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)