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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.

Thursday, 14 July 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 13 May 2016

Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back

Played at the Navigation last evening -

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 6 May 2016

Double Fantasy

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple                 V         Macclesfield     Charnley Cup Final   05/05/2016

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


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

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

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Macclesfield B vs Marple B: Monday 25th April 2016

Also played at the Queens Hotel Macclesfield last Monday evening -

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

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


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

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

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


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Manic Monday

Played at the Queens Hotel Macclesfield last evening -

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

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


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

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

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

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

Friday, 22 April 2016

Lets Go Crazy

Played at the Navigation last evening -

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

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


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

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

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Close thing at Altrincham

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

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

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

Altrincham B 3 - 2 Marple C

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 1 April 2016

Reelin' In The Years

Played at the Navigation last evening -

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 18 March 2016

Love Minus Zero

Played at the Navigation last evening -

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

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


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

Thursday, 17 March 2016

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

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

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


Stockport go through to the final on board elimination.

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

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

Friday, 11 March 2016


Played at Holmes Chapel chess club last evening -

Holmes Chapel            V  Marple A  : Stockport Lge Div One: 10/03/2016

1 J Turner           0.5/0.5  I Craft
2 P Bennett             1-0    G Trueman
3 B Scattergood      1-0    A Hall
4 A Raeburn        0.5/0.5  C Baker
5 I Bates                 1-0      T Cowling
6 M Roberts        0 .5/0.5  J Barlow


In the Stockport League at least we have been defying chess gravity for some time now. It had to end at some point and we came down to earth with a bump in South Cheshire. Given the fact that we were outgraded on five of the six boards this is the kind of result you would expect. However it could have been different as there were good draws for Jeff, Chris and Isaac whilst Alan and Terry were both unfortunate to lose.
This result opens up the title race and I would appeal to all our higher graded players if they can to try and be available for our remaining fixtures.
A sincere thanks to all who made the long journey and to Neil for allowing his B team to be depleted, which meant we had two under strength teams competing at the same time. At least everyone who played at Holmes Chapel is now familiar with the soundtrack of "The Revenant"!.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Running Up That Hill

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple 1           V     Urmston 1         : Manchester League Div One   : 03/03/2016

1 I Craft           1-0         S Jones
2 G Trueman   0.5/0.5   D McCarthy
3 A Hall            0.5/0.5   D Owen
4 C Baker         0-1         J Pendlebury
5 T Cowling     0-1         J Hopkins
6 D Preen         1-0  P Shaughnessy
7 T Brown        0.5/0.5   M Davis


I haven't got time to write much of a match report but given that we were very short of high graded players this was a very creditable draw, especially since we were outgraded on virtually every board.
There were great wins for Isaac and David and added to three solid draws, including Toby in what I think was his first team debut,  this enabled us to garner 3.5 points.
A very big thanks to all who played, I know that some of you rearranged things to enable us to get any team out at all.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Longson!

I'm sure everyone at Marple Chess Club would like to join me in congratulating Sarah & Alex on their new marital status. We wish them every happiness as they embark on their life together.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Keep on Running

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple A                V        E Cheshire A    : Stockport Lge Div One:   25/02/2016

1 M Fernandez    0.5/0.5   S Tranter 
2 J Bentley             1-0       J Reed
3 G Trueman       0.5/0.5   G Brindle
4 S Hewitt              1-0       DR Taylor
5 A Hall                  0-1       T Rickards
6 C Baker              0.5/0.5  B Tait


It's been really difficult fielding strong or indeed any teams in the last few weeks. That is not a criticism, people lead very busy lives, and yet again we were a long way short of optimum strength. There were lots of genuine and interesting reasons why people couldn't make this match, some of them very romantic.
However I knew this meant we would be in for a very tough battle against East Cheshire despite their place in the League table and so it proved.

It was a long time before any of the games finished. Finally Sean broke the deadlock with a very positional game concluded with a nice Knight fork. A very fine effort considering that at 4pm Sean was in London!.(1-0).

In the battle of the Johns on board two, John Bentley finally secured a win in a dry looking ending by creating an unstoppable Rook invasion on d6. I watched this game in detail and John came up with a series of very accurate moves in a position a lot of players would have given up as drawn. A good result as we all know how strong John Reed is. (2-0).

So 2-0 felt good but it didn't look particularly  great on any of the other four boards. My game was a typical evening chess game played at fast time limits. Geoff played the Colle-Zukertort system against me. I think this is an ideal system for the amateur chess player. White conducts the game on his own terms and there are a lot of Blacks, your correspondent included, that don't really know which system to play against it is best. Play was very accurate for the first 20 moves or so and then Geoff allowed me to win the exchange. He did get a pawn for it and as it was a protected passed pawn on c5  always had some play. I then made the classic error of trying to exchange pieces prematurely and totally overlooked a powerful Queen  incursion to f5. Geoff picked up a second pawn and with his powerful Knight ready to enter the fray I was really on the ropes. There was a long sequence whereby White could have picked up a third pawn but fortunately for me neither player saw it. What Geoff played still gave him some advantage but it wasn't very clear and with his clock down to the last couple of minutes he offered me a draw. (2.5-0.5).

A few minutes later East Cheshire reduced the deficit when Alan lost to Tudor. I didn't see much of the game but Tudor seemed to be doing the pressing. As we know only too well at Marple,  on his day Tudor is capable of beating anyone and I hope Alan is not too down hearted at this rare loss in what has been an exceptional first season playing for the club. By the way I should also perhaps point out that Tudor easily has the longest Wikipedia entry for anyone playing in the Stockport League! (2.5-1.5).

On Board Six Chris had been struggling for a long time. He was forced into a Rook ending a pawn down and I thought he was in severe danger of losing. Excellent technique however forcing Bills Rook into a somewhat passive position proved to be enough to secure the half point. We had at least drawn the match. (3-2).

Board One was an epic encounter between two exceptional chess players. Steve grabbed a pawn on g7 with his Queen which at first glance looked very dangerous. However it became clear that Black had perhaps more problems with a King that in Seans words looked somewhat "loose". It all boiled down to a advantageous Rook ending for Steve with an extra pawn. Steves  play in these type of positions is computeresque and the very best Michael could achieve was a position  with no pawns where he had just a Rook against a Queen. Some may think this is an easy win, it's not if the defender finds the best moves, and by now both players were playing on 10 second increments. This situation does have the potential to become "awkward" and I have to commend both on their sporting attitude. Could Michael hold out for 50 moves? His King ran up and down  the board like a demented yo-yo, whilst finding incredible stalemate resources. With a FIDE arbiter on hand to keep score finally Steve with very  good grace agreed that  50 moves had been made and shook hands on the draw. (3.5-2.5).

So somehow we had won. The year is still young but we have already won three matches by the narrowest possible margin. In the Stockport League at least, Caissa is smiling on us. Many thanks to all who played/drove/helped set up the equipment.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Match Result

Played at Chorlton Chess Club - 09 February

Chorlton A           V   Marple A     Stockport League Division One

1 H Mkhumba    0-1      A Longson
2 P Macklin        1-0      A Horton
3 R Doney            0-1     I Craft
4 D Knox             0-1     S Hegarty
5 D Owen          0.5/0.5  S Hewitt
6 S Foulkes         1-0      A Hall


I wasn't able to play in this match so thanks to Alex for standing in as Captain. This was a very good result as Chorlton, particularly at home are always a difficult opponent.

Friday, 5 February 2016

All Together Now

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple 1              V      Chorlton 1      : Reyner Shield:    04/02/2016

1 A Longson        1-0       H Mkkumba
2 M Fernandez    1-0       M Carpenter
3 S Hegarty       0.5/0.5    P Macklin
4 G Trueman      1-0        R Doney
5 N Livesey       0.5/0.5    D Lee
6 A Hall             0.5/0.5    S Foulkes
7 D Preen            1-0        P Harnett


As the teams lined up prior to kick off in this important Manchester Cup match I made Chorlton slight favourites. Although our top three boards were extremely strong Chorlton have tremendous strength in depth as shown by the fact that their board 5 player has a grade of 177.
Things started well when Michael won very quickly with the Black pieces on board two. I was taken aback somewhat as I had looked at the position a few minutes earlier and didn't know who was better......(1-0)
Nigel was outgraded by nearly thirty points but you would never have known it from looking at his game. Both sides played very solidly in a quiet position and a draw resulted. (1.5- 0.5).
In my game Ron postponed development in favour of what did look like a potentially dangerous Kingside attack. I really had to defend accurately and in doing so fell a long way behind on the clock. That didn't matter though as once Ron retreated and the centre turned Black the game became very easy to play. (2.5- 0.5).
David then won what seemed to be a very interesting game on board seven. The pawn balance seemed to change quite often and I would be very interested to see the moves. We were almost there. (3.5 - 0.5).
Sarah took us over the line. I suspect you would have to travel a long way to see a stronger board three club match game than Miss Hegarty against Mr Macklin. Paul has only just returned to competitive chess after a few years absence, my recollection is of him having a grade around 210. Sarah took the initiative and eventually won a pawn. The Bishops of opposite colours were a strong drawing factor though and putting the team first Sarah agreed to the draw that ensured we won the match. (4 - 1).
Alan played extremely well with the Black pieces against Stan. A double Rook ending resulted that looked drawish to me. Given the match situation Stan had to play on but he never looked like getting anywhere and when the players agreed a draw  it may have been that Stan had overplayed his hand, although for Alan to try to win would  have been very risky with little time left. This was a good result for Alan against a highly graded opponent.  (4.5 - 1.5)
Alexs game had seen a blocked position for a long time. Amusingly all the White pawns were on light squares and all the Black pawns on dark ones. Alex seemed to be calling the shots though with a breakthrough on the Kingside always a possibility. Eventually something must have gone wrong for Hope and true to style Alex concluded the evenings entertainment with not one but two completely sound Knight "sacs" on the g5 square. (5.5 - 1.5).
This was a terrific result against strong opposition and a match in which everyone played a significant part.  Thanks to all including Louise for her unpaid chauffeuring services.

Friday, 29 January 2016

3 C's at the Navi

We welcomed 3C's for this re-arrange fixture knowing their fourth team would include some strong players.  Unfortunately they arrived with only six players, but had young Robert McLean (age 14) on top board.  He hadn't done well against us this season losing to Terry in October and (surprisingly quickly) to Paul in November.   Nevertheless his grade has just gone up to 163!  Robert created early pressure against Alan's queenside castling with Queen and Rook lined up against the d6 pawn.  Alan defended resolutely but at the expense of the clock.  When they went into a rook and few pawns end-game the flag fell with Robert left with 55 minutes.

On second board it was Becky who had time trouble.  Chris had the initiative for most of the game and she had a scramble to play about five quick moves to meet the time control, but did so without weakening her position.  They got down to five minutes each then Chris moved  his queen too quickly (too Dainty-like you might say) allowing a knight fork with check.  "Crikey" was heard as Chris resigned.

Next door Kevin Ye (age 11) was constantly pressing Terry (age unknown) who wasn't really troubled despite some clever tactics.  Terry had played his favoured defence, but a wrong move order led to pressure on f7. Eventually Kevin broke through kingside and won the exchange.  However after playing a wrong rook move he allowed Terry a forced mate with Queen, Knight and Pawn rather than lose his Queen.

David's game against Ahmed Abbas had looked drawn for a long time.  Ahmed had only declined a early draw offer as his team were losing two-nil at the time.  Eventually they went into an endgame with Ahmed having Queen and six pawns against Queen and five.  When the Queens came off I couldn't see how the four kingside pawns could break-through David's three but they did. And that was that.

Martin had drawn with John Walton early on, not being able to find a win with Knight and seven pawns against Bishop and six.  And Tony had won even earlier when Tony Ashton had gained a pawn early on -  but then went on to lose "Queens and things!"  "Not easy to play Chess in January if your an accountant working twenty hours a day on Tax Returns" he told us later.

So the match was drawn, but only because of a defaulted game.

                                             MARPLE        3.5 - 3.5      3C's 4

                                          1.  Alan Hall          0 - 1      Robert McLean
                                          2.  Chris Baker       0 - 1      Becky Kerton
                                          3.  Terry Cowling  1 - 0       Kevin Ye
                                          4.  David Preen      0 - 1      Ahmed Abbas
                                          5.  Martin Cutts   0.5 - 0.5  John Walton
                                          6.  Tony Doust       1 - 0     Tony Ashton
                                          7.  Neil Dainty        1 - 0      No One