The Sean Marsh Chess Column
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!
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 BookA 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.