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Friday, 8 June 2018


My fan club has requested that I revitalise the blog which has been idle since February, so here is my latest attempt to explain the brain processes of lower level chess!

In fact my game has improved considerably since January after a disastrous run.  I realised my loss of form was due to turning up for matches with no study since the last match.  Changing this has resulted in a run of sixteen games with a grade averaging 119 and including a win against last night's opponent Bill McCartney.  In that game Bill played the Alekhine Defence which you may be surprised to learn I have never faced before in my short career, a mere 299 games.  Things are different at this level.

So I arrived knowing what do against the Alekhine in case I faced Bill again.  I did, but we won the toss and I had black.  However without a game for some time and only just back from two weeks in Cornwall I was nearly back to my old ways, as you will see!

1. e4 c5 2. Bc4 Nc6 3. d3 e6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. f4 d5 6. Bb3 {I considered dxe4
here with a view to swopping queens and preventing him castling, but convinced
myself that I might end up with doubled isolated c pawns.  In fact dxe4 was the best
move} Bd7 7. e5 {so now my knight can only run home.  After some thought I
found....} d4 8. exf6 dxc3 9. bxc3 Qxf6 10. Bd2 Bd6 11. Ne2 Qh4+ {quite
pleased with this move, g3 is forced and leaves the king open} 12. g3 Qf6 13.
Rb1 O-O {queenside castling would have allowed h4 then h5} 14. c4 Rfd8 (14...
e5 15. Ba4 exf4 16. O-O f3) 15. Nc3 Qe7 16. Ne4 Bc7 17. Qh5 {after this I was
too concerned with preventing Ng5 (which is harmless) and didn't even see Qxc5.
If I had I might not have missed what I'm just about to miss!} f6 18. Bc3 Rf8
19. O-O Be8 20. Qxc5  {Diagram [#]} {missing the easily spotted Bb6! at
which point Bill might well have immediately resigned} Qxc5+ 21. Nxc5 Bb6 22. d4
Bxc5 23. dxc5 Rc8 {I offered a draw here} 24. Ba4 Rf7 25. Rfd1 Rfc7 26. Rd6 Bd7
$4 27. Rbd1 Rd8 28. Bxc6 Bxc6 29. Ba5 {and now I convinced myself I was
totally lost when in fact it's only +0.83!  Rxd6 is the obvious move I missed.}


Sorry that should have said "CUP RUN OVER" and it also should have said "before it started!"

Neither club fielded as strong a team as they would like in last night's Alan Yarker cup match.  Altrincham however had newcomer David Soares on top board, graded 206! Paul gave him a tough game and was an exchange up, but told me he was up against a fantastic chess player. I can't tell you much about the other games but a report of how I missed an easy win will be on here shortly.  I think I'm right in saying that Neil Dee, Tony and Chris all thought they had winning chances at some point. Anyway well done Altrincham and good luck in the semi-final.

07/06/2018 Marple 0.5-5.5 Altrincham

Kirby, Paul 0-1 Soares, Danilo V

Baker, Chris EJ 0-1 Lane, Anthony J

Preen, David W 0.5-0.5 Lowe, Nick

Dainty, Neil C 0-1 McCartney, William

Doust, Antony 0-1 Tomkins, Tom

Dee, Neil 0-1
Davies, J Michael

Friday, 9 February 2018


Instead it will be Marple in the final of the President's Cup, after a 4-2 win in the semi-final last night.

Marple fielded a strong team and were always favourites to win since the average grading difference was a massive thirty five points.  But Sale didn't half put up a fight.  The only comfortable victory was on board 5 where Terry quickly used his white pieces to get an early space advantage. He then had his queen backed up with a rook on the half-open C file.  Qxc6 not only won a pawn, but also forked the bishop on c7 and the rook on a8.  He was soon an exchange and two pawns up, the pawns became united passed pawns and the game was over.

Meanwhile Neil Oddie was playing a great game against Paul; he had his queen on the open g-file with a rook alongside pointing at Paul's king.  Paul managed to defend without much problem but with bishops attacking both f1 and f8, neither player could progress.  Drawn.

At this stage it was far from over.  A drawn match would be decided by bottom board elimination and our only win was on 5.

On 2, John Hennessy seemed to have a reasonable position, albeit with an isolated queen's pawn, but next time I looked Alan had won a piece.  John defended resolutely but Alan gradually improved his position and converted.

Andy wasn't having things his own way either.  Gary Jackson had played his favoured King's Indian Defence so Andy pushed his  h-pawn; Gary played h4 to block, and calmly took on g4 when the chance arose.  The h-file was now open but Andy couldn't make progress.  Next Gary had queen on a1, pinning the b1 knight against the king on c1.  Gary threatened a mating attack but Andy saw this off without any problem.  With position and material level Gary offered a draw. Andy asked if he could accept but at this stage we needed the comfort of another point, so I asked "Can you win it?"
"No!"  Draw agreed.

Meanwhile on 4 Andy Parry was also making our player work hard.  This was the last game to finish
but eventually Chris's experience and endgame technique lead to another win.

So well done both teams, but a fine fighting performance from Sale who, as always, were great company.  Marple now wait for the winners of Monday's match between Stockport and Wilmslow.

Saturday, 28 October 2017


And the night, and the match and indeed the Knight.

       MARPLE C   2.5-2.5  ALTRINCHAM B
1.  Toby Brown         0-1     Tony Lane
2.  Martin Cutts      0.5-0.5  Bill McCartney
3.  Neil Dainty       0.5-0.5  Vijay Kakarparthi
4.  Tony Doust       0.5-0.5  Steve Ward
5.  Joseph Anderson  1-0     Kip Summer

We got off to a bad start.  Toby was the only one of us to be outgraded and he lost quite quickly on top board.  All the other games were pretty level for most of the evening but there was plenty of action on four and five.

Next to me, Martin was pressing against a strong opponent, but Bill seemed to have little trouble keeping him at bay.  A draw was agreed.  On my right Tony was a piece down, which I presume was a sacrifice as Steve's King was under siege in the middle of the board.  However Tony lost another piece later on and was relieved to come away with a draw.

My own game with Vijay was quite enjoyable and I thought I had good prospects most of the time, but offered a draw when I realised I hadn't! Note to self: stop kidding yourself.

The real fun was on Board 5.  Kip had a passed pawn on d6, supported by his queen and later a rook.  Joseph had a rook on a8 ready to skip to d8 if needed, but he also had a nasty attack on the other wing. with a passed h pawn behind his queen and the other rook behind the pawn.  He also had a Knight totally out of the game on the a-file which was screaming to be employed.  Eventually it came to the d-file, protected by two pawns and isolating Kip's passed pawn; it also threatened to join the attack.  Kip managed to free his queen which continually checked the king.  Once the king got to safety it was Joseph who had the threats and more than one opportunity for a royal fork from the freed knight.  Lots of wood was traded and then we had a pawn race resulting in two new queens and a time scramble, with Joseph having a few extra minutes.  The new queens were exchanged leaving Joseph with three or four passed pawns and Kip resigned.

The knight had saved the day!

Friday, 1 September 2017


Well, we did it. A win last night against fellow contenders Blue Club 2 saw Marple win Division B of the S.E.Lancs Summer League with 9 points from 5 matches. The next four clubs shared second place with 5.

Our opponents were not as strong as they might have been, so the teams were fairly evenly matched on most boards, but I had a weaker opponent on board 6 and Chris faced a twenty point deficit on 2.  My opponent quickly went astray and I checkmated him in 13 moves - good start.  Soon after that Glenn took the opportunity to strengthen our position, agreeing a quick draw with Tim Hilton.  But the tension increased as the remaining games did not seem to be going our way.  Toby had been an exchange up, but next time I looked a pawn was forking his Queen and Bishop.  His position then collapsed with nearly all his pieces under attack and it was all square, but with Chris half an hour behind on the clock.  On board 3 Neil Jerzynek had his Queen on the sixth rank and a strong-looking attack, but David cleverly trapped it and Neil resigned.

So spirits rose again, but the last two games looked tight.  Jeff's game seemed blocked and Chris had a good position but time problems, although he was playing well and getting a positional advantage. And then almost simultaneously it was all over.  Jeff found a move which threatened checkmate and a discovered attack on the Queen, and Mark offered Chris a draw as his position was worsening.  All over. Champions!

Thanks to those who played last night and Alan, Tony Kay, Tony Doust and Joseph who also deserve medals.  (They're aren't any).  Tony D even turned up last night just in case he was needed.  Team Spirit!

Finally as Glenn has kindly suggested I show my "beautiful game" here it is:

1.e4 e5  2. Nf3 Nf6  3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nxd4
 I have been playing the Scotch for the last few games.  It's supposedly sound at any level and allows weaker opponents opportunities to go wrong, as here:
5. Qxd4 c6  6. Nc3 a6  7.  Be2 h6
These last two moves just give me a big advantage in development
8. Be3 Qa5  9. Bd2 Bc5??  10. Qxg7 Bf8  11. Qxh8 Ne7
12. Nd5 expecting to swop off the Knights when the Queen moves, but Black's move gives me a lovely opportunity...
12...Qd8 13. Nf6#

Marple 4-2 Blue Club 2

165  Trueman, Glenn 0.5-0.5 Hilton, Tim           169
126  Baker, Chris EJ 0.5-0.5 Taylor, Mark         152
129  Preen, David W 1-0 Jerzynek, Neil       119
101  Barlow, Jeff J 1-0 Somogyi, Gabor      97
110  Brown, Toby GS 0-1 Wilson, Jeff           100
100  Dainty, Neil C 1-0 Vernon, Frank         67

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Ue o Muite Arukou

Not played at Chorlton Chess Club last evening -

Chorlton A 6-0 Marple A (Default)

Unfortunately I could only find three players able to play in our final match of the season so I had no option available other than to default. Fortunately Chorlton had already won the League ( Congratulations to them) so there was nothing really at stake but even so it was a very sad way to end things. It's perhaps indicative of the problems evening league chess faces that our last two matches have been a 6-0 default win and a 6-0 default loss.....

After five years captaining various Marple teams and three years captaining our A team I am now standing down. I simply don't have enough time to continue. I hope someone can be persuaded to take over - I will give them all the help I can. Many thanks to everyone who has played or driven for us in this period, it has been much appreciated by me.

To finish on a chess note (sort of) I am indebted to Andy Jenkins for solving something that has puzzled me for years.  Saemisch - Capablanca : Karlsbad 1929: started 1d4 Nf6 2c4 e6 3Nc3 Bb4 4a3 Bc3:+ 5bc: d6 6f3 e5 7e4 Nc6 8Be3 b6 9Bd3 Ba6??? 10Qa4 Bb7 11d5 winning a piece. How could such a brilliant player overlook something so trivial? - and equally puzzling why did Capa not resign?. He carried on playing a hopelessly lost position until move 62.....

The  explanation is as follows - after Saemischs 9th move Capa became aware that both his wife and his mistress were in the playing hall, a double attack that even the great Cuban could not deal with....

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Chorlton B vs Marple B: 25/04/17

Our side of the cookie crumbled more than theirs, which was a shame because we had a strong side out last night. Unfortunately so did they........  Like us they would like to avoid relegation

Glenn agreed an early draw with David Knox, who is still a tough opponent. David and Chris, lost and won, respectively but I didn't see their games so can't comment.  I was reasonably pleased with my opening, once again, the Budapest gambit bemused my opponent and I achieved good development. I thought I should  manage a draw with black at least.  Initially I was behind on time but I managed to complicate matters and regain the deficit. We were playing a straight 90 minutes for all moves, I really don't like the cliff edge nature of this time control, it seems to ignore the benefits of digital clocks. The skirmishing started before either side had completed development. The position looked innocuous enough, but my opponent managed to whip up an attack which I underestimated and led to a win in all variations, though I have yet to consult with Fritz.

Marple were now losing 2.5 - 1.5 with two boards to be decided. Paul, playing black, had a large time advantage and latterly was a pawn up. It looked like he just had to untangle his pieces to get a favourable position. His opponent, seemingly very relaxed about the time deficit, mounted a king side attack which I thought was defendable but I failed to spot a zwischenzug queen check, which was decisive.

Alan had 2 knights vs 2 bishops (and major pieces) and the knights weren't well placed. From there I think he did very well to get a draw, which was agreed when both players had very little time left.

1.    D Knox             0.5-0.5        Glenn Trueman
2.    A Elliot                 1-0           Paul Kirby
3.    R Nurse             0.5-0.5        Alan Hall
4.    A Cowan              0-1          Chris Baker
5.    A Beswick            1-0          David Preen
6.    H Manassian        1-0          Jeff Barlow
        Total                     4-2

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Welcome Home

Played at the Ladybrook Hotel last evening -

Stockport B       V     Marple A   : Stockport League Division One: 18/04/2017

1 D Parotta       0-1         A Horton
2 D Toole          0-1         A Longson
3 M Crowther  0-1          I Craft
4 M Tunstall   0.5/0.5      S Longson
5 A Coe             0-1          G Trueman
6 J Mason         1-0          P Kirby


Sarah and Alex  were able to make a most welcome return to our team for this fixture. Since Andy and Isaac were also available it meant we were able to field our strongest team of the whole season.
As Stockport A were also playing in the Charnley Cup Final simultaneously for once we were favourites going in to a match. Stockport B were still strong opposition though with 160+ strength players all the way down the line .....
I haven't got time for a full report but a summary would be this was a much closer match than the scoreline would suggest. Although we won all our games with the White pieces it was much more difficult with Black. I do think this is a common feature of evening chess played at fast time limits. So many slightly off beat lines for White place great demands on the opponent, who has to move fast and can be tired after working all day. Sarah and Paul both got very difficult positions. Somehow Sarah managed to get enough counterplay for half a point despite being well behind on the clock, but there was no escape for Paul whose opponent conducted a difficult to convert ending with what looked like extreme precision to me.
A quick word about the Charnley Cup Final where congratulations are due to Stockport A who beat Macclesfield on tie -break after a 3-3 scoreline in a match with an incredibly tense finish.. For the second time in two weeks I felt immense sympathy for Mike Taylor who lost a Queen ending with two extra pawns on time. There is no criticism of his opponent, who having to play to win for the sake of the team was himself in a awkward position and did even offer Mike a draw when he was down to the last minute, but once again I was left with the feeling that , despite the problems, playing with increments is the better way.
Thanks to all who played in our match. The mathematicians in our team have convinced me that we are now safe from relegation!.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Hall in the Game

So many extremely strong young  players have represented our club over the last few years that if you learned that a Marple player has just won an international chess tournament  you might not be too surprised.....
However in this case it was not one of the "usual suspects".....
Congratulations to Alan Hall who won the under-1900 tournament at the recent Jersey chess festival with the fine score of 7/9. Highlights included an 80 move grind of a win in the penultimate round against the highest ranked player in the event, rejecting possible repetitions when perhaps slightly worse and a fearless quick win  with the Black pieces against a player who has been over 160 in the nerve jangling final round.
Alan won £400 and a magnificent(?) vase which now resides proudly at his home...

Friday, 7 April 2017

You Never Can Tell (Part Two)

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple A            V       Stockport A: Stockport Lge Div One: 06/04/2017

1 A Horton      0.5/05    A Beardsworth
2 A Walton      0.5/0.5   A Reeve
3 G Trueman   0.5/0.5   P Cawley
4 P Kirby         0.5/0.5    D Sheppard
5 C Baker           0-1       D Parrotta
6 B Jacobson      1-0       M Taylor


After succumbing 1-5 to Stockport B in our previous match I had been fearing the worst. Fortunately Andy (Horton) and Alan (Walton) were able to make a welcome return to our team, however this was balanced by Michael and Isaac not being available. We were also without Alan (Hall) , Terry, and David (Preen) from our usual line ups this season.
When Stockport arrived I noticed they were perhaps a couple of players short of their strongest possible side. They were clear favourites though as they outgraded us on the bottom four boards, fielding a 2102 Fide player on Board 5 and a vastly experienced 171 ecf on Board 6.
Paul (Kirby) and myself both drew. My game with Paul Cawley was fairly uneventful but Paul (Kirby) had a fascinating encounter with Dan, winning the exchange but allowing a lot of piece activity. With Paul down to the last couple of minutes a draw was a completely acceptable result.
Mr Parrotta showed why he has such a high elo with a polished performance against Chris in a game that was very reminiscent of a Hort V Nunn encounter from the "Master Game" series in the late 70's. (Ed - He's really showing his age...). Chris gave it his best shot and taking on a 2100 with the Black pieces is of course an extremely tough ask.
Ben has been playing some tremendous chess for Marples second and third teams. Last season he played a beautiful winning Rook sac at Macclesfield and I seem to remember he won in 9 moves with Black at Altrincham  just before Christmas. He superseded these achievements last evening with what I suspect may be the best first team debut in the history of Marple Chess Club, beating an opponent graded a mere 55 points higher than him! Mike went wrong in what should probably have been a drawn Rook  ending allowing liquidation to a pawn ending that was clearly won for Ben. Whilst  I am tremendously pleased for Ben I do feel immense sympathy for Mike who took defeat with admirable good grace. Unfortunately for him one of my laws of "negative chess"  came in to play - trying too hard to win a slightly advantageous Rook ending is very dangerous....
So incredibly the score was 2-2 with the top two boards still in play and all four players running out of time.
Andy (H) had been trying for three hours to create something in a position that had been looking drawish from about move 10.Ultimately there was no way for either side to make progress and the game was drawn.
That  left  everything in the hands  of Alan and Andy (Reeve). A fascinating battle which at one point had featured two Knights against two Bishops with your correspondent having no idea who was better had boiled down to a N v B ending with Alan having a pawn less but a passed "a" pawn and  slightly  better King. With Andy down to less than two minutes and Alan not having much more the players agreed to halve the point and the match.
Thus ended a memorable encounter played in excellent spirit. Many thanks to all who played.

Friday, 24 March 2017

You Never Can Tell

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple A                   V        Stockport B    :  Stockport Lge Div One : 23/03/2017

1 M Fernandez         0-1      J Pink
2 G Trueman         0.5/0.5   P Cawley
3 P Kirby               0.5/0.5   D Toole
4 A Hall                    0-1      M Taylor
5 T Cowling             0-1      M Tunstall
6 D Preen                 0-1      M Crowther


With Michael making a welcome return to the team I was hopeful of getting something out of this match in a season which has become something of a battle to avoid relegation. However when the Stockport team entered the playing room I realised this would be a very difficult task as our opponents had managed to assemble the strongest team they have fielded all season.Even their bottom board had a grade of about 170 the last time I played him.
In the circumstances a final score of 1-5 wasn't too surprising and a difficult night was encapsulated by Michael losing his first game for Marple in a very,very long time.  
Many thanks to all who played/drove, our next fixture is against the even more challenging Stockport A team......

Friday, 3 March 2017

Black is Black

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple A              V       Holmes Chapel         Stockport Lge Div One      02/03/17

1 G Trueman       0-1      P Bennett
2 P Kirby           0.5/0.5   J Turner
3 A Hall                0-1      I Bates
4 D Preen             1-0      M Roberts
5 T Doust             0-1      M Lee
6 S Anderson       0-1      G Scattergood


Given our current resources this was a difficult situation as we faced the task of fielding two teams on the same evening. The strength of the opposition we faced relative to us is perhaps best reflected in our cumulative score with the Black pieces which was 0/5......

Although they were well short of full strength in the Division One match  Holmes Chapel outgraded us on every board and by an average of over 25 points per game. I haven't got time for a full report but it wasn't all doom and gloom as David played sparkling chess to win very quickly and Paul had a well merited draw with a very strong opponent. Thanks to all who played particularly Stuart who nobly agreed to make his first team debut.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Altrincham A vs Marple B: 31st January 2017: Match Result

Hi All,

Marple B gained a well-earned drawn match against a strong Altrincham A side. To my right, Ben had a dramatic win in 9 moves using the Budapest gambit. His opponent only made 3 bad moves, which is a large percentage out of 9! While to my left Terry's opponent was dropping pieces regularly. Every time I looked up Terry was another piece up, The last time I looked his opponent's Queen was under threat and he had give up a fourth minor piece to save his queen! Meanwhile I was losing slowly with the white pieces, I got back into it but it cost me too much time, and I lost to a potential back rank mate. I saw very little of the other games and so cannot comment on them.



MATCH:   Altrincham A       v           Marple B

Home Team


Away Team

1      Mark Hann
         Paul Kirby
2      Reg Clucas
         Alan Hall
3      Richard White
         David Preen
4      Bill McCartney
         Terry Cowling
5      Mark Whalley
         Jeff Barlow
6      Steve Douglas
         Ben Jacobson


DATE: 31/01/17

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Macclesfield B vs Marple B: 23.01.17: Match Result

Dear All,

Marple B suffered the heaviest defeat possible on Monday last. The score is a little misleading in that all of the games were keenly contested through to the end and I was surprised that all boards went to the hosts. Of course, Macclesfield were a much stronger team and I guess they managed to finish more strongly.

I was quite pleased with the opening phase of my game against Chris Sizeland and felt that I had nullified white's advantaged and obtained a comfortable position.  I may post this game later.

Thanks to the team for their efforts.

Meanwhile, our next game is against Altrincham A next Tuesday where we will need to field a stronger team!  Any volunteers?



MATCH: Macclesfield B    v     Marple B

Home Team


Away Team

1       G Lawrence
        Chris Baker
2       P Cattermole
        Alan Hall
3       D Risley
        Terry Cowling
4       C Sizeland
        Jeff Barlow
5       D Lobo
        Tony Doust
6       J Trier
        Neil Dainty



Friday, 13 January 2017

Dear All,

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


MATCH:      Marple B              v             Chorlton B

Home Team


Away Team

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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.