This match report from Kingpin –
Division 1 Match Report- Glastonbury Away 30/9/14
Once again September has rolled around and the chess season begins anew for all, once again the Division 1 season begins with Taunton as reigning champions and looking to just cruise home to another trophy. Provided everything just stuck to the same winning formula as the last 4 years then surely there would be no problems at all! Oh wait things are different now, Taunton’s most successful ever team captain Mike Richardt has vacated his position and it has been passed to Alex Conway, the young pretender, a boy in a man’s world of serious title winning chess, still what could go wrong? The team have recorded only one loss in living memory everything should be straightforward, just select the players arrange a bit of transport and Taunton bring home the title again.
It was unfortunate right from the start for the youngster that the first fixture of the new season was to be against a Glastonbury team that has been snapping at our heels for some time, including an unexpected and most unwelcome win against our Division 1 champions on a fateful evening in Glastonbury last season. The whole of Taunton, even the whole of the chess world would be pushing for a Team Taunton win in this match in order to set the record straight. NO PRESSURE THEN ALEX!! So the scene was set, a real baptism of fire for the new captain, but surely he’d manage to get the best team Taunton could muster and then trot home from Glastonbury with his head held high.
Early problems in the team selection were clear, Carl who we felt was going to be a regular board 1 this season pulled out of playing for Taunton full stop, despite the pleading emails and angry mob he stuck to his guns and decided to play for Weston instead. Oh well only one down surely any other team would still be enough to topple Glastonbury, then Alex received word that Terry had officially retired from league chess due to issues with the time controls, damn you SCCA officials! Luckily Mike Richardt has not yet left Taunton in a playing capacity so at least he could play at least if he wasn’t working… Ben Edgell was also unavailable to play… Already with clear selection problems the tenacious young captain dug in and squeezed out a team consisting of Mark, Dave, Nick James, Alex and Stan.
After a tense few days for Captain Alex he decided to prepare further by playing the Portsmouth Congress, badly, in order to get all the terrible chess out of his system before this huge league match.
So match day and it was all looking good until about 2 hours before things were due to get underway and a phone call from Dave dropping out due to work commitments spelled disaster for the inexperienced young pretender. With all the organisational skills of a headless chicken Alex cobbled together absolutely nothing so attempted an 11th hour save in suggesting to play a 5 board match [one with no defaults, hopefully].
After the usual fun and games of finding a chess venue with the added complication of finding one room to play chess in amongst many rooms at the venue, Taunton’s 5 man team arrived at Millfield School, late, still shaken and in a state of mourning due to the late loss of Dave from their ranks. After lots of confusion and some grovelling over who was playing who and how it was going to work with Taunton only having 5 players, Glastonbury’s captain graciously agreed that we could play a 5 man match with no defaults providing it was on boards 1,2,3,4 and 6. After some shuffling of players it was agreed that this would be a sufficient concession for Taunton to have to make due to them being down a man, Glastonbury were to take white on evens so justifiably wanted to play more whites than blacks. With everyone seemingly happy enough with this compromise given the situation, coupled with the fact that there was a generous amount of snacks up for grabs courtesy of Millfield School, the games began.
Glastonbury had fielded a surprising team with only two juniors involved so hope of win was still very much alive, the games went something like this; )
Board 4- Tim Wallis v Alex Conway
First to finish was Alex, the Captain taking on one of the bonus blacks that he had backed himself into a corner with. Tim has a reputation for being a solid classical player so Alex decided to play something a bit offbeat in the hope it might lead to some unconventional tactics and a quick win, good thinking captain! Somehow this all went to plan a little bit too well and Alex had forced a resignation in just 10 moves with a dazzling finish, although somewhat assisted by his opponents play that was just a little too slow at times.
Nh3+!!!!!! Was just such a beautiful move, white moves his King and falls to Nxf2+ picking up the Queen or he takes the Knight and loses to Bxf3+ with Black mating on g2. A stunning result, taking full advantage of his opponent’s loose opening moves a very well timed win for the new Captain. 1-0 by about 8:30 can’t be too bad!
Board 6 (technically) – Roger Fenton v Stan Wojcik
Stan played a modern set up looking to break with c5 in the opening and letting his g7 Bishop do some damage, unfortunately his opponent was wise to this and blocked up the position quite early on forcing Stan to make some positional concessions. A bad light-squared bishop on b7 meant that black was practically a piece down on the board, white simply pushed on the King-side and made no mistakes with the attack. A well played finish but unfortunate for Stan. Still thanks to Alex’s quick win the scores were level at 1-1. Considering we should have probably been defaulted then that score-line doesn’t feel too bad.
The next 3 games were too tense for Captain Alex to watch so he took to getting blown off the board by GM Matthew Turner in some 5 minute games whilst drowning his sorrows at the snack table.
Board 3 – James Byrne v Neville Senior
James was blessed with playing white in this one and certainly did not waste it; a strong Nimzo-indian opening gave him space against his solid opponent who has a lot of experience in these positions. After some serious thought James broke through with f5! And conducted the attack well leaving him the exchange up and with a strong position, Neville attempted some tricks with a passed pawn but James finished the game off solidly giving Taunton a 2-1 lead with only 2 left to play!
Board 2 – Cosima Keen (a girl) v Nick Wilson (a Man)
Not really sure what the opening was that was played here but the resulting position was wild and double edged, Nick attempted to lift a rook into the h-file to create chances but it was left looking slightly toothless after his opponent boldly played h4 and Qh3 to block out the annoying rook. With his rook stranded on h5 Nick attempted to turn defensive attention to the threats against his back rank and other loose points in his position but just didn’t have the piece activity to do so, or the time on the clock. So ultimately after an accurate couple of moves in the end Nick did the gentlemanly thing and let his clock run out was certainly not beaten by a Girl, but beaten by time [insert philosophical quote here about how time beats us all eventually]. After the game Nick acknowledged that his rook was poor on h5 but was unaware this would happen, he cited the old mantra that a Knight on the rim is dim but forgot as Alex pointed out to him that a Rook on the flank is W@#*! Ultimately the game finished Girl 1 – Nick 0 so the match was now level at with just board 1 to finish.
Board 1 – Mark Hassall v Thomas Goldie (E175?)
Mark had the unenviable task of dealing with a junior who under GM Turner’s tuition and selection had been placed on board 1 as an E175 rated player. Juniors are an unknown variable at the best of times but this one looked very difficult to deal with, the game exploded into a particularly tactical Sicilian Najdorf. Black seemed to handle the complications [that were beyond this reporters level of chess ability] solidly and managed to win a pawn and then another pawn. With the match in the balance Mark wisely swapped down into an opposite colour bishop ending in the hope that he may be able to hold an important draw but it was unfortunately not to be.
So the match concluded 3-2 to Glastonbury a tough match in tough circumstances but bravely fought by all concerned, it’s only the beginning of the season and much more chess is yet to come, including a return fixture against Glastonbury where Taunton will definitely be looking to do the business and head back to the top of division 1.
Hope you all enjoyed the report; send in your pgns as well if you have them! See you all again soon;
Arrghh – it’s happened again – Taunton have lost their opening match to Glastonbury – this time by the somewhat curious score of 2-3 (it’s a 6 board match – go figure…)
Anyway, whilst we have plenty of excuses (my favourite one is – ‘our top 5 players couldn’t turn up for various reasons’), its still a painful loss.
Someone once said its easy to get to the top – its staying there that’s the hard part..
Match report by Kingpin to follow shortly..
Last night Taunton beat Sedgemoor by 5.5 to 2.5, to retain the Somerset Cup.
Full match report to follow (as always, when everyone sends in their .pgns…)
We all know the Supreme Team of Chess Playing Gods that is Taunton’s Division One Chess team, is, er, supreme, and er.. god-like, but I don’t think Taunton has ever put out such a strong team as we did for this match. Had Mark been available to play (even gods get ill, or choose to watch Arsenal beat minnows), then you’d need to be 180+ to even get in the team. Without bothering to check, I think this would eliminate probably 99.9% of all other Div1 players from the team.
Yeah baby! This rocks! Strongest Taunton Div 1 team ever! Yeah! Bring it on!
And why are we fielding such a strong team? Surely some vital, must-win match?
This is Taunton’s last Division 1 match for the 2013/4 season, and despite pawnstar’s enthusiastic hawkings, the reality is Taunton had already clinched the Division 1 title on goal difference. This makes the Frome match a ‘dead rubber’.
There are no positive connotations to that phrase, with all of them ranging from erasory issues right though to prophylactic failures. None are good.
So we approached our seemingly pointless final Div 1 game, with the strongest team ever, and so long as we avoid a somewhat unlikely 10-0 defeat, then the Div 1 title is ours. Of course, as always, we wanted to win in style and put ourselves clearly top.
Frome is a gazzilion miles away from everywhere, especially Taunton, and it took ages to get there. There was some sort of police disturbance with the blues and no-twos going strong nearby. We heard rumours it was a gypsy problem… in Gypsy Lane. Really? Are they that unimaginative?
Anyway, we all turned up roughly on time, including new Taunton chess club member, Carl. The team was Carl, Ben, Dave, Mike, Nick and James.
We settled down to play and they finished roughly like this –
Board 3: D Littlejohns 1 v Frome Player 0
This game had all the hallmarks of a Dave classic – e.g. after the frst half hour, the game was still in the early opening stage, and even after an hour, no major pieces had left the back rank. And Dave, after 1 hour and 14 mins of play, felt he had a slight edge, with his pawn structure giving him slightly more space. Black’s fag fell shortly after, giving Dave the win! (I suppose for accuracy, it should be pointed out Dave’s opponent didn’t turn up and he won by default..)
Next was Ben –
Board 2: G Jepps 0 v B Edgell 0
This looked like a quiet, boring opening, with white eventually exchanging two minors for a rook. Ultimately this proved his downfall and Ben converted the win nicely.
Then was Mike –
Board 3: C Fewtrell 0 v M Richardt 1
Mike defended properly under some pressure from White’s K-side pressure, and then converted the winning endgame into, er, a win.
And now Carl, Taunton’s newest member –
Board 1: C Bicknell 1 v C Purry 0
Comments are from Carl in game, but a good win, well played, and secured the match for Taunton.
Next was James, who drew against the same player recently, was looking to win following that result.
Board 6: G Berryman 0 v J Byrne 0
A long struggle, eventually going our way!
Finally was Nick. Just one more win needed to for 6-0 scoreline!
Board 5: N Wilson 1/2 v R Williams 1/2
What a shocker! Nick managed to miss a win earlier (e.g. 24. Qd7 Qd7 25. Ne4 wins clearly), and then botched a +10.2 eval on move 29. Nick says “I’d seen Rxe6 looked like winning, but thought I’d slip in Bh6 first to stop it being en-prise and making the Rxe6 combo simpler. But in a chess-blindness issue had stupidly not seen Black’s queen could now go to g4, forcing the exchange. The rest of the game might have been won for white, but rather than thinking clearly, I was still kicking myself for not playing Rxe6 first. This moaning then continued all the way home, as Dave (trapped, as the only passenger in the car), will testify…”
So with that pathetic offering from Nick, the final score was 5.5 – 0.5.
It has to be said that rarely is a 5.5 – 0.5 crushing victory, actually slightly disappointing, but that’s how it felt with Nick spoiling the 6-0 party.
Anyway, Taunton now are clearly Div 1 champions!! For the fourth time!
Time to party – and party we did – check this out – late night MaccyDs – yeah we know how to party big time!
Here is a piccy of the event. Sadly Carl couldn’t make it, but I must be honest – we had a digital artist superimpose him in the picture…
Well played Taunton!
Now for the Somerset Cup!!
Last night, Taunton beat Frome 5.5 – 0.5 to cement their Division One Championship, and emerge as clear victors (pedants will note we technically already had won (on goal difference), but this victory puts us points clear at the top).
Great wins from everyone (apart from Nick, who managed to convert a superior +7.7 computer analysis to a draw – is this a record??).
Match report to follow (when everyone send in their .pgns..)
There have been many questions circulating recently, e.g. –
“What has happened to pawnstar?” or “Are match reports no longer being written?”
They ranged from the concerned “I hope pawnstar is ok, not like him (or her – his/her identity is secret don’t you know) to miss writing these reports..?“, to the somewhat less concerned – “Oi! I spent f@&king ages sending my .png to pawnstar – so where is the f$%^&ing match report – eh?”
Well pawnstar is back and match reporting will continue – or at least for the big, important matches anyway.
So, Taunton meet Yeovil in their penultimate Div 1 match, which is a big important match, and so here is the report.
Now, you’d think that a 6 man chess team would have a, dare I say it, higher-than-mormal set of analytical skills than Mr Average, but there was a lot of mathematical uncertainty regarding this match…
Let me explain – should we win, we would be level on points with the current Div One leader, and yet have a game in hand to play. However, our goal difference (don’t bother) is very large, and calculations went on to find what score we needed tonight to reduce the final match to a dead rubber (now there’s a phrase normally used er, um.. elsewhere, suddenly finding its way into a respectable match report). It seems that should we win by 4-2 or more, then it should secure the Div One title again.
So MikeR arranged the team, and it eventually settled at – Ben, Mark, Dave, Nick, James and Alex.
I think this is the first time Taunton has ever fielded a team without someone called ‘Mike’ in it. Of course, I think we should now be able to field an entire team of Mikes in one of the lower divisions, but I’ll leave that to the respective captain…
One final point here. Imagine driving a Ferrari for a day, but having to go back to a Mini. Imagine spending a night with Melissa George but then the rest of your life with Heather from Eastenders. Imagine a day on the beach at St Tropez, but having to return to Scunthorpe. Must be pretty depressing. To have touched or felt greatness/perfection momentarily, only to be thrown back to normality a moment later must be heart wrenching.
Anyway, on a completely unrelated note, Ben arrived at the club looking surprisingly happy.
As did everyone else, and we settled down to the match, which went like this –
Board 3: J Fewkes 1/2 v M Hassall 1/2
Mark was never under any real threat in this game and although technically up at the end, it was impossible to convert due to the Queens being on board.
Next Alex with this –
Board 6: A Conway 1 v N Mills 0
Alex played a good game with advantage throughout, although missed a quicker win around move 37 – e.g Ke2 seems to win quickly. But in game the pawn advantage was enough. Alex – I’m missing the last few moves – can you send them please?
Next was Nick –
Board 4: N Wilson 1/2 v R Knight 1/2
Nick played too quickly and missed a couple of key moves in the opening (e.g. 8. Ng5 looks tasty) – very important in these sharp gambits. Whilst the position looked promising, suddenly everything was exchanged off, and White should have been lost. Thankfully, time pressure meant Roger didn’t play best moves and the game was drawn.
Now for Dave, who, after a season full of draws finally won!
Board 2 M Baker 0 v D Littlejohns 1
In a boring looking position, Dave managed to create an advantage on the Q-side and pushed on, with a slip from black accelerating the win
So, Taunton lead 3 – 1. Just one point needed to secure the title. I think. Or maybe not. Who knows??
Next was Ben –
Board 1: A Footner 0 v B Edgell 1
This first looked like a beginners game with the e4 e5 and then all knights coming out, but by move 9 it could have been a DaveL game with blacks peices rapidly returning to the back rank. fortunately it didn’t turn out that way and Ben played a few good zwischenzugs to leave white in zugzwang and totally ficken.
This win ensures Taunton win the match, and possibly Div 1. We gathered and half-heartedly air-fist-pumped and collectively muttered ‘Yay?’ to celebrate feeling 50.1% sure we are now Div one champs…
James’s game was now the last to finish.
Board 6: D Freeman 0.5 v J Byrne 0.5
An interesting game at the end with White having rooks and a few pawns v Black’s Queen and lots of pawns. Probably a draw, but White had the added pressure of all his team-mates gathered round and wanting to go home – all waiting for this final, non-match-result-relevant game to finish. James was a true gentleman and offered the draw. It goes without saying that pawnstar would have played on, waiting for white to wilt under team mate pressure!
Final result – Taunton win 4.5 – 1.5!!
Pretty sure we have won Div One again with this, but we all want to do it in style and ensure we are clear winners by beating Frome next week!
Well played everyone!
Yes, last night, Taunton Beat Yeovil by 4.5 to 1.5.
I think this means we are now certain of winning Division One, as we are now level on points with the leaders and yet although we have one game to play, even if we lose that 6-0, our goal difference (or whatever terminology is used), is still ahead. Sp, Yay – we are Div One Champs (I think..)
Of course we want to win properly in style v Frome next week to confirm!
Whilst pawnstar is otherwise occupied, both chess playing and match report writing has been provisioned to lesser mortals.
With disastrous results sadly.
There is no easy way to say this, but Taunton’s Supreme Team of chess playing gods, suffered their first defeat in eons on Monday. Or more accurately, the gods that bothered turning up, alongside some other mortal standins, were defeated.
Anyway, here is a report of the tragic affair, from Ben.
Glastonbury v Taunton.
Taunton travelled to Glastonbury without two of their key players. Our Supreme Leader, Kim- Jun Wilson, was busy watching Eastenders (or feeding members of the Div. 3 team to the dogs, if several ill- reputed media outlets are to believed), whilst our German International, Mike Richardt, was busy preparing for his holiday to America by practising putting towels on sunloungers.
So in stepped Martin Worall and Robin Challoner to enjoy the giddy fame and reckless debauchery of Div. 1, leaving very occasional board 6 superstar, Mike Ward, to wonder when he will get the chance to repeat his famous victory against one of the other teams a few seasons ago.
When we arrived at Glastonbury it was clear they were at full strength, which meant no place in the team for occasional place- filler Matthew Turner, but several Millfield junior superstars- in- the- making.
The team sheet appeared to show Taunton as heavy favourites on paper, but as everyone knows juniors play at least 1000 points above their grades it was clear Glastonbury were in with a shout.
Board 5: Robin Challoner 0 v 1 Tristan West.
Robin started like a house on fire, gaining space all over the board and looking like victory was imminent. Unfortunately he then got mated.
Board 4: Neville Senior 0.5 v 0.5 Alex Conway.
Alex was up against an experienced county player and soon reached a dead- drawn position, so decided to offer a draw in order to watch the Arsenal match/ pay off his student loans through the Deal or No Deal machine.
Board 6: George Galliano 1 v 0 Martin Worrall.
Martin was up against one of the Millfield juniors and played an opening. After going into an opposite- colour bishops and rooks middle game, Martin unleashed a rook sacrifice of such devastating brilliance that even the likes of Fritz 8 overlooked it. Unfortunately, in spite of gaining clear compensation in the form of a massive attack, Martin was unable to correctly cut a path through the complications to find the win, and resigned after his opponent took the rook.
Board 2: Paul Moody 0.5 v 0.5 Dave LittleJohns
This was a real ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ with Paul ‘Ali’ Moody and Dave ‘Foreman’ LittleJohns playing a razor- sharp opening involving same- side castling and symmetrical pawn structures. Dave landed tactical blow after tactical blow on the queen-side, but Paul used the classic rope- a- dope strategy to desperately cling on. As the spectators, who had been on tend…on the edge of their… not paying the slightest bit of attention, sensed victory for the Taunton man, both competitors realised nothing had happened for most of the game, and agreed a draw. Much like Rumble in the Jungle.
Board 3: Mark Hassall 0.5 v 0.5 Cosima Keen.
Mark was up against experienced England International and Millfield junior Cosima Keen. Mark was only denied a deserved victory by his opponent having the temerity to play very good moves from the start and being at least slightly better for much of the middlegame.
Board 1: Ben Edgell 1 v 0 Stephen Whatley.
Ben was up against another Millfield junior, and went about playing for victory in classic style, declining to play his usual King’s Gambit and instead opting to play exactly the same moves as his opponent for the entire opening. After doing absolutely nothing after that, and sensing a win was needed to help gain the required 2 points to save the match, Ben found a stunning combination of almost 30- moves deep to net the exchange and go into a drawn ending.
As the crowds gathered 8- rows deep, Ben swiftly displayed no endgame technique whatsoever, moving his pieces back and forth and the king from one side to the other in a manor more akin to a Dave LitteJohns middlegame. The game came down to a mad scramble against the clock, and sensing it was impossible to gain the required 2 points to save the match, Ben did the only reasonable thing and won on time.
Final Score: Glastonbury 3.5- 2.5 Taunton.
So Taunton suffer their first Div. 1 loss since Yeovil brought in Ghandi as a ringer back in 1769, and returned home to burnt out cars and homes, and angry mobs with flaming pitchforks filled with vitriolic rage (much like most Mondays in Taunton). Surely the calls of the masses to reinstate Mike Ward to board 6 can no longer be ignored.