The Sean Marsh Chess Column
Our glorious part of the world has been featured more than once in the media recently. I’m sure the millions of people who tuned in to see ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Pet’ would have enjoyed the scenic part of dear old Middlesbrough; and I wonder what the Queen thought of the streaker in Gateshead when she was on the Northern part of her tour?
Maybe the ensuing Royal conversation went like this:
The Duke of Edinburgh: ‘Bah! Pesky streakers! Should be jolly well hung!’
HRH: ‘That one was, dear!’
Or maybe it didn’t.
Anyway, there was plenty of local interest for the chess players of the region, in the form of the two cup finals. A full round-up of the action is included in this column. Also, at long last, there are some local games for you to play over and enjoy.
Tom Wise Memorial K.O. Cup
Final Scores and Details
Elmwood 3.5,Middlesbrough Rooks 1.5
Sean Marsh draw Mike Closs
A relatively short but lively tussle, ending in perpetual check.
Steve Dauber 1-0 David Smith
David had a big positional bind and a material advantage but Steve brilliantly turned the tables in his opponent’s time trouble.
John Garnett 1-0 Ian Elcoate
John got the better of the opening and then netted a pawn with a nice combination. Despite Ian’s tough defence, the Knight ending was only likely to have one result.
Philip Mitcheson 1-0 Ernie Lazenby
An exciting game. Ernie sacrificed a pawn in the opening, followed by another one in the early middlegame, for lots of piece play and pressure. There was a probable win at one critical moment, but Ernie missed it. Philip then soaked up the pressure and forced victory with a devastating counter-attack.
Alan Trotter 0-1 Ron Stather
Another lively encounter. Alan pushed hard on the Kingside but ultimately his attack cost too much material. Ron had to watch a couple of late threats but kept control well.
Stokesley 3, Elmwood Juniors2
Suresh Keswani 0-1 Steve Ashworth
Big Steve avenged an earlier league defeat in a great Open Sicilian encounter.
Carl Shuttleworth 1-0 Matthew Gee-Smith
A game of fluctuating fortunes. Matthew let slip a likely win in the sort of game that was never going to be a draw!
Peter Archer 1-0 David Gorley
Peter had the edge all the way through and carefully brought home the full point. This was the last game to finish.
Graham Shuttleworth 0-1 Nick Webb
A great scrap. Nick’s positional control was excellent but Graham kept creating threats from nothing. Nick eventually stamped out all remaining counter play.
Norman Cole 1-0 Dominic Leigh
Dominic defended an inferior position for a long time but Norman eventually ended his resistance.
The big clash between the county’s top two teams was eagerly anticipated.The Rooks have by far the superior league record, but Elmwood’s cup form of late has been second to none.
Compare the last five years in the cup:
1998: Elmwood beat Guisborough in the final. Rooks knocked out by Elmwood in the Quarter-finals
1999: Elmwood lose to Guisborough in the final. Rooks knocked out, on board count, by Middlesbrough Bishops in the Quarter-finals
2000: Rooks beat Hartlepool in the final. Elmwood knocked out by Rooks, on board count, in the semi-finals.
2001: Elmwood beat Middlesbrough Knights in the final. Rooks knocked out by Darlington B, by default.
2002: Elmwood beat Middlesbrough Rooks in the final.
I’m sure that Middlesbrough Rooks will be eager to start challenging again for what, for them, has been a bit of an elusive prize in recent times.
Bernie Price: County Champion
Here are two key games from Bernie’s successful Cleveland Individual Minor Championship campaign, 2001-2. The notes are from the county champion himself!
My score against Gordon before this game was 0/2 so I was anxious to start and redress the balance.
B Price v G Middlemiss
1 e4 b6 2 d4 e6 3 Nf3 Bb7 4 Bd3! Nf6 5 Nbd2 Nc6?!5...c5! is better inorder to challenge white’s centre. 6 c3 g6 7 0-0 Bh6?! 7...Bh6 I feelis positionally dubious. 8 Re1 d6 9 Nf1 Bxc1 10 Rxc1 Ne7 11 Qd2 h6 I was happy with my position out of the opening.
12 Ng3 Qd7 13 c4 a5 14 Qf4 Neg8 15 e5
17 exf6 Nxf6 18 Be4 Rb8 19 Bc6+ Kf8 20 Ne4 Nxe4 21 Bxe4 Kg7Being materially ahead, I was happy to exchange pieces.
22 Bd3 Qg5 23 Qe3 Qf6 24 b3 Rhe8 25 f4 h5 26 Qf2 Rbd8 27 Re2 Rh8 28 Rce1 h4 29 d5 Rde829...e5 would make white’s task more difficult. Now white can realize his advantage.
30 dxe6 fxe6 31 f5! gxf5 32 Bxf5! e5The bishop cannot be taken due to the pin on the f-file.
33 Bh3 Qd8 34 Re4 Ref8?Now black gets mated, but it was difficult to suggest anything.35 Rg4+ Kh6 36 Rxh4+ Kg7 37 Qg3+ Kf7 38 Rf1+ Ke7 39 Qg5+ Ke840 Qg6+ Ke741 Qe6+ mate
A win for me in this game would give me the Individual Minor Championship.While a win for Mike would secure him at least joint first. Given the tensionand both our predilictions for sharp games errors were perhaps inevitable, so while not a game of the highest quality it certainly got the adrenaline flowing!
M Mossom v B Price
1 f4 e5 I’m already out of book! I’ve only met 1 f4 once in 7 years of playing chess. I remember reading a Nigel Short book which recommended this gambit, so I thought I’d give it a go. It also gives white the option of goinginto the King’s Gambit with 2 e4 which I would be confident facing; but Michael accepts the challenge of the From’s Gambit.2 fxe5 d6 3 exd6 Bxd6 4 Nf3 Nf6 Black was threatening 4...Qh4+forcing mate. Apparently 4...g5 is black’s best move here, treatening ...g4 and ...Qh4+, but already being in unfamiliar territory I didn’t fancy a wrecked kingside to join my pawn deficit! 5 g3! Bg4 Other white moves allow ...Ng4! which gives black the unclear tactical game he seeks.6 Bg2 Nc6 7 d4 Qd7 8 Nc3 0-0-0 9 Bg5 Bxf3 10 Bxf3 Nxd4 11 0-0 Bc5 Not 11Qxd4?? 12...Bxg3+! winning white’s queen.12 Kh1 Qe6 Black has got his pawn back, the game is probably dynamically balanced. 13 e4 Nxf3 I wanted to play 13...Nb3 with an attack on the rook and queen, but I couldn’t take the rook after 14 Qe2...Nxa1? 14 Bxf6!...gxf6 15 Bg4 winning the black queen. 14 Qxf3 Bd4 15 Nd5!? Rd6 15...Bxb2 or 15...Nxd5 16 Bxd8...Ne3 maybe better. 16 Bf4 Be5 17 c4 Bxf4 18 Qxf4 Nh5!? Each side have had quite a few possible moves over the last 3 or 4 moves and its beyond me to say who is orcould have been better! 19 Qxf7?!
19 ... Nxg3+! 19 Qf5 may be better. 20 Kg2! Qxe4+ Not 20 hxg3??...Qh3+ and white is soon mated.
21 Rf3 Qe2+?Now white can capture the knight and black is left struggling when the checks run out. 21...Rd7! and black is probably slightly better in the endgame after 22 Qf4...Qxf4 23 Rxf4...Nf6, but with a draw being most likely.
22 Kxg3 Rg6+23 Kf4 Qxh2+ 23...Qxc4+ or Qd2+ give black better chances of baling out with a perpetual check.24 Ke3 Qe5+ 25 Kd3 Rg3 White is now much better. 26 Qf4?? Qxf4 Blunders often occur when the complexion of the position has just changed, which can explain Michael’s blunder here. The dust has justsettled. After 26 Raf1 the best line I can see for black is the pessimistic26...Rd8 27 Rxg3...Qxg3+ 28 Rf3...Qg6+ 29 Qxg6...hxg6 when black’s two isolatedpawns hardly compensate for the knight. In the game white lost a rook which left him the exchange and two pawns down, so he promptly resigned 0-1
Thanks for those Bernie, and congratulations on taking the title!
Here’s a game from late in the season, when the Rooks suffered a shock league defeat. It did not, however, prevent them form taking the title. Soon afterwards they made sure of ultimate success by defeating Elmwood 5-1.
Kiddle,T - Welch,M
M'bro Knights v Rooks, 22.03.2002
1.b4 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Bb2 c6 4.c4 e6 5.b5 Qb6 6.Nc3 Be7 7.Nf3Nbd7 8.d4 0–0 9.Bd3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nd5 11.Qb3 Bb4 12.Rc1 N7f6 13.0–0 Nxc314.Bxc3 Bxc3 15.Rxc3 Nd5 16.Bxd5 exd5 17.bxc6 bxc6 18.Qxb6 axb6 19.Rxc6 Rxa220.Rxb6 Ba6 21.Rc1 f6 22.h3 Bc4 23.Rcb1 Rfa8 24.Rb8+ Rxb8 25.Rxb8+ Kf7 26.Rb7+Kf8 27.Nh4 Ra1+ 28.Kh2 Ra2 29.Kg3 Bd3 30.Rd7 Ra5 31.Nf3 Bf5 32.Rc7 Bd3 33.Rc5Rxc5 34.dxc5 Ke7 35.Nd4 g6 36.h4 Bf1 37.Kf3 Bd3 38.g4 h6 39.Kg3 Be4 40.h5 g5
Tony has been in control so far; a sound pawn up, nimble, centralised Knight,one pawn passed and the chance to create another one soon.
Yet after: 41.Nf5+ Bxf5 42.gxf5 Kd7
Tony must have assumed that Mike has to move his King and allow fxg5, creating a second passed pawn. Now Mike turns the tables with the surprisingcapture:
43.f4 gxf4+ 44.Kxf4 Kc6 45.e4 dxe4 46.Kxe4 Kxc5 0–1
It just to go show how very tricky King and pawn endings can be - one little slip and it’s suddenly a case of defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.