Taunton v Yeovil report (9-4-2013)

Regular readers will know that the TSTCPGs have already won the Somerset Division One Title (again – I’ve lost count how many times on-the-trott it is now…), and so this last fixture in our Div 1 calendar whilst largely academic, is still important to us as we want to end undefeated again (yes Glastonbury, that 5-1 defeat all those years ago still spurs us on.)

The fixture was to be played at Yeovil and they have a varied history of locations, these include from the Red Cross Centre – bright, quiet and with the added comedy value of the only toilet having two, near-identical, switches – one does the light and the other sets off the help-i’m-disabled-and-trapped-in-the-loo alarm (klaxxons, red flashing lights etc…). And of course its only a matter of time until some unsuspecting sap triggers mayhem here.

Other locations have been pub-based, which meets pawnstar’s approval and obviously gives rise to barmaid hotness scales and whether there is anything to do there (like playing pool or looking at long wall murals) to help stave off the boredom of waiting for one’s opponent to move.

Yeovil recently played in the Plucknet, which sadly scores low on the barmaid hotness and other activity ratings, but does have beer (and beer helps solve most issues), and a relatively quiet playing area.

However, just before the match we were told the landlord had done a runner and the pub was temporarily closed. Rumours about recent cash-only takings at the bar and landlords fleeing with bags of cash (allegedly..) were whispered, albeit not quietly as pawnstar overheard pretty much all of them…

Anyway, Yeovil hastily rearranged a venue – The Fluer de Lys pub. I wasn’t too sure where it was and so googled it. Got the address quickly and also found the only online review of the place, and I quote from viewbath.co.uk – “dirty, smelly, unkempt, and thats just the landlord. The beer is flat and lifeless and the atmosphere is about the same. Is it possible to give a negative score? as this pub deserves it”

Hmmm.. our expectations were low, but on arrival we thought the place was very good, nice and clean – either the place has been spruced up or that review is a very harsh…

Ok, on to the chess – our team was MarkH, DaveL, MikeR, NickW, AlexC (its the easter holidays..), and MartinW.

Before I show you the games, its interesting to see how three of the games were heavily influenced by the recent Candidates Tournament in London. Sadly however, it seems most had been watching Ivanchuck, and rather than learning from his opening style or middlegame play, they tended to copy his time-management techniques. Yes – two of the games tonight were lost on time and the third was clearly decided by it… I spose I should be grateful as didn’t Ivanchuck lose 5 games on time – at least only 3 here were affected…

The games finished something like this –

Board 6: G Crocker 1 v M Worral 0
A game Martin will want to forget quickly. Whilst 20. … Qxh5 would have delayed things a while, the game was already looking shaky. In the end, once more than a Rook down (and therefore no longer drawish), Martin resigned.

Next was Dave, yes Dave, with this –

Board 2: D Botting 0 v Dave ‘Draw’ Littlejohns 1
Comments are in game, but yet again Dave lures an opponent into a tediuos drawish looking position, only to grind out a win while the opponent nods off…

Next was Alex –

Board 5: Alex Conway 1/2 v Nigel Mills 1/2
Ok, Alex played well to get into a positon where there were many many ways to win. Unfortunately he missed them all. In the final position, Black is ahead by at least +2.0 but probably agreed to the draw due to being shellshocked that he hadn’t actually lost by then.
Here is the game, with comments by Alex –

So far, three games gone an no ‘Ivanchuck’ influences.. well, next was Nick –

Board 4: M Baker 0 v Nick Wilson 1
Nick tried to create some threats to White’s slightly exposed king, and may in some lines have had an advantage, but nothing significant. However, White, clearly influenced by Ivanchuck, spent ages over each move and quickly got into time trouble. Nick then moved even faster with more strong looking, but substance lacking, threats, and shortly white lost on time in a pretty even position.

So, Taunton lead 2.5 – 1.5 Just 1 needed to secure the win!

Next was MikeR –

Board 3: Mike Richardt 1 v Roger Knight 0
Mike, in-book to move gazillion, had a stronger position throughout. Roger, just like Ivanchuck spent too much time trying to find solutions to this and although ultimately lost on time, the game was looking lost too.

This win ensures Taunton win the match!

Mark’s game was now the last to finish.

Board 1: Mark Hassall 0 v P Kryzanowski 1
Mark had, I felt, an average to good position throughout. And he was ahead on tim up to the time control. But after the time control, Black moved quickly and Mark suddenly found himself with no time to find a saving line in a surely-drawn rook and pawn ending.

I don’t have the moves, but an unfortunate end to the match for us.

Final result – Taunton win 3.5 – 2.5!!

Great end to the season, remaining undefeated! Thank you and well played everyone!

– pawnstar

Match Report – Taunton v Glastonbury

Thanks to Mike for this match report –

4-2 win against bottom of the league Glastonbury

As a team captain it isn’t easy to assemble a team week in week out. Well, at least once a month. Despite the fact that the date are usually know well in advance life gets in the way of playing chess and as a team captain this isn’t a good thing.
I explain what I mean: When booking my 3-4 days off in Rome I realised I couldn’t be playing against Glastonbury. So a nice talk with my wife and we postponed the holiday by 24h and flew the next day. Well, not sure if my wife was happy about but it meant I could play chess. The downside was that when we turned up in Rome the weather was typical English: It was raining cats and dogs and I am on exaggerating. The heaven opened its doors just to punish me? or the freshly resigned Pope? We’ll never find out.
Nick on the other hand did it the right way. He didn’t try to explain to his wife that chess is a too important part of his life so he went onto his scheduled skiing trip and missed the match.
In the end I had the following players at my disposal: Ben Edgell, Mark Hassall, Dave Littlejohns, Mike Richardt (me), Stan Wojcik and Martin Worrall.

When turning up at Glastonbury Tor Leisure Centre we had the usual mix of Glastonbury players and Millfield youngsters and their GM coach Matthew Turner. Millfield was missing ther star player on that evening: Nikita Ayvazyan, only 14 years old but he has an impressive ECF rating already.

As this match was well over a week ago I can’t remember all positions and the order they finished:

I think First to finish was Dave Littlejohns on board 3:
Dave Littlejohns – Roger Morgan 1/2 – 1/2
Dave has a sticker of season this year and once the rot has started it’s not easy to stop it. So a quick solid draw with white is probably what the doctor had ordered.

Martin was next and he was up against one of the Millfield juniors who hasn’t even a grade yet.
Carlos Guzman – Martin Worrall 0 – 1
Martin played one of his Sicilian lines and had a nice advantage after the opening. In the middle game Martin won a piece for 1 or two pawns and the rest was good technique on his part.

Stan was next against Tristan West.

Stan Wojcik – Tristan West 1/2 – 1/2
I think this was Stan’s 3rd encounter with Tristan this season and the scores before the game were equal 1-1. Stan played his usual London System and the was equal for the whole game, so a draw was agreed in the late middle game.

With the scores 2 – 1 in our favour it was my turn to bring home my full point.

George Galliano – Mike Richardt 0 – 1
I played the French opening, as I sometimes do, and didn’t had the best of positions after the opening. In the middle game, where I thought I had some initiative against White’s isolated d-pawn I missed a really good move from George and suddenly I was on the back foot when we entered the endgame. Luckily George play the endgame not very accurate and I was able to advance my position into a winning one. A lucky point for me but in the end it’s the point what counts not how you got there.

Only half a point needed and Ben was the next to finish.

Ben Edgell – Neville Senior 1 – 0
Ben played an interesting opening and I wasn’t sure if that was all sound. On the way home Ben assured me that it was all fine for white; I am still not convinced!!! Anyway the game was quite dull for most part of the game but when the blitz phase arrived, due to time shortage of both players, the position heated up and Ben had a won position after the time control. Neville resigned shortly after reaching the time control.

With the match won it was down to Mark to finish the match off in style.
Cosima Keen – Mark Hassall 1/2 – 1/2
I think this game had an interesting middle game with plenty of tactical and positional options and the youngster from Millfield played it quite well. At some point I thought Mark was worse but that might have just been my imagination. With the match won a draw was agreed which both players deserved.

4,5 – 1,5 was the final result and we are well on course for our next division 1 title.
I have to apologise for the lack of commentated game in this report but life got in the way this time. Also as I am writing this report we have already secured the Division 1 title with a win against Frome. Hopefully one of my team members can write a little report as I wasn’t playing in that fixture.

Div1 Match Report – Taunton v Frome (29/1/2013)

2013 is underway and what everyone wants to know is – Will Taunton’s all-winning supreme team of chess playing Gods continue slaying all and sundry who dare cross its path??

Well, this time its Frome who stand between us and our unblemished 100% win record. MikeR, being captain, tried to round up a team and did pretty well although DaveL said he couldn’t make it due to being in New Zealand. Honestly, the pathetic excuses people give….

But on the plus side, Ben, our almost-but-not-quite 200 rated player, could make it. And what’s more, the eagerly awaited mid-season grades are now out! Scanning down the list, has Ben’s grade changed by the all-important one point he so desperately needs…? What…?? His grade has changed by one point?!?! He’ll be so…… er… disappointed… (it dropped by one point…). So now Ben is our almost-but-ever-so-slightly-less-than-200-graded-than-he-was-a-week-ago player.

So the final team was Ben, Mark, MikeR, Nick, Stan and MikeW.

Tonight’s theme is – TRAP.

The games finished something like this –

Board 5: S Wojcik 1/2 v R Williams 1/2
The trap here is that Ray Williams is a historically very strong player, yet playing on board 5. Stan managed to negotiate any potential difficulties and the game was agreed drawn. A good result for Stan.

Next was Nick with this –

Board 4: Chris Purry 1/2 v Nick Wilson 1/2
Nick fell into a trap before the match even started. Frome’s club is based on the far side on a never-ending maze of a huge residential housing estate. Nick’s sat-nav broke the day before, and sure enough, en-route Nick got lost. Fortunately there were road sings to the Frome Football Club, which he followed, only to arrive at a completely different football club… Eventually he arrived, nearly 15 minutes late. Nick’s last game against Chris was a nice attacking affair and as the game started, Chris was repeating the same moves… Just as Nick was thinking “Why is he playing the same line that lost so badly last year..?” Chris played a new move. Nick, fell into a time trap, and already behind on the clock now spent 30 mins (on move 6), trying to decide if the Rook sac played last time would still work. (Later computer analysis later proved the agressive Nf6 should win unless Chris were to pick the one correct line from hundreds of certain death ones…). But in the game, Nick meekly played a decidedly un-God-like move instead and the game drearily ended in a draw a bit later. With no DaveL present, the award for the most tedious game had to be awarded here.

Then the game of the evening – Mike Ward – an eleventh hour stand-in. surely a sacrificial lamb? especially against the 140+ opponent. But no. Mike not only accurately followed the evenings theme of ‘Trap’, but also elevated his play on the evening to match the Gods surrounding him.

Board 6: A Champion 0 v Mike Ward 1
The trap, in place by move 26, holding white’s Queen is clear. And what a finish! Well played Mike!!

Taunton now lead 2-1. Next was MikeR, playing the normally very agressive Gerry Jepps. But, again the ‘Trap’ theme continued…

Board 2: Mike Richardt v Gerry Jepps 0
Mike played a commanding game throughout. He are notes from the man himself –

So, Taunton lead 3-1. Just 0.5 needed to secure the win!

Next was our 200, er no, sorry, make that 199, er oops wrong again… 198-rated player, Ben. Despite his grading slipping, he did managed a very good trap, trapping Black’s Queen.

Board 1: Ben Edgell 1 v Graham Steer
Nice game by Ben, gradually squeezing Black, until his Queen is trapped and the game is over.

This win ensures Taunton win the match!

Mark’s game was (possibly) the last to finish.

Board 2: Mark Leonard 1 v Mark Hassall 0
Mark (the Frome Mark) must’ve been so relieved not to see the God-like drawing-Titan that is DaveL sat across the board. Instead he faced MarkH. This was a double edged game (and I thought MarkH was winning) but ’twas not to be. The game and comments are from MarkL (shamelessly stolen from elsewhere on the interwebby). Thanks MarkL for saving me a bit of time here! – pawnstar.

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Final result – Taunton win 4-2!!

So, the answers to the initial question is, Yes, Taunton’s all-conquering team of chess-playing Gods are continuing to slay all and sundry. (cue demonic like – Ha Ha Ha!!!)

Man of the match is most definitely Mike Ward for his stunning win!

And to round off – here is a chess joke –

– pawnstar

Div1 Match Report – Taunton v Yeovil 30/10/12

When looking at the teams in Division One, the closest challenger to the mighty, all-conquering Taunton Division One team of heroes, would seem to be the Yeovil team. Yeah, close, but no cigar…. Or so we thought… suddenly with Terry no longer with us (er… make that no longer at the club.. he’s not dead AFAIK..), and also our star, almost-but-not-quite-graded-at-200 player, Ben, was not able to make it for this match, suddenly our overbearing, dominating, supremacy wasn’t looking quite so iron-clad.

Anyway, Yeovil turned up, and sportingly didn’t bring all their best players either. They’d shed one, which in close matches might make all the difference.

The real excitement was elsewhere though, as the newly-entered-into-the-club-championship, Chess Challenger 7 embarked on its first game, with an excited group of players ganging up on it. I’ll post more on that encounter some other time.

Meanwhile, similar to ManU v Chelsea, the match that will probably dictate the direction of the title chase got underway

The games finished in this order –

Board 2: Dave Littlejohns 1/2 v Andrew Footner 1/2
As he pondered over move 12, none of Dave’s pieces had ventured beyond the 2nd row, the queens were off and Dave had a huge grin. He came leaping over, enthusiastically spouting – “Yes, its all going to plan”. Andrew Footner appeared to be spending a lot of time in deep thought trying to find a way to inject some action, but looking back on it, he may well have been asleep, or just musing that here is 3 hours of his life he’s not going to get back. Soporifically, predictable anaesthetic stuff. Yawn. Zzzzzzzzz.

Next to finish was Nick –
Board 4: Nick Wilson 1 v Darren Freeman 0
Nick, after last week’s dull game, really tried hard to shed some pawns in the opening, but black was having none of it. Luckily, white got a nice bind and black made a tactical slip in trying to break it. The game was over quickly, with Nick winning at least a piece and Black still positionally weak.

Next to finish was Mike (now updated with his in-game comments) –
Board 3: Jim Fewkes 0 v Mike Richardt 1
Mike was still ‘in book’ at move 17! He’d also been talking of a Nc3 sacrifice before-hand, and so come move 19, both Nick and Dave gathered round the board, waiting for Mike triumphantly bang down the sac, followed by “oohs” and “aaahs” from all the observers. Well, much to Nick’s surprise, he chickened out and didn’t play it (actually, very sensibly didn’t play it, as it turned out to be totally unsound! Well resisted Mike!). The game progressed with attacks on both wings. White sacced on h7, but there was no forced win – only a possible forced draw, but white missed it and lost due to his huge material deficit.

So, now Taunton lead 2.5 v 0.5

Just one win needed, and Jerry’s game was next –
Board 5: Roger Knight 0 v Jerry Kilby 1
Jerry played a nice game, restisting White’s pressure and then forcing a win in the early endgame. In the end, White lost on time, but was about to drop a piece, so it was over anyway.

After this, the match score was Taunton leading by 3.5-0.5. Taunton Win! Yay!

The final two games were first Martin –
Board 6: Martin Worral 0 v M Baker 1
Martin thought he’d made a slip in losing a Knight for 3 pawns, but a very brief bit of later computer analysis (and not by the Chess Challenger 7, I might point out), took the electronic brain down the same route. Trouble is, the position is tricky, and a little later, Martin made a definate slip, leaving him a rook down.

Uh? What’s that? One player is a rook down? In one of Martin’s games..? Hmmm… lets have a think… surely this is now drawish? :-)

Well, no. Yet again, the player with the greatest rook aggregate was unsurprisingly victorious…

(only a fortnight has passed… we’ve still got the balance of 10 years to go…..)

Last to finish, was Mark
Board 1: Patryk Krzyzanowski 1/2 v Mark Hassall 1/2
Both are strong players, and far be it for pawnstar to venture his humble opinion on this game, but Mark seemed to have a much better position throughout, and must surely be a little disappointed not to have won. But with the match secure, maybe a safe draw was the best option.

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Final score – Taunton Win by 4 to 2!!

A great result against a potentially dangerous team. Well played Taunton!

– pawnstar

Div1 Report – Taunton v Glastonbury

Yet again a new season is upon us, and yet again the Division One opening match v Glastonbury is upon us. As multiple champions of all we survey (well the Somerset Division One Chess league…), we were keen to make sure our unbeaten, golden, historic, all-conquering record continues. MikeR is now the captain officially this season (after unofficially doing a good job last season), and he efficiently arranged the team – in fact our strongest team. After having an embarrassing defeat to Glastonbury a few years back, this time we felt quietly confident in the days leading up to the match.

But, and its a big but, on the day before the match was due to start, Paul Moody of Glastonbury politely phoned Nick to check we were ready and that they’d be coming to play the next day. “Yeah, ok. See you tomorrow.” said Nick. But then Paul added “Oh… I’m not playing, and our team is a bit weak…”.

What kind of Neiderhofferesque mind game is this?? Has he not witnessed Victor’s multiple squash victories by feigning injury, only to turn up the wick when opponents least expect it, having already dropped their guard? Nice try, but we weren’t fazed by this obvious ploy, and awaited the match night, fully expecting a GM, some new wunderkid Miffies, a Sedgemoor player and maybe a token Glastonbury player or two. We weren’t letting our guard down, no sir!!

But come the evening, we glanced at the match player sheet and the level of our paranoia became clear – Paul had been telling the truth – Glastonbury were fielding a low rated team, no GMs (some sort of international chess federation scandal preventing play we hear..?), and, well, low ratings everywhere. Looking through the sheet, the closest grade gap was 22 points (in our favour) and the largest was a massive 47 point (in our favour). Surely a 6-0 whitewash was on the cards? No! Wait, we’ve been overconfident before and its ended horribly.

The games finished in this order –

Board 6: Nick Wilson 1 v Martin Willis 0
Somehow, in trying to play an open Blackmar Deimer gambit, Nick ended up facing a line in the French that he didn’t like. Anyway, Nick continued the only way he knows – stick to the plan of rapid development, throw pawns away and try to get some initiative. Luckily, black missed the best line a couple of times, allowing Nick to catch his king in the centre and press a winning attack.

Next to finish was another nice attacking game –
Board 4: Mike Richardt 1 v Tim Wallis 0
Mike had a lovely game throughout, and simply put, from late opening onwards never looked like losing. He’d arrived late, due to work, but moved quickly and soon had a winning attack. Tim tried shedding some material to stem the attack, and even play for initiative, but there was nothing, and in the end he either was losing his queen or being mated. (UPDATE – now Mike has now added comments/variations to the game score below)

Could all this excitement be continued? Well, next to finish was Dave…
Board 3: C Keen 0.5 v Dave Littlejohns 0.5
There is a concern that many people are relying too much on benzodiazepines. Medics are searching for natural alternatives to these slowly addictive drugs. Well they can stop searching. Looking for a fool-proof, drug free, holistic route to comatosic slumber? Just play through this Dave masterpeice of soporific benzodiazepinic hibernation.


And, not to be out-done by Dave, Ben produced this –
Board 1: Nikita Ayvazyan 0.5 v Ben Edgell 0.5
Ben is our star, 200-rated player, who.. er… what’s that… only rated 199? Really? Oh, ok.. er..right, ok, so…. Ben is our star, er, strongly rated player, who tonight was up against a very promising junior. As any strong player knows, when playing a promising junior, it is vital to win, or face the sniggering of fellow teammates…!

After this, the match score was Taunton leading by 3-1. Just need to cross the line. Terry was next –
Board 1: George Galliano 0 v Terry Stuttard 1
This was an opposite castling pawn storm game. White had a strong looking attack, but was material down, so the attack had to work. It looked dangerous, but Terry defended well, and the attack fortunately petered out, leaving Terry miles ahead in material.

This was the result we needed – Taunton win the match.
Last to finish, was now slightly anti-climatic, Mark
Board 2: Mark Hassall 1/2 v Neville Senior 1/2
Mark seemed to have a strong opening and the general discussion amongst observers was that he was looking likely to be victorious. But Neville consolidated his position and in the end a draw was a good result

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Final score – Taunton Win by 4.5 to 1.5!!
A fantastic start to the season. Well played everyone!

– pawnstar