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Tuesday 2 August 2022

Rob Reid triumphs in 960 tournament

Seven players contested the Fischer Random (Chess960) tourney on 28 July at the Navi, with Neil Dainty and Rob Reid emerging from the group stages to lock horns in the final. Neil repelled Rob's early attacks and seemed to have turned the game; but disaster struck when he left a rook en pris, leading to an unstoppable back-rank mating threat. 

Thus ended a lively evening of often thrilling chess. Thanks to all for taking part.

Thursday 24 March 2022

Marple's first 960 tournament, 10 March 2022

Eight people took a full part in our recent Chess 960 tournament and several other members chipped in for a few games. We used a rapid-play time limit and played three Swiss rounds, with a final between Neil Dainty and me. In the middle game, Neil won a piece but gave it back a few moves later, with deadly consequences. 

Most players seemed to revel in the unusual chances that arose from 960 possible starting positions, so I hope we’ll be able to hold another such tournament in the not-too-distant future.


Thanks go to Terry for arranging the Swiss; and thanks also go to Graham of the Navi for his mountaineering skills, which produced several more comfortable chairs.

Saturday 7 March 2020

Limit League: Marple 3 Wilmslow 1

Maxim and Anderson bring home the bacon

1 Neil Dee drew with Gordon Lloyd

2 Phil Macneill drew with Robin Warhurst
3 Paul Maxim 1-0 Mike Craven
4 Joseph Anderson 1-0 David Broadbridge 

It was early doors, early draws as boards 1 and 2 took a half point each, leaving our destiny in the hands of Paul and Joseph. On board 3, Paul with black scrapped hard to gain a material advantage. With his opponent's three passed pawns clustered defensively around the back-rank king, Paul brought his heavy artillery to good squares. A rook check on the bank rank forced the white king to h2, enabling Paul to pin the g3 rook against the king with his bishop to end the game. On board 4, Joseph got into some good positions but found a breakthrough difficult. 'Passed pawns must be pushed' is received wisdom and Joseph duly rolled forward his connected pair of central unopposed pawns. Another adage is that on an emptying board the king must be mobilised. When it finally joined the fray here, Joseph's extra knight and two pawns received the help they needed and he took the full point.

Don't forget: Thurs 19 March – come and enjoy an evening of Chess960, the exuberant chesslike game invented by Bobby Fischer. 

Sunday 16 February 2020

Limit League: Marple 1 Denton 3 on 13 Feb 2020

Denton unworried by tropical tactics

We welcomed the icemen of Denton with the Navi's finest central heating but they ran out comfortable winners. However, we were outgraded by an average of about 20 points so this was a decent performance. The main aim of Limit League is to give our rising players opportunities to shine against sometimes moderate opposition. Neil Dee and Phil Macneill earned good draws.

1 Neil Dee v M Murphy draw
2 Phil Macneill v S Bradley draw
3 Paul Maxim 0 D Cook 1
4 J Anderson 0 A Williamson 1

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Limit League, 3 Feb 2020: Macclesfield 1.5 v Marple 2.5

Doust does for Macc in trademark endgame

After last week's experiment with cryogenics at Denton's venue, we were well prepared for the chilly but above-freezing-point Queen's Head at Macc. Indeed, El Capitano took and used a large woollen blanket for the first time ever but still played like a plank and had to fight to salvage a draw with white.

On board 2 with black against Mick Renshaw, Tony won a rook-and-pawns endgame after being at least one pawn adrift and with his opponent having a passed pawn on the d-file. In time trouble, Mick made a minor slip, Tony pounced in devastating style, and the passed pawn passed away along with the game.

Then it was all down to board 3, where, with two rooks and a few pawns each, Neil - with an extra bishop - looked to be coasting to victory against Tom Robson. But when Neil lost a rook for nothing, Tom offered a draw and the overall victory was ours.

Astley J v Cutts M  draw
Renshaw M v Doust T 0-1
Robson T v Dainty N draw
Woodhall B v Macneill P draw

Friday 31 January 2020

Limit League v Denton, away

Denton 3 Marple 1

1.  Martin Murphy       1-0       Tony Doust
2.  Stan Bradley     0.5-0.5     Neil Dainty
3.  Peter Shaw          0.5-0.5  Phil Macneil
4.  Stewart McIlvenna 1-0       Joseph Anderson

Apparently it was perishingly cold at the Ashton Masonic Hall, where a room was used that was not the usual chess room. This is not good. At the Navi, I'm glad to say, we're being well looked after with decent heating and lighting.


Friday 17 January 2020


Just as last week the room was full, a very welcome sight.  Ten in the match, six playing on other boards and your reporter.  The team selection was very different to last week simply to give everyone game time.

On top board Chris and Jim both employed a kingside fianchetto and the position quickly became locked with all the pieces still on the board for some time.  Jim retreated a knight to f1 and I wondered where it was heading; half an hour later it was still there.  This of course was exactly what Chris wanted as he had the black pieces.

On board two though Tony Kay quickly went a pawn down allowing Steve Tatlock to play Qh4+ followed by Qxe4+.  Tony's king was stuck at home with a horrible gap in front and the g1-a7 diagonal wide open.  It looked even worse to me when Tony played f4 and I could not see what stopped Steve putting his bishop and or queen on that diagonal, but it did not happen. Eventually Tony castled kingside and gradually got back to a much more solid position.

Things looked better on three with Tony Doust a piece up but next time I looked Steve McCall had a very strong attack;  white pawn on e3 with black Be2 and black Qe1; white rook on d2 with black .   Rd1.  Steve's pawn and rook were supported by the other rook and his queen.  Eventually Tony lost  queen for rook and bishop but he was also two pawns down which eventually proved decisive.

Next door Paul was doing much better.  A passed pawn on e5, with rook support behind, was about to cause Steve Kelly (note to East Cheshire; too many Steves!) distress which duly arrived with Nd6+, forking king and an unprotected bishop on b7.  Rather than take the bishop though Paul tried to increase the pressure by pushing a pawn to attack a knight; unfortunately this allowed Steve to exchange his mortal bishop for a knight on f3.

Meanwhile Joseph, whose chess has improved noticeably in the last year or so, was playing his usual solid game on board 5.  Things were not looking good on two though.  Steve now had passed pawns advanced on c and d files even though his f1 bishop was still in bed after ten o'clock (and, I think, keeping the h1 rook with it).  The black king's exposure was looking dire and when said bishop was eventually awakened Tony resigned immediately.  0-2.  A spectacular way to win though.

Meanwhile Paul's strong attacking play was proving too strong and he won comfortably. 1-2.

Joseph's game was still tight but Dave eventually got on top and Joseph had to resign.  1-3.  At this point Chris and Jim agreed their position had been drawn for some time and let us all say our goodbyes until we meet again next Wednesday.

So we lost, but the lasting memory was that the room was alive and buzzing for the second week running.

Marple B 1.5-3.5 East Cheshire B
1 Chris Baker 0.5-0.5 Jim McKie
2 Tony Kay 0-1 Steve Tatlock
3 Tony Doust 0-1 Steve McCall
4 Paul Horrocks 1-0 Steve Kelly
5 Joseph Anderson 0-1 Dave Harris

Friday 13 December 2019

Limit league v Ashton, away, 11 Dec 2019

Ashton 3.5 Marple 0.5

David Preen 0 Ben Newton 1 
Tony Doust = Jack Mundy  
Phil Macneill 0 Dawn Supatan 1 
Paul Maxim 0 Max Rogers 1

Sunday 1 December 2019

Limit League, 28 Nov 2019, Marple v Ashton. Result 2-2

Hard-fought draw

1 Tony Doust (black) = Ben Newton
2 Martin Cutts 1-0 Phil Shaughnessy
3 Neil Dainty 0-1 Tyrone Supatan
4 Paul Maxim = Mr Newton

On top board, Tony earned a good draw in a French defence against yet another Ashton wunderkind. His young opponent, graded 114, had a reasonable advantage by move 13 but multiple exchanges led to a sterile position.

On board 4, Paul sacrificed his queen to gain a stalemate. 

On board 1, I fell asleep around move 12 and was soon well down (on Stockfish) after Phil sacrificed a bishop for two pawns and an attack. Dogged defence reduced the lead and, at last, I made a decent move that snagged a knight and ended Phil's attack. I had knight, bishop and two pawns against his horde of 7 pawns. Draws were offered by both players and declined by both, but I was able to queen a pawn to take the full point after three hours.

Friday 8 November 2019


Last night's match at the Navi was evenly matched but at half past nine we were 3-1 up and sure of victory.

                          Marple B       3-2       Urmston

1.   130? Jonathan Bennett    1-0  Jordi Bitlloch    139
2.   131   Tony Kay.                 0-1  Mark Whaley   144
3.   110   Tony Doust               0-1  Grant Randall  110
4.   90?? Matthew McGrogan 1-0  Tim Plunkett       90
5.    95    Neil Dainty               1-0  Frank Kenny      86

My game became easy when Frank pinned my queen with his bishop letting me take said bishop!  I didn't see enough of the other games to comment, but you can see that Johnny and Matt also won.  

A good opportunity to say what a pleasure it is to play at the Navi now.  The very generous donation of boards, sets and tables from Martin and has coincided with (not sure if that's good grammar Martin?) the new tenants making huge improvements to the lighting.  They also turn the heating on!  And the whole pub is smarter and livelier too.

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Flawless, but not Faultless

Wilmslow v Marple A: 28 October 2019

The result (home team first) was-

1. R Evans v Glenn Trueman    0.5/0.5

2. K Moran v Alan Hall            0.5/0.5

3. C Mills v David Fowler        0.5/0.5

4. D Mowat v David Preen       0.5/0.5

5. A Kerr v Tony Doust            0.5/0.5

6. M. Palmer v                         DEFAULT

Result                                       3.5/2.5

Every game was closely contested, and as far as I could see we made no mistakes but were pressed hard in every game by a strong Wilmslow team. A very creditable performance, although my request to have the bottom board eliminated because it didn't suit us was met with a stony silence.

R Evans v Glenn Trueman 0.5/0.5

R Evans v Glenn Trueman 0.5/0.5

K Moran v Alan Hall 0.5/0.5

C Mills v David Fowler 0.5/0.5

D Mowat v David Preen 0.5/0.5

A Kerr v Tony Doust 0.5/0.5

M Palmer v  DEFAULT 1-0
 v Alan Hall 0.5/0.5

C Mills v David Fowler 0.5/0.5

D Mowat v David Preen 0.5/0.5

A Kerr v Tony Doust 0.5/0.5

M Palmer v  DEFAULT 1-0

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Limit League, Wilmslow v Marple, 21 Oct 2019

Wilmslow 0, Marple 4

1. Ashley Weinberg 0 Tony Doust 1
2. Michael Craven 0 Neil Dainty 1
3. David Broadridge 0 Paul Maxim 1
4. Susan Thompson 0 Joseph Anderson 1

Well done, all. First win of the season.

Saturday 19 October 2019

Limit League 17 Oct 2019, Marple 1 Stockport 3

1. Tony Doust 1/2 Ian Anderson 1/2
2. David Preen 0 Anthony Prime 1
3. Neil Dainty 1/2 John Kelly 1/2
4. Paul Maxim 0 David Peatfield 1

Sunday 13 October 2019

Lions Led By Donkey

Stockport Chess League, 9 October 2019: Denton v Marple A: Result 3-3

The Result of the Match was as follows (home team first)

1. Dave Boulden v Alan Hall 1-0
2. Phil Boyd v Terry Cowling 0.5-0.5
3. Martin Murray v Jonathan Bennett 0-1
4. Stan Bradley v  David Fowler 0.5-0.5
5. R J Tonkin v Chris Baker 0-1
6. A Williamson v Paul Horrocks 1-0

A spirited performance at Denton in which Marple A secured a draw against a tricky opposition was marred only by our team captain, and first board, managing to lose a won game (and not the first time either). He has been dropped for the next A team game and fined a week's wages.

This gives us a total after two league games of 3 out of a possible 4 points, and all to play for in future games.

Friday 11 October 2019

Limit League, 10 Oct 2019: Marple 1 Macclesfield 3

Martin Cutts 0-1 John Astley
Neil Dee drew with Mick Renshaw
Paul Maxim 0-1 Tom Robson
Joseph Anderson drew with Steve Dawson

Good results for Neil and Joseph against strong opponents.  Neil Dainty

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Limit League: Stockport 2.5 v Marple 1.5, 1 Oct 2019

After a calamitous opening, Matthew staged a fine comeback on debut to win his game on board 3. Martin got Dutched, played like a baboon (in keeping with the tropical conditions), and was losing at move 34 when time pressure led his opponent to agree a draw. 

Those who stayed late saw a fine endgame finish by junior Kyle Pelling in a different match. From being grade 50 in 2017, Kyle is now at 139 and was runner-up in the 2019 UK Chess Challenge Northern Gigafinal Under 12. Could be one to avoid if playing Heywood.

A Prime v M Cutts – draw
J Kelly 1-0 Tony Doust
C Murfin 0-1 Matthew McGrogan
D Peatfield 1-0 Neil Dainty

Saturday 28 September 2019

'O Brave New World'- Thursday's SDCL game against Stockport B

Marple A 3.5: Stockport B 2.5

The first game of the new season and a hard fought match against Stockport B saw us winning narrowly despite being out graded overall by almost 100 rating points.

Every single game was hard fought, close and went to the wire. Especial thanks go our two recent recruits, Jonathan Bennett and Paul Horrocks, who between them scored a decisive 1.5 (and indeed Paul was likely to have gone on to win in the last game to finish, but short of time wisely accepted an offer of a draw that secured us the win).

Let's keep it up for the rest of the season!

Monday 9 September 2019

Lessons to be learned

This game took place last week and following a brief discussion after the match Chris kindly offered to run through it for me.  In fact he did more than that and produced the following annotated game.

This game contains no brilliancies or particularly clever moves and of itself it isn’t particularly interesting – winding down to a draw after an exchange of queens on the 15th move.  But what it might offer is an example of how poor piece placement during the opening moves and a failure to appreciate the pawn structure can hamstring you later on.  As we will see I ended up with a particularly sorry pair of bishops that could offer no support to my other pieces.

My own observation is that I should have played c5 on the14th move to release my white squared bishop with a discovered attack on White’s centre.

Forrest,Brian - Dee,Neil [B06] 
Manchester Summer league vs Bury Marple (1), 29.08.2019

1.e4 d6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.h3 Bg7 5.Bc4 0–0 6.a3 [This move by white just seems to waste a tempo!]

6...e5 [If you play c5 here you transpose into a Sicilian Dragon position that looks good for black because the white knight on f3 blocks the usual K-side pawn advance and the pawn on a3 looks like a wasted move. Your e5 blocks your bishop on G7 and in some future situation you might want your e-pawn on e6 to block out his bishop on c4. Of course sometimes "the book" does involve putting a pawn in the way of a fianchettoed bishop, but there needs to be a very good reason for doing so.]

7.d3 c6 [During the opening phase, the biggest priority is to get your minor pieces established on decent squares, secure your king and connect your rooks and deal with pawn structure as all this is underway. Your white square bishop already starts to look like a problem piece. You might consider Re8 then Be3 to exchange it off with his WSB. If meanwhile he puts his knight on d5, you can then play c6 to drive it away without loss of tempo.]

8.0–0 [Another pawn move whilst your Q side pieces remain at home and his WSB will be perfectly happy on a2 Meanwhile b5 has not helped your pawn structure.]

8...b5 9.Ba2 Bb7 [Your WSB has very little future on this square. It would be better on e6 after appropriate preparation. Another placement to have considered earlier on was on a6, supported by your knight. Generally speaking, in opening/middle game positions where there are no tactics going on, the best thing to do is to seek moves that improve piece placement or create outposts for minor pieces to settle on.]

10.Ne2 Nbd7 11.Ng3 d5 12.Nh2 dxe4 [The series of exchanges starting here leave your BSB still imprisoned and your K-side knight with hardly any squares to go to. Meanwhile his pieces have better activity. I quite like the look of d4 followed by a Q-side pawn advance that would give you a big Q-side space advantage and might be hard for him to cope with.]

13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.dxe4 Nf6 15.Qxd8 Raxd8 16.f3 Rd7 [Doubling rooks at this point looks sensible on the surface but looking more generally, the placement and hence activity of your minor pieces is awful! For example you might think about how to improve your knight - is there a square where it could be more effective? e6 looks pretty good to me and it could go via e8 & c7. If white plays Bg5, you can block with f6 strengthening your e-pawn. Your BSB will probably escape via f8 and perhaps go to c5 supported by then by your knight.]

17.c3 Rfd8 18.Bg5 h6 19.Bh4 g5 20.Bf2 a6 21.h4 Rd2 [Getting a rook on the 7th is always tempting but the real priority is still to activate your minor pieces. White's piece activity means that your rooks won't do any damage on their own and they really are on their own! Your rooks are well placed as they are so Ne8 to get the knight towards a better square looks a lot more constructive to me.]

22.Rab1 Re2 23.hxg5 hxg5 24.Rfe1 Rdd2 [This results in terrible placement of your rook after the exchanges. You needed to play RxR so as to keep your remaining rook active on the open d file.]

25.Rxe2 Rxe2 [The exchanges on the 7th have put you in a very awkward situation! You want to play Rd2 but then Be3 happens and you lose your g pawn.]

26.Ng4 [Looks like a blunder by white as it wrecks his K-side pawn structure.]

26...Nxg4 27.fxg4 Kf8 [Bc8 was much better. It starts to activate your bishop, attacks g4 and covers d7 which is a square you don't want white to occupy with his rook. I think after your move a draw is a fair outcome.]

28.Rd1 Ke7 29.Bc5+ Ke8 30.Rf1 f6 31.Be6 Rd2 32.b4 Rd8 33.Bf5 Kf7


Friday 6 September 2019

Tuesday night's game against Worsley

The Marple team was under extra pressure when Glen told us we needed to score one and a half points to avoid relegation in the South East Lancs Summer League, especially as we were having to default on bottom board. On board 1, Glen reached a drawn position fairly quickly against a strong player but we were heavily outgraded on all the other boards so the situation looked a bit gloomy.

I had black on Board 2 against Mike Connor (147) but managed to get the necessary win (we lost on all the other boards).

When I manage to win a game, it rarely involves a middle game checkmate so this game was pretty unusual for me. I think the mating pattern was rather nice (Mike actually resigned when it was mate in one). Here is the game...

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 c6 [The Catalan. A bit similar to The English that I like to play with white. I have hardly ever faced this with black though.]

4.Bg2 Bf5 [I decided to get the QB outside the pawn chain afer some thought. It proved a good decision as things developed and is the most popular move in Chessbase.]

5.Nf3 e6 6.0–0 Be7 7.Nc3 Nbd7 8.Nd2 0–0 9.Re1 [After this I kept checking to see that white cannot advance his pawns so as to trap one of my minor pieces.]

9...Re8 10.cxd5 exd5 [Keep the pawn on c6 to oppose white's bishop.]

11.f3 Qb6 [The pawn on d4 is undefended and this move draws away one of the white knights covering what is looking like a very important e4 square.]

12.Nb3 Bb4 [This bishop can't cover e4 so I thought it would be good to exchange it for a knight that can.]

13.a3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 Nf8 [Re-routing to e6 as I don't want him to post a knight on c5 where it covers e4 etc.]

15.Nc5 Ne6 16.Be3 [I was surprised by this move. e4 is better.]

16...Qc7 [Fritz prefers 15. .. Nxc5 17. dxc5 Qb3, but I correctly anticipated the next few moves and liked the look of RQR tripled on the e-file.]

17.Nxe6 Rxe6 18.Bf2 Rae8 19.Ra2 Qe7 20.e3 Nd7 [I spent a long time on this move. I really liked my position but couldn't see how to improve - I sort of wanted white to move again to show his hand. I eventually decided that this knight would stand well on c4 if I can get it there.]

21.c4 Nb6 22.cxd5 Nxd5 [At first sight, e4 looks devastating but I had seen well in advance that Nc3 would fork Q & R.]

23.Qb3 [Played after a very long think and not the best. In fact e4 with loss of the exchange was the best move, though I would be doing pretty well then of course.]

23...Nxe3 24.Rb2 [Bxe3 is better but I should still have a winning endgame.]

24...Nxg2 25.Rxe6 Bxe6 [This is the killer move which I think my opponent must have missed. It gives me the tempo I need to protect the knight. The white king is trapped in a rather attractive mating net.]

26.Qa4 Bh3 27.Qxa7 Ne1 28.Qxb7 Nxf3+ 29.Kh1 Qe1+ [Mate on the next turn!]