Friday, 25 November 2016

Marple B 1.5 - 4.5 ECB

After a few narrow defeats the B team were due a win and we managed it in style against Marple B last night.

The in form Steve was never unduly troubled in his game and chalked up another nice win.  Jim too played a good game for a solid win to put us two up.  Bill looked to be winning his game but then there was some fireworks and he had to settle for a draw.

The crunch game was on board one.  Myles was well ahead on time (unusual for an East Cheshire player!) and had 30 minutes left compared with just 2 for his opponent.  This was a tight game but Myles played the endgame well and clinched the vital win that saw us over the line on the night.

I'd had a good game, was completely in control and 2 pawns up.  I then completely lost concentration to let Terry back in the game.  To make it worse I went on to  miss an easy tactic to win in a time scramble but instead allowed Terry in for a neat finish.

Tudor ended up with a knight and 2 pawns against 4 pawns and with play on both sides of the board this could have been tricky.  But, after a few hairy moments, Tudor's horse proved agile enough to win the battle and put the icing on the cake for the team result.

So, all in all it was a good performance and the win catapults us off the bottom of the table.  Onwards and upwards.......  Well done lads!

0 - 1  Chris Baker (140) v Myles
0 - 1  Alan Hall (139) v Tudor
1 - 0  Terry cowling (135) v Paul
0 - 1  Jeff Barlow (121) v Jim
1/2    Toby Brown (112) v Bill
0 - 1  Tony Doust (102) v Steve Mc
1.5 - 4.5

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Altrincham A 4.5 - 1.5 ECB

The first game of the season saw us make the trip to Altrincham - a club who we have a pretty good record against (which is unusual!).  The teams were very evenly matched and included a re-match of D Newell v Clucas.  In their last match Dave ran his clock down to one second but still managed to win, helped along the way by a soft error by Reg.  Surely their next encounter couldn't be as dramatic........

0 - 1  Reg Clucas (146) v Dave N

Most of this game seemed to be about the battle for a d5 pawn.  After a long struggle it suddenly sprang into life with Dave, of course, in extreme time pressure but using Fischer time well.  Down to 7 seconds and 2 seconds he found some really strong moves and won a piece.  His bishops were cutting the board up, had an active queen against an open king and had a spare rook on an open c file for good measure.  The engine would probably put him 25 pts up (or maybe even mate in 3).  He just had to worry slightly about his back rank but unfortunately thought about it for literally a second too long - his clock went as he played his move.  Revenge for Reg but really hard luck on Dave.

1/2  Bill McCartney (140) v David T

This game featured an isolated Q pawn each and in the endgame David faced a bishop pair.  He held on well though to claim a solid draw.

1/2  Mark Hann (140) v Keven

Keven comfortably defended his opponent's kingside attack and had more central space.  Seemed to be even and a draw was agreed.

0 - 1  Nick Lowe (137) v Bill

Bill was doing OK in this but seemed to misjudge his opponent's attack and ended up losing a rook pawn and then losing his way.

0 - 1  Mark Whalley (136) v Paul

I maybe had a slight edge against my fast playing opponent but then ridiculously placed a knight on a square attacked by 2 but only defended by 1 - pretty basic stuff!

1/2  Steve Douglas (123) v Steve Mc

Steve Mc made a good debut.  He had double rooks on the h file and swapped them off for a queen and maybe had winning chances but sensibly accepted a draw, particularly as he was starting to get low on time.

So we ended up losing 4 and a half to one and a half,  but feeling that we were a little hard done too.  I'm confident that our winning run is just around the corner......

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Marple C 3 - ECC 2 (Thurs 21st April)

Edwin's match was quick and bloody as ever, with him setting up an advanced position on the queenside and lobbing his h-pawn up the board to get at the enemy king, but it must have not worked as expected, with him finishing with a loss a while later.

Ian was looking in good shape, with some promising minor piece activity, but his opponent found a sudden bit of counterplay to pin Ian's queen to his king, and managed to swap off enough pieces before finally grabbing the queen so that Ian was forced to concede.

Geoff got a nice opening set-up but found the Chigorin Defence he was playing against just a little too solid to break down, and seeing his opponent's doubled pawns as too small an edge to work with, he agreed a draw, getting us off the mark.

Terry Cowling played the Albin Counter-gambit against me... one I apparently need to brush up on. For want of any more imaginative ideas, I grabbed the offered pawn and hoped to prove his counterplay wasn't enough. But eventually he won back the pawn, and my middle unconnected pawn looked vulnerable for a while, until I found way to wriggle it out of danger, but with no real prospects of a win, agreed a draw.

With that, we'd lost the match but on the remaining board were benefiting from the B-team's rotation policy, with Paul rested and reasonably fresh after the B-team's nailbiter of the previous night. Seeing his opponent's position looking a little rigid and crowded on the kingside, he pushed on on the queenside, getting a runner on the a-file and slowly dominating on that side of the board before finding a nice tactic to overcome some desperate defence and decisively get the little guy over the line - nicely done Paul.

At this point in the season we seem to be just getting edged in the tight matches, but having had a great run mid-season (4 wins from 5!) we've already improved on last year's wooden spoon with our final, very late game of the season still to come away to Altrincham a week on Tuesday.

Board    Marple C                               East Cheshire C
1       Terry Cowling (135)   0.5 - 0.5  Myles Heywood 
2       Jeff Barlow (117)           0 - 1      Paul Bamford
3       Neil Dainty (100)           1 - 0      Edwin Cooke
4       Toby Brown (106)          1 - 0      Ian Vaughan 
5       Trefor Thomas (88)    0.5 - 0.5   Geoff Smith
Result Marple C                3 -  2   East Cheshire C

Macclesfield C 3 - ECC 2 (Mon 11th April)

Heavily outranked on most boards we gave it a good shot!

Nick was in his match all the way but a pawn down made a minor mistake towards the end which cost him his game.

I sacrificed 2 pawns to rip open his castled king and had relentless pressure for most of the game, but my opponent did not falter. He spotted every trap and tactical switch which would have won me the game, avoiding several checkmate positions. Eventually he rode out the storm and I threw away a knight letting him win comfortably. I came very close to a win.

Keith played an even game before edging ahead for a well fought win.

After studying his opponent last time we played Macc Geoff was hoping to play the same player again. The initial line up was that he would not, but after we defaulted on board 5, David Mallinson dropped out on board 3 meaning the other 2 moved up a board and Geoff got his man. Sure enough his study paid off and he moved into a commanding position and a comfortable victory.
1 Marc Jouannet (129) 1 Nick Flaherty (113) 0
2 Mick Renshaw (128) 1 Edwin Cooke (102) 0
3 Tom Robson (109) 0 Keith Hodgson (95) 1
4 David Styles (87) 0 Goeff Smith (73) 1
5 Default 1-0

Score 3-2

ECC 2 - Macclesfield C 3 (Wed 17th Feb!)

Scores on the doors:
Paul Dasher Bamford 0 Marc Jouannet 1
Edwin The Fortunate 1 Mick Renshaw 0
Ian The Draw Tiger 1/2 Dave Mallinson 1/2
Keith The Draw Lion 1/2 Tom RObson 1/2
Geoff The Draw Not 0 David Styles 1
ECC 2 Macc C 3
 Early on we looked in a tight spot. Paul was doing okay on board 1 , as  
was I on board 2, with Ian and Keith looking slightly down on boards 3 and  
4 with Geoff even on board 5, it looked like a draw was probably. 
On Paul's board... I succumbed to the "Sniper - 
Botvinnik variation" - yes, that old chestnut.  My opponent  had used 4 
minutes on the clock and I had used an hour!  He knew the system well and 
has studied videos etc on it but told me afterwards that I was actually 
coming up with a fairly main line defence and was in with a shout, before I 
made a mistake..... 
After Paul succombed and with Geoff following shorlty after the outlook looked  
bleak, and there might be a possible whitewash on the cards. However Ian  
rallied to get in a drawing position and Keith grabbed a knight with ease  
taking a leading position and with me in the ascendancy we might get  
I arrived late and was 5 mins down, not to worry I thought, then I saw my  
opponents - grade 128. Oh dear, I decided to play as tight as I could,  
defend and try to not make any mistakes. I played my current favoured "The  
Queens Sardines Gambit", where I start with a Queens Gambit then simply  
put as many pieces as I can into the square marked c1, c4, f1, f4. This  
has been working well this season. The game plodded on in a very dour  
manner, with my opponent adopting a Kings Indian Defence and slowly the  
game unfolded with the words of Mithrandir playing in my head at the exit  
of Moria, "Though shalt not pass!". I avoided any exchange of pieces  
keeping my pawn line intact and finally succumbed as my opponent swapped  
white bishops on move 12. By this time my knights had moved hobbit-like  
across to the right of the board and with little option to move his  
pieces, I sensed a building momentum. I raised my key and started to roll  
back the lid on my sardine tin (Farewell Tolkein, back to the tinned fish  
metaphor), exposing both my king and his king, but to my advantage I could  
quickly draft in support with my queen, rooks and remaining bishop. Things  
were looking good. He was on the toast ready to go under the grill, when  
in a move the Marquis De Laissez-Faire would have been proud of I gave my  
queen away.
I was down, 2 rooks and a knight versus queen, rook and knight and equal  
pawns. I was surely done for! I played on hoping my position was strong  
enough and I might get a lucky fork to grab his queen. His prowess came to  
the fore and before long he had pinned my knight and was in a simple  
winning position. All I had left was subterfuge, I played my rook along  
the back row to the h file, it was checkmate if I had 2 consecutive moves,  
oh for such luxury! However, it worked, it diverted his attention, and  
instead of swiping my knight and rolling on to a comfortable win, he  
pushed his pawn to give him a way out of the check mate (that would never  
have been if he simply took my knight). I couldn't believe it, I had a  
chance, I pushed the rook to check, his king had only one move and there  
was now a serious danger he would either lose his bishop or queen and we  
could be level on points, but with me in a commanding position. He moved  
his king to the back row and I saw my chance, another shrewd check  
avoiding the obvious swap meant it was mate in one or two moves. My  
sardines on toast were done!
So I somehow managed to win and with Ian forcing/agreeing a draw  
for the team , the hope was Keith could press home his advantage and  
salvage a draw for the C team. In a tense finish and down on time, Keith  
managed a hard fought draw. Alas a 2-3 loss to Macc C  

Thursday, 21 April 2016

ECB 4 - 2 Denton B

This was a big game for us - we needed at least a draw to guarantee we couldn't finish bottom.  Our plight was made much easier though when Denton turned up with just 4 players, so we got off to a flying start!

The remaining games were well contested.  Tudor had a slight edge in his game.  He had a B for a N and his opponent had a troublesome backward pawn but Tudor valiantly accepted a draw for the the team to get us another half point nearer.

Dave N was looking ok on board one.  His opponent had played a tricky f5 move applying pressure on the kingside but after a long think Dave found a way out of it and with a very active Q seemed to have many options with possibilities of gaining material.  Unfortunately......and with an audible gasp, when he did make his move he realised he had chosen the wrong option and lost the exchange and then the position fell apart.  It was a shame because without this oversight Dave looked in good shape.

So we still needed at least a half point and the remaing 2 games were on a knife edge.  David T had a great Catalan type B but had an isolated d pawn which he couldn't push forward.  He offered a draw (several in fact!) but as the game turned into the endgame Holty wanted to carry on.  Eventually, and with much relief for the home team, a draw was finally agreed.

Jim's game finished soon after.  He had good space on the queenside but the position was very closed and even.  Eventually though he managed to get his central pawns mobile which caused enough confusion to provoke a mistake from his opponent and gain Jim a well deserved win.

So in the end we won the match and that takes us to 9 points and bizarrely means instead of ending up bottom has now catapulted us to third place, which is where we are likely to finish.  Well done to everyone who has turned out for the B team this season!

0 - 1  Dave N v Dave Boulden (137)
1/2    David Taylor v Dave Holt (133)
1/2    Tudor v Stan Bradley (123)
1 - 0  Keven v DEFAULT
1 - 0  Jim v Dave Cook (111)
1 - 0  Paul v DEFAULT
4 - 2

Sunday, 17 April 2016

ECA 2 Chorlton 4

So the final match of the season!

With Denton recently being whitewashed by Marple we only needed two game points to avoid finishing bottom. This should be possible but we were missing three of our top six and Chorlton have a strong squad. Let's see what happened.

The night got off two a strong start with super-sub Paul catching his opponent in a tactical trick and winning a piece early on. He then swapped off the pieces into a straightforward endgame. Well done Paul!

Tudor played an active King's Indian system and seemed to have good play against his opponent's King but agreed a draw for the team. So just half a point needed.

David then completed the job with a solid Reti against a strong opponent leading to a painless draw.

So we had our two points and the top three boards were still to finish. This was looking like a good night.

Sadly we all got ground down on the top boards.

Geoff played his normal Owen's defence and seemed to have an active position. He eventually won a pawn at the expense of a rather stranded Knight. I didn't see how this one ended.

Steve had to face Alekhine's defence and took a risky pawn in the centre, leaving his Queen in the targets of his opponent's Black Bishop. After some complications it became clear that Steve was losing the exchange and he had no respite after that.

I was heading into a mainline Sicilian Dragon but managed to avoid theory with an early Ng4. An exciting game ensued with Kings on opposite sides of the board. Sadly I ended up in a position where I had nothing to do while my opponent could attack my King at will. Eventually his attack stormed home and I had to concede.

Despite ending with three defeats we got what we needed and avoided last place in the league. We should now stay up (unless the size of the league is changed again!)

Over and out from me. Look out for a new first team captain next season.

1. Phil 0 - 1 M Carpenter (188)
2. Steve 0 - 1 D Lee (177)
3. Geoff B 0 - 1 R Doney (172)
4. David T 0.5 - 0.5 D Owen (164)
5. Tudor 0.5 - 0.5 A Beresford (142)
6. Paul 1 - 0 P Harnett (138)

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Macclesfield B 1.5 - 4.5 ECB

As I sprinted up the stairs (haha!) at their new venue I was thinking this was going to be a tough battle against the league leaders.  Indeed it was but, as usual, we put up a good fight.

I didn't see anything of Nick's game but he was the first to finish and set the night off well with a great win.  Soon after, we were looking in good shape on all the boards with a possible upset on the cards....until soon after 10 o'clock when we ran out of steam and blunders took over for most of us.

The night marked the very welcome return of Dave B and he showed little signs of rust and he played a really good game.  As per Dave:
 "Opening was French Winawer variation which I like.  Unfortunately, Phil then played a line which I have not met before. My typical game ensued – defensive and cramped with Phil looking menacing.  I was 20 mins deficit on time before I could play my counter attack to free my position and played quick moves.  Within 6 moves, I  had turned the game around, was level on time and it looked as though I may be winning.  I could easily have asked for a draw but decided to push my advantage.  I then miscalculated - rather than consolidating for a drawn position, I tried a combination to win the exchange but overlooked Phil’s saving move which won him a piece.  Really enjoyable game as a comeback and all credit to Phil for holding his nerve when the game switched around".

In my game I started brightly before being pegged back but was ahead on time coming into a time scramble before (as usual) I inexplicably dropped a piece.  Tudor's inexplicability (?) was even worse.  He had 17 mins left compared with Geoff's two before he gave away a rook for nothing.  Such a shame after a great show from Tudor.

Myles was looking very solid and came very close to having a draw offer accepted.  The game continued though and after some play by Myles on the kingside had fizzled out, Dave was able to find some play on the queenside before unleashing a deadly queen fork which finished it.

After his recent warm weather training in the Canaries, David T showed no signs of running out of steam though and his game was the last to finish and claimed a really good half against the always tricky Tony Soames giving us some late consolation.

So, the result means we're not completely safe from the drop and our one remaining game against Denton B  could turn into a crunch game.

1/2    Tony Soames (160) v David T (142)
1 - 0  Geoff Laurence (159) v Tudor (138)
1 - 0  Dave Risley (162) v Myles (130)
1 - 0  Phil Cattermole (153) v Dave B (139)
1 - 0  Phil Colville (130) v Paul (122)
0 - 1  Anthony Brough (142) v Nick (113)
4.5 - 1.5

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Chorlton 4 ECA 2

After winning two matches in row could we get something out of our match at Chorlton to climb out of bottom spot? With a couple of our top 6 away it would be tough but miracles can happen!

1. H Mkhumba (186) 0.5 - 0.5 Steve

Steve played his normal solid system against the Sicilian and swapped off into a slightly favourable endgame where he had the better pawn structure. However there were no serious winning chances and a draw was soon agreed.

2. R Doney 0 - 1 Phil

A win! I had forgotten what that felt like. My cause was aided by my opponent arriving quite late and then banging out several moves quicker than was necessary. We ended up in a typical Sicilian Dragon position but with White having played both h4 and a4 there was nowhere completely ideal for the White King. My pressure down the c-file told in the end and I managed to grab a couple of pawns and win the endgame. Upon review afterwards the computer informed me that many of my moves were inferior but that is what computers are for! 

3. D Lee 1 - 0 Geoff B

Geoff grabbed a gambit pawn early on in a Gruenfeld and seemed to almost be a clear pawn up. However he was always a couple of moves away from consolidating and his opponent played very enterprisingly, eventually pushing Geoff into a blunder.

4. S Foulkes 1 - 0 Dave N

Dave seemed to get quite a lot of play in a Dutch defense but his opponent defended calmly and Dave was swindled in time pressure.

5. D Owen 1 - 0 Tudor

Tudor went a pawn down early on in a Queen's Gambit Accepted but had nice pressure in the centre to compensate. Sadly Tudor's central threats did not come soon enough as his opponent's Queenside pawns mobilised and the endgame would always be lost.

6. A Beresford 0.5 - 0.5 Bill

In a Queen's Pawn game Bill played solidly and was content to gain a rapid half point.

So no miracle but if we can get something out of our final match at home to Chorlton we should be safe.

ECB 4 - 2 Stockport B

Stockport B were looking to consolidate their position at the top of the table and put a strong team out.  However we had a few of our stars back and were able to avenge last week's defeat against them.

Dave N (141)  1 - 0  Mike Crowther (167)

Dave again played well above his grade.  It wasn't all plain sailing against his strong opponent but he emerged a pawn up into the endgame and kept it going for a fine win.

Keven (139)  1/2  Andy Coe (162)

Kev played a Catalan and his light squared fianchettoed bishop did the trick in neutralising the game for a valuable half point.

David T (142)  1/2  Mike Tunstall (160)

David was a pawn up but Mike had his heavy pieces operating on the open h file.  When the attack fizzled out a draw was agreed with Mike's queen very active and plenty of checks available.

Tudor (138)  1 - 0  Jill Barber (141)

Tudor may have been the bunny last week but this week he was like a spring chicken!  His focused and energetic display gave him a pawn advantage and he finished off with assurance in the endgame.

Bill (139)  0 - 1  Dave Pardoe (141)

Bill played a Nimzo Indian but his opponent was able to get some open lines and was able to pick up a piece with a pin which had been overlooked. 

Paul (122)  1 - 0  Peter Taylor (121)

I was a pawn up out of the opening but tried to simplify a little early which gave Peter some counter attacking chances.  Fortunately, it was still a complicated enough position and Peter played it a bit passively and I was able to find the winning move.

So, all in all, a great result for us and it should be good enough to keep us in Div 2 for next season.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

ECA 3.5 Denton A 2.5

Shortly after our recent victory against Denton we hosted the rematch. Could we get a second victory and give ourselves a chance of staying up?

1. Steve 0.5 - 0.5 S Thestrup (211)

Steve played an aggressive Dutch defence, throwing pawns forward towards his opponent's King and making him use a lot of time on the clock. Eventually an endgame was reached where Steve had three pawns for a piece. A draw was agreed rather than play the time trouble lottery.

2. John 0.5 - 0.5 P Lopez (188)

John played a super sharp Four Pawns Attack against the King's Indian, gambiting a pawn to get his own pawn on d6. John seemed to have to better of the complications but his opponent fought tooth and nail and eventually John agreed a draw rather than risk a worse result.

3. Phil 0 - 1 K Celinski (153 est)

I was playing the same opponent as two weeks ago with the same colours. I didn't want to just repeat the opening so instead played a Modern Defence but wasn't totally familiar with the themes. My opponent castled Queenside and threw his Kingside pawns at me. I responded rather slowly and although I eventually created some counterplay it was too little, too late and I got splattered. Note to Ca├»ssa - if one of my opponents could make a blunder this season that would be helpful as I could really use a win!

4. Geoff B 1 - 0 T Hilton (168)

Geoff played solidly against Tim's Dutch and when Tim sacrificed a pawn Geoff calmly took it and consolidated his position. In the end Tim blundered a piece as he sought complications.

5. Kieran 0.5 - 0.5 D Holt (133)

Kieran got a nice solid position out of the opening but didn't find a way to seriously trouble his opponent.

6. Dave N 1 - 0 I Urwin (111)

This game was poetic justice for Dave's defeat in the dying seconds of his game at Chorlton last season. In Dave's words:

The final result will certainly not reflect the drama of my game. My opponent (graded only 117) played some odd looking knight moves in the opening but he may be related to Fritz which pronounced that the moves were all sound. I pressed throughout the middle game, falling 20 mins behind on the clock eventually ending up in ending where we both had 2 bishops and 4 pawns each. I remember looking at the clock and thinking that if only he had 5 mins left and I had 25 I might be able blitz him in the endgame but of course in reality the 5 minutes were mine. Then the fun really started. I was playing quickly and as often happens when one has a lot of time on the clock he was playing slower and slower as we manoeuvred our bishops and kings around the board each trying to make something of a dead ending. Eventually he offered a draw so I consulted Phil who said yes I could accept a draw. A quick glance at John's board suggested that was drawn and by now we were both down to 2 minutes. I still felt like I had some winning chances so I declined and tried to apply more pressure. Eventually his flag fell (don't ask me what was happening on the board because I honestly couldn't tell you!). Stephen thought I had lost on time (a perfectly reasonable assumption given my past history) and Kieran suggested in no uncertain terms that I was the luckiest man alive. As I pointed out to him "the more I practice the luckier I get"!

So another victory. If we can get something out of our matches against Chorlton we have a chance of staying up!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Stockport B 4.5 - 1.5 ECB

We were missing a few of our regulars on Tuesday night and realised we were going to be outgraded 30-40 points per board against a full strength Stockport B.  However, we actually put up a really good show and were unlucky to get nothing out of the match at the end.

Mike Crowther (167)  1 - 0  Tudor (138)

After losing in 6 moves last time against Mike, Tudor was confident of doing much better this time.  He did.  The blunder came on about move 12 this time (!) when unfortunately he overlooked Mike's bishop on b7 coupled with a queen raid along the g file.  Tudor rarely puts a foot wrong but has accepted that he is Mike's "bunny" now!

Andy Coe (162)  1/2  Bill (139)

Bill was last to finish in an interesting unbalanced game.  As per Bill:
"He played an English Opening and we both ended up with Ns in the centre. We both had a diamond P central formation after I took his N with a B and he took mine with a N.
He then decided to give up a P + R for 2 Bs. So I played with a Q and 2 Rs against a Q, 1R and 2Bs. Only one of his Bs was active however I had 8Ps so there were no open files. After I beat off his Kside attack I countered down the f file putting his Q and B at risk against a pinned K. With 5 min on my clock and 9 on his we agreed a draw......the room was empty by then."

Mike Tunstall (160)  1/2  Paul (122)
Mike played a Benoni type set up and opened up the centre too early and I was able to go 2 pawns up.  I then played too slowly and maybe too passive and reluctantly accepted a draw offer, as I was beginning to struggle on time a bit and conscious that I have been dropping pieces in time trouble recently!

Jill Barber (141)  1/2  Nick (113)

This was a Kings Indian Defence 4 pawns attack which produced a lively middle game.  Nick fought hard and applied some pressure but at the both had 4 pawns and a rook and it was a dead draw.

Dave Pardoe (141)  1 - 0  Edwin (102)

Edwin gets some great positions out of his queens pawn openings and this was no exception.  He was well in this game and it was very even.  He maybe should have exchanged queens when he had the chance, but in the end Dave got an attack in and forced a win.

Peter Taylor (121)  1 - 0   Geoff C (94)

Geoff played well against a London system and again it looked a very even game.  Unfortunately, Peter was able to eventually spring a discovered attack from his strong f4 bishop and that settled it.

We get our chance of revenge next Wed when we host them back at our place.

Friday, 26 February 2016

ECA 2.5 Marple A 3.5

The match between East Cheshire A and Marple A on Feb 25th 2016 at Marple went as follows
Marple                        East Cheshire
M Fernandez (212)  0.5  0.5  S Tranter (180)
J Bentley  (192)         1     0     J Reed   (173)
G Trueman (176)    0.5  0.5   G Brindle (150 est)
S Hewitt (160)         1     0    D R Taylor (142)
A Hall   (148)           0     1     T Rickards (138)
C Baker (134)         0.5    0.5   B Tait  (139)
Marple A won 3.5  :  2.5
The outcome hinged on Steve’s game at the end, with both players on less than 5 minutes.  Steve had a Q & K, MF a rook & K.

The whole club and visitors gathered round and watched for at least 10-15 minutes as Steve tried his best to corner MF, but MF played brilliantly as well and no mistake being made it ended drawn.  Fischer timing of course.

Tudor's version:

Further adventures of the Knights of East Cheshire

Annus Mirabilis: The Apotheosis of Sir Stephen

I tell of great deeds of courage and skill in battle. The knights of the East Cheshire round table set out courageously for the mountains of Marple.

None battled more valiantly than Sir Stephen, against the young champion of Marple, Fernandez the fearsome.

The other knights fought against the well trained opponents   Even the skills of Sir John of Gascony were to no avail and he retired from the fray, followed by Sir David of Elmsmead.

After many an hour in grim conditions, matching only those of the dank chambers of Chorlton, Sir Geoffrey Cricket agreed  an honourable tie.

The aging Welsh knight Sir Tudor Treforest launched a reckless attack which confused his youthful opponent, already disconcerted with attacking grunts from Sir T partly due to ingestion of a secret Welsh beverage quaffed throughout the contest. (Ross on Wyan brew).  A hit, a palpable hit, and East Cheshire were still in the contest.

The tourney was lost after Sir William, clad in his famous vermillion battledress, was thwarted and agreed a tied contest.

But all this while, as midnight approached, Sir Steven was engaged in battle against Fernandez the fearsome. The field was strewn with the hors de combat fallen. The entire pawn army of each had gone, but the last one was ennobled to Queen status as Fernandez saw a brilliant defence. He fought on, now with a Castle and against Sir Steven’s Queen. The task is a rare finale to a joust. According to the books of battle, the queen will prevail but unless you know the ancient lore, you may exceed the fifty move limit on hostilities.

The battle waged around the board. By then, a crowd of hushed onlookers surrounded the scene. Sir Steven pressed, and the queen could win the rook. Bur Fernandez had seen one more further, and taking the rook would but leave to a stalemate.

And that was enough to take the contest to fifty moves without a capture, and a draw.

The crowd erupted into a spontaneous round of applause.

The East Cheshire knights were defeated honourably, but Sir Stephen had fought the Marple champion to a standstill.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

ECB 2 - 4 Marple B

After 2 successive wins, we were faced with an under strength Marple B and had high hopes of making it 3 on the bounce.  Unfortunately Marple played much stronger than their grades, on all boards, and we got turned over.

David T  0 - 1  Chris Baker (134)

David seemed ok out of the opening but ended up losing a pawn and the exchange and couldn't find a way back

Keven  1/2  Terry Cowling (133)

Keven's drawn game became very tactical as he explains:
  "My game was a Philidor  Defence . Terry had worked through the lines with Alex Longson !!  I got a lot of pressure but wasted a lot of time fantasizing about winning combo’s that each agonisingly  had a single flaw. In the end, I opted to exchange down but overlooked the loss of my e4 pawn. However, I had sufficient play & pressure to win it back and had marginally the better position but probably not enough to win."

 Tudor  1/2  Tony Doust (107)

Tudor was a pawn up but when the queens came off Tony played a really good endgame and with opposite colour bishops a draw was agreed.

Bill  0 - 1  Toby Brown (100)

As seemed to be the nature of the night, Bill was up against an inspired opponent who played well above his grade.  In a Grand Prix Sicilian, it started to get tactical and with pins on both sides it was Toby who came out the better and netted an extra rook.

Paul  1/2  Neil Dainty (112)

I played a quiet line of the French and whilst it gave me a solid position it didn't really give me much else.

Nick  1/2  Trefor Thomas (100)

Nick had active pieces and applied pressure but his opponent defended well.  With only queens and pawns left a draw was agreed.

So, too many draws and no wins for us on the night.  We'll have another go next Tuesday away at Stockport B.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

ECA 3.5 Denton A 2.5

Well I never. ECA managed a first win of the season last night against fellow strugglers Denton A. We managed to field our strongest team and our strength in depth told in the end.

1. Steve 1-0 P Orejuela (178)

Steve played a solid Ruy Lopez but his opponent played well and after a number of exchanges had a slight initiative. However she also had very little time left and Steve managed to create problems. Eventually he got his Rook and Queen behind her King with a mating attack.

2. Phil 0-1 K Celinski (153)

As normal I got a decent position out of the opening. In a variation of the Hyper-accelerated Dragon I am very familiar with I had some pressure against my opponent's centre. However I then tried to be clever rather than play an obvious recapture which left the position dead equal. I then missed a simple threat to trap my Knight. Oh dear. I got a pawn for the piece and managed to create some pressure in the endgame but my opponent played solidly enough and held out for the win.

3. John 0.5-0.5 T Hilton (168)

John faced a kind of Nimzo-Indian and Tim played very well, gradually building up pressure all over the board. Tim finally got an endgame a couple of pawns up but didn't have time to win it.

4. Kieran 0-1 J Eversley (150)

Kieran seemed to be doing OK in a sort of Owen's defence but was behind in development. He then lost a pawn and the endgame.

5. Geoff B 1-0 D Boulden (137)

Geoff played his favourite Colle System and got a strong Knight on e5. He then advanced his central pawns for a smooth win.

6. Dave N 1-0 D Holt (133)

Dave's opponent did not manage to create many threats against Dave's familiar accelerated Dragon and Dave smoothly outplayed his opponent, mating him in the endgame to win the match for us.

So we are now two points behind Denton with a match in hand. Things could get interesting!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Another weird way of losing a chess game

Report from Stockport quick play January 31st 2016 by Tudor

I pause from striking my head against the dashboard.

It is 5.30 pm.

Three hundred yards down the sodden A6, chess players are pouring out of the Davenport Arms. Pouring is an apt word to describe conditions here. 'Plentiful convenient parking' is more of a euphemism.

Making this report prevents me from further self harm.

Why the lack of a stiff upper lip?  Read on and maybe you will understand.

I played in the modest reaches of the Intermediate tournament populated by many friends from the third division of the Stockport league, some even from the lofty reaches of the second division.

Half away through I was pleasantly surprised to be leading the field with 3 out of 3. Although a bit of a blur, the results are helped by opponents playing more recklessly than myself, getting their recklessness in first.

So to lunch. I battle though a typhoon to reach the car and extract a nutritious banana. I return dripping into the arena. My opponent awaits. I try an opening suggestion for White from my new guru Mahatma Brindle. It seems to be working. I get a slight plus and long castling. An attack in on the way.  


But crassness is not far away. He tries to block my attack with a temporary foray by a knight. I ignore it. Only to hear my opponent say I had ignored a check and what should he do?

I helpfully say he can chose the piece I must move to play a legal move.


It takes him a microsecond to suggest I sacrifice my queen, rather than the King move that leaves him in some difficulties.

I resign.

Later I learn that the correct penalty was a bonus two minutes on his clock, which would still have left him behind in time and weaker on the board.

I deservedly lost the next game only to rally and outperform the other over 60s to earn a consolation prize. Some consolation.

Not asking for sympathy. Is raw steak still considered good for bruised face and ego?

Denton B 1.5 - 4.5 ECB

Denton were playing 3 matches last night which meant we were up against a weakened team which enabled us to record our second successive win (a rarity!).  As usual, it wasn't entirely straightforward.......

Bill was first to finish in a fairly quick game.  He was up against a Scandinavian and handled it well winning material and then jogged home.  Keven was coasting in his game too and was the exchange up.  Unfortunately (and we've all done it) he was busy thinking about his next move and neglected the fact that his Queen was en prise. 

Tudor was firing out the moves with his Alekhine and promoted a passed pawn to settle things.  David T was having a little trouble and was a pawn down before he managed to find a way of convincing his opponent that it was perpetual check.  Meanwhile Dave N, now obviously cured of his previous time issues, actually did the unthinkable - he won on time!  He put his opponent in trouble with a variety of threats for a nice win.

In the B team, we normally have an "incident" and last night it was in my game.  My opponent had clearly decided to park the bus and by about move 15, although he had castled, all his other pieces had returned to their original starting squares!  My pieces were all active so I thought a sacrifice was in order to blow away his Kingside.  I went for a combination but it self destructed.  At the end of it I was the exchange up but had only 3 pieces to his five.  Luckily he was struggling to coordinate his pieces and I managed to block his Queen totally out the game in a corner.  I started clawing back material and was almost level heading into a time scramble.....

On the old fashioned clocks I had about 6 minutes to his 4, when he made a move - and forgot to hit his clock!  I milked it a bit with much head scratching and chin stroking, making out that I was pondering over a move of huge complexity.  This charade lasted for about 3 and a half minutes until he looked at the clock closely and - in horror - realised I had been stealing his time.  We played out a few more moves before I sheepishly pointed out that his flag had fallen.  A very scruffy "win" for me and I really felt for him, particularly as the same thing has happened to me in the past and I know how bad it feels.

So all in all a good result which puts us in a very healthy mid table position.

Tudor's (more entertaining!) verdict is below the game results.

0 - 1  Stan Bradley (123) v Dave N
1/2    Phil Boyd (113) v David T
1 - 0  Ivan Urwin (111) v Kev
0 - 1  Eric Lesnik (102) v Tudor
0 - 1  Malcolm Furlong (92) v Bill
0 - 1  Stewart McIlvenna (79 v Paul
1.5 - 4.5

As per Tudor:

Denton and the time lords 

A great performance from EC B team. I relinquish the dubious title of East  Cheshire's  Houdini to captain Paul Bamber Bamford or Dave Dave Newell.  

The Bamber toyed with his unsuspecting prey giving up two pieces in anticipation of a Zugswang thirty moves later.  The plan was working to perfection.  The wildebeest was losing the will to escape its languid predator.  Then a shift of plan, and a dazzling set of 'if he does that I do that' and the wildebeest had collected a motley array of forces in exchange for a queen.  But the effort had brought the poor creature to a terminal state with  insufficient energy to reach a paw out to stop his ticker from expiring.  The ruthless Bamford watched as seconds ticked on to the last syllables of recorded time.

Dave Dave, himself prone to time yips, was also in regal form.  This time,  his opponent did remember to press his clock at the conclusion of every move, but it was insufficient.  Deadly Dave posed incalculable threats until the Denton top board sat helpless unable to decide whether to move, throw himself to the ground Eden Hazard fashion, or take an early bath.

Meanwhile Doc Tait had carried out a neat bit of keyhole surgery and went off to support the junior doctors. 

The Governor, Dave the Power Taylor,  grabbed a perpetual check that wasn't. The Denton second board had a blind spot  about  tucking his king away to safety.

To my left, old sea dog  Captain Birdseye Kev was involved in a skirmish which seemed very promising until he overlooked a sneak attack which shivered his timbers and pirated away his queen. 'I never saw it coming' said Kev ruefully. 

Which leaves me, black, playing the Alekhine. White can completely neutralize quickly  by giving up all chances of winning. Black can spend a happy three hours in a dead parrot situation seeing if something might turn up.  My main danger was falling asleep. About sixty moves later I had a solitary pawn that gradually advanced and was transformed into a full grown queen.

So it was. A victory at last.  As Doc Tait put it, no one beats East Cheshire B nineteen times in succession.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Stockport A 5.5 ECA 0.5

Another tough match for ECA, especially with a weakened team. Still, we had managed to steal a point from Holmes Chapel recently. Could we do the same at Stockport?

1. P Cawley (182) 0.5 - 0.5 John

John faced a kind of Benoni setup and ended up with an advanced pawn on c5 but eventually agreed a draw in an even position.

2. A Reeve (192) 1 - 0 Phil

Facing Andy's favourite English opening I replied with my normal King's Indian setup but got out-played strategically. My early f5 resulted in a weak pawn that had to be defended for the rest of the game. In the end the pressure got to me and I blundered a piece.

3. P Siddal (190) 1 - 0 Geoff B

Rather ironically Geoff had to face his favourite Owen's Defense. He played solidly and achieved a strong looking Knight on e5 but then allowed it to get trapped.

4. J Pink (171) 1 - 0 David T

David had to face 2. g4 - a kind of Grob's attack. David played solidly and seemed to be holding his own until he allowed a Knight fork that won his Queen.

5. M Taylor (171) 1 - 0 Bill

Bill played the Grand Prix attack against the Sicilian but never managed to create any concrete threats on the Kingside whereas his opponent gradually built up pressure on the Queenside, eventually winning the endgame.

6. D Sheppard (159) 1 - 0 Paul

Paul had to face a very odd system against his French Defense with 2. Bb5. In the middlegame his opponent gave up a Bishop for some central pawns and achieved a very dangerous pawn centre. Paul managed to blockade the pawns to some extent but then dropped a piece in time pressure.

So no miracle, just a series of lessons.

Hopefully we will have a stronger team next week for our must-win match at Denton.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Macc A 3.5 ECA 2.5 - the boring details

If you haven't read Tudor's post below you really should; it is much more entertaining than this one.

The bit about the icicles was only a slight exaggeration - the room really was frigid and the electric heater seemed to mainly be there for decoration.

On to the match - a great effort and almost another point. I have a feeling our first win isn't far away!

1. Steve 0.5 - 0.5 R Shaw (204)

Steve played solidly as ever in a Ruy Lopez and when offered a draw by his strong opponent decided not to tempt fate.

2. Phil 0 - 1 D Whitmore (162)

I had good opening in a hyper-accelerated Dragon, quickly building up pressure against my opponent's centre. However my opponent didn't make life easy for me and when he made a move I hadn't considered after I snatched a central pawn I gave up to exchange. According to the computer I could have ended a clear pawn up. I had some slight pressure for the exchange but some rather wild moves in time pressure meant I ended up a Rook down. Sigh.

3. John 1 - 0 D Risley (162)

John played a new system against the Nimzo-Indian and ended up in a line he knew well. He got a very comfortable endgame where his opponent's two remaining pieces were stymied. Despite the shock of realising there was no time control, John held it together and his opponent ended up losing on time.

4. Geoff B 1 - 0 N Evans (169)

Geoff played his favourite Owen's Defence, castled Queenside and won material with a strong attack. A great win for Geoff.

5. Tudor 0 - 1 C Davison (167)

Tudor played a sort of Yugoslav Attack formation against a Benoni defence. However his opponent seemed to be familiar with the system and defended well as well as counter-attacking against Tudor's Queenside King.

6. David T 0 - 1 P Cattermole (153)

"Fort Knox David" played his favourite system but the fort was compromised and he lost and pawn and then the endgame.

So eventually Macclesfield's strength in depth told and we lost narrowly but put up a great fight.

Macc A 3.5 ECA 2.5 - an alternative account

A funny thing happened to me on my way to the chess match last night.

You never know what might happen in any chess game. Following the triumph of my ‘don’t make these mistakes’ presentation I offer another hard learned lesson from a bruising encounter with the the Big Mac’s A team this week.

Discovering that I was down to play was arguably my first blunder. I had ignored a message from Captain Phil asking for my assistance due to the late absence of one of his original picks (I know who you are, you *********.)

My attempt to avoid the match was in vain. I was press ganged into a car at night and driven via a complex route by the driver known as Fort Knox Dave for some reason. We picked up an accomplice of his somewhere to the south of Carlisle, and then doubled back to the Steppes of Macclesfield.

I was hustled to the imposing entrance hall of Macclesfield Liberals club, where my blindfold and handcuffs were removed. I was told I would be abandoned to my fate there if I did not cooperate and join the other conscripts.

I suspected something was wrong when I noting the icicles hanging from the mighty entrance gate. I was roughly manhandled up several flights of unlit stairs and pushed into a dimly lit room. Eventually assorted unkempt and shivering individuals shuffled in. Some set about moving ancient tables together and setting up chess boards and clocks. Others huddled together, whimpering with the cold around the puny heater which did not seem to be working.

You will not learn any of this from the heavily redacted version on the ECC official website. Oh, no.

We were saved from a painful death by freezing only because another consignment of pressed men was pushed roughly into the room, adding somewhat to the ambient temperature and the scent of nervous creatures fearing what they were about to face.  

And so I played, compliant to the wishes of Captain Phil and his henchmen.

The great warriors of Macclesfield were about to savage their latest victims. One of our number, known as Sparticus John was determined to take down his mighty opponent, suckering him into a time trouble trick he had learned from Brother Dave Dave.

Another, Brother Brindle, wounded and finished off his opponent, and then Brother Stephen fought to a standstill securing an honourable draw. 

I draw a veil over the losses suffered by Captain Phil and Fort Knox Dave.

ECC could still achieve a miraculous victory if I could only ….

But I couldn’t.


Or even draw.

My captors returned me to my home in silence. I was only marginally suffering physically. The frostbite is not requiring surgery, but the mental scars remain.

Friday, 15 January 2016

ECA 3 Holmes Chapel 3

A point, a point, my kingdom for a point!

ECA finally got off the mark last night with a fine draw away to Holmes Chapel. If it hadn't been for my brain seizure in the final minutes it could have been more...

1. Steve 0.5 - 0.5 J Turner (190)

Steve played a King's Indian attack against the Sicilian and a complicated game ensued. John opened up the game with f5 but Steve found his way through the maze to a draw.

2. Phil 0.5 - 0.5 P Bennett (170)

My opponent played a bit of a sideline against my King's Indian and I responded in an unusual way leaving us both in the dark. I was allowed to establish pawns on e5 and d5 but most of the pieces came off and my opponent offered me a draw. I decided that I liked my position and played on. However after a few more exchanges I decided that I had nothing and offered a draw. This time my opponent declined but allowed me to push my central pawns and ended up having to give up a piece to stop them. So I was a piece up in a Queen ending but with my clock ticking down I couldn't work out how best to win and my opponent found a perpetual check.

3. John 1 - 0 M Hancock (175)

It is a brave man who allows John his favourite Queen's Gambit Exchange Variation. John established a Knight on e5 and pushed his Kingside pawns with a fine attack. A great win for John.

4. Geoff B 0.5 - 0.5 B Scattergood (170)

Geoff played his favourite Owen's Defence but came unstuck in the middlegame and lost two pawns. It looked hopeless but Geoff got an active Bishop against a slightly stranded Knight and managed to win the pawns back. A fantastic fighting draw.

5. David T 0.5 - 0.5 A Raeburn (161)

David played an English and always seemed to have a nicer position with Queenside pressure and his opponent having a very bad Bishop. A very solid draw.

6. Tudor 0 - 1 I Bates (158)

The Alekhine's Defence can be risky and this game showed why as Ian established a bind early on and never let go. Tudor was unable to create his usual complications and Ian won with a Kingside attack.

Overall a great result considering we were heavily out-graded on the bottom boards. This point could be crucial at the end of the season if our matches against Denton and Chorlton cancel themselves out.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

ECB 3.5 - 2.5 Altrincham A

We managed to pull off our first win of the season but it wasn't altogether straightforward!  Halfway through the night we looked like we were cruising but we made hard work of it but got the right result in the end.

Nick finished first.  He was a pawn up for a long time but ended up in a very equal looking position for a draw.  I then contrived to lose a game when I was a full piece up (plus 13.5 on Fritz) but allowed my opponent a sucker punch down the a file.  David T was in a tight battle of 2 rooks each plus pawns.  David's 5 pawns were all connected but his opponent had 2 troublesome unconnected past pawns and David finally agreed a draw after about the 5th time of asking.

Tudor was 2 pawns up in an opposite colour bishop ending and was able to use the principle of 2 weaknesses to overwork his opponent's bishop for a nice win.  Meanwhile Geoff was a pawn up with a passed pawn but was just unable to make any progess and agreed a valuable draw.

So it was 2 and a half each with the whole match to be decided by board 1.  Dave Newell, the king of time trouble, was having another clock horror.  He was a pawn down in a Q and R endgame but had good pressure along the 7th rank, although Reg had got this fairly well covered.  Dave ran his clock down to 1 second (!) and made a couple of quick moves before offering a draw.  Reg, perhaps caught up in Dave's time scramble, played on but made a soft move which let Dave in on the back rank and he was able to very efficiently weave a mating net with Q and R for a last gasp winner.

1 - 0  Dave N v Reg Clucas (155)
1/2    David T v Bill McCartney (124)
1 - 0  Tudor v David Hughes (121)
0 - 1  Paul v Steve Douglas (108)
1/2   Nick v Callum McNulty (104)
1/2   Geoff C v Wayne Kranz (79)

Saturday, 9 January 2016

ECA 1.5 Stockport A 4.5

Another tough match for ECA and once again the rating difference showed and we were soundly beaten. Life in the top division sure is challenging:

1. Phil 0-1 P Cawley (182)

Paul played a solid London System against my King's Indian. I carried out the usual central break with e5 but this only opened the diagonal for White's Bishop on f4. I gained space with pawns on e4 and d5 but they proved to be weak and White's Queenside pressure eventually won a pawn. In the end I lost more pawns as I ran out of time. A typical grind against a strong player.

2. Steve 0-1 P Siddall (190)

Steve played a b3 system against the French Defence but got into trouble early on with his weak dark squares on the Queenside. Eventually Steve's King got stuck in the centre and a textbook pawn thrust by Phil broke Steve's coordination and enabled Black to gobble up some pawns. I expect Phil will savour this game.

3. Kieran 0-1 A Reeve (192)

Kieran played a solid b6 system against Andy's English and successfully swapped off pieces down to the endgame. However Andy had a very active King and managed to grind out the win.

4. Geoff B 1-0 D Toole (163)

Geoff played a London system and seemed to have a strong Knight on c5 but Dave created Kingside pressure and sac'ed an exchange to get a strong attack. It looked like Dave's attack should win but somehow Geoff managed to win this one!

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

Dave played his normal Dutch Defence and ended up with a slightly scary position where he had to play his Rook to g8 and could no longer castle. However he managed to advance his Kingside pawns and seemed to be doing OK but Mike managed to grind out the win.

6. David T 0.5-0.5 M Tunstall (160)

David played his normal Reti but didn't get much play. Mike had some pressure down the open b file and eventually got a strong passed pawn in the centre. However Mike was worried about the pawn being rounded up and offered the draw.

So another defeat for ECA. However all is not lost as we have yet to play some of the teams we would hope to beat. Next week, however is Holmes Chapel!