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Friday, 27 March 2015

Subterranean Homesick Blues

Played at Bolton Chess Club last evening -

Bolton 1             V         Marple 1      Mcr. Lge. Div 1      26/03/2015

1 A Tyton          0-1       D Fernandez
2 H Lamb         0.5/0.5  M Fernandez
3 A Gardner       0-1      I Craft
4 N Barnaby     0.5/0.5  G Trueman
5 J Clissold        1-0       A Jenkins
6 I Lamb             1-0       C Baker
7 R Middleton    1-0       J Barlow


Your correspondent has flu and was not even cognizant of events at his own board never mind anyone elses, so I cannot offer my usual type of report.......
But I would like to say a big thanks to the Marple players who made the effort to travel to Bolton and particularly to (a) Daniel for offering his services at a particularly difficult time when it looked like we might not field a full team  (b) Michael for playing when he too was very unwell and (c) Chris for giving lifts to several of our players.
We have now lost our last four matches in this league, three by the frustrating 4-3 scoreline, and currently stand one point above relegation. Our next match in this competition is at Marple on the 9th of April. I would be very appreciative if our higher graded players could try and be available.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

A hard days night in Heywood

Played at Heywood Chess Club last evening -

Heywood 1       V          Marple 1   -    Mcr Lge Div 1   - 11/03/2015

1 D Rabbitte    0-1         M Fernandez 
2 M Mazek      1-0         I Lentzos
3 M Hamer      1-0         I Craft
4 L Rabbitte   0.5/0.5     J Reed
5 N Jayawarna 1-0         G Trueman
6 B O'Rourke 0.5/0.5     P Kirby
7 D Almon        0-1          A Jenkins

For the second week running Marple faced a lengthy journey to play a chess match, this time in the Manchester League but sad to say we went down to a strong Heywood side.

I didnt see much of the games as I was being kept very busy. Ioannis game was a relatively quiet Slav that burst into life. On one of my rare excursions to look  I saw that Marek had found a very impressive mating attack and it was game over.  (0-1).

John seeemed to be a tad worse against  Liam Rabitte throughout but very resilient defence saw the position burn out to equality. As an indicator of the Heywood teams strength Liam on board 4 has a grade of 189. (0.5 - 1.5).

By contast my opponent had a grade of "only" 156. However he is only 11 years old. I had been warned in advance just how strong a player Nugith is and I think I would have had  to  have played at my very best to have any chance against him. Instead I gave a performance akin to the England cricket team against Bangladesh. I did suceed in making him think but having to play his last twelve moves in  seven minutes didn't phase Nugith at all. Once the time control  was reached my only choice was whether to lose my King or Queen. Having come this far it seemed churlish to resign so I became the second Marple player of the evening  to have his King publicly executed.  (0.5 -2.5)

Isaac lost to a strong player who I have played alongside in the 4NCL in the past in Martyn Hamer. Isaac seemed to be calling the shots early on in the topical early Nc3 line against the Alekhine. Somehow it went wrong and in the car on the way home Isaac and me both tried and failed to pinpoint what had  happened. BTW can anyone help Isaac download Houdini or similar so he can check his games against computer analysis?  Anyway the score was now (0.5 - 3.5)..

And we were clearly struggling. Andy produced a good win in what looked like a fluctuating struggle where I was a bit alarmed by Andys isolated doubled f pawns...but he did get his Rook to g1. Andy tells me that his opponent went pawn grabbing and allowed the creation of a very strong passed pawn which ultimately cost Dave a piece. Although the game went on for some time it was really just a matter of technique for an experienced player like Andy. (1.5 - 3.5)

Meanwhile on Board 1 Michael ploughed on  against Dominic Rabbitte  and showed his great strength by creating winning chances from what had looked  to me like a drawish position. Suddenly Dominics King was on the wrong square and like a preying kestrel Michael swooped (2.5 -3.5)

So we were theoretically back in the game  but Paul had no winning chances against Bill O'Rourke. I had thought Paul was on top early on as Bills King had been forced to go a wandering but he fought back and finally a B v N ending was reached with Paul (who had the Knight) a pawn down. Perhaps there was a way to progress but Paul produced one of his amazing escapological acts which I have seen before, despite having virtually no time left. Eventually a drawn position was reached (3.0 - 4.0)

So a narrow loss in the end but we are now in a position of really needing to pick up some points in this league if we are to avoid relegation. As always many thanks to all who played or drove.


Sunday, 8 March 2015

Another first for Daniel and an equal first for Keith...

Yesterday Daniel became the first Marple member to take  part in the varsity match. Daniel didn't seem to think the game was of high quality but I think it's a great example of how to play the Kings Indian Defence against a player who is really going for it. Is it the best game Daniel has ever played wearing a suit?

White: David Pires Tavares Martins (Oxford) Black: Daniel Fernandez (Cambridge) 07/03/2015

1d4 Nf6 2c4 g6 3Nc3 Bg7 4e4 0-0 5f4 c5 6d5 d6 7Bd3 e6 8de: fe: 9Nf3 a6 100-0 Nc6 11Qe1 Nh5 (A big improvement on the moves I have listed as being played here) 12Ng5 b5 13Be3 Nb4 14Rd1 h6 15Nh3 e5 16f5 gf: 17Bb1 f4 18Bc5 Bh3: 19Qe2 Qg5 20Bb4 f3 21Rf3 Rf3 22Qf3 Bg4 23Qd3 Nf4 24Qg3 Bd1: 25Qg5: hg: 26Nd1: bc: 27g3 Rb8 28a3 Nd3 29Bd3 cd: 30Kf2 Kf7 31Bd6: Rh8 32Ke3 g4 33Bc5 Rh2 34Kd3 Bh6 35Bf2 Bc1 36Ke2 Ke6 37a4 Rh7 38Kd3 Rd7+ 39Kc2 Bg5 40be1 Rd4 41Nc3 Bh6 42b3 Bg5 43a5 Bd8 44Bf2 Rd7 45b4 Rf7 46Be1 Kd6 47Nd5 Bg5 48Kd3 Kc6 49Ke2 Rf3 50Bf2 Ra3 51Be1 Rf3 52Bf2 Kb5 53Be1 Rf7 54Bc3 Be7 55Be5 Bb4 56Bf4 Ba5 57Kd3 Rd7 58Kd4 Be1 59Ke5 a5 60Ke6 Ra7 61Kf5 a4 62e5 Kc6 63Be7 Ra5 0-1.

On Wednesday John Turner said that Michaels play reminded him of Tony Miles. I have always thought that Daniel attacks like Alekhine.

It should also be pointed out that another member of the Cambridge team has played for Marple - Jean-Luc Weller who played for us in the summer league last year.

News from today included Keith coming equal first in one of  the most prestigous weekend tournaments in the North of England by scoring 4.5/5 at Blackpool.

Saturday, 7 March 2015


Our Limit League team travelled to Macclesfield on Monday as league leaders to face strong opposition.  Peter Kelly was due to stand in for team regular Trefor but had to withdraw at the last minute, so we had only three players.

That meant  we started 1-0 down with only three boards to play and we were out-graded by more than ten points on the top two boards.  Tony's game finished early in what he described as a French Rubinstein which lived down to it's reputation, a dullish draw.  On board three Martin showed that he is quickly remembering the skills of his schooldays and that his estimated grade is much too low.  Playing against Brian Woodhall,  Martin launched a Queenside attack and gave up a Knight for two pawns.  He then sacked his Queen in order to promote two pawns, ending up a rook ahead.  He described it as "a bit scary!".   Martin now has five wins and two draws in seven SDCL matches.

That left me on top board against Tom Robson.  Tom has been playing about four years and has quickly improved his grade; it's now 118 (the Limit is 120).  Unfortunately neither of  us played  consistently well.  After twenty moves I was lost - Fritz says -10!  The position was quite complicated (for us anyway) and we were both chasing the opposing King.  The trouble was my pursuit was frivolous.  Tom blundered and the game was level and then I managed to get a losing position again.  Eventually I realised I needed my Queen to defend; I withdrew it and should have swopped it but in the style of Barry I refused to let her go.  Nevertheless with very little time on my clock, I won a rook and was about to queen an outside pawn when Tom resigned.

The result  means Marple have won the Limit League and it's only early March!  We have had a consistent team all season, so thanks to Joseph, Martin, Tony and Trefor all of whom have played winning chess!  WELL DONE TEAM!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Young (and some not so young) Lions lead Marple to Victory

Played at Holmes Chapel Chess Club last evening -

Holmes Chapel       V      Marple A     Stockport Lge. Div.1   05/03/2015

1 JLB Blackburn   1-0     A Horton
2 JM Turner       0.5/0.5 M Fernandez
3 P Bennett            0-1      I Lentzos
4 M Hancock        0-1       I Craft
5 B Scattergood     0-1      G Trueman
6 I Bates                0-1      N Livesey


With several of our stalwarts unavailable I was worried as to  how strong a team we would be able to field . Fortunately enough of our higher graded players were able to make it to one of our remotest away fixtures to  ensure we would be very competitive against what is always high calibre opposition.

The evening didn't start too well as I inadvertently took Isaac on a tour of South Manchester in an attempt to find Andys house. This and heavy traffic wasn't able to prevent us arriving at HC for 7.30.As I wrote the team down on the scoresheet I wondered - "With an average age of 17 - Was this the youngest top four boards Marple have ever fielded?".

Ioannis was the first to finish. Faced with an Alekhine Defence he seemed to almost effortlessly secure an advantage.My own game meant I really didn't see much of this encounter and before I was aware of what was really happening Ioannis had won. Since I have great respect for Pats play, to defeat him in under two hours play was some achievement - and of course a great start for  us (1-0).

My opponent was the rapidly improving Ben Scattergood. This was the first time we have met but I have sat on adjacent boards to him enough times in matches and congresses to know that he can be a very difficult opponent. I particularly didn't fancy taking on his French Defence and so decided to try a Parsnip Attack (Copyright Mike Bigham c.1986). This proved to be a good choice as Ben went clearly wrong on move 11 allowing me to win a pawn and have a strong central position as well. Ben threw further fuel on the fire in an attempt  to create play but as long as I played with caution it wasn't going to be enough and I was able to secure resignation by move 30 (2-0).

I was particularly grateful to Michael for turning out on Board 2. Michael had been very unwell the day before and was still clearly suffering. John Turner is not perhaps the opponent you would want in such circumstances. Here he played what I believe is known as the "Apocalypse Attack" which features a very early Ne5 against the Caro-Kann.I had seen John use this line to defeat Adam Tyton (for many years a Caro expert) in under 20 moves in a County match before Christmas , so I was a little concerned. A very murky middlegame ensued after Michael  castled long to create an interesting position where John seemed to have play on the Queenside  but Michael had chances on the half open g file. I don't think either player wanted a draw but eventually the  situation clarified  to a position where neither side could make any progress (2.5-0.5).

Andys game was next to finish. This was a real heavyweight tussle between two very strong players. Finally Andys strength seemed to be telling as he won a pawn and had Bishop V Knight in a situation where the Knight was glumly placed on the a file. The big problem was Andy had no time left and was playing on ten second increments, which is at times virtually impossible to do. I didn't see what happened at the end but Andy lost on time, which was very unfortunate and undeserved. I may be a Luddite but part of me still yearns for the days when we played 30/75 + 12/30 and adjourned after three hours play. Holmes Chapel were back in the match (2.5 - 1.5)....

But only for  about sixty seconds as Isaac' opponent resigned to take us over the line. These two players had met when we played at Marple. Then Isaac won a very bloody struggle in a Kings Gambit. This time Mr Hancock tried the relatively calmer waters of a Scotch. Isaac seemed to know the intricacies of this variation  better than his opponent and exited the opening with a clear advantage. According to Isaac he then let Michael back into the game somewhat but was still able to win the Rook ending. (3.5 - 1.5).

The last game to finish was Nigels. This was a very interesting French with...Nc6 in a line that I think they have battled over before. From what I saw Nigel always seemed to be a bit better though he was forced into what was a promising exchange sacrifice on f3. After the smoke cleared it became apparent that only Nigel had winning chances but it wouldn't be easy and eventually the notorious ending of Rook +Pawn V Rook was reached. Unfortunately for Ian his King was cut off and Nigel demonstrated excellent technique to bring home the full point. (4.5 - 1.5).

So a very good victory against strong opponents. Many thanks to all who played/ drove, much appreciated by me.

A final note - subject to League approval the Charnley Cup Final will be Holmes Chapel V Marple (at HC) on the 7th  of May. I'm sure there's something else happening that day but I can't think what it is?