English County Chess Championships
Warwickshire Vs Greater Manchester (13/10/07)
I thought I might put a national English event report here since I just spent about two hours typing it. Hope you enjoy the read.
After contacting almost every player in the county with a grade over 150, the squad was finally complete late on Friday night. Everybody managed to find the venue in time but also, found manchester had not slacked in getting their strong players out and outgraded us on 12 of the 16 boards. The scoreline is perhaps not quite an accurate reflection of how close a match it really was and, with a couple of games going our way, could well have been in Warwickshires favour.
Having won the coin toss by a skillful new coin flipping ability of the captain we chose (or, rather, were forced) to have white on odd boards.
Hopefully, the next time we will face them with a stronger side and give them the kicking that they are long overdue.
Board 1: Tony Hynes Vs David Hulmes
Tony Kicked off with an old favourite, the kings gambit. His opponent, feeling that discretion was the better part of valour, played it safe and returned the pawn and gained a fairly easy to play position with a slightly weak e6 pawn which tony attempted to exploit but to no avail and the position eventually petered out to a draw.
Board 2: John Pitcher Vs Adam Ashton
After a slightly unusual sicillian opening, John found himself with a major lack of space and looking like he might be on the receiving end of a quick loss. He fought hard and defended well, eventually reaching a rook endgame a pawn down. After some innacurate play by his opponent, John looked quite likely to snatch a draw. Sadly, this was not to be as one lost tempo eventually cost him the game at a late stage in the match.
Board 3: Tristan Cox Vs Lucas Van Der Linden
Last time we faced manchester, Lucas was playing board 1 for them and was beaten fairly soundly by Nick Thomas so was looking for his revenge this time.
Unfortunately for him, Tristan played a fine attacking game and showed why the bishop pair has such a fearsome reputation by means of a massed attack on the best target of them all - his opponents king! Although the game was eventually decided by flagfall, Tristan was clearly winning in the final position and his game is given below.
Tristan Cox Vs Lucas Van Der linden.
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e6 4.g3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6. o-o Be7 7.Re1 Ne4 8.d4 Nxc3 9.bxc3 Be4 10.Bh3 Bxf3 11.exf3 Nc6 12.d5 Na5 13.f4 o-o 14.f5 exf5 15. Bxf5 Bf6 16. Qd3 g6 17. Be4 d6 18. f4 Re8 19. h4 Qe7 20. Bd2 Qf8 21. Rf1 Qg7 22. f5 Re7 23. Kg2 Rae8 24. Rae1 gxf5 25. Rxf5 Re5 26.Rf4 Bd8 27. Ref1 Rf8 28. Bf5 h5 29. Kh3 Be7 30. g4 Kh8 31. gxh5 Rg8 32. Rg4 Qe8 33. Rfg1 Rxg4 34. Rxg4 Bf6 35. h6 Re8 36. h7 Bg7 37. h5 Qe7 38. h6 Be5 39.Qf3 1-0
Board 4: Chris Shephard Vs Alan Walton
A kings indian game where, at some point, Chris got on the back foot and never quite managed to recover. He fought on bravely for a long time but, eventually, there were just too many threats and his king fell.
Board 5: Keith Escott Vs Dale James
The opening seemed to be an Alekhine type position, where Keith got on top very quickly and took control of the centre and was able to put his opponent under serious pressure with his two bishops. Unfortunately, at about the point his opponent was an exchange down and looked quite likely to lose he lashed out strongly, creating a wildly complicated position and costing Keith his Queen for a rook and bishop. This looked like it might be sufficient compensation for the queen but a mating net was quickly spun, using the remaining rook and queen against the lone king, and proved decisive.
Board 6: Andy Baruch Vs Richard Beach
Another Alekhines defence game, this time with white playing a much more positional game, eventully ending up with a tricky Knight endgame for Andy to overcome. Unfortunately, his opponent forced an exchange of knights and used his queenside pawn majority to force a winning position.
Board 7: Pablo Padilla Vs Ali Jaunooby
This was, by far, the most exciting game of the day. A closed sicillian game suddenly erupted with tactical complications on the kingside and both players had to play extremely accurately to avoid an outright loss on almost every move from then onwards. For a while Pablo looked in serious trouble, but was able to regain his lost material and reached an unbalenced position of rook vs knight and bishop. Play then centered around a pawn which Pablo had managed to push as far as h7, one wrong move from his opponent would have been all it took to break through and win. In the later stages of the game, the pressure on black was slowly released and pablo was forced to give up a rook for a bishop, leaving him with a position where he was a piece down but with only one pawn left on the board. The bishop was duely sacrificed and the game took a new twist, could Jaunooby pull off a knight and bishop mate with only minutes left on his clock and a crowd of spectators adding extra pressure to the game? Unfortunately, for us, the answer was yes and this exciting game was finally given closure.
Board 8: Keith Ingram Vs Mike Surtees
I am sure I am not the only one who thought Keiths opponent looked remarkably like the infamous Bobby Fischer... perhaps he has assumed a new identity and returned to active play?
The opening was a slightly strage e4 type of game, featuring an early b4 by white. This gave great initiative on the queenside and, although keith looked at one point to have wethered the storm and was ready to push his passed pawns, the fact they were not connected left them just too weak and they were picked off one by one. Eventually a tricky endgame position came to be where Keith was a pawn down but with all the pawns being on the kingside, hopes were high that a draw might be on the cards. Again, however, fate was against us and another rook endgame went the way of manchester.
Board 9: Alan Lloyd Vs Graham Burton
I felt I may have made a mistake by playing Alan so low down the board order as he took his opponent down with clinical preciscion using the English. Doubled pawns on the queenside left alan effectively a pawn up and, coupled with both his bishops, queen and extra pawn all bearing down on the enemy king we secured a full point.
Board 10: Kaiser Malik Vs Andy Reeve
Another English game ( I hope the English does not become too fashionable as it is not a favourite of mine to face as black) where Kaiser sensibly held his forces back and waited to get his chance of a pawn break in the centre. This eventually came with good initiative and Kaiser looked to be getting on top of the game when, out of the blue, his opponent sacrificed his queen for a knight and rook. This actually turned out to be an extremely good positional sacrifice with the queen unable to penetrate the white position and, although Kaiser managed to swap it back and win an exchange the damage had already been done and white had emerged three pawns up which proved to be too much for the rook to hold back.
Board 11: Dani Malik Vs Michael Duke
Dani played his specialty, the c3 sicillian, and got a huge space advantage. His opponent managed to castle and then place a knight on f8, presumibly heeding the saying that you cant be mated with a knight on f8. In this case, the rules were well and truely broken as Dani smashed his way through on h7 with a bishop sacrifice and then got queen and rook lined up on the open h file. His opponent looked to have a resource to save himself from the impending mate and keep his piece but, by a clever manouvering of his remaining knight, Dani closed all the holes the king had to flee to and got a well deserved mate. This game is also given below.
Dani Malik Vs Michal Duke
1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.cxd4 Nc6 6. Nf3 d6 7.Bc4 Nb6 8.Bb3 d5 9. Nh4 e6 10.Nf3 Nd7 11. o-o Be7 12. Nc3 o-o 13. Bc2 Re8 14. Re1 Nf8 15. g3 Bd7 16. h4 a6 17. Kg2 Rc8 18. Ng5 b5 19. Bxh7+ Nxh7 20. Qh5 Nxg5 21. hxg5 g6 22. Qh4 Bf8 23. Nd1 Qb6 24. Ne3 Bg7 25. Rd1 Kf8 26. Ng4 Ke7 27. Qh7 Rg8 28. Nf6 Bxf6 29. gxf6+ Kf8 30. Bh6+ 1-0
Board 12: Bob Wildig Vs Mick Norris
As the opposing captain, Mick was probably more concerned with what was going on in the other games and played sensibly but never looked to trouble Bob too much in a slav exchange variation, the game being agreed a draw quite early on in the day.
Board 13: Martin Smyth Vs Marcial Flores
This was a game where control of the position shifted greatly between black and white throughout the duration of the afternoon.
A slightly suspect opening by black was met by sensible play by martin and, soon, a position arose which closely resembled a french defence but with a black knight on c6 (not where it should be) and a weak h pawn. martin was quick to mobilise his forces and win this straggling pawn but suddenly his opponent struck back with a piece sacrifice on e5 and martin found himself compelled to return the piece just to reach an equal position with slightly better pawn structures for white.
A long series of manouvering followed the sharp exchanges of the early game, and martin managed to exchange off his opponents knight, spotting that the remaining bishop was very weak.
After this, the moves seemed to flow very freely, with white first winning a pawn and finally forcing a position where black would lose a piece and the game.
Board 14: Joey Stewart Vs Dave Newell
Playing for a win with black is difficult, but when your opponent plays d4 and f4 early in the opening, it is made harder then ever. Whites threats of a kingside attack were parried without incident, but in doing so, the position and material balence became so level that a win was out of the question and I had to settle for a draw.
Board 15: Jim Gee Vs Mick Connor
Jim got out of the opening well, inflicting a majorly weak c pawn on his opponent with no significant weaknesses of...