Tuesday, 25 February 2014

He's Done It Again!!

Another weekend, another tournament victory for Roy Watson - this time shared first at the West Bromwich e2e4 Congress, in the Minor:-

1st= Allen, Timothy S Battersea 4pts
1st= Simpson, Derek Berkhamsted 4pts
1st= Watson, Roy G Kenilworth 4pts
1st= Merry, John D Salford 4pts

The RGW bandwagon now rolls on to the Warwickshire Congress this weekend. Good luck Roy - and to the other club members who are taking part.

Kenilworth B vs Stratford B (24/02/2014)

Another B team match this Monday, before we have a one month gap ahead of our final fixture. Dave was still away on his travels, and Phil came in to replace Stuart for this game, so once again we failed to field the same team two games in a row (one chance left to manage it). Without any further ado, on to the games.

4) Nick Mottram vs Daid Bowie - This game shocked me as, for the first time I have seen him play, Nick actually put his pawns and pieces somewhere near the centre of the board. By the time he had pawns on e4 and d4, knights on c3 and f3 and bishops on d3 and e3, I was convinced it was an imposter. The game was a great success for the new classical Nick, who won a pawn and then swiftly converted into a winning rook endgame, which he converted thanks to a strong pair of connected past pawns.

Kenilworth B 1 - Stratford B 0

3) Brian Eastgate vs Rajen Parekh - This started as a London System/Queen's Indian hybrid and, thanks to the extremely solid systems used by both sides, an entirely level position emerged with seemingly not much play. Things livened up however, when, after both sides has castled kingside, an exchange of pawns left a completely open g file. Fortunately, black was in a better position to exploit this, getting his rooks into position first, leading to some nice material winning tactics (okay, a cheap knight fork) which decided the game.

Kenilworth B 2 - Stratford B 0

2) Phil Wood vs Philip Bennett - This was a tricky game to understand, both for some of the moves played and the way the result didn't seem to match the way the game was going. It started off as a fairly standard looking Catalan, except white neglected to play c4, seemingly reducing the pressure on black's position considerably. Once c4 finally came, transposing into what must have been a favourable line of the closed Catalan, white then immediately pushed c5 next move, removing the tension and giving away a lot of the advantage. White remained better, however, thanks to a very out of place black knight on a7, which had no way to get back into the game. Phil carefully converted this advantage into an endgame where he was playing with a good knight against a very bad bishop, but to my great surprise (and his) this position turned out not to be winning. His opponent had managed to get one pawn off the colour of his bishop, and this provided just enough space and counterplay to hold on for a draw.

Kenilworth B 2.5 - Stratford B 0.5

1) Steve Henderson vs Joshua Pink - This was a ridiculous game. I think it is fair to say any game that begins with the moves 1.e4 c6 2.d3 d5 3. Nd2 h5 should be consigned to the dustbin without much further consideration. Suffice to say, I made an entirely unsound pawn sacrifice on move 7, spent the next forty moves desperately trying to attack to justify this decision, until finally my opponent made a mistake in time trouble and I was able to break through. I would show the whole game but I feel it would only depress people.

Final score: Kenilworth B 3.5 - Stratford B 0.5

This now makes it three wins in a row, an excellent recovery after the way we were playing earlier in the season. It also means I have won every single game since I started putting the results on this website, so that is obviously providing motivation to get good results, if not to actually play good chess. One game left for us now this season, and if we win that it should guarantee us a respectable 4th place in the table.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Important Win for Kenilworth A

Another important victory for the 'A' team on Monday Feb 17th, this time by 3-1 against fellow title challengers Daventry. The win saw us go back to the top of the table on game points ahead of Shirley A - and with a match in hand.

On Board 1, Paul played an excellent game against the league's highest rated player, Chris Ross, and after neutralising white's kingside attack with a well-timed f5 move, he took the initiative on the queen side, won a pawn and transposed to a winning queen and rook ending. Unfortunately, just when the victory was within grasp he went wrong in time pressure and had to settle for a draw.

I played Steve Willetts on Board 2 and had obtained no advantage at all after about 30 moves. Then, with a draw well in sight, Steve transposed into a difficult double rook ending, when he could possibly have kept the balance by keeping a knight each on the board. All of a sudden the black pawns became sitting ducks for white's rampaging rooks and when the dust cleared white had a rook and three connected passed pawns against a lone rook. 1-0 to us.

Andy played  a very strange game on Board 3, which I completely failed to understand at any time. First he was a pawn up with a very shaky king position; then he was a pawn down with a chance to tuck his king away to safety and have bundles of compensation, and then his king was in dire trouble and he was stone cold lost. Luckily, at the crucial moment his opponent captured the wrong way on d5 and had to take a draw by perpetual instead of delivering mate. The words of the Duke of Wellington come to mind .... it was indeed a d***** close run thing!

Phil had set the scoreboard rolling on Board 4 when he continued his return to form by winning another curious game against Tim Lawson. In what I thought was a pretty level rook and knight ending, Tim rather inexplicable sacrificed the exchange, for what looked like minimal compensation. Phil had a massive passed kingside pawn, and Black's king was cut off in the middle of the board by the white rook on the f-file, and it was soon 1-0 to Phil.

So a crucial win, and another boost to our points difference, which may be crucial in the final reckoning.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Shirley C vs Kenilworth B (17/02/2014)

Another Monday and another trek into the wilderness that is the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, this time to the fine town of Wythall, home of Shirley Chess club. Due to Dave choosing to spend his time gallivanting around in North America rather than playing chess in the Midlands (I will never understand some people), the B team kept up its proud tradition of not managing to field the same team for two games in a row all season. I'll go through the match from board 1 to 4, since that is the order the games finished in.

1) Joshua Pink vs Gordon Christie - This started as a c3 Sicilian but very quickly transposed to a French defence type position where my opponent had castled kingside. Here my hatred of and contempt for the French took over and I decided that rather than castling or bothering to develop my pieces, I would simply start an incredibly crude attack by playing g4-g5-g6. These sorts of attacks really shouldn't work and I'm sure there was some way to diffuse it and gain a good position. However, my opponent didn't find it, ended up in a very ugly position, then blundered; losing material and the game. 1-0 in 16 moves and 30 minutes, so a relaxing evening was in store for me, watching developments in the rest of the games.

Shirley C 0 - Kenilworth B 1

2) Peter McGuirk vs Rajen Parekh - This game started with a French defence (seriously, why does everyone play the French, it is a terrible opening) and Rajen got just what you deserve for playing it, losing a pawn early on and ending up with a very ugly position. Around the time control, the game just looked strategically lost with white having two rooks and a well posted knight, and black two rooks and a light squared bishop entirely trapped behind its pawn chain. However, with white trying to win too quickly, a clever tactical swindle enabled black to push his c and d pawns further and further down the board, eventually costing white a whole rook to stop a promotion, and prompting resignation.

Shirley C 0 - Kenilworth B 2

3) Nick Mottran vs Chris Pitt - A very interesting opening occurred in this game, the Ulvestad Variation of the Two Knights defence (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 b5), where black offers a pawn to try and get his light squared bishop quickly on to the long diagonal. He will then usually push his kingside pawns and try to mate white when he castles on that side. Probably wisely for someone who didn't know the theory, Nick declined the gambit, resulting in a very equal and almost entirely symmetrical position (the only imbalance begin white having a knight to black's bishop). After some manouevring a draw was agreed, with each side's pieces tied down to defence, so no progress could be made.

Shirley C 0.5 - Kenilworth B 2.5

4) Kim Gilbert vs Stuart Blaiklock - With Stuart once again generously volunteering (being volunteered) to play for the B team, the game began with an extremely turgid opening, with black beginning passively and giving white the opportunity to seize space in the centre, which he in turn declined by playing conservatively himself, leaving a balanced position without much play. Neither player appeared to have a clear middlegame plan, but unfortunately after some manoeuvring Stuart managed to trap his own knight, dropping a piece and leaving me to write the game off as lost. However, at this point he sprang to life, launching a kingside attack which won back the piece and, even though his opponent was still two pawns ahead, forced him to accept a draw by perpetual check

Final score: Shirley C 1 - Kenilworth B 3

A second win in a row for the first time this season, and the continuation of Stuart's journey towards captaincy of the A team in 2015.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Roy Watson - The Unstoppable Force!!

Roy became the second Kenilworth player (after Joshua) to win a weekend tournament in 2014, when he scored an impressive outright first in the Under 120 tournament at Frodsham (Cheshire). A really excellent performance.

Frodsham Under 120 (55 players; 7-9 Feb, 2014)

1st Roy Watson (Kenilworth) 4.5.
2nd= Tim Allen (Battersea), Paul Broderick (Newport, Shropshire),
Colin Gardiner (Newmarket), Chris Volk (No Club) 4.

This follows a shared second place at the Shropshire Congress in January - he's on fire!

Can this really be the same man who completely forgot to recapture a piece in a recent B team match? Apparently it can.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

'A' Team Back to Winning Ways

The 'A' Team had an excellent 3.5-0.5 win last night away to Olton B, who had inflicted our only defeat of the season (so far!) back in November. As a result of this victory, we have returned to the top of the Division 1 table - for the time being, at least.

On Board 1, Paul gave us our normal scare by running his clock down to the wire, and though things got slightly random in the time scramble, he still delivered the fairly emphatic checkmate that his strong opening and middle game play always threatened. On Board 2, I won shortly after the time control when, already a passed c-pawn down, Gary Hope got his rook trapped which cost him the exchange. Or at least it should have, but in trying to extricate the rook he managed to lose first a bishop and then a whole rook as well.

Carl arrived late and left early after a draw on Board 3 with Rob Reynolds. Carl had an initiative on the king side and hopes of a win if he could prise open the h-file, but his opponent was having none of it and defused the attack to leave a balanced position. Finally, Phil emerged from a potentially difficult situation on Board 4, where Richard Reynolds had two bishops and some mighty-looking connected pawns, to somehow win two pieces for a rook and then successfully blockade the white pawns before getting his own passed pawn moving to seal the victory.

The grades of the Olton B team were confined within a spread of just 5 grading points, and there was a difference of only 1 point between Boards 1 and 4. This must be some kind of record!?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Kenilworth B vs Shirley B (03/02/2014)

I thought people might be interested in how the match went, so I've decided I'll write a short and uninteresting report about it. I'm hoping this will motivate other team captains (or suitably community minded members of their teams) to do likewise, though perhaps without the uninteresting modifier. So, we had a home match against Shirley yesterday, which was composed of two very distinct sections, with sensible chess occurring on boards 2 and 3 with complete nonsense on 1 and 4. I’ll go through the boards in reverse order:
4) Roy Watson vs. Eric Ward. This began as a standard enough Nimzo-Indian defence, before Roy delivered a stunning novelty on about move 7, where after his opponent played Bxc3, rather than capture back with either the Queen on c2 or the pawn on b2, he instead played Bd2. Any hope this may have been a brilliant strategic move was dashed by the look on Roy’s face about 15 minutes later when he finally realised he was down a piece. Further desperate sacrifices followed in a vain attempt to generate an attack, but under the weight of a huge material deficit, Roy was forced to resign.
Kenilworth B 0 – Shirley B 1
3) Frank Jimenez – Rajen Parekh. The opening was a Labourdonnais (2.f4) French, which soon developed into a standard looking French position, but with the light squared bishops exchanged and a white pawn on d3 rather than d4, both develops that I believe favour black. Sure enough, after some strategic manoeuvring and both sides creating dangerous past pawns, black was able to win a piece with a dominant position. Only the ever present threat of serious time trouble was concerning me at this stage, but my fears proved unfounded, as Rajen delivered mate with an unusually comfortable (for him) 37 seconds left on the clock.
Kenilworth B 1 – Shirley B 1
2) Dave Shurrock – Louis Rawson. A mainline Scandinavian, with both players seemingly happy to settle for a quiet position. Three pairs of minor pieces were swapped off early on, which combined with a relatively fixed pawn structure meant white’s nominal advantage of bishop against knight was worth very little, and a draw was soon agreed. Probably the most correctly played game of the night, but not the most exciting to watch.
Kenilworth B 1.5 – Shirley B 1.5
1) John Freeman – Joshua Pink. A relatively standard game of mine. I grabbed a pawn in the opening, then proceeded to ignore my opponent building up a massive mating attack on the kingside. Fortunately, just in the nick of time, my brain switched back on, I was able to wriggle out of the position into a drawish endgame, where I was eventually able to grind down my opponent through the sheer tedium of my moves. For anyone interested in seeing just how much I for some reason ignored by opponent’s build up, and how ropey things were getting, the full game is below.
Final score: Kenilworth B 2.5 – Shirley B 1.5
A first victory since the opening game of the season on September the 5th, so congratulations to the team, and a prescription for a greater dose of concentration for Roy and myself.