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!