Friday, 28 March 2014

Leamington League Individual Lightning Tournament

Just a reminder that the above tournament (actually Blitz - 5 mins per player - rather than Lightning, despite the title) will be held at Solihull on Wednesday April 23rd. Although it is run as one big Swiss (8 rounds if I remember right), there are usually two sections for prize purposes - an Open and an Under-140.

I seem to recall that last year I was the only Kenilworth player to take part, so it would be nice to have some company this time round!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

English Rapidplay Championship

Just a quick post to mention that I am planning on going to this event on the weekend of the 29th/30th March:

English Rapidplay Championship

After all, if I can score almost 50% against Nick whenever we play blitz games on a Thursday, it naturally follows I should be a shoe in for some nice prize money here. I've been to the venue in High Wycmobe before so I know it is a good place to play, and it makes a change from slow play chess being the only competitive variety I usually take part in.

Anyway, advertisement over. If anyone else thinks they might be interested in going, do let me know.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Another Crucial Win for the A Team

The A team edged home 2.5-1.5 against defending champions Olton A last night, to take a clear 2 point lead at the top of Division 1. Olton have been somewhat off the pace most of the season, but they are still a formidable team, and it was a great effort to take the two points. While the team was completing the double over our extremely likeable rivals, Paul was completing his own seasonal double over Phil Holt with a  terrific counter-attacking win. After cleverly negating a dangerous looking white initiative out of the opening, he played some precise moves to register a surprisingly quick win.

Andy finished next on Board 3, with a draw against Richard Smith, in a game where - yet again - he seemed to play a strategically brilliant game that unfortunately included a number of tactical errors, which should have led to his demise. Thankfully his luck was in again!

Carl then secured the victory, beating Mark Cundy on bottom board. He had launched a dangerous looking attack against the Black King, which went to the queenside in a Dutch type defence, but the climax passed me by completely, I'm afraid, as I was busy being comprehensively outplayed by Alan Lloyd on Board 2, and was pleased to have an excuse to resign at the time control after my team mates had clinched the match.

So two more important points and we remain in the running for our first league title in over twenty five years.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

We're Going To Wember-leeee!

Or in our case, Leamington (I think) on Tuesday May 6th for the final of the Open KO Cup. On Monday we edged through our semi-final by beating Shirley on board count after a 2.5-2.5 draw. With a number of our first choice players missing and a C team match on the same evening, this was always going to be a test of our squad strength, and thankfully we were - just! - up to the task.

The games finished very symmetrically in reverse board order. On 5, Stuart was thrown in at the deep end and would have been giving away about 30 grading points - if he possessed a grade! He persisted in his liking, recently seen at The Royal Oak, for following the discredited example of the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard against Paul Morphy, and while an opening calamity was avoided - something the aristocrats couldn't manage! - he eventually went down after a tough struggle.

On Board 4, Dave was under some pressure in the early middle game on the white side of an Alekhine, but neutralised the Black initiative to secure a draw around the first time control.

On 3, Phil had a very scrappy game against Dave Thomas, and although his d-pawn eventually fell off, somehow he got a white rook entombed on h7. There was no way to win it, but it was enough to hold the balance.

Joshua, meanwhile, had been playing a manic game on Board 2. Thinking that Phil was losing, he took massive risks to play for a win, and at one stage I feared the worst when Black's rooks were checking him all over the a, b and c files. But as long as it wasn't mate, he had many threats of his own on the king side, and once Phil had agreed a draw he quickly calmed the position down and secured the draw himself.

So this meant that a win on top board would give us the match. Fortunately, I actually managed to play a reasonable game against Keith Ingram - something that seemed unlikely on the evidence of my efforts at the Warwickshire Open over the previous two days - emerging from the opening with an extra pawn, and soon acquiring another. Eventually we got down to Rook plus g and h pawns against a lone Rook, and though my technique wasn't 100% perfect (understatement) it is basically impossible not to win this eventually, and when Keith left mate in 2, it enabled me to bring proceedings to an earlier close.

So we will be playing Olton or Daventry in the final, and will obviously need to have everyone available to stand any chance of victory, so A team players please make sure you keep May 6th free in your diaries. And who knows - the U-700 team are contesting their semi-final tomorrow (Thursday), so we may actually need to have 10 players that night, if they prevail against Stratford!