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Friday, 13 January 2017




Dear All,

Here is the result of last night's B team home fixture:


SDCL: DIVISION 2

MATCH:      Marple B              v             Chorlton B

Home Team

Scores

Away Team

1       Alan Hall
0
1
          Neville Barnes
2       Terry Cowling
0
1
          Mark Harrison
3       Jeff Barlow
0.5
0.5
          Alan Beresford
4       Tony Doust
0
1
          Howard Hughes
5       Trefor Thomas
0
1
          Phil Bennett
6       Neil Dainty
1
0
          Gary Jackson

MATCH RESULT

1.5
4.5
DATE:      12/01/17

We were not able to field our strongest side, given the season and all. I would have lost my own game but for some clock mismanagement by my opponent.  I think only Neil's game was anything like comfortable.

I am still short of players for the next two away games, on Monday 24th January and Tuesday 31st January. The latter of these has been rearranged at Altrincham's request.  Please check your diaries.

Jeff

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

One Step Beyond

Played at Macclesfield Chess Club last evening -

Macclesfield              V             Marple               Charnley Cup Semi-Final     09/01/2017

1 R Shaw                  0.5/0.5      M Fernandez
2 C Davison              0.5/0.5      G Trueman
3 D Risley                 0.5/0.5       C Baker
4 G Laurence           0.5/0.5       A Hall
5 P Cattermole           1-0           D Preen
6 C Sizeland                1-0          T Brown

                                     4-2

Progress to the Charnley Cup Final proved to be tantalisingly just out of Marples reach yesterday as they were edged out by Macclesfield in a match played in a very friendly spirit.
Once again the odds were against us as we were outgraded on four of the six boards, in some cases by  a wide margin.
In the last game to finish Toby was desperately unlucky to lose a long struggle in which he had dominated for long periods against a very  experienced opponent who was  graded 42 points higher. By this point I had managed to work out that even if Toby had won we would still have been eliminated on tie-break.
Thanks to all who played/drove , particularly Toby who stood in at very short notice.
Please note - the next A team match away to Stockport B scheduled for 24 January has been postponed at Stockports request. Our next match is at home to the same opponents on the 2nd of February.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Tiger Feet

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple   A                   V           Chorlton A       Stockport Lge Div One    05/01/2017

1 G Trueman          0.5/0.5       M Carpenter
2 P Kirby                   0-1           R Doney
3 C Baker                   0-1          S Foulkes
4 A Hall                      1-0          D Kierman
5 T Doust                   0-1           N Barnes
6 N Dainty                0.5/0.5       R Nurse

                                    2-4


When we lost both our board one and two to illness immediately prior to this match I feared the worse. With  the  arrival of the Chorlton team  however it  became clear that they too were very much under full strength. However they were still massive favourites. Chorlton outgraded Marple on every single board, the average disparity being 22 points.
Against such odds the result was perhaps inevitable, yet everyone put up a real fight with no quick losses at all. Alan had a fine win in a position where both Kings were vulnerable to mating threats and Neil achieved a terrific and very solid draw against an opponent graded 51 points higher. Your Correspondent was being positionally crushed by Martin Carpenter and was also over 30 minutes adrift on the clock when with only a few seconds remaining found a tactical resource/swindle  that resulted in a drawn position. It could have come from Simon Webbs seminal work although I would be the first to admit that I was very,very lucky. It does perhaps show that it is important not to resign too soon, no matter how hopeless the situation appears.
Many thanks to all who played, particularly Neil and Tony who both agreed to play at very short notice and Alan and Paul who were both still suffering from the after effects of flu. It's a curious fact that virtually all of our first team regulars have been very ill over the last few weeks with the exception of Chris. What I would give for his immune system!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Stop the Cavalry

Played at Holmes Chapel Chess Club last evening -

Holmes Chapel              V       Marple A       Stockport Lge. Div. One  22/12/2016

1 S Clarke                  0.5/0.5   D Fernandez
2 JLB Blackburn          0-1     M Fernandez
3 P Bennett                 0.5/0.5  G Trueman
4 JM Turner                 1-0      P Kirby
5 M Hancock                1-0      C Baker
6 I Bates                        1-0      D Preen

                                       4-2

I've only time for a brief report. This was a difficult match as we experienced several problems in the build up and major difficulties in getting all our players to the venue. Ian and everyone at HC was very helpful and generous, if they had wanted to insist on the clocks being started at 7.30 we may well have lost 6-0....
It was great to see Daniel playing for Marple again and  457 grading points for two siblings must be a competition record but we were still definite underdogs  as Holmes Chapel had managed to assemble the strongest side I have ever seen them field in a Stockport League  match. The fact was on boards 3-6 we were outgraded by an average of 20 points per board.
Everyone gave it their best shot but unfortunately it wasn't enough as HCs terrific strength in depth eventually told. In the last game of the evening to finish Michael produced another nice finish providing  some respectability and taking his own score for the season  to a very impressive 4/4.
Many thanks to all who played/drove particularly Chris who ended up with additional driving duties and David who stepped in at the last minutes.
Seasons Greetings to everyone.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Changes

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple A                             V                Macclesfield A     Stockport Lge Div One  :01/12/16:

1 M Fernandez                   1-0               A Soames
2 I Craft                               1-0              G Lawrence
3 G Trueman                    0.5/0.5           D Risley
4 I Astudillo                        1-0               P Cattermole
5 P Kirby                            0-1                C Sizeland
6 C Baker                         0.5/0.5            N Evans

                                             4-2

Plans for this match were disrupted when 45 minutes before kick off we lost one player metaphorically and one literally. Fortunately Chris was able to step in at zero notice  and Igor was rescued from deepest Mancunia by Isaac so we were still able to field a strong team. The one unfortunate consequence for Paul and I was that as we would now be playing on odd numbered   boards our outlook darkened.

I don't have time for much of a match report but there were good wins for Isaac and Igor on debut and also for Michael who produced an exquisite Bishop sac on b2 to finish matters.To my mind this was more aesthetically pleasing that Magnus' Qh6 job the previous evening. With draws from Chris and myself we were over the line. Paul was unfortunate , he came out of the opening on top but Chris Sizeland eventually turned matters round in the last game of the evening to finish.

Many thanks to all who played/drove  and to Neil and persons unknown who set everything up.


                                       

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Times They Are a-Changing

Played at East Cheshire Chess Club last evening.

East Cheshire A          V       Marple A  :Stockport Lge Div One: 23/11/16

1 S Tranter                 0-1       M Fernandez
2 J Reed                      0-1       I Craft
3 G Brindle              0.5/0.5   G Trueman
4 K Newell               0.5/0.5    P Kirby
5 T Rickards            0.5/0.5   C Baker
6 P Bamford               1-0       A Hall

                                  2.5/3.5

Marple were victorious by the smallest possible margin in a very interesting match last evening. One problem arose towards the end of the night when Michael discovered that his clock was not awarding him the ten second increment after each move that we had agreed on .This was also the case on at least one other board. The clocks were reset and the situation was resolved without rancour, fortunately all the players on both sides were sportsmen and gentlemen but the potential for conflict was enormous. I am a great supporter of both digital clocks and incremental time controls but how do the players know that the clocks have been set correctly? Until you get to the last twenty minutes and the second count becomes visible  - to this luddite at least - there seems to be no way of knowing.Maybe someone can enlighten me?

As to the actual chess our middle order performed solidly with draws for Chris,Paul and myself.I feared for Chris at one time but by resourceful play opposite coloured Bishops proved the most important feature.Paul had a fascinating tussle with an opponent who played an unusual opening with pawn advances on both wings simultaneously.Geoff played very cannily against me, reaching a position where Kings were on opposite sides but the only apparent possibility of playing for a win was for either player to advance the pawns in front of their majesty.

Alan  was unfortunate to be meeting an opponent in good form having recently won a tournament.It was a very exciting  affair with Alan being piece for two pawns down but having some attacking chances against an exposed King. Paul very carefully consolidated and eventually prevailed.

East Cheshire had very strong players on their top two boards, who in terms of their chess understanding I consider to be undergraded in the 180s. To be honest I had been looking forward to seeing how Isaac and Michael would meet their task.

Isaac showed tremendous tenacity and will to win, facing a position where John had a beautifully entrenched Knight on c5 and rejecting a draw offer in a position where most players would have snatched their opponents hand off. Gradually as John got short of time and became tired Isaac became the one with winning possibilities. Eventually a Queen ending with Isaac a pawn to the good was reached and John was unable to hold.

So the match was all square with only Board One in play and another Fernandez V Tranter epic in prospect. Michael had been a pawn up but Steve was always  well in the game and an R+N vR +  B ending was reached with material equality but Steve having a somewhat weakened pawn structure and Michael having some superb outposts available for his Knight. Michael was not just trying to beat his opponent but also the clock as by now had been playing on ten second increments for some time getting as low as six seconds on one occasion. A large crowd gathered as Michael navigated his way through all sorts of counterplay and managing to retain one pawn  he was eventually able to triumph. The memory of this tour de force from Michael will stay with me for some time.

Thus ended a very competitive  match played in good spirit by all the players. Thanks to all who played or drove.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall

Played at the Ladybrook Hotel on Tuesday Evening -

Stockport A               V        Marple A      Stockport Lge Div One    18/10/2016

1 A Reeve               0.5/0.5    I Craft
2 D Parrotta           0.5/0.5   G Trueman
3 A Smith                  1-0       P Kirby
4 D Sheppard           1-0        A Hall
5 J Pink                     1-0       D Hardy
6 M Tunstall              1-0      T Brown

                                   5-1

It was a rainy night in Stockport (Isaac instructed me to begin this report with this sentence) and the Marple players trooped into Stockports old new venue for what we all knew would be a very difficult encounter. Shorn of virtually all our highly rated players we were outgraded on all boards apart from one. In fact on boards two to six the average grading deficit was 35 points.
With the subdued lighting, incessant and noisy precipitation, plus the amount of dark wood in the room there was a definite "gothic" feel in the air. I wouldn't have been too surprised to have seen McDonnell battling against Bourdonnais' seventh rank pawns  somewhere in the far corner.
With the vigour of youth Isaac set off with definite attacking intentions. However he soon ran headlong into the granite wall of Mr Reeves defence and a draw was agreed. On Board two with the Black pieces against a highly rated  opponent  (2102) I decided to emulate Mr Mourinhos Monday evening performance with a very solid line against the Levitsky attack, the downside being it gave virtually no opportunities to play for a win. In its limited objective it was successful and unlike Jose when we agreed a draw I had possession of more than 35% of the chessboard.
So the score was now 1-1 but that was as good as it got as the rest of our team were slowly ground down despite their best endeavours. Alan was very unlucky not to get something from his game as he took the highly talented Dan Sheppard  literally down to the last minute of his allocated time.
Thus ended  a disappointing but not unexpected first match of the season for the Marple A team. I would like to thank everyone who made the effort to turn out on such a dismal evening.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

MARPLEXIT!

With more of our senior members missing than the government, we travelled to Eccles for this Alan Yarker cup match a man down, happy in the knowledge that at least we were missing the tv program of the same name.  We knew Eccles would not be particularly strong and relieved to find that two of their expected players did not arrive; five v five.

Tony Kay had equality from the opening but then blundered away a strategic pawn. After that, his position crumbled and despite a stout defence his opponent got his rooks on the 2nd rank and soon it was all over.  0-1.

I think it was another hour before anyone else finished, but my game was possibly next.  Although I play e4 I hadn't faced the Scandanavian much until recently.  I was surprised when Michael played 2...Nf6 but managed to find acceptable moves and came out of the opening with pressure on the central files and a spatial advantage.  Michael was under pressure which led to time pressure and a comfortable win. 1-1.

Next to me Tony Doust's game seemed level for a long time but no doubt his experience helped him to secure a win.   Chris is a player unlikely to falter against an inferior opponent, but falter he did.  I wonder if a gruelling club tournament game against Jeff in the afternoon was a factor?

Alan tells me he fell into a devious trap in the opening whereby he had to give up a piece for two pawns, and from that point on he had to hold on grimly. He managed to complicate the position sufficiently to cause Matthew some problems and with only just over a minute on his clock (and three on Alan's) he offered a draw which Alan accepted. The position was so complicated that maybe only a computer could have been certain what the right call was.

So, in the end it was all square 3-3, but board count led to our exit.  If only we'd had someone else, anyone...even that Cameron guy who's not doing anything...




ECCLES 3-3 MARPLE
140 Pollard, Matthew B 0.5-0.5 Hall, Alan A 148
114 Holland, Nigel 1-0 Baker, Chris EJ 136
117 Harold, Lawrence 1-0 Kay, Tony 111
95 Sosnowski, Alex 0-1 Doust, Antony 102
96 Fox, Michael 0-1 Dainty, Neil C 100
default 0.5-0.5 default
































Friday, 13 May 2016

Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple 1          V     Denton 1          Manchester League Div One    12/05/2016

1 A Longson   1-0     K Celinsky
2 S Longson    1-0     R Raichev
3 G Trueman 0.5/0.5 T Hilton
4 A Hall         0.5/0.5  J Eversley
5 C Baker     0.5/0.5  I Urwin
6 D Preen       1-0      T Ireland
7 J Barlow      0-1     V Germayo

                      4.5-2.5

This was a critical match in terms of our Manchester League Division One status. We needed to win to escape the clutches of relegation, even a draw would have left us needing to get something from a very difficult final fixture at Heywood.

Sarah led the way with the  first decisive result of the evening when she won a piece relatively early.
Alan, Chris and myself all achieved draws. I was surprised by the appearance of my opponent as Tim had "retired" from evening chess a few weeks ago. At least I now know how Reshevsky felt at Sousse in 1967.This was followed up a nice win from David leaving us with a healthy scoreline of 3.5/1.5.

However there was still a twist. Jeff had been looking absolutely fine for a long time but went wrong in a K+P ending resulting in a win for the opposition . All now depended on the last remaining game where both players were down to their last few minutes.

With icy precision Alex "sacrificed"  a Rook to create a most elegant mating net. We were safe (4.5/2.5).

As always thanks to all who played. This has been a difficult season in a very strong Manchester League with a lot of our higher graded players unavailable most of the time, so staying in the top flight is no mean achievement.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Double Fantasy

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple                 V         Macclesfield     Charnley Cup Final   05/05/2016

1 A Longson      0.5/0.5    R Shaw
2 M Fernandez  1-0         C Davison
3 A Walton         1-0        C Sizeland
4 S Longson       1-0        P Cattermole
5 J Bentley         1-0        G Laurence
6 G Trueman     1-0        D Lobo

                          5.5-0.5

Marple completed the Stockport League and Cup "Double" for the fourth time in the last five seasons last night.
Unfortunately for Macclesfield several of their stronger players were unable to make this match and as we had got a strong side assembled we were clear favourites as play began. Every board was well contested though and it was late in the evening before we actually won.
Alan got the ball rolling with his second victory over Chris Sizeland in the last ten days. Like last week this was an agressively played game by Alan who once he had seized the initiative never looked like letting it go. It was a good night for Alan with news of a very impressive victory on Merseyside. (1-0)
Alex then drew with Robert. Robert has been one of the best players in the north of England for many years so in having Black against him Alex clearly had the most difficult task of the evening. (1.5-0.5).
I then defeated  Denzil on move 50 after a long struggle. I had managed to come out of the opening with quite a big plus but a couple of inaccuracies made things more difficult than they might have been. Fritz assures me I was always better but it didn't always feel like that at the time. (2.5-0.5)
Two weeks ago Sarah secured the point that won Marple the League and last night she did the same thing in the Cup. Sarah seemed to me to come out of the opening with a clear advantage and although Phil later "won" the exchange it seemed only a matter of time before Sarahs plethora of passed pawns would prevail which they did. (3.5-0.5)
Michael seemed to me to play a very nice game with a pawn sac in the opening originally popularised by Korchnoi and later used to good effect by the likes of Aronian. Colin is a very strong chess player and he defended well but the best he could do was reach an exchange down ending which was clearly lost. (4.5-0.5).
John rounded things off with a very nice late middle game attack to beat Geoff. I thought Geoffs opening was very interesting, possibly inspired by Jobava and worthy of further analysis. (5.5-0.5).

As always many thanks to the players and drivers, and to the Macclesfield team for conducting themselves in such a sporting manner. I  am awaiting details as to the route and date of the open top bus victory parade.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Macclesfield B vs Marple B: Monday 25th April 2016



Also played at the Queens Hotel Macclesfield last Monday evening -

Macclesfield B      vs      Marple B :    Stockport League Div Two  : 25/04/16

1        Geoff Laurence             0-1              David Preen
2        Dave Risley                  1-0               Jeff Barlow
3        John Paul Taylor        0.5-0.5            Holly Jacobson
4        Anthony Brough           1-0              Anthony Doust
5        Phil Colville                  0-1              Trefor Thomas
6        Joachim Trier                0-1              Ben Jacobson

                                             2.5-3.5


This was a very good night for Marple, both A and B teams winning away from home against strong Macclesfield teams. It must be very unusual for Marple A and B to share the same room away from home.

There were very good wins for David, Trefor and Ben and Holly's draw got us over the line. On paper, Macclesfield were much stronger so this is a very creditable result.  At one stage I even thought I had a winning position but unfortunately let it slip away.

Anyway thanks to all for their efforts throughout the season. Marple B finished in third place behind Stockport and Macclesfield, in mid-table respectability!

 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Manic Monday

Played at the Queens Hotel Macclesfield last evening -

Macclesfield A       V      Marple A :    Stockport Lge Div One  : 25/04/16

1 K Smallbone       0-1    A Longson
2 R Shaw            0.5/0.5  M Fernandez
3 C Sizeland          0-1    A Walton
4 A Soames         0.5/0.5 G Trueman
5 C Davison          1-0     A Hall
6 P Cattermole     0-1     T Cowling

                               2-4 

I was very impressed by the number of active players Macclesfield have. In addition to the above match  Macclesfield B were also hosting our B team and their C team were playing at Wilmslow. Even so there were still four or five additional Macc club members playing casual chess. I'm very pleased to see chess is so popular in a town where I spent so much time during my formative years. (Mainly watching the  mighty Macclesfield Town FC but thats another story we won't go into here).

I don't know if Jeff will have the time to write anything about the B match but I was very impressed by the performance of our players who despite being outgraded pulled off a 3.5/2.5 win that perhaps deserved to be a more emphatic victory. Ben (Jacobson) stole the show with a sensational Rook sacrifice that was much admired by the watching audience.

In the A team match  Marple also triumphed. Alan (W) played a very nice attacking game against Chris (Sizeland) and Alex ground down  a very strong opponent in Kieran. I feared the worst for Michael who was a pawn down in a Rook ending but somehow, magically  it seemed to me, he found enough counterplay for half a point. In my game Tony showed himself to be well versed in the White side of Nimzo-Indian theory, we agreed a draw in a position where I thought Tony had a slight edge. Alan (H) was again unlucky reaching a very nice position with pressure against a backward pawn on e6. Colin is a very resourceful player though and he somehow wriggled out and eventually triumphed. So with the score at 3-2 Terry ensured Marple won the match with an excellently played Rook ending against Phil. This was the first game I have seen Phil lose for several years. I thought it was  a nice touch that the final move by Marple in this seasons Stockport League was g2-g1, although I never did find out which piece Terry was intending to promote to.....

Thus ends a successful season for Marple A in the Stockport League. Thanks to all who have played and/or  helped in various ways. It's not all over yet though, we still have a Cup Final and two Manchester League matches to keep us busy.  


Friday, 22 April 2016

Lets Go Crazy

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple A           V      Stockport A    :  Stockport Lge Div One: 21/04/2016

1 A Longson     1-0    P Cawley 
2 M Fernandez 1-0    A Reeve
3 S Longson      1-0    D Toole
4 G Trueman 0.5/0.5  J Pink
5 S Hewitt      0.5/0.5 D Sheppard 
6 A Hall           0-1     M Taylor

                          4-2

We needed to draw this match to win the Stockport League for the fifth consecutive season. When I looked at the pairings I was reasonably confident that with the immense strength of out top three boards we would score at least +1 there. What concerned me slightly were the Stockport boards 4,5 and 6 - They comprised Joshua who has won virtually every game he has played in the league since he moved to the area from Coventry, Dan who is a tremendously gifted and innovative player  and the vastly experienced Mike Taylor.
My feelings improved when I saw Dan play a line that gave Sean his beloved Bishop pair. The position became double edged and a draw was agreed in a complicated Queenless middlegame. From a match perspective I felt this suited us fine (0.5/0.5).
Joshua move ordered me into a variation of which I have very little experience. I found the position from move 10 onwards virtually impossible to play accurately and if I am being really honest I felt I was guessing  rather than analysing what was the best move.Playing games on two consecutive evenings is a bit much for me at my advanced age. To be fair the position was very difficult to play and Herr Fritz has many suggested improvements for both sides. We eventually agreed a draw in a position that the computer does think is equal, but not for the reasons Joshua and  I decided it was in a long post mortem....(1.0/1.0).
We took the lead when Michael defeated Andy (Reeve) in what looked to me and David (Preen) like a tremendous attacking game of chess although afterwards Michael said to me he had made several inaccuracies.(2.0/1.0)
Stockport hit back with Mike beating Alan. This was very unfortunate for Alan who looked on  top for most of the game but Mikes Bishop became a devastating piece. (2.0/2.0).
In keeping with some of the strange things that have been happening we won the league in very bizarre circumstances. Sarahs opponent Dave was the exchange down and in a difficult position, he planned to take Sarahs pawn on b7 with his Rook. for some reason though he picked up his Knight and executed the move Nd7 xb7 .....Chaos inevitably ensued and I am very grateful to the Stockport player Joshua for clearly explaining the relevant rules and even more impressively being able to reset the clock with the two minute time penalty added. Faced with a choice of irrelevant Knight moves Dave resigned  with good grace. We had won the League! (3.0/2.0).
However Alex was not aware of this as he was under the impression that Michael had lost! Therefore he thought he had to win. Alex had gained an advantage early in his encounter with Paul although the latter had fought back admirably. Eventually a R+2 V R+1 ending was reached with Alex having the two pawns. These positions can be very tricky particularly with little time left and playing on increments Alex made the winning move with all of two seconds to spare (4.0/2.0).

Thanks to all who played on another historic night for Marple .In my view we should do "something" to celebrate the clubs achievements. All opinions welcome.
 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Close thing at Altrincham

 I am away this week and getting a team out was difficult with the club having four matches in three days.  Thanks to Chris for stepping in at the last minute.  We were fortunate to be able to call on Ben and Holly to stand in for our missing regulars.

Ben has given me a pgn of his game but at the moment I can't work out how to open it on my p.c. and translate it to text (even though I can open it on my phone).  Hopefully I'll post it here later .

Chris writes:
I finished first in a game marked by blunders on both sides – first I gave away a piece but had an attack as some compensation but he later he returned the piece. Later still he stopped the attack by giving up a piece for 3 pawns. The final stage was rook, 2 bishops and 4 pawns against rook, bishop and 7 pawns but my pieces were well coordinated and his pawns kept dropping off.
Holly had a very close game which eventually came down to a rook and pawn endgame with Holly one pawn down – a very close finish. Toby and Peter made quite a few mistakes (so Toby tells me) and it could have gone either way but sadly the final mistake was Toby’s! I watched the end of Ben’s game which was a very nice mating attack. Toby’s game looked very hard fought with both kings under attack but eventually his opponent checkmated him.
           

Altrincham B 3 - 2 Marple C

1     John Reyes (136) 0 - 1 Chris Baker (136)

2  Tom Tomkins (122) 1 - 0 Holly Jacobson (101)

3 Bill McCartney (133) 1 - 0 Tony Doust (111)

4    Peter Hawes (101) 1 -  0 Toby Brown (102)

5   Vijay Kakarparthi (-) 0 - 1 Ben Jacobson (111

Friday, 1 April 2016

Reelin' In The Years

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple 1            V        Bolton 1       Manchester Lge Div One      31/03/2016

1 A Longson     0-1      J McPhillips
2 S Longson      0-1      J Hall
3 J Reed            0-1      H Lamb
4 G Trueman 0.5/0.5   N Barnaby
5 A Hall             0-1      A Tyton
6 C Baker       0.5/0.5   A Gardner
7 T Cowling      1-0       J Clissold

                            2-5

As the Bolton players entered the playing room I realised they would be formidable opponents for a below strength Marple team. They comprised one young superstar and six very strong and very experienced chess players. One measure of their experience is the fact that Harry Lamb has just been officiating at the Bolton Easter Congress. This is the 61st consecutive occasion when he has participated either as a player or organiser.Surely this must be some kind of record?

The last time your correspondent faced Nick Barnaby he obtained a terrible position against a Trompowsky. Deciding  discretion was called for I eschewed 1...Nf6 in favour of defending a Queens Gambit. I tried a line I have never played before and Nick chose the one plausible continuation I haven't really looked at. Consequently I was on my own from move five and drifted into an uncomfortable situation. Fortunately my position remained just about plausible enough to offer a draw in the early middle game which after some thought Nick accepted. I was quite happy about this as winning the toss meant we had white on four of the six remaining boards and more importantly what appeared to be good positions on the majority of them. (0.5/0.5).

Alan was unfortunate on board five. Adam played very aggressively as black with h6, g5  and Nh5 hitting the dark squared Bishop. However the very nice retreat Ne1 left the Knight on h5 vulnerable and it seemed to me that Alan had the advantage. When the players entered the analysis room I expected to hear result was either a draw or a white win but sadly Alan had gone wrong somewhere and lost. (0.5/1.5)

The remaining five games all finished well after 10.30 and I am not sure of the exact sequence as all ended within a few minutes of each other.

Terry came into the team as a last minute reserve after Isaac was unable to play. He played superbly to create a beautiful attack with Harrwitz Bishops raking the black King. Julian is a very good defender but although he held out for a long time eventually Terry crashed through. (1.5/1.5)

The battle of the Titans on Board One had distinct echoes of Spassky - Fischer 1972 game 13 with a Rook trapped on the first rank by a pawn on the seventh and a Bishop on the eighth although  I suspect Bobbys five passed pawns offered more compensation  than Alex' attacking chances against g7. Among his many attributes Joe is a very quick player and Alex not only had problems on the board but also on the clock. Ultimately the situation became untenable and sadly for the first time since we returned back to the Navi, Alex lost a home game (1.5/2.5)

Johns game was a epic fluctuating struggle. Harry eventually got on top and was a pawn up in a R+N position. By Houdini like play John got back in the game and I really had no idea of what would happen. The big problem was lack of time and with less than minute left John lost his Knight to a Rook fork and Harry just had enough time to finish things off. A very unfortunate loss. (1.5/3.5).

On the latest ECF gradings Chris was outgraded by 34 points on Board Six. He did tremendously well to turn things round from what seemed to be a somewhat inferior position and won the exchange for a pawn to create a position where from a chess point of view only Black had winning chances.However time was again  major factor with Allan a couple of minutes ahead and a draw was agreed in a position where it wasn't really possible to make progress. (2.0/4.0)

The last game to finish in some ways encapsulated the entire evening. John Hall is a superb player of the white pieces and Sarah played tremendously well to reach a position where only two results, draw or Black win were objectively possible. After Sarah won a pawn to reach a B V N endgame with Black a clear passed c pawn  ahead John must have feared the worse. Yet again however time played the leading role. With both players down to about one minute each , what happens so many times in blitz games occurred, as the Knight forked King and Bishop. As in the Board 3 game there was just enough time for the Bolton player to finish things off. (2.0/5.0)

So a very disappointing loss but congratulations to Bolton on their win. For me the evening was a further confirmation that playing with increments , even ten second ones, is vastly preferable to a straight blitz finish. In my view you are far more likely to get a result that is in accordance with the chess that has been played previously.

Many thanks to all who played. We are in a real relegation dogfight now and our last two matches in this competition against Denton and Heywood will be critical.  


Friday, 18 March 2016

Love Minus Zero

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple A           V     Denton A    : Stockport Lge Div One : 17/03/2016

1 A Longson      1-0 K Celinski
2 A Walton        1-0 T Hilton
3 J Bentley         1-0 I Urwin
4 S Longson       1-0 J Tonkin
5 A Hall              1-0 Default
6 C Baker           1-0 Default

                             6-0

I was unable to play in this match as I didn't get home from work until after 8pm. I quickly drove to the Navi expecting to see a very strong Denton side in a match that was critical to their chances of staying in the division.....
Instead I was stunned to see play only taking place on the top three boards. It turned out Denton had defaulted boards five and six leaving Alan and Chris with no-one to play and our new bride on board 4 had already won.
The acting Denton Captain was very apologetic but it certainly wasn't his fault if the players were unable or unwilling to play. Incidentally this was Tims third captaincy role in 72 hours. I have come to the conclusion that chess club captaincy in 2016 is a role for extreme masochists only but this is taking "Le vice Anglais" to a whole new level.
In the three remaining games John won quickly, but Alan and Alex both had interesting struggles against high quality opponents who had both performed excellently in the extremely strong Blackpool Open last weekend. Both Alan and Alex prevailed in the end, Alan with a lightning attack and Alex with a classic good Knight v bad Bishop ending which was very educational for me in terms of seeing how very strong players eliminate all counterplay before winning material.
The match was played in excellent spirit with wedding cake provided by Alex and Sarah being all too tempting for some of our members.
Thanks to all who played or tried to, the great news is we don't have a first team match next week.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

The President's Cup Semi-final: Stockport vs Marple


The result of the President's Cup match on Tuesday was:

SDCL:  The President's Cup Semi-Final
MATCH:      Stockport    v    Marple
Home Team
Scores
Away Team
1        Andy Coe
1
0
Alan Hall
2        Jill Barber
0
1
Jeff Barlow
3        Dave Pardoe
0.5
0.5
Tony Kay
4        John Kelly
0.5
0.5
Neil Dainty
5        Peter Taylor
0.5
0.5
Trefor Thomas
 
 
 
 
MATCH RESULT
2.5
2.5
DATE:       15/03/16

 

Stockport go through to the final on board elimination.

This was a fantastic effort against Stockport. Like us they struggled to field a really strong team, though they still out-graded us considerably on every board.  At least I managed to win the coin toss, so we had the white pieces on three boards. The match was eventually drawn but Stockport went through on a tiebreak.

I can't comment on individual games as I was totally focused on my game with Jill Barber which was the last to finish (60 moves) and I even managed to win an endgame! Thanks to all for their efforts.