Wednesday, 25 October 2017

ECB 1 - 5 Wilmslow

It was as though Halloween had come a week early as we experienced a horror show against the surprise runaway league leaders.  It was just one of those nights.  I was chatting to their captain after the match and he admitted that at 9.30 he thought that we were going to win by at least 4 - 2.  Sadly that didn't happen and by soon after 10.00 it had all turned pear shaped - or should that be pumpkin shaped.

We gave a warm welcome back to David Broadbent who was making his first return to the Institute in Wilmslow colours.  He started well and was in a good position but David T again showed his Houdini qualities and earned a good draw.

In my game I got a strong attack in and sacrificed a bishop which meant Colin had to offer me a rook in return to stay in the game.  I would be an exchange and a pawn up in a completely winning position.  However, I saw a "clever" move which would win a further pawn before I took his rook.  Unfortunately this wasted tempi gave him a defensive resource and it just meant I was a piece down for a couple of pawns.  Lesson to myself:  just play in a practical way when in a winning position instead of looking for smart arse moves, especially when behind on the clock!

Jim had flown home from the other side (of the world) earlier in the day but showed no sign of jet lag.  He had good pressure against his opponent's king but unfortunately his flag fell trying to find the killer move.  Keven also lost on time.  He too was piling on the pressure and trying to make a breakthrough but his opponent defended well and ran down the clock well.

Tudor was in a tight match that evolved into a rook and pawn endgame.  He had a good time advantage and was hoping to convert the full point but, at about the fifth draw offer, reluctantly settled for the half point -  which probably was the right thing to do in the position.

The match was already lost but John was a pawn up in his minor piece endgame.  The pawn advantage then disappeared but he was still in a winning position.  His bishop was en prise and John was calculating several moves ahead as to how best to win when.... inadvertently....he touched the king, with his bishop of course hanging.  Nobody actually noticed that he had touched his king but in a moment of sportsmanship not seen since Jimmy White against Stephen Hendry, he felt compelled to move his king and therefore resigned.

So all in all a very frustrating evening.  Despite all our early tricks we ended up treating them to a scoreline which really flattered them.  Never mind, I have the feeling that a long winning run is just around the corner (as Ronald Koeman was saying just before the sack...)

0 - 1  John v Kevin Moran (164)
0 - 1  Keven v Richard Evans (155)
0 - 1  Paul v Colin Mills (150)
1/2    David T v Dave Broadbent (140)
1/2    Tudor v Mike Palmer (118)
0 - 1  Jim v Robin Warhurst (102)
1 - 5

Saturday, 21 October 2017

ECC 0.5 - 4.5 Stockport C

Please see the report of last week's match from our on the spot reporter - Tudor.

Astonishing match by East Cheshire's Finest

East Cheshire gallant lads ran up against formidable opposition from the Stockport All. Stars recently. Your sports correspondent witnessed the battle.
For some time the match was evenly balanced. Then the players shook hands and started the clocks. It was then that the games began to swing in favour of the all stars.

At first, my attention wears grabbed by Edwin's game against  Gareth Griffiths,the Stockport Captain. From the start, this contest had an air of unreality about it.
 Gareth had an array devices to assist his play. These included special chess-player's yellow and red ear plugs, , and a tin of tasty looking gob-stoppers. 
The opening took on a surreal air, as Edwin began making incalculable gambit moves. I quickly lost the thread of the game, as each player found moves other than those I expected.  Pieces were moved in unanticipated fashion. Then, as I turned my attention to the other games, there was another flurry of activity, and Edwin was facing an irresistible attack from queen, two rooks, and a bishop all intent on doing terminal damage. Edwin's plan of keeping his king in the centre had backfired. "I made mistakes on moves 5 and 9" he told me. I confessed that I hadn't noticed them.

Meanwhile, things were hotting up on other boards. There was a particularly tactical battle going on between our captain Steve McCall  and Brian McGlone. The players chose all-out attack, with pawns flung forward against kings on opposite sides of the board. It began to look as if one move would end the contest. 
Steve appeared to have lost a piece, which forced him into an even more vicious attack. I thought it might succeed but it needed a tricky intermediate move. Steve ran out of time, and Stockport notched a second win.
Boards one and two were epic grandmaster battles. Paul wriggled against a vicious king side attack threatening a sacrificial win. Although that was avoided, the position had deteriorated fatally.

On board two, David Taylor excited his uncanny ability to suck the life out of his opponent's position. Move after move consolidated his own forces, pinning back Peter Taylor (no relation). The titanic encounter continued and for a fleeting moment there seemed the possibility of the game opening up. 
I turned to another close battle on board five. Dave Harris accumulated material advantages but his opponent refused to give up, and found a way of getting one piece back, with some sneaky chances of a perpetual, or even a cheapo checkmate. 
Meanwhile The other David had re clamped the position. Long after I left, the inevitable draw was agreed.  What's that chess saying about 'biting on granite?'p

The season seems to promise another one with more roller-coaster rides at the East Cheshire fun-fair

East Cheshire C  0.5 - 4.5 Stockport C

1Bamford, Paul01Mason, Jeff
2Taylor, David R½½Taylor, Peter H
3Cooke, Edwin01Griffiths, Gareth
4McCall, Steve D01McGlone, Brian
5Harris, David01Kelly, John

Thursday, 5 October 2017

ECB 3 - 3 Altrincham A

The first match of the season saw us make a great late comeback to claim a draw, and extended our unbeaten run this season (!).  It was an emotional night at times and certainly tense and we even saw an illegal move.

It was wonderful to see Tudor back at the club and he got us off to a great start.  The Welsh wizard came up with some of his usual tactical magic to floor his opponent.

In my own game, I had chances early on to take a big advantage but decided to "play safe" instead which then meant I was on the defensive and eventually cracked.  Keven unleashed his pet opening and had attacking chances too but erred on the side of caution and had the better play and an extra pawn in in his draw.  Myles unfortunately dropped a piece on move 10 but played on and made it difficult before being edged out in a pawn endgame.

So were down 2.5 to 1.5 and needed something from the remaining 2 boards.  This looked very unlikely as David T was 2 pawns down in a same coloured B and R ending.  But his doggedability (spell check!) knows no bounds and he stuck in there and won back a pawn and went on to force an incredible draw.

This meant we needed a win from Steve T to draw the match.  He had been a pawn up for a while and, with 2 knights each, looked pretty secure once he had begun to make progress with his Qside pawn majority.  It then got complicated and Steve's time advantage started to ebb away and became a time scramble which was made worse when he suffered a 2 minute penalty.  However, he recovered and after some neat maneouvering his runaway a pawn won the day.

So some exciting stuff.  Let's hope that future matches will be a bit more straightforward....

1 – 0  Steve Tranter v Mark Hann (169)
½ - ½  Keven Holton v Reg Clucas (154)
0 – 1  Paul Bamford v Mark Whalley (142)
0 – 1  Myles Heywood v Sheraz Khalil (132)
½ - ½  David Taylor v Nick Lowe (124)
1 – 0  Tudor Rickards v Bill McCartney (122)
3 - 3