Monday, 26 April 2010

Games from Nottingham

As promised, here are the games:

Round 1 (Fritz gave me several ? for this, not least 26. Kg2 and 28. f4):
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bf5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bd3 Bxd3 7. Qxd3 e6 8. a3 Be7 9. e4 Nb6 10. Nge2 O-O 11. Qg3 Re8 12. h4 N8d7 13. h5 Kh8 14. Nf4 Nf8 15. Nce2 Rc8 16. h6 g6 17. Nh5 Nc4 18. b3 Qa5+ 19. Kf1 e5 20. b4 Qd8 21. Bb2 Nxe4 22. Qe5+ Nf6 23. Nxf6 Bxf6 24. Qf4 Rc7 25. g4 Rd7 26. Kg2 g5 27. Qe4 Ng6 28. f4 gxf4 29. Nxf4 Nxf4+ 30. Qxf4 Bxd4 31. Bxd4+ Rxd4 32. Qe5+ f6 33. Qh5 Rd2+ 34. Kg3 Qd6+ 35. Kh3 Rd3+ 36. Kh4 Qg3# 0-1

Round 2:
1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O c5 8. Be3 cxd4 9. Bxd4 Nc6 10. Be3 e6 11. Ng5 Bxe2 12. Qxe2 Bh6 13. Rad1 d5 14. Bc5 Re8 15. Nh3 Qa5 16. Ba3 dxe4 17. Nb5 Qb6+ 18. Kh1 Red8 19. c3 Nd5 20. Nd4 Nxd4 21. Rxd4 f5 22. g3 Bg7 23. Rd2 Qa5 24. Rfd1 Bxc3 25. bxc3 Qxa3 26. c4 Qc5 27. cxd5 exd5 28. Ng5 Rd6 29. Rc2 Qa5 30. Rdc1 Rad8 31. Rc7 R6d7 32. Ne6 Rxc7 33. Rxc7 Qb6 34. Nxd8 Qxc7 35. Ne6 Qc4 36. Qxc4 dxc4 37. Kg1 c3 38. Nd4 b5 39. Kf2 Kf7 40. Ke2 a6 41. Kd1 Ke7 42. Kc2 Kd6 43. Kxc3 Kd5 44. Ne2 a5 45. a3 Kc5 46. Kb3
b4 47. axb4+ axb4 48. h3 h6 49. g4 h5 1/2-1/2

Round 3 (Fritz rates the end position at around -2.5, so I'm now even more grateful of the half-point!):
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Bd2 Nbd7 5. Nf3 c6 6. Nc3 Bd6 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Bd3 O-O 9. Qc2 Re8 10. e4 dxe4 11. Nxe4 Nxe4 12. Bxe4 Qe7 13. Ne5 Nf8 14. O-O f6 15. Nc4 Bxh2+ 16. Kxh2 Qxe4 17. Qxe4 Rxe4 18. Bc3 b6 19. Rfe1 Rxe1 20. Rxe1 Be6 21. Nd2 Kf7 22. b3 Rd8 23. Ne4 Ng6 24. Bb4 Bd5 25. Nd6+ Kg8 26. g3 a5 27. Ba3 b5 28. Nb7 Rb8 29. Nxa5 b4 30. Bb2 Ra8 31. Nb7 h6 32. Ra1 Nf8 33. Nc5 Ne6 34. Nd3 Rb8 35. f4 g5 36. f5 Nc7 37. Nc5 Re8 1/2-1/2

Round 4 (after 30. e5, I missed 30...Qh1+ 31. Kxg3 Qh3+ 32. Kf4 Qf3#):
1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bc4 Bg4 6. h3 Bxf3 7. Qxf3 e5 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. Bg5 c6 10. O-O O-O 11. Rad1 Qe7 12. Rd2 Nbd7 13. Rfd1 Qc5 14. Bb3 h6 15. Bh4 g5 16. Bg3 Qe7 17. Qf5 Rad8 18. Bxe5 Nxe5 19. Rxd8 Rxd8 20. Rxd8+ Qxd8 21. Qxe5 Qd2 22. Qb8+ Bf8 23. Qxa7 Qe1+ 24. Kh2 Bd6+ 25. g3 g4 26. h4 Nh5 27. Bxf7+ Kxf7 28. Qxb7+ Kg6 29. Qb6 Nxg3 30. e5 Qxe5 31. Kg2 Nf5 32. Qxc6 Nxh4+ 33. Kf1 Kf5 34. Qd7+ Qe6 1/2-1/2

Round 5 (finally, Fritz gives me a ! for my last move of the tournament!):
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Ne4 5. Bh4 h6 6. Nfd2 Qa5 7. f3 Nd6 8. cxd5 Qxd5 9. Bf2 f5 10. Nc3 Qf7 11. e3 g5 12. Qb3 Be6 13. Qc2 Bg7 14. e4 O-O 15. Bd3 Nd7 16. b3 b5 17. e5 Nxe5 18. dxe5 Bxe5 19. Rc1 Kh8 20. Ne2 Qf6 21. Qc5 Rac8 22. Qxe5 1-0

Saturday, 24 April 2010

HA2 Win Last Match of the Season

We asked the Red Admiral if they could play five boards. Stan replied by e-mail:

I think we can accommodate you, so sharpen your wits, you will be crushed by our mighty atoms.
Stan "the man"

I hadn't appreciated that the Red Admiral's first team were also playing at home that night to Ashby - so this had probably been a big ask from me (thanks, guys). There were nine boards being played in the alley.

The first result, in our match, was a win for me against Amber. Amber had played 3...Bd6 in the Ruy Lopez and this helped to hem in her other pieces' development. Rob then managed to go material up against Mick. Ray fell victim of a mating attack from Calvin in the middlegame against his castled king. Haka Father Christmas went a couple of pawns down against Stan and just could not stop them all in their rush for promotion. In John and Andy's game, time was running out and both had their rooks and Queens still on the board and they were lining them up against each other, but John was several pawns ahead. Although Andy faught like crazy - John emerged the victor.

Red Admiral (3 ) Vs Heathcote Arms (2) on 21/4/2010 
Leicestershire Division 5

board 1 Slater, Mick (100) 0-1 (135) Ensor, Rob (White)

board 2 Carter, Andy (100) 0-1 (134) Manger, John (Black)

board 3 Carter, Amber (80) 0-1 (112) Ross, Colin (White)

board 4 Parsons, Stan (83) 1-0 (104) Ricketts, Dave (Black)

board 5 Burton, Calvin (80) 1-0 (90)) Beach, Ray (White)

Score 2 - 3

Well done everyone.

Our performance in the League, this season, was 11 Wins, 2 Draws, and 2 Losses.
Our performance in the Junior League Cup, however, was less impressive at four losses, a draw and no wins - but we can't have everything.

There will be now be an intermission of several weeks before the Summer Cups and County Champs begin, but in the meantime we still have club nights at the Heathcote Arms on Tuesday nights.

See you there,


Monday, 19 April 2010

Nottingham Congress 17th-18th April

As Colin mentioned previously, I played in the Major section (U160) of the Nottingham Congress over the weekend. Being towards the bottom of the pile in terms of grades (30th out of 33 entrants!) my only aim was not to be too embarassed!

The first game started worryingly - after 1.d4 d5 2.c4, my opponent (grade 151) played 2...c6, the Slav Defence, an opening I know rather little about. Nevertheless, things improved greatly and by move 14 I had a storming attack on the kingside. A few moves later things had started to go downhill, as I suffered from having too many(!) options available. After picking the wrong options, I was forced to exchange a knight and bishop, had lost my strong centre, and was quickly mated in short order.

Having lost with the white pieces, I then had black for the second round against a player graded 152. He opened with 1.e4, allowing me to use my new pet opening, the Pirc (1...d6). This was reasonably successful and in the middlegame I was able to win a bishop for two pawns, but a small oversight on my part let him win back a knight for one pawn. This, followed by a quick exchange of rooks and queens led to an endgame consisting of my seven pawns against his four and knight. With both of us in varying degrees of time trouble, the draw was agreed soon after.

My third game was a disaster. With the white pieces I again opened 1.d4, and this time was relieved to see 1...d5 2.c4 e6, a Queen's Gambit Declined. This sense of good fortune was soon passed to my opponent (grade: 154) as a blunder on my part allowed one of my bishops to be pinned against my king. Having since gone over this game again, I'm not entirely sure how I ended up just the solitary pawn down after the dust had settled. Various plans on either side sprang up and failed over the next 10 or so moves, and having won back the pawn but suffering from a great deal of pressure on my a- and b-pawns I gratefully accepted the offer of a draw. (My opponent may have just wanted to go home, as he had already lost his first two games that day and then withdrew from the tournament after this game.)

A haul of 1/3 from the opening day was, I felt, a decent return, having played three players all graded above 150.

The second day started, bright and early (far too early) playing someone more on my level, graded 137. Again I had the black pieces, and again I was able to open with the Pirc. It didn't quite go to plan as well as the previous day, as I carelessly exchanged my white-squared bishop for his kingside knight and allowed his queen on to f3. As I'd already fianchettoed my other bishop he quickly took the opportunity to pin my knight on f6 against my queen. Ultimately the rooks came off the board, as did a knight (mine) and bishop (his), and I found myself two pawns down. A last ditch attack on his king was my only hope and white finally made a mistake, leaving his queen on a7 rather than bringing it into the middle which led to him being forced to sacrifice his remaining bishop for a couple of pawns. At this point I may have missed a forced mate (and I've not yet run it through Fritz), but we agreed a draw was a fair result as, with both of us running short on time, I was two pawns down but had considerable compensation in the form of pressure on his king.

After three consecutive draws I needed half a point in the final round to reach my pre-tournament target of 2/5, so was somewhat miffed to be drawn against a player graded 157, even if I did have white. I opened with 1.d4 for the third time and was again faced with the Slav Defence (I think I may have to read up on it). As if following a trend, things swiftly went downhill and I found myself in quite a poor position with black, in true hypermodern fashion, controlling the centre with his pieces and carefully timed pawn thrusts. Somehow, though, I maintained material equality and then invited a knight sacrifice on e5, giving him two pawns and a considerable positional advantage. However, a few moves later I created and then leapt on the opportunity to force an exchange of queens and a bishop each at which point he promptly resigned, as his compensation for the knight sacrifice would be lost with the queens off the board.

So, an overall result of 2.5/5 having lost just the one game - to a player who ultimately tied 1st with 4/5! I will put the full games on here later this week, once I've let Fritz sneer at them!

Finally, Brandon Clarke tied first in the Open section, also scoring 4/5.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

We Are The Champions

We did it! Heathcote Arms 2 are the champions of Division 5.

We were at home against Melton. Not being sure who would be in Melton's team, we had Graham Booley on standby - but the Melton 150s were not forthcoming, this time. Dave and i could not face the pressure of actually playing, so the board order was: Pete, on board 1, Rob, John, and Ray.

Graham, Dave, and i spectated, as did Melton's Roy Toon.

It was a long time before we had any results, and there were some very stressful moments for the spectators as the advantage appeared to swing from the Heathcote Arms players to Melton and then back again.

The first result was a loss for Pete. A pawn down for most of the game, Pete regained it, but was short of time and there was some serious pressure towards king and queen.

John had been equal on material for most of his game, but with his more actively placed pieces had always looked comfortable.

Ray went up a piece and two pawns very quickly, but then struggled to stay on top as Andrew's pieces attempted to encircle Ray's queen and bishop. For a long time, there was serious danger to Ray's queen near the centre of the board. All razor's edge stuff, but Ray hung on and was able to simplify into a winning endgame. This second win meant that we had at least drawn the match and had taken the division title.

Meanwhile, Rob had lost a piece at one point, but then regained it. There were queens, rooks and pawns on the board at the time control. The queens then came off, and Rob's opponent went a queen's side rook pawn up, but was far shorter on time. With some very precise play, Rob, was able to turn the tables and equalise and then even went a pawn ahead. With the championship having been won, Rob accepted the offer of a draw.

Heathcote Arms (2) Vs Melton (3)
board 1 (black) Harrison, Peter (140) 0-1 (135) Farquharson, Ian
board 2 (white) Ensor, Rob (135) Drawn (138) Cope, Shaun
board 3 (Black) Manger, John (134) 1-0 (107) Smith, Peter
board 4 (White) Beach, Ray (90) 1-0 (80) Keightley, Andrew
Score 2.5 - 1.5

Very well done everyone for this performance and for your performances all season.

This weekend, Rob takes part in the Major Section of the Nottingham Chess Congress. Good Luck!

On Wednesday, 20th April, we are away at the Red Admiral in our last League match.

The Red Admiral and Melton, of course, are still in competition, with each other, for second place and promotion. We are open to bribes.

Summer News
As with last year, we will be entering two Chapman/Birstall Cup teams, 1 team in the Harrod Cup, and 1 team in the Wylie Cup.

There has been no official word on the County Champs yet, but i hear that it will be held at Wigston.

The Atkins will be run from 1st to 3rd October.

Once again, well done everyone.


Thursday, 8 April 2010

George Winterton Easter Challenge

Last night saw the first George Winterton Easter Challenge. The competition was between the Red Admiral and the Heathcote Arms and was held at the Red Admiral. This was a pairs competition with no conferring. Rules were similar to the Harrod Cup. So, one game with the white pieces and one with the black pieces - 30 minutes on the clock for each game, giving players up to 2 hours of chess. The George Winterton Perpetual Trophy was one of George's own divisional champion trophies from the 1980's - we intend to play the Red Admiral for this trophy every Easter. There were more Red Admiral players than Heathcote Arms players, so they lent us Calvin. Stan was around too. Stan sorted out some provisions for half time and acted as arbiter.

First Round

Red Admiral Vs Heathcote Arms

(Board 1) Andy Johnson & Barney Thomas (0-1) Mike Cowley & Rob Ensor
(Board 2)  Andy Carter & Mick Slater (1-0) Ray Beach & Colin Ross
(Board 3) Amber Carter & David Watson (1-0) Daniel Ross & Calvin Burton

Mike and Rob's telepathy seemed to be working. Ray and I went up a central pawn in the Ruy Lopez, but we then lost the pawn advantage and then our flag dropped. Daniel and Calvin also came out worse.

Score 2-1 at half time.

Second Round

Red Admiral Vs Heathcote Arms

(Board 1) Andy Johnson & Barney Thomas (1-0) Mike Cowley & Rob Ensor
(Board 2) Andy Carter & Mick Slater (1-0) Ray Beach & Colin Ross
(Board 3) Amber Carter & David Watson (Draw) Daniel Ross & Calvin Burton

Daniel and Calvin drew, but with two rooks on the seventh, had been unlucky not to win.
Mike and Rob's telepathy was not quite so good in their second game. They were in a worse position than their opponents and then lost on time.
On board two, history repeated itself as Ray and i went a pawn up, ran into time trouble and lost only seconds from victory with a passed rook pawn and nothing but fresh air between it and the eighth rank.

Final Score Red Admiral 3.5 - 1.5 Heathcote Arms

Thank you to everyone at the Red Admiral for an excellent evening.
To be continued next Easter at our place.

Next Tuesday, HA2 play an important home match against Melton.

The Heathcote Arms Expects!


Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter Chess Friendly

The Heathcote Arms and Red Admiral are having a friendly pairs competition at the Red Admiral on Wednesday 7th April at 7.30PM. Please come along if you can - it should be a fun evening.