Leamington A 2.5 – 1.5 Stratford A

25 February 2014

Leamington A cliamed a much needed win over Stratford, their first victory since September. It lifted us out of the relegation zone for the time being …


  • Aldridge, Dan (182) 0.5 – 0.5 McNally, Richard JE (170)
  • Burnell, Steve (157)1 – 0 Ropp, Wiatt (165)
  • Darling, Tom (150) 1 – 0 Plucinski, Maciej (145)
  • Collins, Andy (148) 0 – 1 Albeniz, Alberto (ug)


Steve got us on the board first, with an entertaining win over a higher rated player (see below). Tom then made it 2-0, winning a pawn in the middle game and keeping that edge through to an easily won king and pawns endgame. There were plenty of twists and turns throughout the game on board 1, but Dan eventually managed to hold an endgame where he only had two pawns for a knight. With the match decided, Stratford managed to get one back, a lost exchange proving decisive in a sharp game where both kings were in peril.

This is Steve’s win, with his comments included …


ECF Nationals Final

Leamington 3.5 – 0.5 Maidstone

14 July 2013

For the first time, Leamington have claimed an ECF National title after winning the Intermediate competition in London. The Final against Maidstone was a lot closer than the scoreline might make it appear.


  • Burnell, Steve (159) 1 – 0 Lane, Robert (159)
  • Graff, Ben (146) 0.5 – 0.5 Hollands, George (146)
  • Darling, Tom (144) 1 – 0 Riddoch, Alan (139)
  • Collins, Andy (128) 1 – 0 Smith, Douglas (115)


Two of the games finished fairly quickly; Ben saw off a Catalan to get a draw with Black, while Andy (after declining a draw offer on move two!), came through tactical complications in the Marshall Attack to prevail in the middlegame.

This left Leamington needing just 1 more point, but both games were finely balanced, with two defeats still a realistic possibility. Eventually, Steve broke through with an unstoppable passed pawn, and the match was secured. Tom, who had been forced to sacrifice the exchange earlier, was able to win with the pressure of.

This is the decisive win from Steve.

Banbury B 0-4 Leamington B

2 October 2012

Leamington have claimed a rare 4 board whitewash in Banbury. The result is all the more surprising as the average grades of the two teams was identical.


  • Martin, Nick (144) 0 – 1 Graff, Ben (143)
  • Waddell, Mal (140) 0 – 1 Darling, Tom (135)
  • Vikanis, Egils (136) 0 – 1 Hodgkins, David W (135)
  • Rowan, Daniel (127) 0 – 1 Collins, Andy (134)


Andy set the ball rolling with a comfortable win on board 4, then Tom edged a wild Albin Counter Gambit to make it 2-0. Ben, who had looked in trouble the exchange down, turned it around with both players short on time, his opponent’s clock running out shortly after a blunder. The points were safe, but David, who had no trouble after winning the exchange, made Leamington’s evening even better: 0-4!

This is Tom’s win, featuring a mix of blunders and enterprising attacking play from both sides …

A team matches 11/12

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

Score 2.5-1.5

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

Score 1-3

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.

B team matches 11/12

Leamington B 3 v 1 Banbury A – Leamington Triumph in Christmas Cracker

Leamington B saw in the Christmas Season, with an early present – – our first of the season! Banbury were in Division 1 last season and outgraded us on every board. A 3-1 victory with everybody contributing was a great end to 2012.

On Board one, Ola had a very complicated game against Chris Evans and came out on top.

On Board two, Ben faced Neil Staples and an unusual line of the Pirc. An endgame was reached quite quickly. Both players worked away at the position until the time control, when it became obvious that the game was dead drawn. Much enjoyment was had in the bar afterwards as the position was analysed further, but with the same conclusion.

On Board three Tom Darling continued his excellent start to his debut season. He was Black against Egils Vikanis, and played the Alekhine. His opponent gave up the exchange and a pawn very early on in the game, but had pawns on e5 and d5 as compensation. This made it very hard for Tom to coordinate his pieces, and left him with threats of checkmate to worry about, as well as Egil’s of his pawns Queening. Fortunately, I was eventually able to exploit a pin to pick up one of the pawns, and was able to simplify to a won endgame from there. He resigned with a Bishop and 1 pawn against my Rook and 3.”

On Board 4 David had a good game against Nick Martin. Again a very complex position ensued and both players offered draws during the course of the evening, before peace was finally agreed around the time control. A very interesting game and another good result for the team.

A great way to end the year, which lifts us to mid table. Bring on 2012!


Chipping Camden A 2 v 2 Leamington B

Leamington travelled to Chipping Camden and played out a tight 2-2 draw.

On board 1 Adrian had White against Richard Dobedoe, graded 147, whom he has played twice before, once with each colour. Because he had answered Adrian’s usual e4 with a Pirc last time out, Adrian spent a couple of days boning up on it, and sure enough, he played a sort of Pirc/Modern opening, featuring g6, d6, Bg7, a6 and c6. Adrian was a little thrown by the move order and lack of knight moves, and chose to put his Bishop on c4 instead of the usual d3. Richard managed to force a queen swap very early, and offered Adrian a draw on move 20. After thinking long and hard, Adrian could not see a way to force a decisive advantage and decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and took the draw. Fritz agreed with Adrian’s assessment that the final position was dead equal.

On Board 2, Ola had one of those nights against the canny Peter Drury and Peter picked up the point.

On Board 3, Ben had a frustrating night against Gordon Mills. He had much the better of the game and possibly had winning chances even in the endgame, but stubborn defence from Gordon meant a draw had to be agreed when a position of lone King v lone King was finally reached!

On Board 4, Tom Darling was Black against Bill Nash. Bill steered the game from the Alekhine defense into the Vienna, and we soon entered territory that neither of us was familiar with. Tom was able to win a couple of pawns after he went wrong in a complicated middle game, then Bill got his Bishop stuck behind my pawn structure and eventually had to sacrifice it. Even with an extra Bishop and Pawn in the end game, it was still a challenging position, but Tom held his nerve to ensure the team picked up a point on our travels.

1 e4 Nf6; 2 Nc3 e5; 3 d4 exd4; 4 Qxd4 Nc6; 5 Qd1 Bb4


Daventry Disaster … Leamington 1 crash out of the U-700 Cup

All credit to Daventry, who knocked us out of the U-700 cup on one of those nights when little went right for Leamington.

On Board 1 Steve Burnell had white against in form Tim Lawson. Tim made his intentions plain from the beginning by playing the Albin Counter Gambit. A very lively, double edged game resulted which could have gone either way. In the eventual rook and pawns ending, both sides promoted twice. In the final position, white had queen and rook’s pawn against black’s’ queen. However, black had a significant time advantage and the agreed draw was a fair result. Observant onlookers pointed out after the game how white could have won during the ending – but that’s chess!

On Board 2, Oladejo Olaleye had his debut win for the club, with a comfortable victory over Robert Stevens. Doubtless the first of many wins Ola will have for the club in the years to come.

After that, it’s probably a case of the least said, soonest mended. Adrian agreed a draw in a position that was actually much better for him. Ben went haywire and managed to lose. Reg put up tough resistance, but was ousted in the end.

So, we lost 3-2.

Congratulations to Daventry. Bring on next year!


Leamington B 2 v Daventry 2 A

This match was played just before the Cup disaster. A good result. A win for Tom and draws from Ben and David saw us pick up a solid point here.


Leamington B 1.5 v Kenilworth B 2.5

A case of what might have been. A good win for Tom and draw for David looked to have the team well placed. Unfortunately Ola and Ben both lost games that could easily have gone either way. Just not our night…

Leamington B pipped by Shirley B

20 September 2011

A closely fought encounter between Leamington B and Shirley B took place at Leamington on the 20th September, which resulted in a 2.5 – 1.5 win for the visitors.

On Board 1, Jason Madden continued his good start to the season with a draw against Eric Ward. Eric played the Reti opening and developed a strong position. However, Jason came back well, to find himself in a good position but very short of time. Jason offered a draw, which Eric accepted after long consideration.

On Board 2, Ben Graff played Jon Asbury and developed a good position against Jon’s French defence. Ben developed good pressure on the light squares and built up threats on both sides of the board. Ben’s offer of a Knight sacrifice was wisely declined, but Jon still had to resign a few moves later when mate/ heavy material loss was inevitable.

On Board 3, Tom Howarth played Louis Rawson. Louis Rawson had won the night before when playing for Shirely A against Leamington A and he capped a good week for himself against the Leamington teams by winning here as well. Essentially Louis gained an advantage out of the opening and never let go. An interesting game though.

On Board 4, it was a case of what might have been. David Hodgkins played a very nice game against Frank Jimenez that was tight all the way through. The ending appeared to be heading for a draw, but Frank found a resource that just pulled out the victory Shirley needed to win the match.

So a narrow defeat, but everybody could take some positives from their performances as we missed out on securing a point by a whisker.

Leamington B v Stratford B

Leamington B kicked off their season on the 6th September at home to Stratford and earned a creditable 2-2 draw.

On Board 1, Adrian played black against the very strong Colin Searle. A London System ensued. Following an early exchange of Queens, Adrian developed a slight plus. However, Colin got on top in the endgame and edged an interesting encounter.

On Board 2, Jason made his debut for the B team against Septal Singh. After a cautious start, both players set each other a number of traps and Septal went on the attack. Jason neutralised the pressure with careful play and ultimately Septal forced a draw by three fold repetition.

On Board 3, David played Phil Bennett and faced an unusual gambit line. He ended up with a piece against two pawns, but Phil had significant pressure and a draw was a fair result.

On Board 4, making his debut for both the team and the club, Tom Darling produced the performance of the night, winning a marathon game to earn the team a point. An unusual line of the French allowed White to gain space on the Kingside, and launch an attack which eventually led to the gain of a Pawn. Black later restored material equality thanks to a Knight and Queen combination, and an endgame with Bishop against Knight was reached. A shortage of time then caused a mistake from Black, who had to give up his Knight for only two pawns; White’s Bishop was then strong enough to ensure a win in 75 moves.

C team matches 11/12

Leamington C vs Rugby

27 March 2012

Leamington C Rugby
1 Andy Collins (126) 0 1 Nigel Malka (131)
2 Roy Hadfield (121) 1 0 Gareth Bailey (-)
3 Mark Armitage (110) 1 0 Brian Gould (-)
2 1

1) N Malka V A Collins:

  1. c4 Nf6 (I do not know much about the English therefore decided to keep things flexible and allow alternative transpositions in to the queens gambit or nimzo Indian etc)
  2. Nc3 e6
  3. a3 (this is not anything bad but just a waste of a tempo from white)Be7
  4. e4 d5 (I was worried about white gaining a very strong pawn centre so this simple move is virtually forced)
  5. cxd5 exd5
  6. e5 Ne4 (I realised my knight could have a few problems, moving it back to d7 is just horrible. I only realised at this point though that the text move sacrifices a pawn by force)
  7. Nxe4 dxe4
  8. Qa4+ Be7? (After Nc6 black has full compensation for the pawn, but after the text black has some compensation for the pawn at least initially anyway)
  9. Qxe4 Bc6?
  10. Qg4 0-0 (Objectively my position is not so nice here, but whites king is still stuck in the centre and he has worse development)
  11. d4 Re8
  12. Bh6 Bf8 (This holds things together but probably slightly better is g6)
  13. Be3 Qd5
  14. Nf3 (Here my opponent wants to complete his development quick, but it allows me some counter play chances on the queen side) Qb3
  15. Rb1? (This was a big mistake and I completely equalise after this) Bxa3 (Now my opponent thought I had made a mistake and was losing a piece after his next move)
  16. Nd2 Bb4 (This was the point!)
  17. Bc4? (Now my opponent blundered a piece)Bxd2+
  18. Bxd2 Qxc4 (Naturally picking up the piece)
  19. Rc1 Qd5 (Perfectly natural but missing at the time Rxe5+!)
  20. 0-0 Re6
  21. f3 Na6 (So I do not have to worry about my bank rank anymore)
  22. h4 Rd8 (With hindsight around this point I would have played differently, I felt like the game was won and was still trying to build up a winning attack, when all I needed to do was slow down consolidate my position, take away all whites counter play and he has no hope at all of saving the game)
  23. Bc3 Qd7
  24. h5 Rh6
  25. Qg5 Re8
  26. f4 Qe7
  27. Qg4 g6
  28. f5 (Pawns moves that should cause me no concern and simply further weaken whites position Rxh5
  29. Fxg6 Rg5?? (Its suffice to say that I simply lose after this, I was thinking I was being clever and just blundered, the simple hxg6 wins easily enough.

2) In his match against Gary Bailey, Roy Hadfield won in a positional encounter. He had constricted his opponent to a cramped position for most of the game, but Gary eventually managed to free his position and came back with dangerous counterplay, as the game became more tactical. However, Roy held firm and won after his opponent made an unfortunate but crucial miscalculation.

3) Brian Gould v Mark Armitage
Playing against a relative newcomer to the league, Mark had an unexpectedly easy time. The game was very even up until move 17, when Mark made a rather wild foray with a bishop check on the seventh rank. This unnerved his opponent who unnecessarily exchanged his queen for two minor pieces and the rest was fairly easy

Chipping Campden B vs Leamington C

23 January 2012

We travelled a long way for this defeat at the hands of Chipping Camden. Perhaps we were tired out after the journey but apart from a fine win on Board 1 by Roy, we failed to make any headway. Guy had a frustrating evening as his opponent turned up over half an hour after apparently falling asleep. That must have refreshed him, as he managed to defeat Guy in a very short time. Mark’s defeat was much longer drawn out and for most of the game it looked very much like it would be a draw. Unfortunately, with Mark under some time pressure at the end, his opponent managed to force a win with a well thought out pawn advance.

Chipping Campden B Leamington C
1 William Langley (113) 0 1 Roy Hadfield (121 )
2 William P Nash (111) 1 0 Guy Greenland (113)
3 Adrian Grimes (102) 1 0 Mark Armitage (110)
2 1

Solihull C vs Leamington C

10 January 2012

In our second outing against this strong side, we didn’t quite achieve the heady heights of our spectacular away win last November, but at least we held our own. Guy had a rough time on Board 1 playing against a very much higher rated player, and was perhaps unsettled somewhat by his late arrival. After an early queen fork which gained a rook for his opponent Guy bowed to the inevitable shortly thereafter. Andy on Board 2 also had a tough match and was under severe time pressure just coming up to move 35. It was beginning to look as though he would succumb to that pressure when his opponent unaccountably blocked off an escape square for his king, enabling Andy to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Mark’s game against Louise was rather less spectacular with neither player being especially adventurous and both were content to allow the game to end in a draw by repetition of position.

Leamington C Solihull C
1 Guy Greenland (113) 0 1 Paul Roper (142 )
2 Andy Collins ( ) 1 0 John Green (131)
3 Mark Armitage (101) 0.5 0.5 Louise Coxon (123)
1.5 1.5

Solihull C vs Leamington C

23 November 2011

A great night for the C team with all of us winning against higher graded players. Andy on Board 1 had a stonking win in quick time against Paul Roper, Roy, after rejecting the offer of a draw early on, went on to dispatch Mike Nevin in a tense endgame. Mark, captain, finally got his first win of the season in a lengthy game which could have gone either way, but victory was assured once his opponent fail to spot a fine bishop sacrifice, which forced the win a few moves later. After this fine victory our position in the table has improved markedly from last but one to a respectable fourth.

Solihull C Leamington C
1 Paul Roper (142) 0 1 Andy Collins ( )
2 Mike Nevin (131) 0 1 Roy Hadfield (121)
3 John Green (131) 0 1 Mark Armitage (101)
0 3

Leamington 2 U700 v Chipping Camden

Tuesday 8 November 2011

A closely fought match but, after a nail biting finish in the longest game of the evening on board 4, Guy had to offer a draw due to severe time trouble, despite being in a clearly winning position. Tom Haworth also managed a draw on board 1, whilst Andy had a good win on Board 2. Sadly, Roy and Mark failed to get any points from their games, so Chipping Camden were able to claim the victory.

Leamington 2 Chipping Campden
1 Tom Howarth (137) 0.5 0.5 Richard S Dobedoe (147)
2 Andy Collins ( ) 1 0 Gordon M Mills (133)
3 Roy Hadfield (121) 0 1 Peter L Drury (133)
4 Guy Greenland (113) 0.5 0.5 William Langley (113)
5 Mark Armitage (101) 0 1 Adrian Grimes (102)
2 3 Away win

Leamington C v Shirley

Tuesday 11 October 2011

A Collins 0 – 1 K Warren
R Hadfield 1 – 0 K Gilbert
R Warnes 0.5 – 0.5 J Donovan
Leamington C 1.5 – 1.5 Shirley & Withall

We could not quite pull off a win. It was looking good at one point. Andy’s game was last to finish, and it was a game that could have gone either way.

Leamington C v Banbury C

Tuesday 27 September 2011

After a conspicuously absent start to the season, Captain Armitage made his first outing playing on Board 3 against D Rowan. Perhaps it was due to the rather nice Hook Norton beer on offer or general rustiness but after a promising start the game slipped slowly but inevitably from his grasp, after his opponent managed to double his rooks following an exchange leading to a two pawn deficit. His team mates, Guy Greenland, playing K Freshwater on board 2, and Andy Collins, playing the highly rated Steve Rumsby on Board 1, fared rather better, with Guy achieving a creditable draw in an edgy but ultimately even game and Andy triumphing again in a full on Ruy Lopez. So overall, honours even.

Leamington C v Olton C

Guy 0 – 1 K Allen
Andy 1 – 0 A Cottom
Reg 0 – 1 J Gillespie

Guy (on Board 1) lost the exchange in the opening and his opponent never lost his grip on the game after that. Guy resigned after 26 moves when more material loss was inevitable with no compensation.

Andy won a close battle in the endgame where he managed to win a rook and stop a pawn from queening. A remarkably long and tense game in which he had been able to gain an edge and maintain pressure right to the end.

Reg had a closely fought game with plenty of complicated tactical threats on either side. Eventually he lost queen for rook after a deadly check and there no way back from that.

D team matches 11/12

Captain’s Report

We’re sixth out of nine halfway through the season, but two of our three wins came in the last two matches of the year so perhaps we’re just getting into our stride …

Home to Olton C in our first fixture, we lost 0.5 – 2.5 but our measly half point was earned by a result anything but measly: Tom Bridson drawing with an opponent 22 grading points higher. Then we drew with Stratford E (the current table-toppers), Reg’s well-deserved win being balanced by Peter’s defeat. So much for the Captain leading by example.

Our third match was away to Solihull E who won 2 – 1, our point won by Mark Armitage on top board. But next came a team victory, at last, over Banbury D, thanks to solid wins by Reg and Peter.

Perhaps success went to our heads: the following two matches were lost to Stratford D and Daventry C respectively. Our 0.5 – 2.5 defeat by Stratford echoed the Olton result, but this time the half-point came from Mark. In the 1 – 2 defeat by Daventry our point came from Tom, whose opponent was again graded more highly, though this time only by 4 points.

Then we beat Kenilworth D away, 2 – 1: Richard and Reg both drew and Peter managed a win (only his second of the season for the team). And finally, exuding Christmas goodwill, we crushed Solihull F by 2.5 – 0.5. Richard and Peter were the two Scrooges. Reg, being more of a gentleman, allowed his opponent a draw.


Away to Solihull D, 14/9/11

1 Ravenscroft, Phil (-) 1 – 0 Greenland, Guy (113)
2 Akel, Simon (-) 1 – 0 Leggett, Peter (91)
3 Wood, Penny (113) 0 – 1 Warnes, Reg (91)

With Simon away on a business trip to Huddersfield, several other members of the squad also unavailable and a dearth of drivers, I had to borrow heavily from the C squad. Our opponents fielded a couple of strong newcomers on the top two boards, while their board 3 had a grade equal to our board 1.

Guy (tired, hungry and still convalescent from flu) had a good game until he blundered a piece and felt obliged to resign. He wasn’t making any excuses, despite the reasons I’ve cited why he might justifiably have done so.

I faced Bird’s Opening for the first time in my career but kidded myself that I was neutralising all threats then, when White started trading men, I suddenly realised that recapturing with Q would enable a bishop pin of Q to K – when the dust settled I was the exchange and two pawns down. However, two of his pawns were doubled and isolated and a third isolated while my bishop and rook (on the second rank) were better coordinated than his two rooks. Then I hallucinated a tactic that wasn’t there, gave away a pawn gratis and in the process he undoubled the aforementioned pawns and reconnected them with the third isolani. The rest was painful…

Reg, manfully resisting both the strength and the charm of his opponent, had a splendidly wily win, the only one of the evening.

Away to Kenilworth D, 19/9/11

1 Mike Whatson (92) 0 – 1 Simon Harris (104)
2 Tony King (76) 1 – 0 Reg Warnes (91)
3 Steve Payne (51) 0 – 1 Andy Collins (-)

Despite Simon’s availability I still had some difficulty in fielding a team from within my own squad, partly because I was on holiday in Kent. Obviously I wasn’t missed.

National Club Championship

Leamington make National Club Championship Debut – Beware the Latvian Gambit …

Leamington made their debut in the National Club Championship on the 3rd of December, with a match against last seasons Intermediate Plate Champions, Rushall. The collective grades of the two teams were very similar and when we found out that Rushall had won last years Plate Final 4-0, we knew we were in for a very tough match!

It was great for Leamington to be in a National event and both sides enjoyed the hospitality of the Home Guard Club, so thanks to everybody at the Home Guard Club for the excellent spread. In the end, Leamington went down 1-3, with Ben picking up the Leamington point. However, everybody enjoyed the day and Leamington will still get the chance to go for glory in the Plate event after Christmas.

1 Steve Burnell (153) 0 v 1 Richard Parker (157)
2 Adrian Walker (147) 0 v 1 Steve Wilcox (146)
3 Jason Madden (140) 0 v 1 Peter Leary (142))
4 Ben Graff (138) 1 v 0 Peter Broomhall (128)
Leamington 1 v 3 Rushall

In terms of the specifics, Steve and Jason on Boards 1 and 3, both played keenly contested games with chances for both sides but unfortunately it just wasn’t their day. Jason played the Winawer, but felt that he castled the wrong way and ultimately had to battle the exchange down. He put up a tough fight, but it wasn’t quite enough.

On Board 4, Ben faced the Bird variation (3… N-d4) against the Roy Lopez and built up an extremely strong position very quickly. There was potentially an even cleaner win in the middle game, but the path Ben chose gave him an endgame position with a Bishop for two pawns and a decisive win resulted. A bit of a relief, in that Peter Broomhall had told Ben just before the start of their game that he had won his previous three Rushall games over the preceding seven days!

On Board 2, Adrian faced the Latvian Gambit and has kindly offered up the thoughts and analysis below, which might help other club members if they come up against this line in the future. Adrian picks up the tale…

“I played Steve Wilcox, graded 146.I had White, and started with my usual e4. He replied with the Latvian gambit (e4 e5; Nf3 f5), something which I have never even looked at. I tried to use common sense and opening principles to work out the correct response, and managed to play the first 8 moves as follows: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nc3 fe 4.Nxe4 d5 5.Nc3 e4 6.Nd4 Nf6 7.h3 c5 Here I decided that things were going to get out of hand with those pawns, but if I could swap off my white Bishop, move the Knight and then castle, he would get over extended, and all those pawn moves meant he would be horribly under developed, and I should be OK. So I played 8.Bb5+ confidently expecting him to block with the Bishop, in which case I would swap, or with the QN. Imagine my surprise when he played 8 ….. Kf7! At first I thought this was a blunder, but it soon dawned on me that I now would lose a piece, no way out. The rest is too painful to recall! I managed to lose two pieces eventually, and although my extra pawns gave me pressure all the way to the time control at move 36, by then he had unravelled his pieces and I was totally lost. Steve confirmed after the game that I had unknowingly played a book variation and walked straight into a trap, which he had studied some years ago and had been waiting patiently to spring on some unwary opponent … I just happened to be the opponent! He did not discover Kf7 over the board, but knew it from studying the opening. At least I know what to look out for in future! For those who are interested, the correct way of playing for white is: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nxe4 If ….. Qe7 4.Qh5+ g6 5.Nxg6 Qxe4+ 6.Be2 Nf6 7.Qh3 hxg6 8.Qxh8 Qxg2 9.Rf1 Kf7 and Black is lost in the long run. Or 3…… Qf6 4. Nc4 fe 5.Nc3 Qf7 6. Ne3 and Fritz gives this position as +1.6. White is fine, has better development, and Black’s e pawn is difficult to defend. One lives and learns!.”

So perhaps not the result we would have hoped for, but an interesting afternoon nonetheless.

We look forward to the Plate in the New Year!

Leamington Players have a good day at the Leamington rapid play

Leamington players all had a good day at the Leamington and District Rapid play on the 11th of November 2011, with four players ending up in the prizes and lots of other strong showings.

Adrian Walker and Ben Graff were joint winners in the Under 150, with 5/6.

Andy Price was equal second in the under 170 with 4/6. Mark Page won the slow starter prize in the Open with 3/6.

Andy Collins and Tom Darling both scored 3.5/ 6 in the U-150 and Richard Lorch and Peter Legget also had creditable days in the U-150 and U-120 respectively.

A very enjoyable day. Let’s hope everybody can take this kind of form into our League matches! Well done to all.