Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Altrincham A 1 - 5 ECB

On another cold night (inside and out) we made the trip last night to Altrincham who are possibly our main competition for the title this year.  As usual there were some hard fought games but we came through well in the end.

Mark Hann (169)  1/2  John  1/2
John had a slight edge with good central control and 20 minutes up on the clock but with no pawn levers to open up the position he settled for a draw.

Mark Whalley (142)  0  Steve T  1
Steve was facing an in form opponent who has won 6 out of 6 so far this season (including a win against me, so he's obviously top notch).  Mark was determined not to play a normal Dutch position and came up with a novelty where he had 4 pieces on the 1st rank and his king on the 3rd.  Steve eventually found a way through to win a pawn and then simplify to win the endgame.

Sheraz Khalil (132)  0  Geoff B  1
Geoff unleashed his pet opening and his greater knowledge lured his opponent in to a trap to get a commanding position for a quick win.

Anthony Lane (138)  1/2  Paul  1/2
I was able to mess up his kingside with double isolated pawns which looked pretty good.  But when the queens came off quickly followed by the rooks I suddenly realised that, with play on both sides, his B was looking better than my N and when he offered a draw I accepted.

Michael Davies (110)  0  David T  1
This was looking a very tight game for a long time before David managed to open it up and win a pawn and then force his opponent into a mistake.

Bill McCartney (122)  0  Tudor  1
Tudor got a great position with a good B and an imposing N on a good outpost and won 2 pawns.  He then won a further pawn and showed his good technique to finish it off.

So this win actually puts us top of the table.  We won't be getting carried away just yet though and the champagne will remain on ice until the fat lady sings....

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Wilmslow 1.5 - 4.5 ECB

On a cold night we made the trip to surprise league leaders Wilmslow.  At the pre-match huddle the instructions were simple - we needed to win board 1, lose board 2 and win the lower boards.  The game plan was executed to perfection!

As we settled into the match we were serenaded by the Wilmslow Ladies choir singers on a practice night in the room next to us.  In the bar room on the other side we could hear the exploits of Deulofeu and co who were giving Chelsea a good thrashing.  This wasn't going to put us off though, and we had the compensation on playing on the finest wooden boards in the league.

Tudor got us off to a great start.  He was the exchange up and then started causing havoc with R and N forcing resignation. In my game I got outfoxed by my opponent and wasn't sure what his opening was going to transpose into and I got my set up wrong and didn't really get much play.  Meanwhile Keven secured an extremely valuable half.  He had offered a draw some time earlier but Colin was hoping to find something special until Kev found a strong threat which had to dealt with and a draw was agreed.

Jim was playing against a debutant who had won his class in the Christmas Buzzer event at the Ladybrook and is clearly going to develop into a useful player.  The experienced Jim though was too canny on the night and built up a big material advantage and had a menacing pawn on the 7th rank and achieved a winning attack.  David T is proving very consistent this season and in a tight battle he came up with a tactic which won the game.

So we had the points in the bag by this stage but John's game was going down to the wire and he was unaware of the match position.  This had been a very complex affair from soon after the start and I can't really explain what was going on towards the end.  It seemed like it was one of those games when pawn numbers didn't matter but quality did.  John had an advantage on time and appeared to be slowly gaining control of more squares around Kevin's king.  Kevin eventually cracked under time pressure (Wilmslow don't use Fischer!) and John was able to mop up and win an extremely exciting and tense game.

It was a much needed win for us against a team who on paper we should beat, but as always nothing is guaranteed and it was a good overall performance.  Next up is a crunch match against Altrincham who are probably our main contenders for the title.......

0 - 1  Kevin Moran (164) v John 
1 - 0  Richard Evans (159) v Paul
1/2    Colin Mills (150) v Keven
0 - 1  David Mowat (115) v David T
0 - 1  Robin Warhurst (102) v Tudor
0 - 1  Mike Craven (100) v Jim
1.5 - 4.5