Thursday 30 August 2007

Birstall Cup Semi-final

Unfortunately Littlethorpe 2 lost 2.5-2 against Scraptoft Valley, due to the handicap bonus they received. We won comfortably against their two lower boards and only needed a draw from the top two, on which we were in excellent positions. But it all slipped away at the last moment, with blunders from both our players, who complained afterwards of fatigue.

Saturday 18 August 2007


Last Tuesday, the Chairman and Secretary went to the Coventry League's Formation Meeting, the outcome of which, from Littlethorpe's perspective, was satisfactory. We got the three teams in, with A being in Division 1, B being in Division 2 and C in Division 3.

The B and C teams were also entered in their respective Divisional Cups, as it is thought that with only having 9 teams in the Leicestershire League, the pool of players wanting more chess will be large.

There is also a Knock-Out Cup, played on a handicap basis. The A and B teams have both drawn a Woberley team at home, whilst the C team have a trip to Newdigate, a Division 2 side.

Following the conclusion of the Formation Meeting, at which score cards were distributed (differing colours depending whether you are playing at home or away - quaint) the adjourned AGM was completed. This was interesting as two items were up for discussion: consideration of whether if a side has two teams in a Division, some attempt to equalise the strengths of the two sides should be undertaken, and whether admission of teams whose night wasn't Tuesday should be allowed. These were both discussion papers. The former is an issue as Woberley have six sides, the University have five sides and Nuneaton have four sides, in a League (including Littlethorpe) of 24 sides. There was a counterview that instead of penalising sides with more than one team in a Division, the number of Divisions should be increased. The "play on other nights than Tuesday" debate was a modernisers vs "we've always done it this way" debate.

There is clearly a modernising tendency at Committee level in the Coventry League. All power to their elbow!

Saturday 11 August 2007

Littlethorpe 2 Crash out of Harrod Contention

In the match against Melton, the second team went down 5-3, despite a valiant 2/2 from Pete Harrison. Unfortunately, it was one of those nights when it could have been so different, with good positions being generated, but not closed out. To cap it all, at the end of the match, it was noted that Melton's Board 3 (who scored 2/2) had a League assigned Grade of 100, but was ECF graded 116, so that Melton were in actual fact (although not in the eyes of the League) above the 399 cap. The end result is that Melton will play Littlethorpe 1 in Round 5 with the winner (if Littlethorpe 1) taking all, although a Melton victory will lead to three clubs all on 8 points and the dreaded tie-break.

C'est la vie about the grading, as they say. Interestingly, the League have altered a number of grades for the final round, including the man from Melton, and Findleys Senior and Junior. I am slightly bemused by the approach to this action, as surely the new grades ought to be the recently published by the BCF, rather than some slightly arbitrary Leicestershire numbers?

Wednesday 8 August 2007

How not to claim a draw

I had fun on Monday evening when I played Mick Tate in the County Championship. We simplified into an ending where I was a pawn up, but he had a bishop against my knight. Was it enough to win? I wasn't sure, but I was going to flipping well try! We played over 100 moves and it came down to Knight and Rooks Pawn -v- Bishop. I couldnt force a win but I tried to induce a mistake. By this time Mick was shuffling his bishop (ooh err) saying "Its a draw, this is drawn!" Then Micks time ran out (I still had a full minute left!). I didnt claim the win on time, although I could have done and would have got the point because I still had mating material. What should Mick have done? Well, firstly he should have offered me a draw! Stating that a position is drawn is not the same as offering one to your opponent. If I had turned it down, he could have claimed a draw (once he had less than two minutes left to the end, and as long as it was his move). The claim has to be that either the opponent isnt trying to win by normal means (not the case here as I was trying to queen my pawn. This usually applies where your opponent makes aimless moves until your flag falls) or that your opponent cannot win by normal means. That would be Mick's case here because Mick had got his King onto the right square and wasnt going to move it! Where there is no arbiter present (ie league games etc) the draw claim ends the game. Thats it. You send the position and a scoresheet off to the powers that be. If your claim succeeds you get your draw. If not, you lose! Remember, this is not an adjudication. Its not about who would win with best play. Its about what could feasibly happen. A draw claim is unlikely to succeed if there are still lots of bits on the board. But then again, if you're going to lose on time anyway, what is there to lose?!

Sunday 5 August 2007

Hammers pre season at Spinney Hill

Littlethorpe 3 travelled to Spinney Hill for their Harrod cup match 2/08/07
We were outgraded on every board but determind to give it our best.
Littlethorpe ; Board 1. Theory books Findley (80), 2. Stan the man Parsons (78)
3. Laurence the Hammer (63) 4. Captain Pete Arland (60)

Spinney Hill ; Board 1. Karl Potter (110) 2. Brian Slater (99) 3. Michael Garland (96)
4. Stevan Preocanin (92)

Round 1 ...was it really only 30 mins on each clock?...the games were all tough. 1.5 points came from Stan's draw and a win from the Claret n Blue Laurence.
Round 2...equally as tough and seemingly long...once again 1.5 points for Littlethorpe...this time coming from a draw from Findley senior and another win from Laurence (lucky West Ham top).
Final score : Spinney Hill 5 Littlethorpe 3. West Ham 2

Wednesday 1 August 2007

The Ghost of Seasons Past

The boards were set up and the scene set. A Harrod cup match, two club championship ties and a couple of county championshp games were about to be played when in the door walked Frank Weidt! Frank is German lorry driver who played for Littlethorpe for a couple of years before moving to Switzerland last year. Smiles and handshakes all round. Apparently he had been to Leeds and was on his way back to Switzerland. His lorry was parked outside The Plough, although I dont think the residents were too chuffed! He was infamous. Always in time trouble, his post mortem analysis was great. The funniest thing were his sayings. He was often heard to exclaim "un-bee-leee-va-bull" and "fa-king" or, after playing an iffy move when playing blitz "I am a bi-ginn-errr" So it was no surprise when, 20 minutes into play, someones mobile phone started ringing. After a seconds delay Frank grabed his bag and ran for the door, but pushing it instead of pulling he made more noise than the phone itself! And to top it all, he let rip with "fa-king!!" Ah, the memories came flooding back like he'd never been away!