Saturday 24 September 2011

Minor Section Of The County Championship

At Wigston on Thursday, Ray & I played each other in the sixth round of the Minor Section. At the beginning of the evening, the situation was that I had 2/4 and Ray had 3/4 with two rounds to go. There was a chance that Ray could still catch Roy Lathwood who had a perfect record, but still has to play Ray.

I checked my games database and I hadn’t played Ray competitively, although we know each other well from casual games on club nights. When Ray and I met up to travel to Wigston, the sainted Mrs B. reminded us “boys” we shouldn’t fall out whatever the result.

Cue the music – Dum, dum, dummm…. Dum, dum, dummm. (That Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”, in case you can’t beat the intro.)

Slightly naughtily (and completely falsely), I had suggested to Raymondov on the way I had spent the day studying openings against e4, but he didn’t fall for that and opened e4 anyway. I tried playing the Silician, on the basis that a symmetrical game would be grist to Ray’s mill. As at the Swallow Inn last time out, this wasn’t frankly a success and in a handful of moves that fine judge Fritz has White more than a pawn up. Then Ray blundered on move 17 when he gifted me a bishop, although his move immediately follows a Black move that is also granted the imfamous??. At this point, an audience has assembled – there were only a very small number of games going on and Messrs Manger & Ross both appeared to watch how it isn’t done – I assume that they were in need of a laugh, and there was no comedy on the telly.
On move 22, Ray got the piece back as a result of him spotting my Bishop was overloaded. Following this, my King came under a serious assault, and the situation looks dire. (Evoke Churchillian rhetoric – We will never surrender…) Fortunately, once again, some scrambling defence allows me to hold out, and then on move 28 Ray blundered again and allowed me to skewer his Rook against his Queen with my Bishop. At that point Ray had some time left, but got so engrossed in trying to find a solution that he allowed his clock to run down, enabling a win on time to be claimed.

I think truthfully Ray had a bit of an off-night, and the chess maxim that the winner is the player who makes the second last blunder applied here in spades.

The result means that Roy Lathwood is the winner of the Minor section, as he now can’t be caught. Ray & Roy still have to play, and theoretically I need to arrange a game with the Elusive Mr. Wyld, who didn’t show up (again) for his game with Paul Martin.

Below is the game with Fritz added notation and comments, although I have removed some of the variations.

Beach, Ray - Ricketts, Dave [B50]Leicestershire County Championships Minor Section Rd 6 Wigston, 22.09.2011B50: Sicilian: 2...d6, Miscellaneous 1.e2-e4 c7-c5 2.Nb1-c3 d7-d6 3.Ng1-f3 g7-g6 “last book move” 4.Bf1-c4 e7-e6 5.0-0 Bf8-g7 6.d2-d4 Bc8-d7 7.Bc1-f4 Qd8-c7? At this point Fritz notes “Black is behind in development.” As Basil Fawlty would say this is a statement of the bleeding obvious! 8.Rf1-e1 c5xd4 9.Nc3-b5 Bd7xb5 10.Bc4xb5+ Nb8-c6 11.e4-e5 0-0-0 12.e5xd6+- Qc7-b6 13.Qd1-d3 Ng8-f6 14.Nf3-g5 Rh8-f8 15.a2-a4 h7-h6 16.Ng5-e4 g6-g5?? [16...Nf6xe4 17.Re1xe4 e6-e5+/=] 17.Bf4-e5?? “throws away the game [17.a4-a5 finishes off the opponent]” 17...Nc6xe5-+ 18.Qd3-a3 Nf6xe4 19.Re1xe4 Rd8xd6 [19...Qb6xd6 “seems even better” 20.Qa3-g3-+] 20.Ra1-d1 [20.Ra1-e1 “doesn't get the cat off the tree” – A real Fritzism (presumably this a a literal translation of a German phrase for getting out of the guano) 20...Ne5-g6-+] 20...a7-a5 [20...Rf8-d8!? “and Black can already relax”] 21.Rd1-e1 [21.c2-c4 “does not save the day” 21...Qb6-c7 22.b2-b4-+ ] 21...Rd6-d5 [21...Ne5-g6-+ “and Black takes home the point”] 22.Re4xe5-/+ Rd5xe5 23.Re1xe5 Qb6-d8 [23...Kc8-b8!?-/+] 24.Re5-c5+= Kc8-b8 25.Qa3-b3 [25.Qa3-g3+!? “should be investigated more closely” 25...Kb8-a8 26.Bb5-e2= ] 25...Qd8-b6=/+ 26.Qb3-c4?? [26.Qb3-g3+ “was a good chance to save the game”] 26...Rf8-d8-+ 27.b2-b4 a5xb4 28.Qc4xb4 [28.a4-a5 “the only chance to get some counterplay” 28...Qb6xa5 29.Qc4-d3-+] 28...Bg7-f8 [28...Bg7-f8 29.Rc5-c8+ Rd8xc8-+ ] 0-1
There won’t be a club night on Tuesday, as there is the League Presentation Evening and Charity Quick-Play on Wednesday night at Syston, where we are picking up two trophies, which I reckon is 18% of those presented to teams – a good result for a club of our size. It is a good night, and the Quick-Play (15 minute games) is a giant time scramble, but fun to take part in.

There will also be a reasonable contingent of Heathcote players at the Atkins Congress next weekend, so if you have a couple of hours to spare and you want to see some good players, come down and you can observe some very strong players in action at the top of the Open Section.

Then week-commencing 3rd October the new League season for 2011-12 starts.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

End of Summer / Start of New Season News

We had a fairly exclusive club night on Tuesday - just five of us. Not for the first time recently, Haka Dave was both mysterious and absent.

The Open section of the County Championships reaches its conclusion this Thursday at Wigston. John Denton (4/6) plays Alan Byron (4/6) and our own Graham Sharpe (4/6) plays Paul Colburn (3/6).

Next Tuesday, there will not be a club night as Ray and Dave will be playing, on Thursday, at Wigston in the Counties (according to the schedule, against each other. Ray with the white pieces). Depending on how well Roy Lathwood does in his last two games, Ray and Dave could still be in contention.

This year's LRCA Prize Giving ceremony and Charity Rapidplay will be at Syston on Wednesday 28th. Great fun, but maybe a little too much chess for one week if you are playing in the Atkins too.

The (Atkins) Leicester Chess Congress ( begins on Friday 30th September and finishes on Sunday 2nd October and will be held at Regent College. I will be there with The Grinder, Graham B, Raymondov and maybe some others. Rob, i think, is torn between this and a literary festival somewhere. This is a good weekend and i always say that it is worth showing up just for the bookstall. Steve Wylie, in fact, probably will show up just for the bookstall.

Cyril Johnson is organising a team rapidplay. This was set for 24th September in Rearsby, but has now been postponed. When i hear any news, i will write something here.

During the first week of the new season, all three of our teams will be in action. Stand by your telephones.

HA2 play at home against Melton 3 on Tuesday 4th October.
HA3 play away against Red Admiral 2 on Wednesday 5th October.
HA1 play away against Ashby 1 on Thursday 6th October.


Friday 9 September 2011


For our last Harrod Cup fixture of the summer, we were away at the Swallow Inn. Both teams were marooned in mid-table, so it was a fairly meaningless fixture. Despite trying to rope in some of our less-strong players, due to circumstances, I was forced to pick myself.

Having previously talked up John Manger, the Grinder picked this match to lose his first rapidplay game of the season. This was in his second game against Bob Collins. The first game had finished in some controversy, in that John had mated Bob, but then Bob had claimed a draw on time, as John had hit the clock. This wasn’t disputed at the time, but well-lubricated discussion in the bar afterwards amongst ourselves, and a brief reading of the LRCA Handbook FIDE information, indicate that the game ended at the point of the completion of the mating move, so the draw claim wasn’t valid. (Where are Sean or Cyril when you actually need them?) If the match mattered, then we might have made an issue of this, but as we were consigned to mid-table mediocrity win, lose or draw there is no point.

Ray (Comrade) Beach obviously felt the benefit of his trip to Russia and, with considerable aplomb, dispatched his opponent twice in short order. (It might, however, be that he was taking his frustrations over the non-appearance of his opponent on Tuesday for a re-arranged County Championships game.)

Colin found his opponent Mick Busby too strong, and failed to make any contribution to the scoreboard.

I won my first game, playing white, and found that my second game was the match decider. Playing Black I made an absolute pig’s ear of my Sicilian opening, and found myself with a centralised King and both bishops on their original squares and still blocked in by the b, d, e & g pawns quite a long way into the game. If it had been a standard play game I would probably have resigned, but in the first game my opponent had got himself into time trouble and then blundered, so I continued to hope. I improved my position by swapping off Queens and then a Bishop. Eventually I went a piece up, but at the expense of a passed pawn on the seventh rank. My extra piece was pinned to the King, and as the clocks ticked down, my opponent repeated the position twice and then we agreed a draw. Thus the match was drawn. As this was the final game (and my opponent had recorded the moves) the game opening & ending was subject to some analysis. I think I am unable to disagree with Paul Deacon’s comment that I ought to have been “creamed”.

Bob Collins (“119”/ 120) – John Manger (“122”/UG) ½ - ½, 1-0
Mick Busby (“122”/122) – Colin Ross (“102”/93) 1-0, 1-0
Gavin Hart (“120”/U/G) – Dave Ricketts (“98”/96) 0-1, ½ - ½
Michael Adams (“86”/86) – Ray Beach (“85”/85) 0-1, 0-1

Overall Result 4-4

Given that under the grading rules we were out graded by 40 points this was a good result.

In the bar, we got a text from Graham Booley indicating that the Wylie Cup side had been successful at Wigston, thereby retaining the trophy. (See report below.)

On a TripAdvisor front I thought that the Swallow Inn was a very good venue, but if they are selling cheap beer (Titanic @ £2 a pint) apparently you should avoid this!

There will be a Club night on Tuesday. Hopefully, there will be a reasonable turnout. We need to get practising, as the season is less than 4 weeks away.

The Return of Raj Clinches Wylie Cup Victory

In a tense final match a double from Rajan and 1.5 from Mike helped us retain the Wylie cup.
Although a draw would have given us the title on tiebreak over Melton it was better to do it with a win.

Martin Burrows was too strong for Graham in their 2 games and Dave took the inevitable 2 draws against Dodds (although Dave says he was completely lost in the 1st when Iain agreed the draw).

Rajan managed to hold his nerve in the 1st game, an easy pawn up throughout, it came down to a knight and pawn ending with both players seconds left and Phil cracked first taking the knights off to allow both players to Queen but Rajans King was next to Phil's pawns and there was no perpetual available - win for Rajan, his 2nd win was a more straight forward win. 

Both Mike's games went to the wire as usual although he was always winning his first, going a pawn up early on and just slowly pushing home his advantage, a draw was agreed in his second game, with 6 and 4 seconds left on the clocks.

So, well done everyone and we now look forward to the new season.

08 SepWigston 1W - BB - WHeathcote Arms 1
3½ - 4½
1193Burrows, Martin1 - 01 - 0Sharpe, Graham188
2153Dodds, Iain½ - ½½ - ½Bray, Dave168
3145Harlow, Phil0 - 10 - 1Ganger, Rajan163
4131Pike, Andrew½ - ½0 - 1Cowley, Michael153

Graham Booley

Thursday 1 September 2011

County Championships and Plans for Next Week

County Championship (Open)

Graham Sharpe, 4/5, is in joint first position alongside Alan Byron and John Denton with one round to play. In the last round, Graham (with the white pieces) plays Paul Colburn; and John Denton and Alan Byron play each other.

Also in the Open section are:
Rajan 2.5/4
Sean 2/5
Graham B 2/4
The sixth and final round of the Open is on 15th September, although games may take place on different mutually agreed dates. Sean and Graham B play each other in round 6.

County Championship (Major)
On Tuesday at the Heathcote, i was eventually able to take the full point from Guy Closs in my last Counties Game of the Summer (77 moves ending in checkmate with only seconds left on the clock).
This leaves me with 4/6. Leading the competition is Bob Collins with 4/5 and Matt Wilson to play. A draw or better against Matt secures the silverware for Bob. A loss for Bob would result in a play off with me and possibly one or more of the following:
David Reynolds 3/5, Jez Wells 2/4, Matt Wilson 2/4
Guy and Brian Slater are now out of the running.

County Championship (Minor)
Roy Lathwood is running away with this with 4/4.
Haka Dave is second on the table with 2/4 (Dave's earlier win against Dennis Wilkins no longer counts since Dennis withdrew from the competition).
Raymondov is third on the table with 2/3.

Next Week / Upcoming Matches
  • Raymondov plays Nick Wyld in their County Champs fixture at the Heathcote Arms. There is unlikely to be a club night as most of us will be doing things later in the week. 
  • Heathcote Arms (Harrod Cup Team) plays away against the Swallow Inn on Thursday 8th September.
  • Heathcote Arms (Wylie Cup Team) plays away against Wigston, also on Thursday 8th, in what hopefully will be a successful defence of the title.
Good luck everyone,