Leamington A vs. Solihull A : Score 3-1
20 May 2012
A good win secured fourth place in Division 1 for Leamington A. On Board 1 Mark Page had Black against Ray Carpenter. Mark had a clear advantage but then after a couple of mistakes this was lost and a draw was agreed in a complex position. A similar story on Board 2 where Steve Burnell seemed to have a decisive advantage against Phil Ravenscroft. However Steve managed to blunder away his advantage and a draw was agreed when neither player had the energy left to work out the final Rook and Pawns ending.
No mistakes on Boards 3 and 4. On 3 Oladejo Olaleye beat Sameer Khan. On 4 Ben Egid playing his first game in Division One beat Dave Randall.
A good end to a very satisfactory season!
Leamington vs. Olton – Open KO Cup final : score 1-4
25 April 2012
Olton retained the Open KO cup with a clear win over Leamington, though in fact many of the games had been in some doubt until close to the end. On Board 1 Dan Aldridge lost after a very good game against Phil Holt. Dan thought he probably overplayed his position looking for a win rather than being content with a draw which was within reach at one time. On Board 2 Andy Price had Black against Alan Lloyd. Andy tried to play as carefully as possible, but Alan’s pressure eventually paid off and he was able to deliver mate.
On Board 3 Steve played Richard Smith. The game followed the same first 12 moves which they had played on a previous occasion. Both players played solidly and a draw was the result. Board 4 also ended in a draw between Oladejo Olaleye and Robert Wallman. On Board 5 the game between Ben Graff and Mark Cundy went into its dying seconds. Ben had an advantage for much of the game, but in the ending Mark’s slightly better endgame play eventually paid off and he won with 60 seconds left on the clock to Ben’s 30 seconds.
Leamington A vs. Banbury A : score 1.5 – 2.5
11 April 2012
On Board 1 Mark Page lost to Georgs Vikanis. White played very passively and gave the advantage to Mark. However, Mark with the Black pieces had taken too long over his moves and in the resulting time trouble allowed his opponent to set up a winning attack. On Board 2 Steve Burnell had White against Carl Portman. Steve was outplayed in the middle game and went into the ending the exchange down. However he was able to take advantage of some weaker moves by his opponent to eventually secure a draw.
On Board 3 Andy Price played Black against Gary Jackson. Neither side took any risks, pieces were exchanged, and a draw was the inevitable result. On Board 4 Adrian Walker had White against Nathan Manley. Adrian had some advantage throughout in an exciting game, but pieces were exchanged to leave an ending with Queen, Bishop and 6 Pawns against Queen, Knight and 6 Pawns. A draw was agreed.
Leamington A vs Shirley A : score 2-2
14 March 2012
Missing our regular top board player, the match was always likely to be close. So it proved, with the result in doubt until the dying seconds of the evening.
On Board 1 Steve Burnell had a difficult game against Matthew Long. Steve went slightly astray in the opening, missed a tactic whereby Matthew won Knight and Bishop for Rook, and then failed completely to hold the resulting endgame. On Board 2 Andy Price also lost in a difficult game against Dave Thomas. Although Andy won a piece, he could not hold on to it for long. Losing the piece back, then losing the exchange, proved decisive in a difficult position.
On Board 3 Ola saved the day for the Team, winning with only a few seconds left on the clock against Jonathan Dale. Onlookers were baffled as to how he managed to survive a difficult position, convert it into a Queen and Pawns ending, and then find some brilliant moves to swop off the Queens and end up with a won King and Pawn ending. All this when both sides were rapidly running out of time!
On Board 4 Adrian Walker had a somewhat less dramatic win against Gordon Christie. Adrian dominated much of the game when Gordon went into a line of the Sicilian which Adrian knew well. Eventually Adrian invaded down the b-file, trapped his opponents Queen which he was forced to give up for a Rook. There was no way back after that for Black.
Leamington A vs. Stratford A : score 0.5 – 3.5
By a strange coincidence, these two teams were due to meet on successive Wednesdays. This was the League Division 1 clash, next week the Open KO Cup match. The results were very different!
On Board 1 Mark Page played Richard McNally. Mark said that he was outplayed for much of the game, but did miss the opportunity of a simple win before eventually losing. On Board 2 Andy Price lost to Steve Willetts. Andy said he had a very comfortable game, but his opponent went for complications, got ahead on time, won the exchange and eventually the game. On Board 3 Steve Burnell had black against Wyatt Ropp. Steve felt he was outplayed in the opening, but then forced his way back into the game and what could have been a difficult end game fizzled out into a simple draw. On Board 4 Adrian Walker played Colin Searle. Adrian said he misplayed the opening and had the worst of it in a very complicated game. Colin won in the ending.
Leamington Knock Out Cup – Semi Final
Leamington vs Stratford : score 4-1
22 February 2012
Having had a bye in the first round of the Open KO Cup, Leamington met Stratford in the Semi. The previous week, the two teams had met in the League, with Stratford winning decisively. This time though things went rather differently.
On Board 1 Mark Page had Black against Richard McNally for the second time in two weeks. Richard played the opening well and entered the middle game with an advantage. He gained some pressure in the Centre but missed the opportunity to capitalise on this. In a fairly even position Richard allowed Mark to wreck White’s position and gain a very strong pawn on c3. This together with a very active King proved decisive for Mark who won the end game comfortably.
On Board 2 Dan Aldridge played white against Steve Willetts. It was Dan’s first competitive game for some time, but he hadn’t forgotten the moves! Dan won a piece for a couple of pawns, but found it gave him a problematic position, and had to give up another pawn to free his game. Winning one back and simplifying into an ending, Dan had King, Bishop and two Rooks Pawns against his opponent King and four Pawns. The game ended in a draw when Dan was left with the wrong colour Rooks Pawn.
On Board 3 Andy Price had Black against Colin Searle who played the London. Andy was able to gain an advantage as the game progressed, but Colin fought back well and found some good moves. In the end a draw was a fair result. This draw secured the win for the Team.
On Board 4 Steve Burnell played White against Wyatt ropp. In a rather wild game neither side castled, and both Kings came under attack. However, Steve won a Rook on the Queens side, before winning the game with a decisive attack against Black’s King.
On Board 5 Adrian Walker played Black against Stuart Calderbank and was also faced with the London. White generated some pressure against Black’s castled King, but at the expense of delaying castling himself. Black opened up the centre against White’s King, forcing him to castle on the King’s side. However, the open h-file which White had used against black, turned out to be his own downfall when black turned the tables and used it to launch his own decisive attack.
Kenilworth A vs. Leamington A : Score 1-3
6 February 2012
On Board 1 Mark Page had White against Carl Pickering. In a slightly off-beat line of the Caro Kann Black was soon in trouble and managed to get a bishop trapped on the d5 square on move 13. He got a couple of pawns for it, but White just needed a few moves to develop his remaining pieces and consolidate, when the Black position became critical. Another mistake saw a knight lost by Black, but in trying to save it he got his queen trapped on d4 and resigned on move 20.
On Board 2 Andy Price had Black against Phil Wood. Andy quickly equalised in the opening, and a fairly level game followed in which both sides had some winning chances in the ending. A draw was a fair result. On Board 3 Steve Burnell played Nick Martin. Steve came out of the opening with a clear advantage, and looked like winning easily. However, in the ending he let his opponent back into the game. The ending was full of complications, in which both sides were short of time and had a pawn on the 7th rank. However, much to the relief of his watching team (as the match depended on this result), Steve managed to force resignation from his opponent in the final rook and pawns ending.
On Board 4 Adrian Walker played Rod Webb. Adrian described the game as rather wild, not because of what happened but because of the many possibilities. Both sides used a lot of time in avoiding complications, before finally agreeing a draw.
Solihull A vs. Leamington A : Score
1 February 2012
On Board 1 Mark Page had White against Tony Saddler. Mark describes his game as follows:
“After a very strange opening, where my opponent declined the Mousetrap Gambit (yes, this opening really exists!), I had a slight advantage pressuring a potentially weak pawn on f7. With both players in serious time-trouble, the game got completely random, and after I failed to notice that my opponent had put a piece en prise (backwards knight moves are often easy to overlook) I managed to lose a pawn and was faced with a rook ending a pawn down. It looked very bad for me, but in order to secure the match, a draw was offered. In a probably lost position, and with no possibility of generating any complications, I had to accept.”
On Board 2 Steve Burnell played Ray Carpenter. White played the Panov Attack against Black’s Caro Kann Defence. Neither side had any great advantage during the game and a draw was a fair result. On Board 3 Andy Price had Black against Geoff Stokes. The game was described by Andy as unexciting, and again, a draw was a fair result.
By contrast, the game on Board 4 was exciting and eventful. Adrian Walker had Black against Iain Brodie who is fairly new to the League. Adrian felt he misplayed the opening. Ian took the pawn on b7 with his queen and subsequently took the rook on a8 with it also. Many moves followed where White was trying to extricate his queen from the corner and Black was trying to stop him. Eventually White gave up a knight to be able to do this. More excitement followed, but in the end Black was 3 pawns down when the ending was reached and was forced to resign.
Olton B vs Leamington A : score 2-2
17 January 2012
A weakened Leamington A team was slightly out graded on most boards, so a draw in the match was a reasonable result.
On Board 1 Steve Burnell had a short, largely uninteresting, draw against Rob Reynolds. However, post match analysis showed that Steve did have a more promising line which he failed to spot over the board. On Board 2, Andy Price playing Richard Reynolds was able to get a grip on the dark squares but had to be careful not to let Richard in on the white ones. Then Andy managed to break up the pawns in front of Richard’s king so he was a bit tied up to the defence. In the end Richard decided to sacrifice the exchange to try and free himself, but he was running short of time so he wasn’t able to make full use of his sacrifice. Neither player played well in the time scramble. For example (as Richard’s brother pointed out) Andy tried to be too clever when the simple move would have been better at the end. Luckily Richard didn’t see the resource and resigned, thinking he was being mated. Even if he had prevented the mate he would have still been the exchange down in the endgame, and 20 mins behind on the clock, so the result would have been the same in the end
On Board 3 Adrian Walker played White against Gary Hope. Adrian says “The game was a good lesson in two very common failings…. certainly common to my games! First of all, beware of applying book learning blindly; secondly, and this cannot be stressed enough, castle as soon as you are able. I played a Scotch Gambit, an opening I know backwards; Gary responded with the 2 Knights’ defence; on move 7 Gary transposed two bishop moves compared to the book line: I just carried on the normal developing moves, expecting the other bishop move to follow…. and walked into a disaster. I could have castled, but like an automaton produced the now incorrect “normal” move of Be3, and got slaughtered. By move 12 it was obvious that I had a lost game, and on move 16 I lost a piece. I limped on until move 20 for pride’s sake, and then resigned with mate one move away.”
On Board 4 Ben Graff played Ken Allen and in the course of a drawish opening phase, most of the minor pieces were exchanged. Ken established his Knight on a good square and looked to get play with his Queen and Rooks on the h file and in the centre of the Board. Ben engineered the exchange of Ken’s Knight and set up a strong defensive formation with his Rook and Queen defending the 7th rank and his other Rook poised to triple up/ support a Queen side pawn break. Ken turned down an offer of a draw, but then offered one himself a couple of moves later which was duly accepted.
Leamington A vs Olton A : score 2-2
4 January 2012
In the first match of the New Year, Leamington A achieved a very creditable draw against League leaders Olton A.
On Board 1 Mark Page said that he played too unambitiously against Phil Holt. He was eventually overcome by his more enterprising opponent. On Board 2 Andy Price played Alan Lloyd. Alan played the opening very well and forced Andy backwards. Andy was defending desperately and just hanging on, but in his efforts to finish the game off Alan used a lot of time. In the time scramble he gave up a couple of pawns to try and keep the attack going and after the clocks went back he won the exchange, but in the end Andy’s two passed pawns (plus the time advantage) were good enough to force the win.
On Board 3 Steve Burnell played black against Mark Cundy. The game was a rather short, but nevertheless interesting, Caro Kann which ended in a draw. On Board 4 Ben Graff drew with the significantly higher graded Rob Wallman, but it was still a case of what might have been. Ben built up a very dangerous king side attack against Rob’s Sicilian, which was much faster than Rob’s Queen side pressure. Ben’s Queen, both Rooks and Bishop swarmed the King side and a temporary Rook sacrifice won Ben Rob’s Queen for Rook and Bishop. However, the cost in time on the clock of calculating the sacrifice was very high and Ben missed a good winning opportunity just before the time control with his flag hanging. Rob defended very well after this and with Ben running short of time a draw was agreed.
Stratford A vs Leamington A : score 2-2
24 November 2011
On Board 1 Andy Price succumbed to a typical Richard McNally attack in an exciting game won by Richard. On Board 2 Adrian Walker had prepared for his opponent Steve Willetts. In a lively game Adrian ignored the opportunity to win a pawn in the opening in favour of rapid development and an attack which proved unstoppable. A good win for Adrian.
On Board 3 Oladejo Olaleye was making his debut for the A Team. He had a long, hard fought draw against Wyatt Ropp. Although Ola ended up with a considerable time advantage at the end, the game was a clear draw. As an interesting aside, part way through the match Ola had to leave his game to attend to a medical emergency which had arisen in the bar. His somewhat bemused opponent had to be reassured by the Leamington players that Ola was indeed well qualified to deal with such situations.
On Board 4 Ben Graff and Andy Chowne had a rather uneventful draw following a London Opening. Queens were swopped off, rooks were centralised and the pawn structure was solid for both sides. A draw and the opportunity for a chat in the bar seemed the best result.
Olton A vs. Leamington A: score 3-1
1 November 2011
Most teams struggle against the very strong Olton A team, and Leamington A is no exception. Over the years that these two teams have been playing, Olton A normally comes out on top. This match followed the rather familiar pattern!
On Board One Dan Aldridge had a good result drawing with Phil Holt. It was a hard fought game and the draw was a fair result. On Board 2 Steve Burnell had black against Richard Smith. The game was a very tight Queens Pawn opening, with white gaining a very slight edge as the game progressed. Steve should maybe have been able to hold out for a draw, but went astray in the rook and pawn ending and eventually lost.
On Board 3 Andy Price had white against Mark Cundy. Andy was gradually forced backwards in a quiet game. Mark won a pawn but allowed Andy to try and fight back. Unfortunately black didn’t fall for any of white’s tricks and finished the game with a nice winning attack.
On board 4, having done his homework, Adrian Walker sat down opposite his expected opponent (Robert Wallman), who with White played the first six moves of an Italian Game, exactly as anticipated. However, Robert varied from the expected on move 7. Adrian nevertheless continued with his plan of preparing the f5 advance, so Robert promptly closed the centre! Adrian pressed on regardless and built up tremendous pressure on the f file, at one stage having both rooks and the Queen lined up a la Alekhine’s Canon. Robert created some mating threats which made a general swap-off desirable, and by move 31 they were down to 2 rooks, a knight and 7 pawns each. Although Adrian was still in control of the only open file, his knight was badly placed on b2 and had no decent squares, whereas Robert’s knight was centrally located. Since it would have been impossible to stop a liquidation of all the rooks, Adrian offered a draw, feeling that the end game would be difficult. Robert accepted the offer. Fritz evaluates the final position as +0.48 for White, so it was a good decision.
Banbury A vs Leamington A: score 1.5-2.5
18 October 2011
This always looked like being a closely fought match – and so it turned out! On Board 1, Dan Aldridge once again played George Vikanis. Despite having the best of the game for some time, unfortunately Dan couldn’t maintain the advantage and eventually lost. On Board 2 Steve Burnell beat Nathan Manley. Queens were exchanged very early,the position was very blocked, but Steve had some pressure and Nathan eventually blundered in severe time trouble. On Board 3 Andy Price drew with Gary Jackson. Andy had a good position and an extra pawn but Gary put up a good fight and a draw was a fair result and secured the overall win for Leamington.
On Board 4 Adrian Walker was black against Chris Evans. Adrian won an entertaining game given below, with a few comments supplied by Adrian:
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5 (the best reply according to the books)
4.fxe5 Nxe4 5.d3 Ng5
I was expecting 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Qe2 Ng5. My N move is not so good as played, Nxc3 is better.
6.Nf3 Nxf3+ 7.Qxf3 Be6 8.d4 a6
Very slow, I know, but I wanted to limit his white bishop’s options.
9.Be3 Nc6 10.Qg3 Qd7
He in turn is too slow, making too many Q moves. From here on Fritz agrees with all my moves up to move 26.
11.a3 Ne7 12.Bd3 Nf5 13.Qf3 Nxe3 14.Qxe3 g6 15.Qf2 Bg7 16.b4 0–0 17.h4 f6 18.Qg3 fxe5 19.dxe5 Rae8 20.0–0–0 Bh6+ 21.Kb2 Bf4 22.Qe1 d4 23.Ne4 Qd5 24.Ra1 Bxe5 25.h5 Bf5 26.Qe2 Bh8
Fritz thinks Bg7 was better, but I am quite happy with the way I played it.
He thought he had trapped my Queen…. and for about 3 seconds so did I!
27 … d3+ 28.Kb3 Qxc4+ 29.Kxc4 dxe2 30.Nc3 Rd8
Fritz sees a different route: [30…Re3 31.Nd5 Be6 32.Kc5 Rf5 33.b5 a5 34.c4 Bxd5 35.cxd5 Rc3#]
… but I like my rather subtle mating net!
31.Rae1 Be6+ 0–1 Mate in either 1 or 4, depending on how he plays, so he resigned.
Leamington A vs. Olton B
5 October 2011 : Score 2.0 – 2.0
Since Dan and Steve were not able to play, the team for this match consisted of Mark Page on board 1, Andy Price on 2, Adrian Walker on 3 and Ben Graff on 4. Ben was the captain for the evening, having done sterling work all week trying to put together two teams to play on the same night. He eventually negotiated a postponement of the B team match against Solihull.
Olton B fielded their usual strong team. On board 1 Mark played Rob Reynolds and obtained a big advantage by occupying a weak square and controlling a key diagonal. At a crucial moment Mark paused to consolidate and was hit by a surprise pawn sacrifice, which forced exchanges leading to an opposite colour bishops’ ending. A small oversight in time trouble meant that the position became blocked without any possible pawn breaks, and a draw was the only feasible outcome.
On board 2 Andy took on Richard Reynolds. Andy advanced on the Queen side and established an advantage, before switching his attack to the King side with the help of a knight on f5. Eventually Richard ran out of defensive moves and had to concede the game.
Adrian played Dave Cheshire on board 3, and came out of the opening with a good position. A weak 15th move gave the advantage back to Dave, who found a series of excellent moves and went two pawns up by move 30. Then Adrian found some counter play and by move 41 had reduced the deficit to 1 pawn, with each player having a Rook and Knight and 3 King side pawns, with Dave’s extra pawn on a3. Adrian had hoped to hold the game, but an ill advised Knight swap soon saw his rook confined to a8 while Dave’s King hovered, waiting to gobble up the other pawns. Dave was able to use his rook on the “a” file to lose moves, and eventually Adrian had to concede the opposition and the game, with just a few minutes left on the clock.
Ben Graff on board 4 had a very exciting game against Gary Hope. Ben had a strong position out of the opening and by the middle game had a Queen, two Bishops and a Rook all bearing down threateningly on Gary’s castled position. However, Gary defended resolutely and when Ben could not see a clear way through the complications, rather than risk all with sacrificial bravura, he backed off and the advantage then swung towards Gary, who managed to win a pawn. With the second time control fast approaching they found themselves in a complicated Queen and Rook ending, and rather than risk all in a time scramble a draw was agreed. Fritz subsequently confirmed that the final position was drawn.
On balance a drawn match was a good outcome for us, especially since at one stage we were struggling to field a team. Onwards and upwards!
Leamington A vs. Kenilworth A
Both teams were without two players who had been regulars during last season’s Division 1 campaigns. However, Adrian Walker and Ben Graff who joined the Leamington squad for the evening were more than equal to the occasion. It proved to be a good start to the season for Leamington A.
On Board 1 Mark Page played Carl Pickering. Mark said it was a quiet opening and he offered a dubious pawn sacrifice to liven things up, which white mistakenly declined. Shortly afterwards Mark won a couple of pawns and was left with a fairly easy ending to win. On Board 2 Steve Burnell lost to Phil Wood. Phil played the Slav Defence, had the best of the game throughout, and turned down Steve’s optimistic draw offer to win in the ending.
On Board 3 Adrian won his game so quickly that most of us were still contemplating our openings. His opponent, Nick Motram, played the Italian Opening, to which Adrian responded with the Two Knights Defence. Adrian sacrificed a couple of pawns for a good attack. His opponent miscalculated under all the pressure, and resigned on move 15 when about to lose a piece.
On Board 4 Ben Graff played Rod Webb. In a Sicilian, Rod sacrificed two pawns for a strong attack. Ben had to return these with interest to hold his position together. With both players very short of time, a draw was agreed.
Shirley A vs. Leamington A
Things weren’t looking too promising when Leamington A arrived at the venue to find the home team still searching for a room in which to play. Apparently, the Blood Donor Service had taken over the Slimming Club’s room, who had in turn commandeered the Chess Club’s room. It wasn’t long though before our resourceful hosts had come up with a perfectly good alternative (presumably ousting the Scrabble Club or someone else in the process!)
On Board 1 Mark Page’s opponent, Dave Thomas, went badly wrong in the opening enabling Mark to win a couple of pawns. The winning of more material around the time control prompted Dave’s resignation. Dan Aldridge on Board 2 engineered a passed b-pawn from his Queen’s Gambit opening which eventually proved decisive against Jonathan Dale. Steve Burnell on Board 3 ran out of his ‘book’ knowledge rather early, when Gordon Christie met Steve’s 1 d4 with 1….b5. Despite having little idea what he was doing, Steve had the best of the opening, won the exchange and eventually the game.
On Board 4 Adrian Walker was equally surprised by Louis Rawson’s Stonewall Opening. However, true to his style he sacrificed a couple of pawns to open up the position and gain some very active play. White defended well though, and in the dying seconds of the game his extra material proved decisive.