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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

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Result: Denton B vs Marple B 27th January 2016

Denton B

Marple B

1.   Kamil Celinski
Alan Hall
2.   Tim Hilton
Chris Baker
3.   Elhans Imanovs
Terry Cowling
4.   Dave Holt
David Preen
5.   Stan Bradley
Tony Kay
6.   Dave Cook
Tony Doust


Thanks to Chris for standing in as captain, and he and Alan for providing transport. The B team were seriously out-graded particularly at the top end, though I can't find January grades for their boards 1 & 3. so I think this is a respectable result. If anyone would like to share their game, please send it to me.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016


The C team started the year by going top of Division C with an unexpected trouncing of League Leaders Wilmslow.

Picking the team was tricky as this is Wilmslow's first team and I expected we would be seriously out-graded.  In the home game in November we did well with Alan Hall and Chris drawing against Kevin Moran (160) and Colin Mills (147). Martin beat Chris Guffogg (126), but we lost on the bottom two boards. 

We expected to face a similar team last night, as these three have played in nearly every game, and our winning prospects seemed remote when I decided to pick our regular players.  However we arrived at our hosts excellent venue to find different opponents.

Without doubt the best chess of the night was played by Martin, so he was very disappointed to be the only one of us to lose. At one point Kevin declined a draw, but only because Wilmslow were two games down.  Martin then developed a "won position" (Kevin's words) with doubled rook on the C-file and Bishops on d6 and b5.  Hang on a minute an e-mail's just arrived from Martin with a diagram..

r2qrbk1/1b1n1p1p/3Bp1p1/1B1pP3/p2P4/P1R3P1/4QP1P/2R3K1 w - - 0 27

Nope that didn't work....

r2qrbk1/1b1n1p1p/3Bp1p1/1B1pP3/p2P4/P1R3P1/4QP1P/2R3K1 w - - 0 27

(Stop pratting about with that diagram - if they're interested they can work it out from there.  Ed.)

Toby finished first, so I presume he had an easy win, and I had my fourth decent result this year (notice you're not mentioning last year! Ed.).  A mistake by Tony Flynn let my pawn skewer his bishop and queen and he made matters worse by then letting me exchange the Queens. Another mistake, when his position was already lost, allowed me a nice finish.

Tony Kay spent the evening solidly defending against Robin Warhurst, Robin spent the evening looking for something that wasn't there.  His attack collapsed when he ran out of time and Tony won his Queen and the game.

Meanwhile Tony Doust's game had gone to a symmetrical finish; K+7 pawns each with 4v4 on one side and 3v3 on the other.  It looked drawn and it should have been - Tony's King had pushed Mike's King into a corner and Mike had only to repeat moves but failed to do so, the Fox ate some Chickens and a Queen was born.

                                         Wilmslow 1 - 4  Marple C

                                   1. K Moran       1 - 0   M Cutts
                                   2. R Warhurst   0 - 1   T Kay
                                   3.  A Flynn        0 - 1  N Dainty
                                   4.  M Garvin      0 - 1  A Doust
                                   5.  T Horrocks   0 - 1  T Brown

Friday, 22 January 2016

Keep the Holmes Fires Burning

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple A               V      Holmes Chapel   Stockport Lge. Div. One  21/01/16

1 A Longson        1-0       JM Turner
2 A Horton          1-0       P Bennett
3 M Fernandez    1-0      M Hancock
4 G Trueman     0.5/0.5  B Scattergood
5 S Hewitt          0.5/0.5   A Raeburn
6 A Hall               0-1        I Bates


Unfortunately(?) I cannot do my usual type of match report as firstly I don't have a lot of time available and secondly as my game was the last to finish I don't have much idea of what happened on the other boards (You didn't have much idea about what was happening on your own board - Ed).

This match was decided by the immense strength of our top three boards. One bystander reported to me that half way through the evening things didn't look particularly great  on any of them but  all extracted the full point although it was  past 10pm before any of the Holmes Chapel team resigned.

My encounter was a game of three thirds. A quite opening was concluded by Ben allowing my Knight to a very nice square on f5 and placing his Queen in a somewhat precarious position.I then missed two very strong continuations on my 18th and 19th moves, one pointed out to me by Andy H after the game. What I played still led to some advantage until I moved my Bishop to the wrong square on move 35. We then entered a levelish but slightly worse ending for me having R +B+3 against R+N+3. The big problem though was by now I only had about three minutes left against twelve. If we hadn't been playing with ten second increments I would almost certainly have lost but I was able to keep the position secure despite having to play very quickly and Ben agreed to a draw on move 51.

Sean made a welcome return to first team action with a very solid draw against Andy Raeburn. Board six was unfortunate for us as Alan had what looked like a winning position until he fell foul of some Ian Bates wizardry. Ian has a very good score against Marple and sad to say he continued that trend here.

Still a good result against always strong opponents, thanks to all who played. Unusually there are no first team fixtures next week but there are plenty of matches scheduled for February to keep us busy.  

Friday, 15 January 2016

Space Oddity

For those of you tuning in for a breathless report on last evenings Marple 1 V Denton 1 match I'm going to have to disappoint you. The fixture wasn't on the MCF website and consequently Denton were unaware of its existence. We are currently trying to find another date on which to play.

Friday, 8 January 2016


Our C team started off the New Year with a 5-0 win over Altrincham B.  Our opponents had  a weaker team than usual, but you can only beat what's put in front of you, as the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx(previous content unsuitable and redacted.  Ed,).

On top board and last to finish Martin had an excellent win over David Hughes.  Martin writes:

"I played my dismal own-brand Sicilian against David Hughes and developed a cramped position that can lead to disaster. On move 15 he won an important central pawn with a trick a five-year-old should have seen coming, but I turned the tables with pressure on the c file. By move 21 I was winning, and a pair of connected passed pawns finished the job".

Trefor's experience proved to strong for League debutant Vijay Kakarparthi, finishing quite early.

Trefor writes:  I was black.  After  1.e4 e5   2. Nf3 Nf6  3.  Nc3  Nc6,  I thought it was a standard Four Knights, but my opponent played what he said later was a well known gambit, 4. Nxe5.
I took the offered N with 4...N x e5, after which he had a pawn storm with d4, d5, f4, etc.  I weathered the flood of pawns with some concern, and obtained a winning ending. Does anyone know the name of this gambit?"

Like me he was impressed by Tony's game against Wayne Kranz.  Wayne had castled Kingside and Tony Queenside, with Wayne the first to attack.  Tony's Queen was stuck on the h-file defending a pawn which was attacked by Queen and Rook. He then went down the a-file with Rook and Bishop against an exposed King.  Now Tony brought the second Rook over,  then his Queen and this eventually proved decisive.

and Jeff writes:..."I played Steve Douglas for the third time within a year. I drew with black a few weeks ago in the B team match against Altrincham A.

As white I played a Vienna game in the same variation as I had done 11 months ago (I lost that one badly so must have learned from it).  I played for a strong king side attack and I was helped by some inaccurate defending when my opponent allowed his WS bishop to be trapped by pawns.  After that it was a won game, I just needed to avoid traps. After 16 moves I had a massive advantage".

In my own game my resolution to improve my disastrous form was not helped by getting behind on the clock once again.  I was down to six minutes with the initiative but little else when Steve Ward missed the opportunity to unpin his Knight.  I won the Knight with mine and he failed to spot my steed checking him on it's next move, winning a rook and then his Queen.  It was -80.0 (sic) when he resigned.

So a nice finish for me and a nice start for the team.  Happy New Year?  Maybe.

Happy Birthday

Played at the Navigation last evening -

Marple A           V        Macclesfield A  :Stockport Lge Div One : 07/01/2016

1 A Longson    0.5/0.5   R Shaw
2 G Trueman  0.5/0.5   C Sizeland
3 N Livesey        1-0       N Evans
4 A Hall           0.5/0.5    D Risley
5 C Baker           1-0       A Soames
6 D Preen           0-1        P Cattermole


I approached this match with a sense of trepidation. Macclesfield are playing well this season and are top of the league. No less than nine of our  higher graded players were unavailable and we were fielding on paper  the weakest A team we have put out  for several seasons. My one hope was the thought that playing at Chorlton  48 hours earlier might weaken  Macclesfield  and indeed a couple of their best performers were absent.  As I looked at the matchcard though I realised we were certainly up against it. On boards 3-6 the Marple players were outgraded on average by 29 points  ....

Alexs game was the first to finish. Robert plays quiet systems extremely well and in what seemed to be some sort of Nimzo/QID hybrid had what appeared to be a slightly superior Bishop and some chances on the Queenside. Alex's position wasn't much worse  but it was one where Black would find it virtually impossible to play for a win. When Robert offered a draw it was completely understandable why Alex accepted. (0.5/0.5)

Nigel then concluded what was a truly outstanding game which I was fortunate enough to see as I was on the adjacent board. Despite having the Black pieces and being outgraded by 24 points he seemed to be on top from before move ten. Nigels play reminded me of Petrosian as he forced Nick into playing with a terrible dark square Bishop whilst Nigels Knight, not to mention his active Rooks, created all sorts of threats. Soon it was all over ....(1.5/0.5)

Also superb was Chris' play on board 5. He too faced a redoubtable opponent with the Black pieces in Tony Soames who outgraded Chris by 26 points. Tony played a very quiet system presumably hoping that his experience would tell in a positional game.However it was Chris who gave the masterclass, achieving control of the c file and superior positions for all his minor pieces.Ultimately Tony dropped a Knight and resigned but his position was already unpalatable  by that point... (2.5/0.5)

Alan then made sure we couldn't lose the match with a very solid draw against Dave Risley. I suspect Alan may have been slightly disappointed, but he had drawn with a very experienced player graded 162 who has beaten lots of Marple players in past years.  (3.0/1.0)

It wasn't all over though as David lost against Phil Cattermole who has won every game I have seen him play over the last eighteen months. It was an unfortunate loss for David though who played a lovely game lor a long time with an exquisite pawn phalanx on e3,d4,f4 and e5. However Davids Rook became trapped and ultimately he had to resign (3.0/2.0)

My opponent was one of my oldest chess friends in Chris Sizeland. This was however the first time we had played a serious chess game since an Owens Park tournament in I think 1981. That game was a genuine Closed Lopez and last nights encounter morphed into something very similar. Chris has always had a dynamic style and he played very actively not worrying about a weak pawn on d6. In general I think this is the best way for Black to play in the Lopez as it emphasises the one drawback to the White position, namely his retarded development. By move 30 I still hadn't moved my Queens Rook.....Eventually  I won the pawn on d6 but I wasn't surprised to discover this morning that Fritz thinks Black had adequate compensation. I wasn't losing though but did have to be very careful in avoiding several nasty traps. The game was influenced for the last ten or so moves  by the match situation which dictated that Chris had to play to win.Eventually though Chris decided that I had succeeded in defusing the threats and offered a draw. This put me in a slightly difficult situation as I was still a pawn up, However it wasn't  going anywhere soon and even if I did advance it the unopposed light square Bishop could come in to the game. The pragmatic decision was to take the draw,  to win the match..... which was what I did, though I did feel a pang of regret in doing such a thing on of all days Paul Keres 100th birthday........(3.5/2.5)

So a tremendous victory against the odds to start the year. Many thanks to all who played in what I think was one of the best results for a Marple team in recent years.

I'd like to conclude these notes with a small tribute to my alltime chess hero without whom I probably wouldn't be playing chess today.Towards the end of 1977  I developed a very slight interest in chess. I looked in Buxton library to see if they had any chess books. There weren't  many but there was one absolute gem "Grandmaster of Chess :The early years of Paul Keres". I opened it up and was completely entranced. How could anyone not fall in love with Paul Keres?, His honesty and integrity but most of all his magnificent chess playing skills shone through every page. My feelings for Paul Keres have not diminished over the years, in fact they have grown. One of his quotes is the humorous "The older I get the more I value pawns" to which  could  be added -  The older I get the more I value Paul Keres.

Although I do think if the world had been different Keres could  have been world champion even I don't think he was the best player of all time. Perhaps though he was the greatest player of the Black side of 1e4 e5. I am still finding  forgotten Keres masterpieces, this game I discovered a couple of days ago. In case you are wondering the  player of the White pieces is no patzer, he was many times Swiss Champion and at the time this game was played had recently beaten someone called Bobby Fischer ...

White:Dieter Keller Black:Paul Keres Zurich 10/08/1961

1e4 e5 2Nf3 Nc6 3Bc4 Nf6 4d4 ed: 5e5 d5 6Bb5 Ne4 7Nd4 Bd7 8Bc6: bc: 90-0 Be7 10f3 Nc5 11f4 Ne4 12f5 Bc5 13c3 Qe7 14e6 fe: 15Qh5 g6 16fg: 0-0-0 17Be3 hg: 18Qe2 Rh2: 19Qa6 Kb8 20Kh2 Qh4 21Kg1 Rh8 22Rf8 Rf8 23Nd2 Ng3 0-1.