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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.