Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Wilmslow 2 - ECC 3 (Mon 16th Feb)

Board Wilmslow             2 - 3 East Cheshire C
1. Kevin Moran (152)       1-0 Myles
2. Colin Mills (154)           1-0 Paul
3. Robin Warhurst (105)   0-1 Kieran
4. Anthony Flynn (99)       0-1 Edwin
5. T Horrocks (89)           0-1 Geoff Smith

As in the home version of this fixture, we sneaked the win and in the same way, outgunned on the top 2 boards but managing 3 impressive wins on the other boards.

Geoff was first to finish, and in style thanks to a lethal N check discovering a B attack on his opponent’s Q .

Edwin found himself in a typically bonkers but fun-looking double-edged position with both players’ castled kings vulnerable in the middlegame thanks to a cleared h-file and both player’s defending fianchettoed bishop having been lost. Edwin always looked a half-move ahead though, leaving him a P up when it simplified to an endgame. Edwin declined the draw and pushed on, and got his man in the end.

Paul found himself as black in a relatively slow game, but though his opponent’s attack lumbered slightly, eventually it came crashing through and Paul resigned.

Kieran necessarily ceded a time advantage to his opponent having scrambled back from London that evening, and having lost a pawn early on, it didn’t look promising, but suddenly there was counterplay, the pawn was won back, and a tricky endgame was won.

Which meant my game wouldn’t influence the result and a good thing too. As white in a queen’s gambit, I didn’t deal well with my opponent’s response, following the wrong plan going into the middlegame leaving my bishop clumsily-placed on d3 and, as it turned out, short of escape squares in the event of a pawn storm by black. Having lost B for a P, it eventually reduced to a N + 2Ps v 3 Ps endgame which I couldn’t hold.

Having been rooted to the bottom of the table previously, we're now in a 4-way fight with Wilmslow and our final 2 opponents, Altrincham B and Sale, and could still finish 3rd of 6...

Friday, 20 February 2015

ECB 2 - 4 Stockport B (Wed Feb 18)

As usual we were outgraded but put up another fighting performance and were again close to getting something out of the match.

Tudor 1/2 - 1/2 Mike Tunstall (159)

Tudor gave another solid display on board one and was offered the draw in an even looking contest..

Jim 0 - 1 Andy Coe (155)

Jim's Giuoco Piano led to an interesting game where he had the bishop pair and rooks against 2 knights and rooks.  It looked like it was heading for a draw but unfortunately the horses won the day.

Keven 0 - 1 Mike Crowther (154)

Kev's Pirc set up was perhaps a bit passive against an Austrian Attack and fell to a blow to his Q's rook.

Paul 0 - 1 Jeff Mason (150)

I played a quick development set up against the Philidor and created some pressure and perhaps should have sac'd a pawn to open up the kingside but Jeff defended carefully and then created some counterplay which turned out to be decisive.

Alan 1/2 - 1/2 Peter Taylor (139)

Alan was black against a particularly slow looking Q pawn opening system and he managed to take the initiative gaining a pawn.  Frustratingly, the resulting R & P ending, even with an extra pawn, looked drawish.

Myles 1 - 0 Anthony Prime (112)

Myles played a Dutch opening and looked very solid in a pretty even looking position, but managed to convert a draw into a full point with some clever play.  Our only winner of the night.

Next up is against runaway league leaders Macclesfield A at home on March 4th where I get the feeling a major upset could well be on the cards.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

ECA 1 Marple A 5

Playing against the strongest team in the Stockport league was never going to be easy - and it wasn't! Still we made our opponents work for the wins and came away with a respectable result.

1. Phil 0-1 A Longson (222)

I was quite happy with my position out of the opening in my slightly obscure Sicilian sideline. However Alex kept on finding little annoying threats and eventually ended up with a dangerous pawn on f6 that was both dangerous and weak as it could not be defended by other pawns.

I unwisely traded into a Queen endgame where my Queen was totally tied down to defending against mate on g7. I then allowed a trade of Queens which allowed my opponent to Queen a pawn as I had mis-calculated the pawn race.

2. Steve 0.5-0.5 M Fernandez (208)

Steve sacrificed a pawn early on for some pressure against his young opponent. He probably didn't get quite enough compensation for the pawn but kept the pressure on right through to the endgame. His opponent ended up very short of time and lost control of the position somewhat. Steve won the pawn back but was happy to accept a draw offer.

3. John 0.5-0.5 S Hegarty (174)

John defended well against Sarah's Bishop opening and achieved a strong position but accepted a draw offer as he was getting tired.

4. Tudor 0-1 I Craft (183)

Tudor had to take on the Dutch and gradually ran out of space as his opponent took over the White squares and the open file. Tudor lost an exchange and wasn't able to save the game with any tricks this time.

5. Alan 0-1 P Kirby (164)

Alan finished the opening with a passive position and was gradually squashed as his opponent advanced. When his opponent eventually broke through Alan's blockade it was game over.

6. Bill 0-1 N Livesey (152)

Bill kept things simple with a French Exchange but ended up castled Queenside behind his advanced Queenside pawns. Bill tried to create some play on the Kingside but his opponent's attack was always going to land first.

So no points were expected from this match and none were won. I think we all had interesting games though and learnt some lessons.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Macclesfield 3.5 - ECC 1.5 (Mon 19th Jan)

Board Macclesfield B 3.5-1.5 East Cheshire C
1. N. Evans (145) 1-0 B. Tait
2. D. Lobo (151) 0-1 K. Newell
3. A. Brough (144) 0.5-0.5 E. Cooke
4. M. Renshaw (140) 1-0 H. Oldham
5. M. Jouannet (121) 1-0 K. Hodgson

After the home leg of this fixture in December, we were under no illusions about the strength of the Macclesfield team, a little misplaced in our division given their strength on all boards. As such, a win and a draw and some combative games all round seemed a decent return. The big inexplicable blunder of the night was the team captain picking himself plus 5 others for a 5-board match (?!), and so sitting this one out, which did however mean I was able to follow some interesting games.

On board 3, Edwin's manoeuvrings left him with an extra pawn, doubled on the h-file though it was. In attempting to consolidate that gain, Edwin found his opponent gaining some activity and an early draw was agreed. With 20-20 hindsight, 14 f6! would have led to some interesting lines with perhaps a strong attack against black's injudiciously castled king, but then bridging a 45-point grading gap to have slightly the better of a draw was certainly not to be sniffed at!

Hartley found himself in a lively middlegame with queens swapped off and almost all minor pieces highly active for both players, but was always that annoying half-move behind and ended up elegantly checkmated by his opponent's knights, pawn and bishop.

In Bill's game: "I attacked on his K side castle losing 2 minor pieces to a R, however all my pieces were active. I couldn't break through despite a pinning a N on his K. His Ps just managed to keep me out and he deservedly won. No complaints."

Kieran confirmed himself as the form man of the C-team with another fine win. Already a piece up by the time I properly tuned into his game, Kieran built a commanding position, getting the stronger attack in front of slightly exposed kings and forcing through the necessary swap-offs to neutralise any counter-threats and convert the full point with minimal fuss.

Which meant that - improbably - a win for Keith on board 4 would have meant a drawn match. However, a slight miscalculation in a long and complex serious of swap-offs left Keith a bishop down, albeit a "bad" bishop, and with Keith slightly ahead and pushing on energetically in the race to queen a pawn. Eventually though, his opponent regrouped and covered the back rank and the game was up for Keith.

No cheap win on any board for Macclesfield B then, a creditable result in itself!