Thursday, 29 January 2015

EC C 3 - Wilmslow 2 (Weds 14th Jan)

Board East Cheshire C       Wilmslow
1 Myles Heywood          0 - 1 Kevin Moran (152)
2 Kieran Newell             0 - 1 Colin Mills (154)
3 Keith Hodgson            1 - 0 Robin Warhurst (105)
4 Geoff Clarke                1 - 0 Anthony Flynn (99)
5 Ian Vaughan                1 - 0 Ashley Weinberg (79)
Result East Cheshire C 3   2  Wilmslow

Having been edged out in a few of our recent matches, finally it was our turn to win a close match, our maiden win of the season. Here's how it happened in the rough order in which the games finished...

On board 5, with Ian on white early trade-offs left knights versus bishops. Ian's knights were active, and in the end game helped to stop pawn promotion. An exasperated groan from his opponent told us Ian had got his man, with black resigning after a knight fork took his last piece. Geoff managed to get the win just after on board 4.

As for Keith on board 3:
I blundered at the very outset of my game losing my bishop without reply and thereafter was very much on the defensive throughout my middle game. However my strength lay in my trusted knight which in the end game managed to pin my opponents rook with a pinned check, and without reply I captured his rook without losing my knight. My pawns were well placed and advanced and the game thereafter turned to my advantage, with my opponent forced into an impossible position and then resigning. Blunders from us both,me at the beginning and my opponent at the end made for a great game to win!

And with that, we had won the match - a good job, as our positions on the top 2 boards began to slide. With time running out, Kieran looked to have turned the screw as black but missed a way for white's major pieces to invade his position, and once they got through it was curtains.

Having played a cautious opening as black and hoping to bounce back in the middlegame, I spent perhaps an hour slowly ganging up on white's lonely middle pawn and wondering whether or not I could take it. It transpired that I couldn't as having made the capture I became the target myself, and all manner of nasty pin threats followed with me quickly leaking material before becoming overrun.

This win lifts us off the bottom of the table and means that if we can repeat it in the return fixture in February, we might just stay there...

East Cheshire 2 Denton 3

We bowed out of the President's Cup last night after just getting edged out by a higher graded Denton team.

Jim 0 - 1 Pablo Lopez (172)

Jim was white against the French and unfortunately got a rook trapped early on and that was curtains really.

David 1/2 Laszlo Antal (170)

David looked solid with his French Rubinstein and held on well in a pawn end game.

Alan 1/2 John Ryan (165)

Alan's London system won him the exchange for 2 pawns and then in the late middle game his knight started creating a lot of mayhem.  At the end, although a piece up, Alan agreed a draw because of a troublesome passed pawn.

Bill 1/2 Dave Holt (146)

Bill's Caro did the business for a solid draw and although he had double pawns he was never in trouble.

Paul 1/2 Tim Hilton (158)

After a fairly even Scotch transposition,  I managed to achieve a superior end position but failed to land the killer punch.

So, disappointing for us as we came very close to pulling off an upset.

Stockport B 4 ECB 2

This was a tough match on Tuesday against a strong Stockport side but we battled really hard on every board and fully deserved to get something out of this match but it was not to be.

Mike Taylor (171) 1 - 0 Tudor

As Tudor says:  "Try plan B.  No wild attacks.  Go for Q side bind and grind (QGD).  Opponent goes for wild king side attack and after much fog of war wins.  Think one weakening move h3 was the difference between his attack winning or Q side and centre plan OK.

Mike Tunstall (159) 0 - 1 Keven

Keven had a quick win here (19 moves).  His Pirc equalised easily and had useful Q side pressure and then played a tempting trap which his opponent fell into and lost immediately.

Andy Coe (155) 1 - 0 David

David:  "I played my usual Reti and the opening was fairly even. I thought I had a slight advantage (Fritz agrees, giving me one pawn equiv after 22 moves) and pressed forward with my Q side pawns.  Unfortunately he found good defensive moves and eventually I lost a central pawn.  His pieces were better co-ordinated at this stage and his Q infiltrated to pose all manner of threats. With my time running out I finally blundered catastrophically!"
Mike Crowther (154) 1 - 0 Alan
Alan gave his opponent a real match here but eventually got edged out, slightly down on material in an unbalanced game. 

Jeff Mason (150) 1 - 0 Bill

Bill: "playing as white after my e4, black played a sort of Philidor defence, followed by an early f5??
This allowed me Bxg8 and Qh5! and I thought I had won the game winning a P and R. As it turned out his R could escape so after the check I realised it would take 3 moves to get my Q back from sitting on h8. His K side would be destroyed however the centre could be his.
Nimzowitz would have been proud - I captured nothing and moved back to the centre where I was able to pin his K and win his KP. I ended up a P ahead, furthermore it was a passed P on e5, with a B on f6 to protect it. I had the initiative but the scent of victory can be a curse. I mistakenly opted for a lenghty exchange of my mobile pieces and then found my remaining N on c3 with no useful square to move to. Furthermore this N impeded my Ps and Rs - disaster.
Hubris; I lost my gains and was unable to exchange Rs. His doubled Rs broke in and he deservedly won.- Surely this never happened to close. I didn't make a mistake with any single move; it was my strategy for forcing up my passed P which was wrong."
David Pardoe (142) 0 - 1 Paul
I played the Benko and after a tough struggle managed to create some pressure on the b file to win material.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Stockport 4 ECA 2

ECA had a tough match at Stockport with three of the regular first team away (including me.) Despite not being there I have had some game reports so here is what happened:

John 0.5 0.5 A REEVE (186)

John: Against Andy I played 1.d4 d6 2.g3 in order to prevent his standard set up. Unfortunately this ended up leaving an open queen file with balanced chances. He offered me a draw. I took it. Fritz said equal position.
Steve 0.5 0.5 P CAWLEY (185)

Steve: this was my third game with the black pieces against Paul Cawley and my third draw! He played his usual solid line of d4 followed by Bf4 and I got a playable game with f5 and a Q side fianchetto. My hoped for edge didn't materialise and as I was quite a bit behind on time I agreed a draw. I thought he had a small initiative, although Stockfish had me up about 0.2. There again, what do chess engines know that we don't?!

Tudor 0 1 P SIDDALL (191)

Tudor: Enjoyed a violent game after another unknown opening to me which I played as a sort of QGD slav. Much uncertainty involving offers of my d4 pawn leading to my weak centre and a smashed king side, for which I had attack on his king which neither of us could work out (near perfect for chances against 191 graded Siddell.) But the first mistake seen and taken loses in this. I made it and lost ca move 35.

David T 0 1 D TOOLE (171)

David: I played the Nimzo against the Queens Gambit but wasn't energetic enough, and my opponent quickly seized the advantage to make a devastating attack down the h-file which led to mate despite desperate defensive measures.
Alan 0 1 M TAYLOR (171)

The happenings of this game will remain clouded in mystery for now.
Bill 1 0 M TUNSTALL (159)

Bill: As Black I played a Caro-Kann defence against the advance variation. He attacked my B with P-KN4. After stalling his centre attack he pushed down the K side and I deliberately didn't castle. He castled Q side and expected me to do likewise however I counterattacked instead down the QB file. With a brief respite to defend my K side, I was able to ignore this side and recommence the pressure on his Q-sided K. A judicious P sacrifice allowed me to play a P up to QB6 when I suspected he anticipated an exchange. With my Q + 2 Rs on semi-open files against his K, which was hemmed in by his own defense, I used my N to break in. Approaching the climax of an overwhelming attack White suddenly and mistakenly moved a N away saying check (it wasn't) allowing an immediate mate with 50 sec on my clock.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Stockport C 3 - ECC 2 (Tues 6th Jan)

1 Marc Jackson (135)   1 0  Paul Bamford
2 Vic Rushworth (132)  0 1  Myles Heywood
3 John Kelly (108)         0 1   Kieran Newell
4 Anthony Prime (112)  1 0   Ian Vaughan
5 Ian Anderson (99)       1 0   Geoff Smith
Result Stockport C      3 2  East Cheshire C
My game finished earliest - in a complex position with both sides attacking in front of slightly exposed kings, Vic allowed a knight fork to win the exchange, and on further inspection, a second exchange, and despite an injudiciously-timed swop-off of queens, I was able to crunch my pawns on in the end.

Ian found himself worse after a few moves - white maintained momentum well and didn't allow Ian any counterplay. In good form with 4 wins from 4 for the D-team, Geoff resisted stubbornly having found himself down a piece for much of the game but was worn down in the end.

Kieran came into this game having the previous weekend jointly won the Shropshire Congress Minor section with 4.5/5 and a performance of 159 - well done! This game didn't start so well with him losing a piece after 6 moves (oops!) but after his opponent allowed Kieran to take his h2 pawn, Kieran generated some momentum and with both queens very active and an open position ensuing, he got his checkmate in first. Well played, though I'm not sure that makes your bishop 'sac' a playable gambit Kieran ;)

That left just Paul's game to finish, though with his opponent having had the better of the opening, Paul sacrificed a pawn in a bid to free up his position... which worked for a while but then his opponent started generating threats on the 7th rank and it was game over.

Tantalisingly close to a first win of the season again, but we wouldn't have long to wait...

ECC 1 Macclesfield 4 (Weds 3rd Dec)

If Macclesfield A are a tough outfit, then their B team are even more misplaced in the 3rd Division. They are very strong with grades from 155 to 121. Their combined total was nearly 700!
Despite this the C team came very close to a draw! Roy and Geoff Smith were first to finish having fought bravely and giving their opponents lenghty matches. Geoff Clarke was cruising playing white, a piece ahead with a N posted on e6 supported by Ps on d5 and f5. Neither side could castle. Playing next to me I could see his opponent struggling to stay in it however he counter-attacked strongly and Geoff fell victim to a well worked checkmate.
I played against an opponent who started d4 and then Bg5....I don't know what that one is, however I played a Slav type defence and was never under any strong pressure. With both sides down to Ps and one R each a drawn position was reached.
Hartley, in his first match of the season, playing black went 2 Ps up and was very strong in the endgame, both sides with 1 B each. Both were down to their last 5 min and a draw was reached when the flags of both were ready to fall.
In the circumstances a good result.
Cheers Bill

Friday, 16 January 2015

Denton A 3.5 ECA 2.5

With one win out of four matches ECA really needs some points from this match against one of the teams we had a chance of beating. We had a full strength squad out and Denton didn't so we fancied our chances. Here is how it went:

1. John 0-1 T Hilton (158)

John built up a strong position against Tim's obscure two Knights system and generated good pressure on the Black a1 to h8 diagonal. However John fell into a trap and lost the exchange. Tim pressed home his advantage clinically to win the game.

2. Phil 1-0 G Kolbusz (155)

In a Fianchetto King's Indian George seemed unclear on the normal plan for White and ended up in a passive position. I managed to activate my Queen with a central pawn thrust and George felt he had to give up a pawn to exchange Queens. However I managed to win another pawn in the endgame and my connected passed pawns made the win easy after that.

3. Steve 0.5-0.5 L Antal (170)

Steve seemed to get a rather stodgy position in a Ruy Lopez. In his own words "I got a bad position (sadly with White pieces) but sacrificed a pawn to get good counterplay. I agreed a draw a pawn down but the engine said the position was slightly better for me at the end. I agreed a draw as I thought he was still on top and I was tired and not playing very well."

4. Dave 0.5-0.5 J Ryan (165)

Dave easily equalised as Black with his favourite Sicilian Accelerated Dragon. However most of the pieces were soon swapped off and Dave was unable to gain any advantage in the ending.

5. Jim 0.5-0.5 J Lysons (148)

Jim won a pawn soon after the opening and seemed to be well on top. However as soon as he won the pawn his opponent started playing strong moves and in the end Jim had to accept a draw.

6. Tudor 0-1 D Holt (146)

Playing as Black Tudor threw his Kingside pawns forward early and looked to be generating a strong attack. However David managed to win a pawn and although Tudor threw more material into the fire in an attempt to generate pressure in the end he ran out of pieces.

So a close match and a narrow defeat. We will need a bit more luck in our match away to Stockport A next week!