Google Calendar

Friday, 31 October 2014

Magnificent Victory for Manchester League Team

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple 1                    V       Stockport 1  : Manchester League Div.1   : 30/10/2014

1 I Lentzos   (192)   0.5/0.5   A Smith  (204)
2 S Hegarty  (174)  0.5/0.5    A Reeve (186)
3 G Trueman (163) 0.5/0.5     P  Siddall (191)
4 N Livesey   (152) 0.5/0.5     P Cawley (185) 
5 C Baker      (129)   0-1        D Toole    (171)
6 A Jenkins    (130)   1-0        M Taylor  (171)
7 T Cowling    (127)   1-0        J Mason   (150)


Things didn't get off to the most promising of starts when Sarah and I got stuck in an enormous traffic jam caused by an accident on Dan Bank. I desperately phoned Andy disturbing his pre-match shower to let him know we could be late and give him our team list  in case  Stockport were already there. As I read  out the names I think we all realised just how much we were likely to be outgraded on every board.
Suddenly the traffic cleared and we were able to reach the Navigation by 7.30. This was not to be the only pleasant surprise of the evening.

On Board One Ioannis faced the difficult task of taking on Alan Smith with the Black pieces. Alan seemed to me to have some space advantage in a 3e5 Caro-Kann but the look on Alans face suggested  to me he wasn't entirely happy with the situation. Soon a draw offer from Alan was forthcoming which understandably Ioannis accepted. A good solid start. 0.5/0.5.

My opponent was Phil Siddall. I've always found Phil a very strong adversary. The last time we played he made me look like a total patzer after he opened with 1g4. This time he opened with his Queen pawn and after 1d4 Nf6 2Nf3 e6 3g3 I couldn't resist an exaggerated fianchetto of my my own with 3....b5. Although I've never played this before and it looks slightly dubious it has been played by some strong GMs such as Timman   and Kramnik so it can't be too bad. Our game perhaps showed that no matter how good the player it's very difficult if you don't know the nuances of an opening and soon Phil was having to find some very exact moves not to get a terrible position. Eventually I won a pawn but I failed to find an effective way to capitalise on it as the seamy side of b5 was showing up with with my a7 pawn looking virtually impossible to defend. We agreed a draw in a position where my extra pawn was about to become both doubled and isolated and truth be told I thought Whites winning chances although slim looked better than Blacks. 1.0/1.0 

Sarah was taking on Andy Reeves favourite d6,c6 set up with a system I've never seen based on a very early Qe2.I suspect some work had been done on this line in the Hegarty/Longson Opening Novelty Factory otherwise known as their house. Here it seemed to work well and Sarah was soon energetically launching her Kingside pawns  towards Andy. Mr Reeve is of course a superb defender and his position remained solid so I wasn't surprised when a draw was agreed. 1.5/1.5.

 Chris was Black against the Stockport Captain Dave Toole. The opening seemed to have gone reasonably well with a typical IQP position being reached. When I next looked though things had become very difficult for Black with Daves pieces menancingly poised around Chris' King and sad to say soon there was absolutely no way out. 1.5/2.5.

The strength of the Stockport team was shown by the fact that Andy was facing a player graded 171 on Board 6. Mike Taylor won a piece and although Andy had two pawns for it he later said he didn't think it was anywhere near enough. Things took a turn for the better when Mike decentralised his beautiful Knight on e4 much to the annoyance of Alan Smith. It was now clear that Andy had real chances and with a series of superb vigourous  moves broke through and triumphantly promoted a pawn. Mike had no option but to resign. This was Andys second victory against much higher rated opposition in three days and gives him a grading for the week of about 214.  2.5/2.5

 It was now getting tense as incredibly we were in with a real chance of getting something from this match. Nigel had played an English Opening quite beautifully against an opponent graded some thirty odd points higher than him. To avoid defeat Paul had no choice but to give up a Rook for two minor pieces. At one point Nigels position looked tremendous with a beautifully placed outpost Knight on d6. The problem though was how to actually do something with the position and superb player that he his Paul found a way to create problems based around the march of his h pawn. When I saw that the Black Queen had invaded near to the White King I even feared Nigel might  lose but the players agreed a draw with Black poised to give perpetual check. 3.0/3.0 .

So it all came down to the Board 7 game. Terry had faced a relatively quiet d4/e3 system from Jeff (Mason) and for a long time the situation looked well balanced to me. Eventually Terry managed to win Jeffs h pawn and a very tricky Knight endgame was reached. I don't think I'll ever forget the look on Terrys face when I showed him the scorecard after he asked me what the situation in the match was with only his game in play. Although Terry was a pawn up there was play all over the board and a further problem was that Terry was about three minutes behind on the clock with about 8 minutes left to Jeffs 11.
Was Terry worried ?- Well he certainly didn't show it as he navigated his way through lots of obstacles and with most of the Marple team barely able to look Jeff resigned with both players having less than than two minutes left and Terrys pawn poised to promote.  4-3.

We had actually won despite being outgraded on every single board and against opposition graded on average 30 points higher than us! I've played competitive chess for 35 years and I can't remember  a more remarkable victory. Many thanks to all our players on what was definitely a night to remember.

One final point which is more important than the chess, at the end of the match every Stockport player shook my hand and congratulated Marple on their victory. In the circumstances I think that was a very classy gesture indeed.


Sunday, 26 October 2014


Thursday saw the second Limit League game this season with a return fixture at the Chess Lounge against Altrincham. The teams were even more closely matched this time with only top board having more than a few points difference in grading.

Not surprisingly Barrie was first to finish and unfortunately it was the wrong result. I didn't see the build-up but his king was mated on the seventh rank by the white queen of Wayne Kranz. I think that was after about half an hour.

Tony Doust (99) was up against David Hughes on board one. I asked him for a brief report and he said “I was rubbish!”. Sorry about that. I'll ask him for a longer one next time. When I pointed out the grading difference he said he should be beating players of 117 so at least that's positive.

My own game against Steve Ward was a close affair but eventually I sensed the opportunity to get a rook to the seventh rank. After 30. d5 cxd5 31. cxd5 Rd6 32. dxe6 (diagram) I was expecting …. Rxd1, I then intended to play 32, exf7 followed by …. Rd8; 33. Nf8 being (I thought) the winning move.    In fact it isn't because …...Nd4+ allows ...Ne6! and I'd be a rook down.


Fortunately my opponent's analysis was the same as mine and he played 32..... Rc8+ which loses. 33. Kxb3 fxe6 34. Rd7 and mate cannot be prevented.

On board 4 Joseph was playing against the very experienced Dennis Osborne and the game was evenly matched.  Joseph had N5p v R2p and Dennis also had a dangerous passed pawn. A quick ending seemed inevitable, surely one player would promote a pawn shortly. However both players refused to push their pawns for fear of losing them and an hour later Joseph seemed about to lose with knight and pawn against a rook. However Joseph played a superb knight fork checking the king and winning the rook, the game and levelling the match at 2-2. Nice one, Joseph - your chess has improved enormously in the last twelve month's.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Marple edge out Denton in Charnley Cup duel

Played at Denton Chess Club last evening -

Marple                V          Denton          Charnley Cup  0.25 Final  22/10/2014

1 A Longson       0-1       S Thestrup
2 A Walton         1-0       J Lysons
3 S Hegarty       0.5/0.5  T Hilton
4 P Kirby            0.5/0.5 G Kolbusz
5 G Trueman      1-0       D Holt
6 C Baker           1-0       D  Boulden


Unavailability of a number of our higher graded players  had made me somewhat concerned about our prospects but on arrival I discovered that Denton were in a similar position and a match between two well balanced sides ensued. (I've since learned that Denton were outgraded on nearly all the boards - sorry GT)

Alan was first to finish , (This is wrong as well, the Board 4 game finished first GT)winning well with the Black pieces. If his opponent had hoped for a quiet life with the Exchange variation against the French then he must have been dissapointed as Alan found a way to create an intriguing position where White had played g4 in front of a very draughty King. I suspect he was forced into a lost endgame in order to prevent Alans attack being overwhelming but it was soon clear his position was hopeless. 1-0.

Board 4 was an interesting match up between Paul and ex-Marpolian legend George Kolbusz who is back in the UK for a few months and living near to Denton Chess Club. George played a QP system with e3 and b3. Although these lines often look quiet Black has to play very carefully in the face of a White Kingside attack, usually based around Ne5.  This Paul did and a drawn Rook ending ensued. 1.5 - 1.5.

Once again Chris played what looked to be a superb game. White played an Anti-Sicilan  line based on Be2 and Chris responded with a very early and interesting Nd4. The game developed into White attacking on the Kingside but Black having very good play in the centre. Once Whites attack failed to break through Chris calmly mopped up and soon White had no alternative but to resign. As usual with Chris' games I'd really like to see the moves. 2.5 - 1.5

My opponent played a very interesting "Hippopotamus" set-up with g6,Bg7,b6,Bb7,c6, and Nd7. I think systems of this type are underrated but they are not easy to play. After Black played ...e5 I was able to arrange de: in circumstances that were advantageous.Rather than sit behind a weak pawn on d6 Dave chose to sacrifice it with d5 hoping for piece activity. It was a reasonable practical try but I was able to reach a double Knight endgame with a sound extra pawn and better central stables for my horses. Subsequently I was able to grind out a win although the game lasted to move 62. We were over the line. 3.5 -1.5.

Alex was embroiled in a heavyweight battle with the highly talented Danish player Sixten Thestrup. Sixten had played the Petroff but Alex seemed to have secured good chances on the Kingside. I didn't see what then happened as Alan was buying me lager in the bar downstairs but when we returned  Alex had resigned and sad to say a long sequence of wins in Stockport League competitions ( the longest ever perhaps?) had come to an end. 3.5 - 2.5

Sarah's game was the last to finish. I had thought she had some advantage against Tims b6 system but it all came down to a frantic time scramble. When I saw Sarah had about 40 seconds left to Tims 2 minutes and what looked a dubious position I feared the worst but Sarah played some very good moves very quickly and suddenly Tim seemed to have no option but to repeat the  position, which he did. 4 -2.

So a good away win, many thanks to all who played. I've just learned our semi-final opponents are Stockport....


Friday, 17 October 2014

Trek to Urmston earns draw for Manchester League Team

Played at Flixton Conservative Club last evening -

Urmston 1      V                   Marple 1      Manchester League Div. 1 16/10/2014

1 P Wheldon          0-1          M Fernandez
2 M Rawlinson     0.5/0.5        I Lentzos
3 M Devis             0-1           S Tranter
4 D Owen              0.5/0.5      G Trueman
5 J Hopkins           0.5/0.5      P Kirby
6 J Reyes               1-0          C Baker
7 J Pendlebury       1-0           A Jenkins

                              3.5: 3.5

Undeterred by illlnesses , heavy traffic and persistent rain we arrived at the well-appointed Flixton Conservative Club for what proved to be a well matched encounter.

Michael played a superb game going right down the main line of a very strong and experienced Sicilian defender. He seemed to retain the initiative throughout and eventually unleashed a very powerful pseudo Bishop sac on h6.In an impossible situation his opponent tried a desperate Bg2: sacrifice of his own hoping for a perpetual check but it was never going to be sufficient and he soon resigned.

Like the writer of these lines Ioannis seems to be getting a lot of Black games at the moment. Here he defended very well against the two Bishops in an endgame where there was lots going on beneath the surface. Eventually White won a pawn on g7 but Ioannis was able to get enough play to hold the draw.

Steve was making his debut for Marple. He played an opening he knows well with great aplomb and to be honest I thought he had won the game outright with a lovely Rook exchange sac on d7. Fair play to his opponent though, he found a superb defence with an unlikely Queen move that forced play into an ending.With B+N+P V R though  Steve was still  winning and he ground down Mr Devis to make a winning

Playing my eleventh Black  in my last fourteen games I faced a deferred c3 system against my Sicilian  from Dennis. Luckily for me we both missed an opportunity for White to win a pawn on move 9. Although Fritz thinks I get enough play for it I certainly wouldn't have been comfortable. Some moves later I missed a chance for a slight edge by breaking up the White centre with f6. After that Dennis accurate moves produced a position where although Black looked okay White had all the opportunities. I was a bit surprised when we agreed to a draw but it may have been Dennis was fed up with being continually coughed at - Sorry

Paul said he thought that he had a slight edge against his opponents Slav system (as indeed I did) but if  it  was there it somehow disappeared into the Flixton air. By the time a draw was agreed the position looked to me to be well balanced.

Chris' opponent John started with a very interesting move 1c3. Although this doesn't look like a try for a big advantage the problem for Black is he can easily find himself defending a position that he doesn't normally play. Julian Hodgson won lots of games with this move in the 70's and 80's and Blacks best course of action is not obvious to me. What Chris responded with was absolutely fine and led to what looked like a levellish middlegame. Unfortunately Chris overlooked a capture on f5 that not only won a vital central pawn but also totally disrupted the Black position. Efficient play from John then ensured  he took the full point.

Andys game was rather cruel. He met his opponents b6 system with play that looked Grandmasterly and eventually reached a position where his opponents Kingside was totally devoid of pawns. Although this looked great for White the more I looked at the position the more I realised Black still had chances if he arranged his pieces well in front of his King - which he did. Andy then played an exchange sac that looked promising but Black found a winning defence. Chess can be a very tough game sometimes.

So honours even in the end. Thanks to all who played/drove, our next Manchester League Div 1 fixture is the little matter of an away trip to play Stockport 1 on the 30th of October.


Friday, 10 October 2014

Not the President's men?



With Jeff sunning himself in Wales and Glenn in his sick-bed, it was my job to arrange the furniture, toss a coin and write a report.

David was first to succumb.  He touched the wrong piece, a rook I think, had to move it and that was that.  Not the start we wanted.  Andy held Tudor to a draw, but Trefor couldn't find a way through Paul's defence and we were two down with two games to play.  However two wins would see us through on board count and this was not impossible.  Tony certainly had winning chances; Chris had a slight advantage.  With both games going to the wire the atmosphere was tense, especially when both Chris and David had less that two minutes on the clock.  David blundered a piece and everything was down to Tony.  Unfortunately he pressed too hard for the win (his words) and had to agree a draw.

Sorry Jeff, but your boys done well.  East Cheshire had brought a strong team.
Marple 2 v 3  East Cheshire
1. Rickards, Tudor   0.5-0.5 Jenkins, J Andy
2.  Baker, Chris EJ     1-0     Taylor, David R
3.  Preen, David W     0-1     Stokes, Alan
4.  Kay, Tony           0.5-0.5  Tait, Bill
5.  Thomas, Trefor      0-1     Bamford, Paul

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


Our "limit" team kicked off the Stockport League season at Altrincham last night with a narrow win.  The evening began with "have you come here for a whipping" to which the reply was "we want to play chess first!"
The two teams were closed matched and both close to the 400 point team limit.  Tony Kay probably became the highest graded player ever to play in this league.  His grade of 120 is the maximum permissible.
My opponent seemed a bit fazed by my 2.  ...Nf6 Sicilian and played 10. Bb5 to pin my Nc6, allowing me to win the Bishop with Qa5+ (his BSB was away on h4).  Unfortunately I left my scoresheet behind and can't analyse any further than that, but he eventually resigned when it was mate next move.  1-0.
On top board Tony Kay and Callum still had all the pieces on the board which was gridlocked.  Tony was trying to attack the queenside-castled black King but was easily repelled and a draw agreed. Peter was playing against young Daniel Clucas, who I presume to be Reg's son, and being Peter was in time trouble.  His flag fell when Daniel had an hour left on his clock.  All square, 1.5-1.5.
By now Tony Doust had a big advantage, 2 rooks and 5 pawns against Knight, Bishop and Rook (and maybe 1 pawn).  Steve played on as long as possible but eventually did the decent thing and let us all go home early.

                  Altrincham       1.5-2.5   Marple
1. McNulty, Callum D   110  0.5-0.5  Kay, Tony      120
2. Douglas, Steve         103    0-1     Dainty, Neil C   99
3. Ward, Stephen W     95      0-1     Doust, Antony   99
4. Clucas, Daniel          60     1-0      Kelly, Peter H   68

Friday, 3 October 2014

Narrow defeat in the Reyner Shield

Marple 1st team played their first Manchester League match  of the season in the Reyner Shield last evening at the Navigation.

Marple 1       V     3C's 2          Reyner Shield  02/10/2014

1 M Fernandez   0-1    J Bentley
2 I Lentzos          0-1    A Lang
3 J Reed              0-1   J Horton
4 G Trueman   0.5/0.5  D James
5 P Kirby        0.5/0.5    J Rita
6 C Baker          1-0      R McLean
7 T Cowling        1-0      J Walton


Don't be fooled by the "2" this was a very strong 3C's team with four players of at least 190 strength. Although we narrowly lost it was a very close affair and I would like to thank every one of our players who all put a tremendous amount effort into their games.

I really saw very little of this match as Dale was keeping me very busy. Michael told me afterwards he was always one tempi behind where he needed to be against the 3C's Captain and Marple Stockport League player John (B) . Ioannis found himself in an impossible  position in the last game to finish as he needed to win as all the tie-breaks favoured the opposition. Adams passed pawns were just too strong though. John (R) made his debut for Marple adding much  needed strength to our squad. I saw very little of the play but  he eventually lost to another  current Marple Stockport League player in Jamie!. My game was one of the luckiest half points I have ever made. Somehow I decided that it was neccessary to have my King in the centre of the board where it was very vulnerable to Dales marauding pieces. With a bad position and ten moves to make in four minutes I had mentally already resigned but I somehow clung on and accepted the  of offer of a draw on move 32 in a position where I suspect Dale still had the  advantage. The configuration of the tables meant Pauls game was the only one I saw much of and it was an epic battle as Paul took on a Grunfeld expert in the main line of the Exchange variation. Ultimately Paul secured a clear advantage but the  resulting B+N V Rook position was always going to be extremely difficult to win as Pauls slightly weak pawns ensured Black counterplay. I wasn't at all surprised when the position boiled down to a drawn Queen ending.
Chris' game was a wonderfully well played thematic Najdorf. Chris has sent the game out and it's well worth playing through. I hope Chris won't mind me saying that there is something quite startling about  seeing someone of his age with the Black pieces taking on and outplaying a well booked  up teenager in arguably the sharpest of all chess openings. I saw nothing at all of Terrys game but he continued his run of fine form with a very quick win.
So a narrow defeat but as the football managers like to say "Plenty of positives to take out of the performance"