Friday, 27 November 2015

ECA 1.5 Marple A 4.5

After a tough first match against Macclesfield A there was no respite for ECA with a home game against the heavyweights of Division 1, Marple A.

Marple had several of their top players missing but with a very strong top two boards they were always favourites. Here is how it went.

1. Steve 0-1 A Longson (221)

Steve played a solid Caro Kann and steadily swapped off pieces, entering a Bishop ending where he had a slightly worse pawn structure but good chances of holding. However, in true Bobby Fischer style he allowed his Bishop to get trapped and had to give it up for two pawns. Although it looked like his extra pawns may give him some chances, Steve's King was tied to the defense of some weak Kingside pawns meaning that Alex could mop up the extra pawns on the Queenside.

2. John 0.5-0.5 M Fernandez (212)

John played his normal Queen's Gambit and got a level position but didn't manage to create much pressure. His opponent started to make threats on the Kingside but John successfully neutralised his opponent's initiative. In the endgame John's King went on the rampage and with Michael's clock ticking away it looked like an upset could be on the cards but Michael managed to defend and a draw was agreed.

3. Phil 0.5-0.5 G Trueman (176)

Glenn played a quiet system against my King's Indian and surprised me with some early pawn pushes on the Queenside. I got my pieces in a bit of a tangle but managed to defend against persistent Knight fork threats. In the end Glenn allowed me to swap off all the pieces and the game fizzled out into a draw.

4. Kieran 0-1 P Kirby (167)

It seems that the Newell family have a penchant for backward e pawns. Kieran's slow opening system didn't seem to give Paul too many problems and when Kieran ended up with a backward pawn on a half open file Paul exploited it in textbook fashion. Has he been reading "My System"? The Nimzo Attack beaten by Nimzo's System.

5. Dave N 0.5-0.5 A Jenkins (143)

Dave played his favourite Dutch and achieved a very comfortable position but his opponent played actively enough and with Dave short on time a draw was agreed.

6. David T 0-1 A Hall (120)

David's beloved Reti didn't seem to yield any real threats and David ended up a pawn down with several weak pawns to defend. Ultimately David could not hold the endgame.

So a tough match and a fair result. We complete our tour of the top teams in two weeks with a home match against Holmes Chapel.

Friday, 13 November 2015

EC C 2.5 - 2.5 Wilmslow (Wed 11th Nov)

Board    East Cheshire C                   Wilmslow
1       Bill Tait                    0 - 1     Kevin Moran  (160)
2       Myles Heywood    0.5 - 0.5  Colin Mills (147)
3       Paul Bamford           1 - 0      Christopher Guffogg (126)
4       Edwin Cooke            1 - 0      Michael Palmer (108)
5       Keith Hodgson         0 - 1      Robin Warhurst (103)
Result East Cheshire C 2.5 - 2.5   Wilmslow

Given we were outgraded on all boards, we were happy enough with a draw here, which continues our good run against Wilmslow having beaten them home and away last season.

Paul’s game finished first -  he got a heavy build-up of pressure on a central file, leading his opponent to make an error when needing to play very accurately to hold the position. Seeing his position about to cave in, Paul’s opponent resigned after not much hesitation.

My game was a topsy-turvy one and good fun – my opponent made a classic bishop sac on h2 which wasn’t fatal, but was tricky enough to deal with given g3 was the only place for my king to go and his knight was making a bit of a nuisance of itself. The best I could see was to respond in kind on h7, setting up a mate-in-one on the h-file which he opted to stave off with a 3-fold repetition.

After Edwin’s early–evening snooze lasted a little longer than intended, and was rudely interrupted by an anxious call from his captain at 7:35, his pre-match preparation strategy was proven to be entirely sound, with our well-rested and rejuvenated board 4 gaining a big space advantage out of the opening and using it well. He picked carefully his moment to swap off queens to give himself a positional edge in  the king and pawns endgame which proved decisive – well done Edwin.

Bill was heavily outgraded and battled gamely in one of those soul-destroying positions where the game seems to drift out of reach ever-so-slowly… and when his opponent managed to lodge a rook and both bishops on Bill’s 2nd and 3rd rank, it was curtains soon after.

Keith found himself the exchange up out of the opening but in a very open and dynamic position which his opponent ended up getting the better of.

Next match is the week after next against Sale, which on form should be another tight one…

Thursday, 12 November 2015

ECA 1.5 Macc A 4.5

A tough start to the league season for ECA with a home match against a strong Macclesfield team. With two 200 rated players on the top boards and four 160 odd players making up the rest of the team this was always going to be a tough slog.

1. Phil 0-1 R Shaw (204)

My illustrious opponent played a modest Trompowsky system and gave me no problems in the opening. When he started pushing pawns on the Queenside I thought I had better do something on the Kingside and started pushing pawns towards his King. Shortly afterwards I saw a little trick that seemed to win material. It almost did but Rob squirmed out of it and I ended up an exchange down for a pawn. I was still doing quite well with my Bishop pair but spent too long working out the complications and in the end lost on time in a inferior position. It was fun to cause my strong opponent some problems.

2. John 0-1 K Smallbone (200)

John played sharply against a Slav defence but in the end his enterprising play proved to be illusory and John was left with a weak pawn in the centre and no attack. John's opponent created some play against John's King and John had to give up a piece.

3. Kieran 0-1 A Soames (160)

Kieran was not allowed much fun against Tony's slow Reti system. I didn't see the end of this game as I was too busy losing on time!

4. Geoff B 1-0 C Sizeland (165)

Geoff was put under pressure by Chris's sharp King's Indian but in the end managed to force the win with a cheapo (in Geoff's words!)

5. David T 0-1 D Risley (162)

David's "Fort Knox" Defence proved as good as its name, shepherding David into a slightly worse endgame but sadly David was unable to hold it.

6. Tudor 0.5-0.5 G Laurence (159)

Tudor played solidly in a Queen's Pawn game but ultimately had to settle for a draw.

All in all about a par result based on the respective ratings of the teams. The small matter of hosting Marple A in a fortnight may mean we will be getting most of our points after Christmas!

Friday, 6 November 2015

East Ches 2.5 - 2.5 Stockport

On Wed night we took on Stockport in the President's Cup and it looked a fairly even affair on paper, although they were particularly handy on the top 2 boards.  We got off to a good start by winning the toss which meant we had 3 White's to their 2.

Kev was first to finish and managed to earn a fairly quick draw against his higher graded opponent.  He was considering playing a spicey gambit line against against e4 but instead opted for his trusted Pirc and ended up with a better pawn structure and good knight against a ragged pawn structure and bishop pair.  Mike offered a draw and Kev sensibly agreed in a very even position.

Dave, looking relaxed after his recent successful trip to the Channel Islands, finished soon after with an excellent draw.  On board 3 was the "game of the academics" and Tudor looked in a losing position but his amazing bouncebackability came in to play again and was able to brilliantly swindle a very useful draw.  On board 4, Jim was up against a very slow looking Queen pawn opening which seemed a bit lifeless and indeed after 50 odd moves it was pronounced dead and a draw agreed.

Four games played - all draws.  So it all depended on the 2 captains on the bottom board.  Peter perhaps had a slight edge but it was difficult for him to find a plan and in the meantime I was able to open up the h file and fill it with R and Q.  I had a good knight too and it looked like it was going to be a winning attack.  Unfortunately (as confirmed by Fritz) there was no breakthrough and all the excitement petered out into an opposite colour B draw.  Another draw!

So, the match score was stalemate at 2 and a half each and with nothing in the Stockport League rules for a Cup result of all draws, we'll have to have a replay at their place.

1/2  Dave N v Mike Crowther (167)
1/2  Keven v Mike Tunstall (160)
1/2  Tudor v Jill Barber (141)
1/2  Jim v Jeff Mason (133)
1/2  Paul v Peter Taylor (121)