Sunday 1 December 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 19

The Sean Marsh Chess Column

Column 19

Dear Readers....

Well, here we are in December once again. The Panto Season! Men dressed as women, women dressed as men, and the ever-increasing cries of ‘he’s behind you, he’s behind you!’ (*Thinks*.....actually, I might give Mike’s party a miss this year....)

The local chess scene takes a bit of a break for a couple of weeks as men everywhere are forced to shop till they drop, wrap things up rather than play chess on the net and meet relatives that one wouldn’t usually kiss under anaesthetic, never mind the misteltoe...Yes, it’s all good fun, isn’t it? Isn’t it...? Oh well, please yourselves........

Anyway, here’s a few odds and ends from the first third of a busy season


The Tom Wise K.O. Cup

There were several intriguing pairings in the first round of the cup and for the first time in years there was a guarantee of some strong teams being eliminated. I must admit I’ve not enjoyed the first rounds of recent years,with most of the top teams receiving byes. The fun of the cup starts when all the teams are mixed up right from the start. Strange things can happen in knockout events and frequently do.

Elmwood faced there permanent cup rivals Middlesbrough Knights somewhat earlier than usual and despite a few anxious moments on a couple of boards the defending champs steered a careful path to the second round.

Redcar never seem to be at full strength in the cup for some reason. Often they divide their strength between two cup teams but this time they only had onebut they were far short of maximum strength. However, they held Peterlee to a2.5-2.5 draw, only to be eliminated on the board count rule. Consolation for Redcar came in the beauty of a win by Steve Place, which should find its way onto the KOTH list.

Middlesbrough Rooks, despite their recent dominance of the league, rarely stamp their authority on the cup. They were missing their top two boards fortheir clash with Guisborough, which should have been fatal if the East Clevelanders had turned up with all of their top players, but instead they were very under strength themselves. This gave rise to a curious match in which The Rooks seemed to be in control right until the end. Yet when Stuart Morgan continued his great form and won what was the very last game to finish, The Rooks were suddenly out of the competition as the victims of another board-count tiebreaker. Giving extra weight to wins scored higher up the boards is a bizarre way to decide a tied match but something has to be done and I’ve never heard of a completely fair tiebreaker.

The reward for Guisborough is a second round clash with powerful Peterlee -the tie of the round. The full draw is:












The league has already developed into a two-horse race between Middlesbrough Rooks and Elmwood. Both teams have won all of their matches and don’t meet head to head until January. It appears that Darlington have defaulted their away match to TheRooks, just as they did last year. This is deplorable. The league title could well come down to ‘goal difference’ and every half-point won or lost could be vital. I know that last year Rooks captain Tony Kiddle tried very hard to rearrange their match without success. Just lying down and dying is a terrible attitude to take and I don’t think such things do the image of chess any good at all. Hopefully this matter will be sorted out a high level, with suitable penalties introduced for such needless offences.

Synthonia A are so far dominating the B division and look confident champions-elect. Athenaeum will be their biggest rivals as they aim for a speedy return to the top flight.



Earlier in the season, when I was mercilessly crushed by Collin Smith (and that was just the handshake!), the Cleveland Chess website managers decided to introduce King of the Hill, in which surprise victories over higher graded opposition were released into the public domain. Alan Trotter immediately rattled off three such KOTH contenders, and here they are for the first time.

In the first one, Alan wins quickly against Whitby’s top player. He obtained a comfortable game early on and then exploited Vidal’s slip on move 19 to win a piece.

(158) Madria,V - Trotter,A (121)

Elmwood v Whitby, 21.11.2002

1.d4 g6 2.e4 d6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 Nd7 6.Be2 e5 7.Nf3Ngf6 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Bh6 0–0 10.Bxg7 Kxg7 11.0–0–0 Qe7 12.h4 Ng4 13.Rdf1Ndf6 14.Ng5 Rd8 15.Bd3 Qc5 16.Qe2 Nh5 17.Kb1 Nf4 18.Qf3 f6

19.g3 Nxd3 20.cxd3 0–1

Here, Alan continues his County Championship campaign where he left off last beating Steve Dauber! From a position with balanced chances, Alan went on to eliminate the key White-squared Bishop and inflict structural damage at the same time. Steve resigned rather than play a second session.

(121) Trotter,A - Dauber,S (173)

County Ch. 2002-3 (1), 17.10.2002

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 Nf6 6.0–0 0–07.Nbd2 Nc6 8.c3 Bg4 9.h3 Bd7 10.Re1 Rb8 11.d4 cxd4 12.cxd4 Qc8 13.Kh2 b5 14.e5dxe5 15.dxe5 Nd5 16.Nb3 Nb6 17.Bf4 Be6 18.Rc1 Qe8 19.a3 Rd8 20.Qc2 Rc8 21.Qd3Bc4 22.Qc2

Be6 23.Nc5 Bf5 24.Qe2 b4 25.g4 Be6 26.Nxe6 fxe6 27.Bg3 Nd528.Qe4 bxa3 29.bxa3 Qd7 30.Bf1 Na5 31.Nd4 Rxc1 32.Rxc1 Rb8 33.Bb5 Qb7 34.Bd3 Qd735.h4 Rb6 36.h5 Nb3 37.Rc2 1–0

The very next round saw one of the greatest ever shocks of the tournament. Norman Stepehnson, the defending champion, built up a crushing position but it all slipped away in serious time-trouble. It’s a miracle that Alan survived the middlegame.

(184)Stephenson,N - Trotter,A (121)

County Ch. 2002-3 (2), 11.2002

1.e4 g6 2.d4 d6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 Nd7 6.Nf3 b5 7.Bd3e5 8.dxe5 Nxe5 9.Nxe5 dxe5 10.Rd1 Nf6 11.Bc5 Nd7 12.Be2 Qf6 13.Bd6 h5

14.Bxb5 (Strong, but 14 Nxb5 looks even better. The fork on c7 is threatened and 14 ... cxb5 15 Qd5! Would give White an even bigger advantage.) 14 ... Bb7 15.Bc4 Nb6 16.Bc5 Bh6 17.Qd3 Rb8 18.Bxb6 axb6 19.Qd7+ Kf8 20.Rd6 Qe7 21.0–0 Bg5 22.Rfd1 Kg7 23.Qh3 Bc8 24.Qd3 b5 25.Bb3 Qc7 26.Qe2 Be727.R6d3 b4 28.Na4 Ba6

29.Qf3 Bxd3 30.Qxf7+ Kh6 31.Rxd3 Rhf8 32.Qe6 Rbd8 33.Rxd8Qxd8 34.Qc4 Qd1+ 35.Qf1 Qd4 36.Qe2 Rf4 37.g3 Rxe4 38.Qf3 Re1+ 39.Kg2 e4 40.Qf4+g5 41.Qf7 Qf6 42.c3 g4 43.Qxf6+ Bxf6 44.cxb4 Bd4 45.Nc3 e3 46.fxe3 Bxe3 47.h4Bc1 48.Kf2 Re3 49.Bd1 Rd3 50.Be2 Rd4 51.b5 cxb5 52.Nxb5 Rd2 53.Kf1 Rxb2 54.Bc4Rb4 55.Nd6 Bb2 56.Bb3 Rb8 57.Kg2 Rf8 58.Nf7+ Kg7 59.Ng5 Kh6
This was the adjourned position. It still looks difficult to win, but Big Al finds the way...60.Nf7+ Kg6 61.Ng5 Rf6 62.Bc2+ Kg7 63.Bb3 Bc1 64.Ne4 Rb665.Kf2 Rb4 66.Nc3 Bd2 67.Nb1 Bc1 68.Nc3 Bb2 69.Nd5 Re4 70.Nf4 Bd4+ 71.Kf1 Be572.Bd5 Re3 73.Nxh5+ Kh6 74.Nf4 Rxg3 75.Ng2 Rd3 76.Bc6 Rc3 77.Bd5 Rc1+ 78.Ke2 Rc579.Bb3 Bg3 80.Ne3 Kh5 81.Be6 Kxh4 82.Bxg4 Bf4 0–1

I think Alan must have sold his soul to the devil in return for this game! Having beaten Steve and Norman in the first two rounds, he now moves on to play David Wise in round three. Nobody dare predict the result!

Here’s a great game from the KO Cup, showing the creative powers produced in the battle of the Steves.

Steve Place (99) - Steve Carter (129)

KO Cup, Redcar v Peterlee 11.2002

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.0–0 0–07.e5 Ng4 8.h3 Nh6 9.exd6 exd6 10.Bg5 Qb6 11.Bb3

White could move in and grab the pawn now because b2 doesn't fall in return: 11.Be7 Re8 12.Bxd6 Qxb2 13.Na4 and the Queen dies. 11...Nf5 12.Ne2 d5 13.g4 f614.Bf4 Ne7 15.Bd6 Re8 16.c4
Smashing open the a2-g8 diagonal to get at the King. Steve nothing if not direct! 16...dxc4 17.Bxc4+ Nd5 18.Nf4 Qd8 19.Bxb8 Understandably reluctant to lose a tempo on saving the Bishop, but White could have crashed through on d5 with 19 Nxd5 cxd5 20 Bxd5+ Kh8 21 Bf7! 19...Rxb8 20.Qb3 b5 21.Bxd5+ cxd5 22.Rfe1 Kh8 23.Rxe8+ Qxe8 24.Re1 Qd7 25.Nxd5 Lots of threats are in the air now..the back row is weak for Black... 25...Bb7 26.Ne7!

A fabulous move, demonstrating White’s clear advantage. 26...Bxf3 27.Qf7 Creative stuff! White has sacrificed the Knight on f3 and now threatens Nxg6+, winning the Queen. What can Black do? 27...Qxd4 This fails to a brilliant rejoinder. Black's best seems to be 27 ...Qd8 when Steve suggests 28 d5, with great complications. However, Black seems to have the edge in most of them...can anyone find anything convincing for White in that line? 28.Nf5!!

With far too many threats to handle with just one move! 28...gxf529.Re8+ 1–0 Unfortunately, Redcar were KO’d on the board-count rule.

Finally, here’s a recent league game with an interesting Queen sacrifice

Sean Marsh - Paul Welford

Elmwood v M'bro Wasps, 31.10.2002


d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Bf5 If this equalised as easily as Black hopes it will, then everyone would be playing it.The normal Slav move is 4 ...dxc4, ruling out an early Qb3 for White, and only then should Black develop the Bc8. 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Qb3 This is the big problem with Black's move order. Saving the pawn with 6...b6 allows a big initiative after 7 e4! 6...Qb6 7.Nxd5 Nxd5 8.Qxd5 e6 9.Qc4 last book move9...Nc6 10.a3 10...Be4 11.e3 a6 12.Nd2 Bg6 13.Bd3 Be7 14.0–0 0–0

15.Bxg6 hxg6 16.b4

Black's attempts to complicate have not achieved much and White still has the extra pawn. 16...Rac8 17.Qe2 Rfd8 18.Bb2 Rd5 Rather than lose technically, Black goes hunting for more complications. Randomising the position could well be his best bet. 19.Rac1 Rh5 20.Nf3 Rd8 21.Rfd1 Bd6 22.g3 f6 23.e4 White intends d5 Heading for the big break on d5 which not only create a passed pawn, but also aim to exploit Black's weakened King and strange piece co-ordination. 23...Kf7 24.d5 exd5 25.exd5 Re8
26.Qxe8+ I was excited at the prospect of playing this over the board and took a little time to analyse objectively. Meanwhile, I was starting to get some funny looks from my teammates. 26...Kxe8 27.dxc6 An examination of the White threats should convince the reader that there is more than enough for the Queen. 27...bxc6 28.Rxd6 Qb5 My lack of time on the clock prompted a couple of draw offers from my opponent around here 29.Re1+ Kf7 30.Rd7+ Kf8 31.Ree7 Rd5 32.Rf7+32...Ke8 33.Rde7+ Kd8 34.Nd4

A complete triumph for the White forces. 34...Rxd4 35.Bxd4 Qd3 36.Bb6+ Kc8 Here we wound the clocks back, but just for one more move.... 37.Rf8+ 1–0


Enjoy your festive break and
I’ll see you all in 2003!

Sean Marsh
December 2002


Sunday 3 November 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 18

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Column 18

Dear Readers.....

The minutes of the most recent meeting of the Cleveland Chess Association are now up on this site for your perusal.

It was an interesting meeting with a very good turn out. This was, of course,mainly due to the amalgamation of the meeting with the presentation of prizes,due to the cancellation of the earlier presentation evening.

Here’s a few personal comments based on the topics discussed at themeeting.

The Chess Set

This subject has been running for some time and needs resolving. Opinionseemed to be split about 50/50 between those present at the meeting on thequestion of whether or not the antique set should be sold. My personal view is that it should not be sold. The set is an important part of our local history; it was around before any of us and will still be around long after we’ve all gone. Selling it just because the association is strapped for cash seems to be a knee-jerk reaction. There are plenty of other avenues to explore to cure the fragile financial situation before we should even think of selling this magnificent chess set. It should not be used as a quick fix.

Decorum in the Forum

The anonymous forum abuse has been stopped by the need to register to post messages. This should be the complete solution to the problem. The depth ofhostility unleashed was at times very surprising and equally disappointing.However, now that the problem has been solved, I hope that all who wanted a ‘clean’forum will take the time to post there and enjoy the discussions. I’d also like to propose an amnesty on all of the previous unpleasantness, and encourage ALL previous posters to register and join in. We should all be on the same side,the side of chess, whatever our views on a particular subject might be.

CCA Officials

The Association currently lacks a Secretary. Ernie Lazenby kindly stepped into take the minutes of the last meeting but has no intention of taking over theposition on a permanent basis. It is easy to sit back and be critical of the CCA but it is not so easy to actually do something and try and improve the situation. I believe that there is a need for some very frank talking on the future of the CCA. We need a way forward, a way to return a sense of pride and enthusiasm for our own Association. We are not unique in fighting apathy and falling numbers. It’s a nation-wide disease. I think we must change to survive. Gerry Walsh is often accused of running the CCA as a one-man band.Unless people are prepared to take up positions within the Association, then hehas little choice. I have started a thread in the forum about this, and I welcome your suggestions. What is the way forward for Cleveland Chess?

The BCF Grading List

The matter of the £15 copyright fee for reproduction of the grading list was resolved in a satisfactory manner. The worrying thing was that the web site and every club would have to pay this amount to use the grading list for their club walls, handbooks etc. However, the single payment of £15 covers all copies ofthe list used by all clubs in our county for the year.

In Praise of Printed Matter

There is a big danger, a few years down the line, of printed chess magazines dying out due to lack of interest. How on earth can anything compete with the Internet? Why wait for a month or so to see a few recent games from a GM tournament when you can download the whole lot, instantly, from any number ofweb sites? I don’t the answer. I still buy chess books and magazines but I think I’m in the shrinking minority.

Here’s a few recent highlights from the world of printed matter.

1) Anyone with an interest in famous tournaments and matches should pop alongto:

They are reprinting lots of classic books, including Golombek’s works onthe

‘1948 World Championship Match Tournament’, ‘World Chess Championship 1954’ and‘World Chess Championships of 1957 and 1958’. There are also very welcome reprints of Botvinnik’s ‘Championship Chess’ as well as Alekhine’s books ‘Nottingham International Chess Tournament 1936’ and ‘World Chess Championship 1937’

, and a whole load of others. (There’s also a proposed series on Bob Dylan which could well interest one of our better known chess friends!).

3) The Northumberland Chess Bulletin

As a former writer of such bulletins myself, I know well how much hard workis involved and how little feedback and apparent enthusiasm one sees in return.These bulletins must be under a greater threat than ever before, given the universal apathy currently afflicting our great game.

However, The Northumberland Chess Bulletin really is an excellent read, well worth the£5.30 annual subscription. Clive Waters, top chess coach, great player and fantastic annotator, is the current editor of the bulletin. Every issue ispacked with top quality material and games.

4) BCF Book of the Year 2002: Shortlist

Four books make up the shortlist and the winner will be announced soon.

Fischer World Champion! by Max Euwe & Jan Timman, New in Chess

Nezhmetdinov’s Best Games of Chess by Rashid Nezhmetdinov, Caissa Editions

Fundamental Chess Endings by Karsten Müller and Frank Lamprecht, Gambit

"The English Morphy"? by Owen Hindle and Bob Jones, Keverel ChessBooks

The first two books on the list are reprints, but they are appearing in English for the first time. The endgame book has received high praise, but as with most endgame books, I wonder how many people have actually read much of it? My favourite from the shortlist is without doubt "The English Morphy"? Although I must declare an interest in it (it features a few local snippets) I genuinely believe it to be the most interesting of the four books, and it is the first effort by Keverel Chess. I have a sneaky feeling that this book will pick up the title.

Saturday 2 November 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 17

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


No 17

Dear Reader....

As promised, here’s three games from Norman Stephenson’s latest success.He shared first at the Middlesbrough Open congress (with Jim Simpson and FIDE Master Richard Webb) with 4/5. Here are his three wins, with his own notes. Enjoy!

First, a text-book demolition of the King’s Indian Defence. Norman’s handling of this formerly obscure system has scared off many life-long devotees of the K.I.D. At times, he makes the system look like a forced win for White!

Stephenson,N - Widrascu,P

Middlesbrough Congress (2), 07.2002

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Bd3 This is a line that Tom Wise played against my King's Indian over 40 years ago...and thus converted me into a QGD player! 5...e5 6.d5 c6 7.Nge2 cxd5 8.cxd5 a6 9.0–00–0 10.h3 Nbd7 11.Be3 Nh5 Here it comes....the knee-jerk King's Indian reaction...but it isn't always apposite. 12.Qd2 f5 13.exf5 gxf5 14.f4 This blockading move, in the best Nimzovich tradition, is a complete answer to Black's aggressive pawn advance. 14...exf4 14 ... e4 was another type of game (one which I tried without success against Tom all those years ago), but Black's Knight-on-the- rim would have been a liability for its owner 15.Nxf4Nxf4 16.Bxf4 Ne5 17.Be2 b5 Some coaches in their books have recently taken to implying that a player should 'talk to his pieces' before making any move...I have been doing the same for years - but I also include in my coaching 'talking to your squares'...the 'c6' square might have a comment or two about this particular move, which gains nothing in a strategic sense but abandons that square to its fate 18.a4

18...b4 19.Na2 White has his eye on three (!) weak squares - at d4, c6 and e6...not to mention the poor pawn on f5. 19...Rb8 20.Kh1 Qa5 21.Nc1 Qb6 22.Nb3 Rb7 23.a5 Qa7 24.Nd4 Ng6 What else? 25.Nc6 Qa8 The tragi-comic situation of Black's Queen suggests some sort of tactical finish could be 'in the air' 26.Bxd6 Rff7 26 ... Re8 was forced but after27 Bxb4 and 28 Bc3 it is difficult to see any compensation for Black's missing pawns. 27.Nd8 Ne5 28.Bxe5 Bxe5 29.d6 Rg7 30.Bf3 Bf6 31.Nxb7 Bxb7 32.Bxb7 Qxb733.Rxf5 Bd4 34.Raf1 1–0

Winning with Black is never easy against strong players


but Norman didn’thave the option of playing for the draw; he’d drawn in round one and taken a half-point bye in the third round - so two wins on the final day were absolutely essential to have a chance of taking one of the top spots.

Gregory,P - Stephenson,N

Middlesbrough Open (4), 07.2002

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0–0 6.Nf3 h6 7.Bh4 b6 My own recollection is that I play Lasker's 7 ... Ne4 more often here, but Paul was sure that I would go in for Tartakover's System...and had this line prepared for some years! 8.Bxf6 Bxf6 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Qb3 Be6 11.Be2 I had been expecting 11 Rd1 to discourage Black from getting active in the centre. 11...c612.0–0 Qe7 13.a3

Again, talking to your squares would leave 'b3' wondering why it had been left vulnerable. 13...Rd8 14.Rfd1 c5 15.Rac1 c4 16.Qb5 Qb7 17.Qa4Bf5 Threatening to catch White's Queen 18.Ne5 a6 19.Rd2 b5 20.Qd1 Nc621.f4 Na5 Now the 'b3' square isn't talking back to White - it's yelling at him! 22.Bf3 Be4 Snatching at the exchange with 22 ... Nb3 would leave Black losing at least the same in return after 23 Nxd5...White is rather 'winging it' around here. 23.Bxe4 dxe4 Black had seen that he could ge this Knight to the 'd3' square by now 24.Rf2 Nb3 25.Rb1 Nc5 26.Ng4 I had missed the strength of this shot... 26...Be7 ...but, fortunately, 27 Nxh6 gxh6 28 Qg4 Kh8 29 dxc5 Bxc5 is also OK for Black. 27.f5 Nd3 28.Rf1 Bg5 Paul said later that he had missed this move completely but I wasn't sure if 28 ...b4 was perhaps stronger. 29.Qe2 a5 30.Nf2 Maybe White could have grabbed his chance to play 30 b3 30...Nxf2 31.Qxf2 b4 32.Ne2 Qe7 33.axb4 axb4 34.Rfc1 Rdc8 35.Nf4 Bxf4 36.Qxf4 Ra2 37.f6 Time-trouble was looming equally for both players but Black's game is much the easier to play. 37...Qxf6 38.Qxe4 c3 39.Rf1 Qe6 40.Qxe6 fxe6 41.bxc3 Rxc3 If now 42 Rf2 I had noticed the strong reply 42 ... b3! 42.Rxb4 Rcc2 'The absolute seventh' usually wins but draws at worst. 43.Rb8+ Kh7 44.Re1 Rxg2+ 45.Kh1 Rxh2+ 46.Kg1 Rhg2+ 47.Kh1 Rge2 48.Rxe2 Rxe2 49.Re8 Rxe3 50.d5 This does not quite work. 50...e551.Kg2 e4 52.d6 Rd3 0–1

So, to the last round, and given that the top two players had agreed a draw very quickly, the players knew that a win would give a share of first place

Stephenson,N - Ross,C

Middlesbrough Open (5), 07.2002

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0–0 5.Bd3 d6 Unusual. 6.Nge2

(Note: Why do all books and databases insist on this superfluous ‘g’? The ‘c’ Knight is pinned and cannot go to e2!) e5 7.0–0 Bxc3

There is a real danger now that White will reach a 'standard position' with an extra tempo through not needing to have played a3. 8.Nxc3 Thus, 8 bxc3 would be a Samisch plus an extra move. 8...c5

Again, talking to the abandoned 'd5' square might have caused Black to reconsider this move. 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.b3 Nc6 11.a3 Bg4 They saythat a bad plan is better than no plan at all...I have never been convinced of this. 12.Qc2 Bh5 13.Bb2 Bg6 14.Rad1 Qc8 15.Nd5 The consequence of Black's 8th move. 15...Nd7 16.f4 Bxd3 17.Qxd3 Re8 18.Qf5 Nf8 19.Qh5 f6 20.f5 20fe was tempting if only because I could not help feeling at the time that Chris had missed that 20 ... Nxe5 lost to 21 Bxe5 (21 ... Rxe5 22 Qxe5 fxe5 23 Ne7 or21 ... fxe5 Qf7 Kh8 23 Ne7) but I could not see anything convincing against 20fe fe 21 Qf7 Kh8 22 Rf3 Ne6! 20...b6 21.Rf3 It might not be readily apparent that this is a very risky manoeuvre....if White cannot set Black serious problems on the Kingside, the off-side nature of this Rook could easily cost White the game. 21...Qb7 22.Rg3 Qf7 Seeing that 23 Qxf7 Kxf7 24 Nc7Rad8 is OK. 23.Qf3 Red8 24.h4 Ne7 25.e4 Nc6 26.Qe2 Kh8 27.h5 h6 28.Bc1 Rd629.Rg6

It should be mentioned that only by winning (or losing) this could either of us catch the two leading players...who had agreed a four-move draw hours earlier! 29...Nxg6 Now, or on the next move, Black had to throw in the ...Nd4 manoeuvre....but Chris was playing quite quickly now and giving the impression that he had seen his way past White's attack. 30.hxg6 Qd7 31.Qh5 After ..Nd4 now (or earlier) White had planned a second Rook-jump, Rd3/Rg3 Rh3 before sacrificing on 'h6' but now there is no need. 31...Kg8 32.Bxh6 gxh6

33.Nxf6+ 1–0

Tuesday 2 July 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 16

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Column 16

The World Championship

So, the world is at last trying to re-unite the various World Championships, in a series of events set to mark the tenth anniversary of the big split of 1993, when Kasparov and Short broke away from the official body for world chess, FIDE, and played their championship match under their new association, the PCA.

The curious Dortmund tournament will soon be over. This started as a two-group system, with the top two players qualifying for a mini-match in the semi-finals. Topalov and Leko are currently contesting the final; the eventual winner then plays BGN champion Kramnik.

Meanwhile, FIDE champion Ponomariov must play ex-champion Kasparov in amatch, the winner of which will then face the winner of Kramnik’s match.Finally, we will be able to call one single person the World Chess Champion,just as we could in the old days. Of course, Bobby Fischer will still claim tobe the World Champion no matter happens, but as he’s only played one matchsince 1972 his claim must be wearing a little thin by now.

The tradition of the World Championship has been badly damaged over the last decade. The ever-quickening FIDE time controls have given us year after year of superficial encounters. How many games can you remember from the FIDE K.O. World Championships? Have any of them stuck in your mind as classics? Yet when we hadthe traditional matches every two or three years, classic games were produced each time.

What are your thoughts on the World Championship? Do you welcome the return to a more traditional, full-length match or would you prefer a single, high-profile K.O. Tournament? What are the chances of this new cycle actually going ahead without one of the major players getting upset about something orother and then jeopardising the whole thing?

There’s a thread just started in the forum section of this site; why not let us know what you think?

The Curious Case of the Countless Clues

(Or...the difference bewteen vulgarity and double entendres!)

As Doctor Watson entered the rooms of 221B Baker Street, he could tell be the raging enthusiasm of his great friend that there was a case to be solved.

‘Great Scott, Holmes! What’s afoot?’

‘Twelve inches, Watson’ came the immediate reply from the world’s greatest detective.

Come now, surely you are working on case of the utmost import. I can tell from your agitated state and animated manner.’

Yes Watson, and I think I have very nearly solved it. It concerns the anonymous postings on a certain chess website. And I now know the true identities of Mr. White Knight and Mr. A.N. Onimous!’

Holmes!’ ejaculated Watson. ‘How can you possibly have solved it so quickly! You’ve deduced the names of the culprits faster than those in thecase of the yellow-door painters!’

‘Yes, but don’t forget, the latter case was lemon-entry, my dear Watson. In point of fact, the two anonymous posters both left countless clues. So many,in fact, that I thought some of them must surely be red herrings.’

Ah, you thought something was a bit fishy, right from the start! So what clues did the gentlemen in question leave, Holmes?’

Here the detective drew heavily on his pipe, but his face suddenly turned into a picture of displeasure. ‘Nearly out of tobacco again! I must go around to see that lady tobacconist and see about my shag!’ Pausing only to fill his pipe-bowl with the last few flakes of ready-rub from his Persian slipper, Holmes reclined in his favourite armchair once more and continued the narrative of his deductions.

‘In the case of A.N. Onimous, I recognised the style of the language...’


Shocking! His idea of using a blatant vulgarity instead of a subtle double entendre helped...but the clincher came when I read the post about his displeasure regarding White Knight insulting people’s intelligence. His spelling of intelligence was unfortunately incorrect. I then knew that MrOnimous was somewhat lacking in the area of diction. Then it was a simple matter of consulting my files and matching it with the right suspect.’

‘And what of White Knight? What clues did he leave?’ asked Watson, still none too bright despite being involved in scores of famous cases.

Well Watson, I knew we were up against a fellow with a strong personality,who cared deeply about chess, had been recently wronged, was local, has playedchess in this region for several decades, has a knowledge of law and has the curious habit of spelling ‘Sean’ ‘Shaun’. Inspecting these clues, evenyou, Watson, could have deduced who it was and announced ‘fair cop’!

You astound me Holmes!’ exclaimed Watson. ‘So what happened next?’

‘I have contacted the two gentlemen and they have been good enough toconfirm the correctness of my thinking. I believe the world of Cleveland chess will now be free of such anonymous postings, and everyone can now be nice to each other once more. I shall only reveal their names publicly if they are naughty boys again. I now turn my attention to the peculiar case of the smelly drains of Baker Street. But first I must replenish my supply of tobacco.’

‘Why, what’s afoot?

‘It’s that thing on the end of your leg, my dear Watson. I need tobacco because the case of the drains looks tricky, and is certain to be a two-pipe problem. Would you mind popping out and buying some, my friend? Oh, and could you collect my violin from the repair shop, too?’

So good old Doctor Watson picked up his little black bag and made to fetch Holmes’s shopping. As he got to the door, his friend called out, ‘Here,Watson, catch! You’ll need this for the shop!’

What is, old chap?’ Asked Watson, catching the object instinctively.

‘The Pound of the Baskervilles, Watson! And I expect some change!’

So Watson left his friend for a short time to visit the tobacconist and violin repair shop; yet there was still one thing he could never work he left the rooms of 221B Baker Street, he could have sworn he heard the soundof his old friend fiddling away....

Coming up in the next column.....

County Champion Norman Stephenson annotates three games from his great Middlesbrough Congress success!

Sunday 2 June 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 15

The Sean Marsh Chess Column

Column 15


Dear Readers.....

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.

Plate Tournament

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!

Round 5

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

15 ... Bxf3?? Now black loses a piece for a pawn. Maybe 15...g5 16Qe3...Ng4 17 Qe2...0-0-0 18 h3...dxe5 is relatively best but white remains much better due to black’s pawn weaknesses. Now as long as I can avoid blunders, I should take the lead in the tournament. 16 Qxf3 Qd8 Black’s a8 rook and f6 knight are now attacked.

17 exf6 Nxf6 18 Be4 Rb8 19 Bc6+ Kf8 20 Ne4 Nxe4 21 Bxe4 Kg7

Being 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 Rde8

29...e5 would make white’s task more difficult. Now white can realize his advantage.

30 dxe6 fxe6 31 f5! gxf5 32 Bxf5! e5

The 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

Round 7

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.

Friday 1 March 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 14

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Column 14


Time For A Change?

The Cleveland Individual Chess Championship is over for another year...or is it? We knowthat Bernie Price has won the Minor section, thanks to a critical last round victory over candidate Michael Mossom and Norman Stephenson added to his amazing record number of titles when he won the Open section. Congratulations to the two champions.

Unfortunately, the Open section has ended with more than a touch of farce and there was a major dispute which looks set to run for some time to come. I have, in writing, one side of the story and I will put it in a future column if I can also get the other side. Versions of the story are already been passed by word of mouth around the clubs but no doubt the full tale will be told at the next Cleveland meeting.

For me, the tournament had more than one unsatisfactory aspect. The dispute mentioned above, a number of very short draws and more than one extension to themonthly deadline for each round marred what should be a showcase of the very best local players, given their all in pursuit of the biggest individual honourof Cleveland chess.

The original format of the tournament, giving each pair ofplayers a month to play the game, seems to me to be not working as well as itused to. In my own experience there have been some very annoying cases. Of course, most opponents have been absolutely fine, a pleasure to play, but several times I have had to put up with opponents not entering into the spirit of the tournament, delaying contact, making it very difficult to arrange the game, turning up very late and then creating difficulties when games need to beresumed after adjournments. I have been involved in some very tense title battles but I have also suffered when defaults in third-party games have destroyed my chances of winning the event.

I think it is time for a change.

I had the idea, some years ago, of wanting to see the county championship run on either of these two formats:

1) With the one round-a-month format intact, but with all games played at the same venue, at the same time. (Just like the KO Cup is now).

2) A weekend tournament, five round Swiss, providing a high point in the local chess calendar.

I firmly believe that the above suggestions would lead to more players competing, making the tournament more interesting. If the tournament was held as a weekender, more people will be able to free up the time to play and coasting to a title with short, colourless draws will be less of an option. All disputes regarding venues, times, overstepping the monthly deadline, and not reporting the results would vanish immediately. Defaulters would be reduced to a minimum.

I’ve never had any truck with people who pull out once they’ve lost a game and feel they have no chance of winning the tournament. Such a mentality is very selfish and harms the balance of the event. One year, when the title was decidedby tie breaks involving sum of opponents’ scores, my first three opponents withdrew from the tournament having lost to me, thus destroying any chance I would have if it came down to a tie break.

Well, there’s my initial ideas. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Don’t care? I want to know!!

Either e-mail me or reply to the forum, where a thread has been started off by Mike Welch.

Middlesbrough Rooks - Champions Again!

Congratulations to Middlesbrough Rooks on winning the A division title with a match to spare. The last chance to derail them came when Elmwood took them on in a tense encounter.

Following a failed attempt to bring back former Rook David Spence all the way from Ipswich to play in this crunch encounter (he’s now a rookie in the police force) and with no reserves to cover for the absent Peter Ridsdale (now working in Wales), captain Tony Kiddle brought in former county champion David Smith,who fitted very comfortably into the board three spot. This made The Rooks big favourites (sporting four county champions, past and present) and the pressure of being so never looked likely to affect their performance. The match looked close at one point, with the top board drawn and Elmwood looking good on boards two and six, but The Rooks stamped their authority on the match and ran out 5-1winners, thus taking an unassailable three point lead at the top, with just onematch to go.

There is no doubt about it - Middlesbrough Rooks are the strongest local chess team. Elmwood are perpetually runners-up. However, in the Tom Wise K.O.Cup, Elmwood have a much better record and they will be hoping to continue thatas they take on The Rooks in this year’s final.

Why not come along and watch?



Plate Final


Coming soon, in the next column....

More on the county championship dispute

News from the cup finals

And, at long last, some games from recent local events!

Thursday 28 February 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 13

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Column 13

Title Battle

The local chess scene has now entered its final phase of the season, and all titles, cups, relegations, promotions, elation and heartache should be over anddone with by the end of May.

The top of the A division took a very interesting turn in round 11. Defending champions Middlesbrough Rooks suffered their first defeat of the season when thejunior-based side Middlesbrough Knights eventually outplayed them.

Chris Duggan started the possibility of a shock result when he held Mike Closs, current co-county champion, to a relatively painless draw with Black. Robin Killick then won in good style, showing a welcome return to form after a patchy spell. Ian Elcoate was always winning his game for the Rooks but the great turning point came on board 5. Tony Kiddle was not only a pawn up againstMike Welch, but he also had the advantage of good Knight v poor Bishop. However,a terrible and uncharacteristic miscalculation on Tony’s part allowed a transition into a King and pawn ending which was completely lost. Mike Welch duly picked up the full point. It can be said that Mike enjoyed a little luck inthis game, but he displayed great coolness in defending a very difficultposition up to that point.

When Matthew Jackman’s armada of passed pawns sailed majestically into the heart of Peter Ridsdale’s position, the match was over. Ernie Lazenby made desperate attempts to pull back a full point for the Rooks but William Place not only held on, despite a severe shortage of time, but actually stood better when the draw was finally agreed. So the final score of this exciting match was Middlesbrough Knights 4, Middlesbrough Rooks 2.

Playing at the same time, the arch-rivals of the Rooks, Elmwood, were busy demolishing Middlesbrough Bishops to the tune of 5-1. All of this keeps the Rooks on top of the table, but only by one point. Both teams have tough matches coming up. Elmwood must face the Knights and the Rooks play Redcar. Both are having good seasons and both are capable of an upset. Then all is set for the big clash between the Rooks and Elmwood, in the penultimate round of the fixtures. Should be very interesting!

Cup Finals

The two big cup finals will take place at The Ladle on Friday 17th May. TheRooks play Elmwood in the main section of the Tom Wise Memorial Cup and ElmwoodJuniors take on Stokesley.

Both should be very tough matches, potentially classics. Nobody can remember a previous cup final between The Rooks and Elmwood, although they have met twice at other stages of the competition over the last five years. One win each!

There is the possibility of an incredible Elmwood double of both cups, and also a possibility of a slightly less impressive Elmwood double of two runners-up places. Spectators are, as always, welcome.

New Book

A short time ago, the world of chess books was enhanced by the publication of‘The English Morphy? The Life and Games of Cecil De Vere’ byOwen Hindle and Bob Jones, published by Keverel Chess Books. There is a review of this book in a previous column (see the archive). Keverel Chess Books have just announced their latest project, which will be ‘TheGolden Age of Chess’ and will cover the period from Philidor to the great match of 1834 between McDonnell and La Bourdonnais.

The added twist is that both players were buried in Kensal Green Cemetery,West London. Sadly, both graves are now in a very poor condition. As part of the work on this new project, Bob Jones of Keverel Chess Books is seeking donations for a fund to restore both graves. Anyone interested in helping the cause is encouraged to send £25.00 to Keverel Chess Books. This will guarantee a signed copy of the book and an invitation to the unveiling ceremony.

Sunday 10 February 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 12

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Column 12


Drama at the KO Cup Semis

The Tom Wise K.O. Cup semi-finals were played at TheTouchdown, Hartlepool (venue for many of Graham Marshall’s excellent Rapidplay events).

The Touchdown produced a very welcome buffet, enabling the players to refue las they gave their opponents food for thought.

Four A division teams (three from Middlesbrough!) battled it out for a placein the big final. Middlesbrough Rooks,holders of the local A division title seemingly in perpetuity, have only won thecup once in the last five years but are always eager to improve on this somewhat disappointing record. They were up against Middlesbrough Bishops in a tie which proved to be a bit of mismatch. With on-form county champion Mike Closs leading the team, the Rooks never looked like giving anything away from start to finish. A solitary draw was all the Bishops could manage from five boards, and that was conceded long after a convincing victory was already in the bag.

The other semi-final was tougher. Elmwood faced Middlesbrough Knights in a replay of last season’s final in a close match that kept everyone guessing until very late into the evening. For a long time, the match was balanced at one win each and then Elmwood seized the lead thanks to another win from Steve Dauber. Steve, currently leading the county individual championship with two rounds to go, is on great form this season. There then followed alengthy period without a further result. Elmwood needed just a single half-point from the two remaining games, and their players were a pawn up in both endgames.However, extreme resourcefulness from the two Knights, Robin Killick and William Place, seemed to be swinging the balance and suddenly any result was possible. Eventually, after much interesting play, both games were indeed drawn, sendingElmwood through to the final as 3-2 winners.

Elmwood have a fantastic recent record in the cup. This will be their fourth final in five seasons (they were knocked-out in the semis the other year). In those finals, two ended in success and one in defeat. What will be the outcome this time?

It is the first time I know of that The Rooks and Elmwood will meet in thecup final; curious, as they have been the two strongest local teams for many years. The Rooks usually triumph narrowly over Elmwood in the league and muststart as favourites in the final. I suspect it will be close , exciting andentertaining. Both sides have done well to reach the final - despite being the strongest teams, places in finals must still be earned by hard work - and I hope it does live up to expectations and produces a showcase of competitive, localchess talent.

The Plate final should also be a great match. Elmwood Juniors take on Stokesley in another one that is difficult to predict the outcome of.

The date has yet to be arranged for the finals, but will be up on this siteas soon as it is announced.

36th Southlands Junior Tournament


Ever since 1990, the Cleveland Schools’ Chess Association has run three tournaments a year at Southlands Centre, Middlesbrough. Over the years the events have attracted many players, of all ages and abilities. Some have become chess superstars (Richard Palliser, Bret Addison, Gawain Jones etc.....), some will undoubtedly go on to become great players and, of course, the vast majority just wanted to play a little chess at a well-organized tournament. At the height of local chess activity, the record turnout was an incredible 130 participants.Then 100 became the acceptable norm, then 80...then numbers tumbled down to40-ish. The latest tournament attracted just 27 entries. TWENTY SEVEN. Yet do you have any idea how many entry forms I printed, copied and distributed to attract this number of players? Well...I’m not sure I should tell you. Each one of the three annual events takes an average of four months to prepare,publicise and run. They are advertised locally, nationally, on the CEEFAX, Teletext, chess magazines, websites, chess club notice boards, schoolnewsletters, by word of mouth, by pre-released lists of ‘dates for the season’.

Every players finishing in the top three of any age group wins a trophy for keeps. Tied places are not subjected to tie-breaks; every placed player receivesa trophy regardless of sum of opponents scores, sum of progressive scores, play-offs or even who has the biggest nose. So many trophies! And in addition, we have given away book prizes, magazine subscriptions, great cash prizes, certificates and thousands of sweets.

What do I have to do to make juniors play in chess tournaments? Do I have to come round on the morning of the event, apologise for not giving reminder number 100 and lead you directly to your playing table? Would a 500 foot neon sign over Southlands Centre help to remind you of what, when and where?

Yet there are some players who have stayed loyal to the tournaments, through thick and thin. They have nearly all become highly reliable players for their local senior chess clubs.

So, hopefully some of the 27 people did enjoy the 36th tournament.

Or Goldreich won the Under-9 section with five straight wins, a point ahead of Matthew Williamson, and Emma Mavin took third with 3/5.

James Thorne-Wallis also scored five points, in the Under-11 section, to take clear first. Vijay ShyamSundar was second with four points and there was a big tie for third, with Thomas Mavin (still only six years old!), Abbey Arnison, Hayley Allan and Michael Davison all scoring 2.5/5.

Carl Shuttleworth was his usual extremely impressive self and he easily won the Over-11 section with 5/5. Christopher Dale held second with 4/5 and David Gorley sharedthird with Nick Webb, both on 3.5/5.

Given the continuous downward trend in the number of entries, I have decided that the 36th tournament should also be the last of the series. The 37th event,scheduled for June 2002, has been cancelled. The numbers just do not justify the time and money spent on running these tournaments. I am working on new ideas forj unior tournaments and will post full details here in this column if and when they become available.

These are the final Grand Prix scores for the 2001-2 season. The first column shows the score from last November’s event. Column two shows the score fromthe February event and the third column is the final aggregate. A cheque for£20 is on its way to each of the three section winners.


Or Goldreich 4/5 5/5 9

Thomas Mavin 4/5 4

Matthew Williamson 4/5 4/5 8

Catriona Bruce 3/5 2.5/5 5.5

Kane Moore 1/5 2.5/5 3.5

Emma Mavin 3/5 3

Tom Bulmer 3/5 3

Thomas Donald 3/5 3

Jenny Openshaw 2.5/5 2.5

Andrew Lodge 2/5 2

James Herbert 1.5/5 1.5

Jason Loveridge 1.5/5 1.5

Abigail Mealing 1.5/5 1.5

Emma Robinson 1/5 1


James Thorne-Wallis 3/5 5/5 8

Vijay Shyam Sundar 3/5 4/5 7

Michael Davison 4/5 2.5/5 6.5

Abbey Arnison 2/5 2.5/5 4.5

Ben Harker 4/5 4

Thomas Beckwith 4/5 4

Hayley Allan 2.5/5 2.5

Thomas Mavin 2.5/5 2.5

Jonathan Robison 2/5 2

Markus Waddoup 2/5 2

Michael Briggs 1.5/5 1.5

Kenneth Kilburn 1.5/5 1.5

Michael Lau 1.5/5 1.5

Michael Lee 1.5/5 1.5

Kyle McGee 1/5 1


Carl Shuttleworth 4.5/5 5/5 9

Christopher Dale 3/5 4/5 7

Graham Shuttleworth 4/5 2.5/5 6.5

Matthew Jackman 2.5/5 3/5 5.5

David Gorley 2/5 3.5/5 5.5

Matthew Hammond 2/5 3/5 5

Dominic Leigh 2/5 2/5 4

Robin Killick 4/5 4

Nathan Huntley 3.5/5 3.5

Nick Webb 3.5/5 3.5

Peter Harker 3/5 3

Thomas Watson 2/5 1/5 3

Calum Arnison 1/5 2/5 3

Andrew Watts 2.5/5 2.5

Amy Dryden 1/5 1/5 2

Tony Jefferson 2/5 2

Friday 1 February 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 11

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Column 11

February 2002

Sometimes, It’s All Goodbyes

The recent Redcar Congress saw a number of our players curiously off-form, with local favourites suffering a number of painful defeats. The Open section was a great success for Durham’s James Simpson, repeating his victory of the previous year. James seemed to be the only person playing consistently well; after the fourth round, he had already guaranteed himself sole first place, as he had a mighty one and half point advantage over his nearest rivals.

An on-form James Simpson is almost unstoppable - always fighting, never compromising, never agreeing draws when there is a chance to play on an interesting game. He is one of my favourite local players and he thoroughly deserved his success. However, I think most of us were not up the challenge this time. Take a look at the full scores elsewhere on this site and you will see what I mean about the locals being on poor form.

For me, and for many others, the congress was overshadowed by the terrible news that Peter Bashford had died on the way to the tournament.

Peter, 74, was one of the most committed club players in our county. Since I joined Elmwood, five years ago, there can’t have been more than three or fourclub nights when Peter was not there, and that was when he had an away match.Peter came into club chess late in life but showed a loyalty and dedication to his local scene that is lacking in so many these days.

He and I often travelled to tournaments together - Tyne & Wear, Durham, Hartlepool...even Nottingham, on one occasion. ‘Fancy playing some different people next weekend?’ He would ask, and off we’d go. During the journeys, we would have discussions on a whole range of subjects, but we’d always come back to chess and football. He was a supporter of Charlton and was pleased to see them holding their own in the Premiership, but his experience and knowledge of football in general was very deep. I enjoyed his tales of watching the greats, such as Sir Stanley Matthews.

Peter always followed my chess progress with great interest, even when I kept him up late, waiting for me to finish my first round in a congress!

The last time I saw him was the Thursday night, one day before the Redcar Congress. He seemed perfectly okay and was looking forward to playing. His last sentence to me was about the chess column which featured the Bronstein visit.What a cruel twist of fate that my very next column should feature his most unexpected death.

When the sadness has had time to settle, Elmwood chess club will plan a memorial tournament for our great friend, Peter Bashford.

Sometimes, it’s all goodbyes. This latest loss comes only shortly after Steve Welbourne and Howard Bowyer, Bob Hammond and, from Hull, Antonius (‘Tony’) Stalmans; not to mention England’s former No.1 GM, Tony Miles.

I feel such things often have a bigger impact on chess players, because ourchess world is usually insulated from many things in the ‘real world’. We will continue playing, but things will never be quite the same again.

Tuesday 1 January 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 10

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Column 10

January 2002

GM David Bronstein Simultaneous Display

Yarm School, 14/1/2002

Local chess was given a late Christmas present when one of the greatest players in the history of chess came to our county for two nights of chess heaven.

Grandmaster David Bronstein needs no introduction from me; I’ll just jump straight into an account of his activities while he was here.

First up was a simultaneous display at Yarm School. This was his third in our county in about a decade, and the latest in a very long series of such events in our area.

Previously, we have had visits from Botvinnik, Stein, Zatulovskaja, Smyslov,Gligoric, Korchnoy, Tal, Larsen, Short, Keene, Suba, King.....I may even have missed some.

This was a well-attended display and our players were an excellent mix, with experienced players, county champions and juniors all taking part.

Here are the scores:

Andrew Killick 0.5

Garry Hewitt 0

Ian Peden 0

Joe Richardson 0.5

Jamie Peden 0

Richard Hall 1

Peter Nevard 0

John Garnett 0.5

James Thorne-Wallis 0

Sean Marsh 0

Matthew Jackman 0

Chris Duggan 0

Nick Webb 0

Brian Clark 0

Dominic Leigh 0

Terry Legge 1

David Richardson 0

Dennis Sawdon 0

Robin Killick 1

Keith Rattue 0

Graham Edwards 0

George Laszlo 0.5

Chris Edwards 0

Kevin Winter 0.5

William Place 0.5

Andrew Watts 0.5

Bronstein scored +16, =7, -3. The last game finished at exactly 11.00 p.m.,when the Grandmaster offered Stokesley’s Joe Richardson a draw in a Rook and pawn ending. Joe offered to resign instead, thinking he was losing a critical pawn, but Bronstein typically pointed out a drawing resource!

Terry Legge, Richard Hall and Robin Killick all won, with the latter comingin for special praise from the Grandmaster. Robin sacrificed a piece in the goodold style and won in Bronstein style!

I am hoping to present one or two of the games in a future column.

An Evening with David Bronstein

Claxton Hotel, Redcar


This was a wonderful evening. For virtually four hours, our Grandmaster guestwent through some of his brilliant games and shared his theories and ideas on awhole range of chess topics. Can you imagine having some of Bronstein’s games presented by the man himself - battles with other chess giants, such as Keres -complete with extraordinary anecdotes? It was a chess-lover’s dream come true. Here, we heard stories covering the Grandmaster’s chess life; from being taught the moves, through the cold war years, right up to the present day and his battles with the latest chess computers.

Then, when it was gone 11.00 p.m., having asked us several times to give him‘just five more minutes’, he finally confessed to being a little tired. At 78, so he should have been!

Those who dared to miss this event missed something very special indeed; the opportunity of a lifetime.

David Bronstein - living chess legend and hero of chess players everywhere,we thank you for two wonderful evenings!