Friday, 29 November 2019

Urmston 3.5 - 2.5 East Cheshire

It's not been a good week for the first team..... A narrow defeat in the Charnley Cup last night at Urmston meant 2 defeats in 3 days.  

Last night started off well, everyone found the place and we won the toss.  We outgraded our opponents but they played above their grades to be fair.

Robert Furness (173)  1/2  Steve Tranter
Steve’s game looked really solid but a draw became inevitable and wise against a strong opponent.

Sajjad Dehghan-Afifi (141)  1 - 0  Geoff
Geoff was up against a rising star - Sajjad beat me 2 years ago when he was graded about 100.  As per Geoff:
"My game was quite good until we both reached time trouble - not my usual comedy of errors. The computer thinks we both played ok. He made some cumulative small errors which gave me a mate in 3 that was fairly obvious away from the board and with a computer friend. Having missed that I still apparently had a winning position (+13 on Stockfish) before my last move. However it was fiendishly complicated and I could not find a way through it. My last move was to place my Queen en prise to a bishop that was lurking on the other side of the board - out of sight. I cannot see the right hand side of the board (where the bishop lurked )due to my eye problem :-! and had succeeded in playing just on the left side of the board until this point. My opponent played very well though - well above his grade and very resourcefully  and fully deserved to win in the end."

Mark Whalley (144)  0 - 1  John
John was back to winning ways:  " My opponent played a philidor set up d6 c6 Qc7 e5 Nd7. Very cramped. Gained loads of space then switched to king side picking up material as his game fell apart."

Jordi Bitlloch (139)  0 - 1  Tom
Tom's impressive debut season continues:  " I had a pretty cramped position out of the opening but managed to trade down into an ending where his advanced pawns were a liability. Won a pawn then marched my passed pawn down the h file for the win."

Mark Davis (115)  1 - 0  David Taylor
As per David: " I lost to  a simple knight fork losing the exchange and becoming subject to an excruciating sequence of pins from his rooks and queen, losing in 41 moves."

Grant Randall (110)  1 - 0  Tudor 
Tudor lost finally after 10.30.  Thanks to the 15 s increments his opponent scrambled out of time trouble and Tudor’s mating threats to scoop up a couple of key pieces.
Better luck next time I guess!

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Stockport B 3.5 - 2.5 ECA

We made the trip to the Ladybrook last night protecting our 100% record but just got edged out under the bright floodlights.

Andy Coe (142)  1 - 0  John
This was the last match to finish and as it happened decided the match.  John seemed to be doing OK but unfortunately it petered out into a lost R+P endgame

Gareth Griffiths (142)  0 - 1  Keven
Kev seems to be enjoying playing with black these days and with his swashbuckling French he offered a couple of pawns in return for open files for his heavy pieces to plough in for a nice win.

Jeff Mason (137)  1 - 0  Jim
The in form Jim came across a player who used to be graded much higher and took this right to the wire in a game that could have gone either way.

Peter Taylor (129)  0 - 1  Paul
Against a London system I took the poisoned b pawn early on and managed to withstand a threatening kingside attack before I was able to gain more material and go on to win in a tense game.

Ian Anderson (115)  1/2  Nick
Against the tricky Sniper system Nick was able to equalize and claim a fairly quick draw.

John Kelly (98)  1 - 0  Tudor 
After about half an hour of this game Tudor noticed that his clock was moving but his opponent's wasn't.  This may have unsettled Tudor a bit and wasn't able to find his usual form against an albeit tricky opponent.

So that was our first loss of the season but we're still sitting pretty at the top of the tree going into the Christmas break. 

Friday, 25 October 2019

Marple A 1.5 - 4.5 ECA

The Navigation was a little spooky last night amid the Halloween decorations but on the upside they now have posh wooden chess boards and the lighting is now excellent.  On to the match....

John  1 - 0  Terry Cowling (130)
John flew out of the traps and immediately launched an attack picking up a pawn but Terry played really well and managed to win the exchange.  In the endgame John had N and 2 connected pawns against a R and showed good technique in slowly marching up the board as a unit to queen a pawn.  It went right to the wire though and the 15 second increment came in useful.

Steve  1 - 0  David Fowler (130)
Playing as black Steve neutralized and settled for an early draw.

Tom  1 - 0  Tony Kay (130)
In a Rossolimo Tom got an early initiative and ploughed in on the Kside with some well placed pieces and an energetic f pawn for an attractive win.

Paul  0 - 1  Chris Baker (124)
In a Carlsbad structure Chris launched a minority attack and in hindsight I should have settled for a draw in an even position.  Instead I tried to mix it up in time trouble and Chris kept his cool better than me.  Bang goes my 100% winning record for this season (OK, defaults don't count!).

David T  1 - 0  Tony Doust (110)
The Power Taylor had plenty of space in the centre and then pushed through on the Kside with a devastating attack.

Tudor  1 - 0  Paul Horrocks (110)
This looked fairly close for a good while before the Wizard from Woodford found a way to finish it off.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

East Cheshire 4.5 - 1.5 Worsley

We sailed through our Charnley Cup first round last night against Worsley in fine style.  Another early bath for me so thanks to Keven for some additional match detail.

John  1/2  Adam Tyton (169)
No fireworks from John this time in a Slav and an early draw was agreed.

Steve  1/2  Paul Doherty (139)
Steve's opponent has a modest grading but actually plays in many Open tournaments and with some success.  Steve seemed to have a decisive advantage though but time pressure and stubborn defending held.  (I actually "beat" Paul in a Stockport Rapidplay a couple of years ago in a ridiculous swindle which still gives him nightmares; and I like to remind him every time I see him!)

Geoff  1 - 0  Mick Connor (147)
Older members will remember Mick who was one of 4 or 5 "country members" from Bolton who played for us many years ago.  His return wasn't a happy one for him though as his Grunfeld led to a tricky tactical game where Geoff's attacking pressure became decisive.

Tom  1 - 0  Francis Moan  (140)
Francis's Colle was hunkered down passively as Tom ground him down impressively.

Kev  1/2  Michael Carroll (134)
A Jadoul Gambit!?  Kev's return to e4 ran into a rare line but eventually turned into an easy R&P draw

Paul  1 - 0  DEFAULT

This now gives us a 2nd round match (round of 8) away at Urmston - date TBC.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

ECA 5 - 1 Wilmslow

Life back in Division 2 started well for us last night with a comfortable win against Wilmslow.  Very brief details below - my opponent didn't turn up so I left very sharpish to catch a bit of Stockport County on Sky.

John  1/2  Richard Evans (168)
John was up against Mr Consistent but was disappointed not to get the full point as he felt he missed a clear win.

Geoff  1/2  Kevin Moran (157)
Kevin's grade may have dropped since last year but he's always a tough opponent.

Tom Jones  1 - 0  David Mowat (133)
Our new summer signing marked his debut with a nice win.  Well done Tom.

Paul - Default

Nick  1 - 0  Robin Warhurst (102)
Nick made a bright start and went on to claim the full point.

Tudor  1 - 0  Mike Craven (102)
Tudor's game was the last to finish with him a rook and pawn up and about to queen with a time advantage before his opponent finally threw in the towel.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

First Team relegated from A division

Thursday, 25 April 2019

ECA 0 - 6 Stockport A

Last match of the season - we had to win to avoid relegation but instead we came across a very classy Stockport team.  We battled hard and still had 4 boards playing at 10.00 but the word of the night was "squeeze", we all seemed to end up in a collective zugzwang and got squeezed out with the inevitable pawns dropping late on.

Geoff  0 - 1  Alex Longson (221)
Geoff battled really hard in a Scandinavian and was the last man standing before an extra pawn became decisive.

Jim  0 - 1  Allan Beardsworth (215)
Another long game before being squeezed out and an eventual piece sac led to an unstoppable pawn.

Kev  0 - 1  Sarah Longson (200)
To be fair to Kev he is trying to extend his already extensive opening repertoire and learnt a bit more about the French Tarrasch last night.  He ended up taking aggressive action to avoid being squeezed but his sac turned out to be faulty.  At least he castled without incident (thank God for that!).

Tudor  0 - 1  Andy Reeve (203)
Tudor put up a really good show and even had a nice time advantage before the inevitable squeeze late on.

Paul  0 - 1  Mike Taylor (165)
I managed to throw some pieces at his King and then later he was worried about his Q being trapped but he defended skillfully and then came up with some nice tactical threats before picking me off.

Nick  0 - 1  Mike Tunstall (156)
Nck unfortunately developed an eye infection just before the game and was playing virtually blindfolded and did well to compete as well as he did in the circumstances.

So there we have it, it's Division 2 for us next season and after last night that's not such a bad thing!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

ECA 1.5 - 4.5 Chorlton

We entertained Chorlton last night and this was our last realistic chance of avoiding relegation.  The evening started well - they were missing several first team players and although they were still pretty strong we certainly had a chance of pulling something off.  Dave Broadbent's decision not to have a punt on us at 1,000-1 was beginning to look a bit foolish......

Alas, it wasn't to be.  We just didn't turn up on the night.

John  1/2  Piotr Niedbal (176)
John had a significant edge but his opponent played well and forced a draw.

Steve  1/2  Austin Elliott (174)
Steve was very comfortable throughout and was offered a draw which he eventually accepted when he realized the match result had slipped against us.

Keven  0 - 1  Dennis Owen (160)
Kev put up a decent show and competed well but eventually lost on time.  There was a little bit of "attitude" in this one when his opponent queried Kev's castling technique with a 2 handed shuffle but all was resolved later.

David T  0 - 1  Stan Foulkes (160)
David is normally the last to finish and is doggedly solid but unfortunately something went wrong here and he lost material and the game.

Tudor  1/2  Graham Phythian (129)
This game was played at rapidplay pace and with many exchanges with Tudor equalizing comfortably for the draw.

Paul  0 - 1  Alan Beresford (130)
I faced a double fianchetto defence and never really came up with the right plan and eventually lost a pawn running out of time.

So we have just one more match left - against the mighty Stockport, and we'll be without Reed and Tranter.  Mr Broadbent was clearly no fool to keep his money in his pocket!  Our odds have probably now slipped out to 5,000-1.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

ECA 1 - 5 Holmes Chapel

Tudor's description of last Wednesday's battle:

Here’s the pseudo captain’s report. Suspect I won’t have to problem about being ineligible for second team next season!

The battle against Holmes Chapel

The unpredictability of chess. Arrive from the match to find I have not sent my willingness to play reply to Captain Paul.
Who shows willingness to hand over his chair to me if I do the captain’s duties, which  this post. So here goes.
The headline news is the the team was demoralised at this change, rather like Barcelona subbing Messi shortly before the kick off. 
Paul hopped it to see the Man U game (with Messi still playing for Barcelona).
Silence descends as EC prepares to do its best.
A tight match. No one seems to be in a hopeless lost positions even after half an hour.
A quick prowl confirms this splendid situation.
Then I fall into difficulties and prowling ceases.  I have an utterly lost game.  My opponent has broken through my Q side defence against my castled king.  My counter attack in the centre falls one move short of crushing it and him.  On the principle it can’t get worse I find a ridiculous resource and ward off the multiple mate threats, even leaving me with chances of a good rook against a very naughty bishop and sick looking knight. 
Time passes. The others approach and write their results on the scorecard.  Wow, Geoff and Steve have drawn their games.
Then David’s Fort Knox gives up (remember the scene in Goldfinger).
Keven’s bold advances perish against the hedgehog style (spines?) of his opponent. 
John has found brilliant opening play almost solving the mystery of the Schleswig-Holstein gambit. Alack, one casual move and his play against at IM rated opponent foundered. 
Long into the night I hold out.  First his knight then the bishop extricate themselves. 
Last man standing yields.  It is all over.  So there we have it.
Another valiant display from the latter day Rork’s Drift warriors.  The First Division will miss us next year.
BdEast Cheshire AHomeAwayHolmes Chapel
1Reed, John S01Blackburn, Jonathan LB
2Tranter, Steve½½Bennett, Patrick
3Brindle, Geoffrey½½Turner, John M
4Holton, Keven R01Hancock, Michael L
5Taylor, David R01Bates, Ian
6Rickards, Tudor01Lee, Michael A

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Maccclesfield B 5.5 - 0.5 ECA

It was a big match last night against Macc B which was pretty much a relegation "decider".  Unfortunately it didn't go our way and it now looks as though we are heading back to Division 2.

However our next match is at home to Holmes Chapel who tend not to play their strongest team out on their travels - therefore the season is not over yet!  We still have every chance of staying up!

Tudor's view on last night's activities:

"On the positive side, Chauffeur Jim provided excellent limo service. No added fee for front seat bum warmer (recommended for all arthritis sufferers.
On the negative side, the gentlemen of Macclesfield put out a team strong enough to get back into the first division if it were to be relegated. Which, after this performance they won't be.
Steve uncharacteristically departed early. His mimed gesture suggested he had lost, or was going home to slit his throat.
The Brilliant Brindle shone again, providing 100% of our points. later he said modestly it was a dull stodgy game. He should be so lucky.
Keven concurred about his own stodgy game. Maybe preoccupied with stock market fluctuations or the fate of his garden sticklebacks, he fell into a comatose state and drifted to defeat.
Chauffeur Jim, as far as I could see, defended with the Celtic fortitude of the Welsh rugby team.
Glancing to my left, I saw he had been handicapped with pieces far too small for the size of board which made calculations tricky. Even so, he nearly grabbed a win in a multiple blunderfest with a minute or so on each clock.
On board five, I felt unusually outplayed by my opponent. This season I have more often found ways of outplaying myself. In another trial of Larson's subtle 1 b3, I found a promising but dubious line looking like a Fromm gambit. A sacrifice take back control of the black squares seemed promising, but the 32 white squares did for me.
Then, in the last game to finish, Nick's bold plan of sacrificing a bishop for two pawns gradually turned into an ending in which Nick could have kept us waiting even longer, if he hadn't finally left a piece where it could be taken.
This was shortly after the lights fused and then came back on to dazzling effect. (Only a modest level of hyperbole in the telling)
So there we are. Opinions are split as to whether we should have a clean exit from the first division, or beg for an extension...
My opinion is split on whether I should persist with 1 b3, or try something less European, such as the English opening, or the Scotch game."

BdMacclesfield BHomeAwayEast Cheshire A
1Gartside, Carl10Tranter, Steve
2Soames, Anthony R½½Brindle, Geoffrey
3Davison, Colin FS10Holton, Keven R
4Laurence, Geoff10McKie, Jim M
5Cattermole, Philip J10Rickards, Tudor
6Trier, Joachim10Flaherty, Nicholas C

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Chorlton A 4.5 - 1.5 ECA

Tudor's report below on last night's activities:

This being an honest account of our expedition to the South West frontier post of Chorlton.

A gallant effort against high-flying Chorlton in division 1. The results on the top three boards deserve highest accolades. 

Mostly outranked, and missing Captain Paul’s inspirational presence, we competed well, to the regular faint sounds of goals being scored across the city at the Etihad stadium. 

John wrestled in vain with IM level opponent Hope Mkhumba on board one.

Steve grabbed an impressive draw against Piotr Niedbal

Geoff cunningly got into trouble requiring a neat swindle causing visible dismay from 
Austin Elliot who chuntered on with two rooks against Geoff’s knight and queen hardware, before subsiding like a member of the ERG at the defeat of their plans to take back control.

Jim muttered about being gradually strangled in his game, which added to his discomfort though an unsound gambit on the ski slopes a few days earlier.

I had an interesting game against Mr Doney, although somewhat disconcerted by his Trappist vow of silence, only briefly interrupted mid-game as he consumed an apple. I probably resigned a bit early, faced with a long endgame a pawn down, with no counter play. 

Steve on board six hung on grimly as Dennis Owen chewed up his position.

Mkhumba (194) 1 Reed 0
Niedbal (180)1/2 Tranter 1/2
Elliot (174) 0 Brindle 1
Lee (178) 1 McKie 0
Doney (162) 1 Rickards 0
Owen (160) 1 Tatlock 0

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Macclesfield A 4 - 2 ECA

A narrow defeat last night against a strong Macc team.  David Taylor's report below:

A SHAW        1:0    S TRANTER
J HEPPELL        1:0    J READ
D RISLEY        0:1      G BRINDLE
S DAVISON    0.5:0.5    J McKIE
A SOAMES    0.5:0.5    K HOLTON
C GARSIDE    1:0        D R TAYLOR
                        4 : 2
Steve (168) was faced by Shaw (200) and unfortunately exposed a rook down the long diagonal, which enabled his opponent to establish a fierce attack by queen and bishop against both the rook and the king’s position on the other side of the board.  Steve struggled valiantly to cope but was eventually overwhelmed.
John (168) played calmly against Heppell (187) and seemed to have good scope in the endgame with two connected outside passed pawns, supported by two bishops,  against a pawn majority in the centre which included one passed pawn.  However his opponent’s knight and bishop finally enabled  Heppell’s king to approach and forced an exchange of bishop for knight resulting, in the final minutes, in a resolution in favour of Heppell.
Geoff (157) outplayed Dave RIsley (172) and his strong attack on the king’s position proved decisive.
Jim (141) was not fazed by his strong opponent (C Davison, 163) and a tense stand-off involving multiple threats by doubled rooks and minor pieces eventually dissolved into a drawn game.
Keven (141) never looked to be in trouble against Soames (156) and a tightly blockaded stonewall sealed a draw.
David (135) playing against Carl Gartside (157), who played at High Peak in years gone by, missed a combination in a Kings Indian that won a knight around move 20, and never managed to regain any momentum, resigning after another 15 moves as more material began to drop off.                                     

Friday, 15 February 2019

Holmes Chapel 4.5 - 1.5 East Cheshire

Our glorious run in the Charnley Cup came to an end at the semi final stage last night as we crashed out to Holmes Chapel, but not without the usual fun and games.

John arrived literally hot foot from the airport and had to face a professional chess coach and put up a good fight before having to admit defeat.  Steve McCall played a solid game and his opponent needed no hesitation when a draw was offered.  The other Steve (Tranter) got a good initiative but unfortunately it didn't lead to a knock out punch and he had to settle for a draw.

My opponent threw the kitchen sink at me and I ended up a rook up but was unable to defend precisely which allowed him a perpetual.  Interestingly (or not!) there was an incident which reminded me of the infamous "Marplegate" of a few years ago.  The position had got particularly tense and I was testing the old brain trying to find the best defense when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my clock had stopped - I was down to 12 minutes and Ian had about 25 at this stage.  I then could  hear a couple of spectators talking who had obviously noticed it too and the next thing is one of them picks up the clock and starts messing with it.  I immediately blurted out "Oi, get your hands of the bl@@dy clock!".  It all ended amicably enough but didn't help my concentration much.  I'm not sure what the ruling is on spectator interference....

Anyway, this all meant that we now had to win the 2 remaining games to make it through to the final.  As it happened both Tudor and David T just got edged out in interesting endgames.  Oh well, at least we avoid having to play Stockport in the final.

1 - 0  Jon Blackburn (207) v John
1/2    John Turner (173) v Steve Tr
1 - 0  Patrick Bennett (176)  v David T
1 - 0  Mike Hancock (161) v Tudor
1/2    Ian Bates (146) v Paul
1/2    Malcolm Roberts (137) v Steve Mc
4.5 - 1.5

Thursday, 17 January 2019

ECA 3.5 - 2.5 Macclesfield B

It was an epic battle last night in the crunch relegation dogfight against the only team in Division 1 who we have a realistic chance of beating.  It didn't start well for us though.

I was the first to finish.  I'd had the better of the opening and was in creative mode until I over egged it and it backfired badly losing a piece.  Tudor also started well, so much so that his opponent felt he had to execute a desperate piece sacrifice.  Unfortunately a few moves later this seemed inspired when Tudor succumbed to a deadly counter attack.

Meanwhile Geoff was a pawn up but his position looked awkward and was relieved when his opponent agreed a draw.  So, at the halfway stage we needed to win all of the remaining 3 games to bring home the bacon.  At this point that looked unlikely and even a draw might be pushing it.

Steve had an advantage in material, first a pawn then an exchange but then the position became very open with attacking chances on both sides.  Steve handled it well though and put together a decisive Q and N attack that finished things off.  John's game looked pretty even to the untrained eye (like mine!)  with his opponent having double R's on the open c file and an active Q but John had it all worked out and after a series of piece swapping he emerged 2 pawns up in a winning K and R ending.

This all meant that the match result was now all hanging on David's game.  By this time both players were very low on time but with David a pawn up and a minute better on the clock.  A draw offer came in which David may normally have been tempted to accept but in the interests of the team he soldiered on.  And in a very tense finish he played it well under pressure to force a resignation.  Well done David!

So we ended up winning a very exciting match and this rockets us off the bottom of the league.  Survival in Division 1 (if we want it!) is now pretty much in our own hands.

1 - 0  John v James Heppell (160)
1 - 0  Steve v John Paul Taylor (156)
1/2    Geoff v Phil Cattermole (151)
1 - 0  David T v Geoff Laurence (149)
0 - 1  Tudor v Phil Colville (140)
0 - 1  Paul v Joachim Trier (136)
3.5 - 2.5