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.