ended up in a Bishop ending where my Bishop was more active. However I was still a pawn down and moved rather too quickly in the mutual time trouble, missing a simple draw.

3. P Bennett (173) 0.5 - 0.5 Tudor

Tudor seemed to be under pressure against the King's Indian but has lots of experience in these types of positions and managed to hold the draw.

4. M Hancock (178) 1 - 0 David T

David seemed to survive the opening with a solid French Defence but eventually succumbed to the persistent pressure.

5. A Raeburn (160) 1 - 0 Alan

Alan's solid London System achieved a playable middlegame but eventually his opponent's strength told.

6. I Bates (160) 1 - 0 Bill

Here is Bill's report:

"I lost in severe time pressure which is as fair a way as any, having used so much of my time defending.

As Black I used the Caro-Kann defence and my opponent allowed the exchange variation bringing his Queen out very early on to f3 which I hadn't encountered before. This allowed him a strong attack from the outset; however I successfully defended this (using up most of my time) and then counter attacked surprisingly strongly in the middle game. He attacked my KNP on my Kingside where my King was as I simultaneously attacked his QBP on his Queenside where his King was. Mine proved stronger and he abandoned his attack - temporarily!

This changed the game and led to exchanges from where a draw seemed likely. Being much more adventurous now I saw an opportunity to surprise him by exchanging my Bishop for 4 of his Pawns.

This left an end/middle game of 2 Rooks each with 6 Pawns to me v Knight + 2 Pawns to White. Unfortunately my Pawns were only on the 2nd or 3rd rank which wasn't an immediate help, however they were all linked.

He renewed his attack on my KNP which I thought was going to fall and didn't defend it well enough the 2nd time.

Without losing any material I was down to 1 min and in perpetual check. I still naively was thinking of victory when with 10sec on my clock I moved my King out of check deliberately onto a square - which then allowed an immediate checkmate. I didn't even see it when he moved!

Well done to my opponent how persevered with his own attack without offering me a draw.

Had I stayed in perpetual check I think he would have accepted that.

Moral: Fischer time doesn't allow thinking time - it only allows a continuous rapidplay."

So a tough match out of the way. There will be slightly easier matches ahead (hopefully!)

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Sale 2.5 ECC 2.5 (Mon 10th November)

A well-contested draw with some interesting individual games in Monday’s away game to Sale.

On board 3, Geoff seemed to be in decent shape, but then his opponent managed to swing round for a kingside attack, and with queen and knight suddenly bearing down on h2, Geoff was forced to resign.

On board 4, with the game moving towards a bishop-and-pawn endgame, Ian considered pushing on for a win for the good of the team, but without enough of an edge, a draw was agreed soon after.

Debuting for ECC on board 2, Kieran played a deceptively quiet opening as black before striking out with g5. Soon Kieran had a dangerous-looking pawn pushing on on both sides of the board, and even with some minor pieces still on the board, it was too many plates to keep spinning for his opponent, who resigned. Great stuff Kieran.

I was playing a previously strong but currently rusty opponent on board 1, who allowed me to win a pawn and the initiative a little cheaply in a QGA. I was able to build an attack on the f7 square with my knights active and so win further material, and though his suddenly well-coordinated pieces found a bit of worrying counterplay, I was able to swap off and force home my extra pawns in the end.

With the draw secured, this left Keith’s game still to finish. But his opponent had built a small advantage carefully and well throughout the game despite some obstinate defence from Keith, and in a Q+N v R+B+N position, with no easy way of getting some crucial piece co-ordination, his opponent’s queen starting mopping up pawns and advancing his own and Keith reluctantly resigned.

Well played all!

ECC 1 Altrincham 4 (Weds 5th November)

No shame last week in a reverse to an Altrincham team who played well and seem strong candidates to win the division this year (though I reserve the right to reuse that line for our next loss!)

On Board 4, Edwin seemed to be sliding gently towards a draw, but with no Hamlet moment materialising this time alas, a blunder at a critical point was terminal for him. In Ian’s game, without much apparent counterplay and two pawns down in a late middlegame, Ian made what seemed a slightly cheeky draw offer. His opponent refused, but Ian made serious inroads in the endgame, and his opponent breathed a huge sigh of relief as Ian finally had to resign.

In Keith’s game:

"An early swap off of queens forced by my opponent weakened my development and defences immediately and put me on the back foot. By this time I was one pawn down and struggling to develop my remaining pieces. His development of his two rooks and knight caused me all sorts of problems resulting in my knight being trapped alongside my king for which I had no answer with a potential mate looming. No choice but to resign. A good strong player which belied his current grading."

As ever, mine and Bill’s slightly more measured/plodding playing pace meant our games were last to finish.

My game ebbed and flowed, with an early queen swap off allowing me to gang up on and win a doubled pawn, from which point he got the better of the middle and endgame, and in the end, short on time and with his extra pawn on the 6th rank, I was glad to put the handbrake on with a well-placed bishop and slink off with a draw.

Bill's opponent played a strong opening, and Bill chose to cede a pawn with a view to freeing up his slightly tangled position. His opponent won a piece but couldn't hang onto it, and with his opponent still in the ascendancy, Bill wriggled very nicely to come away with a draw.

Friday, 7 November 2014

ECA 4 Chorlton 2

ECA had their first match of the season on Wednesday night. Chorlton are one of the teams we might be able to score points against. Would we be able to get our season off to a flying start?

1. Phil 0-1 P Olbison (181)

As Black I achieved a comfortable position out of the opening but then dithered about trying to find a concrete plan. Should I try to create some counterplay on the Queenside or try to exploit the holes on the Kingside? In the end I achieved neither as my opponent managed to open the f file, triple his heavy pieces on it and win material. I am settling well into my new role as cannon fodder.

2. John 0.5-0.5 C Vassiliou (176)

John once again encountered a Dutch and didn't seem to get any advantage out of the opening. When his opponent offered a draw there was no reason not to accept it.

3. Dave N 1-0 R Doney (182)

Possibly Dave's best game for a while. In Dave's words "I won a piece for 2 pawns in the opening then as you saw I voluntarily gave up my fianchettoed bishop to leave him with tripled pawns on an open file. He attacked my King but later in the game I gave up a Rook for his well placed Knight nullifying all his attacking chances and leaving my pieces all active and his totally disconnected. A few moves later he was either getting mated or giving up more material and he chose to let me mate him."

4. Tudor 1-0 D Owen (163)

A fantastic positional masterpiece from Tudor. In a sort of Queen's Gambit Declined Exchange Variation Tudor executed a perfect minority attack, creating pawn weaknesses on the Queenside and steadily pressurising them. His opponent tried to create Kingside counterplay but in the end Tudor had a central passed pawn and a Kingside attack of his own. His opponent lost on time while trying to work out the complications.

5. David T 1-0 A Beresford (156)

David wheeled out his trusted French Defence and achieved a solid position out of the opening. His opponent then allowed David to win a Rook. In David's words: "I missed the opportunity to take another piece.  I got very anxious about the amount of time I had left, so I played very conservatively and concentrated on not making a blunder (just missed stalemate when I queened that pawn!).  Fritz found several other blunders of course....." David duly forced checkmate with several minutes still on his clock.

6. Alan 0.5-0.5 K Khockar (121)

Alan didn't seem to achieve anything out of the opening and eventually accepted a draw offer in an inferior position.

So 4 - 2 to ECA! Apart from the captain ECA seem to be firing on all cylinders. Holmes Chapel will provide a stern test next week but we will not go down without a fight.