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Thursday, 25 October 2018

United we fall!

Our trip to Chorlton was off to bad start, we could only muster six players.  Paul made his own way there and the rest of us travelled together.  And travel we did!

Everything was going well until we tried to exit the M60 and Princess Parkway was at a standstill.  We stayed on the motorway and someone remembered United were at home, chaos!  Each exit was the same and we found ourselves on the 602.  A trip round a housing estate didn't help; we knew there was a reason no one else tried it.  We eventually arrived just after 8pm to find Paul well into his game and our clocks running.  About twelve minutes gone I think.

Anyway we got on with it.  I sat down to play against Alan Beresford (130, although he wrote 138 on my scoresheet) who asked me my grade.  He asked me again when I ignored him.  I was quite happy to tell him (100) in the hope he would think he was in for an easy night.  Anyway I managed to play a very reasonable Bb5+ opening and get a decent position.  I had a space advantage with all Alan's pieces on the back two ranks.  As the game went on though Alan gradually freed his position and built an attack on the f-file which saw him win an exchange and a pawn.  So I went into a fairly hopeless endgame but managed to hold on and find a couple of resources which frustrated his rooks.  A fairly feeble attempt at a trick saw me check with his rook forked by my bishop, but  protected by one of my pawns.  I tried to find the right time to move my pawn but when I did Alan only had to move his rook.  He didn't leaving me with bishop and pawn against three pawns which were going nowhere.  A draw was soon agreed.  In Tony's words "a great fightback".

Next to me, board three was looking a bit bare and Tony Kay (132) seemed in trouble.  His game with Daniel Otto (126) finished early so I shoved a message in front of him "Report please".  So the following comments are his.  He had blundered in the middle game, losing a piece and the position.

Paul (149) and Paul Harnett (134) had a knife-edge position  in the late middle game but the Chorlton Paul got a passed-pawn and was about to force a queen sacrifice or pawn promotion when the game ended,

On board 2 Chris Baker (137) had a tough battle with Graham Phythian (129) but Graham's strong pawn centre forced the win.  Meanwhile David Preen (109) ha an interesting end-game with Hooman Eskandari (127).  With the black pieces David had connected passed pawns and knight, while Hooman had 3 isolated pawns and Bishop.  Good play by both players ended with the game drawn.

On board 6, Tony Doust (89) faced Howard Hughes (125) and Tony lost a piece in a tough endgame.  Howard's two bishops won the day.

So a six one defeat left us free to go and join the even more unhappy United supporters now clogging the roads of Chorlton once more.

Friday, 8 June 2018


My fan club has requested that I revitalise the blog which has been idle since February, so here is my latest attempt to explain the brain processes of lower level chess!

In fact my game has improved considerably since January after a disastrous run.  I realised my loss of form was due to turning up for matches with no study since the last match.  Changing this has resulted in a run of sixteen games with a grade averaging 119 and including a win against last night's opponent Bill McCartney.  In that game Bill played the Alekhine Defence which you may be surprised to learn I have never faced before in my short career, a mere 299 games.  Things are different at this level.

So I arrived knowing what do against the Alekhine in case I faced Bill again.  I did, but we won the toss and I had black.  However without a game for some time and only just back from two weeks in Cornwall I was nearly back to my old ways, as you will see!

1. e4 c5 2. Bc4 Nc6 3. d3 e6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. f4 d5 6. Bb3 {I considered dxe4
here with a view to swopping queens and preventing him castling, but convinced
myself that I might end up with doubled isolated c pawns.  In fact dxe4 was the best
move} Bd7 7. e5 {so now my knight can only run home.  After some thought I
found....} d4 8. exf6 dxc3 9. bxc3 Qxf6 10. Bd2 Bd6 11. Ne2 Qh4+ {quite
pleased with this move, g3 is forced and leaves the king open} 12. g3 Qf6 13.
Rb1 O-O {queenside castling would have allowed h4 then h5} 14. c4 Rfd8 (14...
e5 15. Ba4 exf4 16. O-O f3) 15. Nc3 Qe7 16. Ne4 Bc7 17. Qh5 {after this I was
too concerned with preventing Ng5 (which is harmless) and didn't even see Qxc5.
If I had I might not have missed what I'm just about to miss!} f6 18. Bc3 Rf8
19. O-O Be8 20. Qxc5  {Diagram [#]} {missing the easily spotted Bb6! at
which point Bill might well have immediately resigned} Qxc5+ 21. Nxc5 Bb6 22. d4
Bxc5 23. dxc5 Rc8 {I offered a draw here} 24. Ba4 Rf7 25. Rfd1 Rfc7 26. Rd6 Bd7
$4 27. Rbd1 Rd8 28. Bxc6 Bxc6 29. Ba5 {and now I convinced myself I was
totally lost when in fact it's only +0.83!  Rxd6 is the obvious move I missed.}


Sorry that should have said "CUP RUN OVER" and it also should have said "before it started!"

Neither club fielded as strong a team as they would like in last night's Alan Yarker cup match.  Altrincham however had newcomer David Soares on top board, graded 206! Paul gave him a tough game and was an exchange up, but told me he was up against a fantastic chess player. I can't tell you much about the other games but a report of how I missed an easy win will be on here shortly.  I think I'm right in saying that Neil Dee, Tony and Chris all thought they had winning chances at some point. Anyway well done Altrincham and good luck in the semi-final.

07/06/2018 Marple 0.5-5.5 Altrincham

Kirby, Paul 0-1 Soares, Danilo V

Baker, Chris EJ 0-1 Lane, Anthony J

Preen, David W 0.5-0.5 Lowe, Nick

Dainty, Neil C 0-1 McCartney, William

Doust, Antony 0-1 Tomkins, Tom

Dee, Neil 0-1
Davies, J Michael

Friday, 9 February 2018


Instead it will be Marple in the final of the President's Cup, after a 4-2 win in the semi-final last night.

Marple fielded a strong team and were always favourites to win since the average grading difference was a massive thirty five points.  But Sale didn't half put up a fight.  The only comfortable victory was on board 5 where Terry quickly used his white pieces to get an early space advantage. He then had his queen backed up with a rook on the half-open C file.  Qxc6 not only won a pawn, but also forked the bishop on c7 and the rook on a8.  He was soon an exchange and two pawns up, the pawns became united passed pawns and the game was over.

Meanwhile Neil Oddie was playing a great game against Paul; he had his queen on the open g-file with a rook alongside pointing at Paul's king.  Paul managed to defend without much problem but with bishops attacking both f1 and f8, neither player could progress.  Drawn.

At this stage it was far from over.  A drawn match would be decided by bottom board elimination and our only win was on 5.

On 2, John Hennessy seemed to have a reasonable position, albeit with an isolated queen's pawn, but next time I looked Alan had won a piece.  John defended resolutely but Alan gradually improved his position and converted.

Andy wasn't having things his own way either.  Gary Jackson had played his favoured King's Indian Defence so Andy pushed his  h-pawn; Gary played h4 to block, and calmly took on g4 when the chance arose.  The h-file was now open but Andy couldn't make progress.  Next Gary had queen on a1, pinning the b1 knight against the king on c1.  Gary threatened a mating attack but Andy saw this off without any problem.  With position and material level Gary offered a draw. Andy asked if he could accept but at this stage we needed the comfort of another point, so I asked "Can you win it?"
"No!"  Draw agreed.

Meanwhile on 4 Andy Parry was also making our player work hard.  This was the last game to finish
but eventually Chris's experience and endgame technique lead to another win.

So well done both teams, but a fine fighting performance from Sale who, as always, were great company.  Marple now wait for the winners of Monday's match between Stockport and Wilmslow.