Central 2 at Nomads 2

January 21st, 2016

It’s always nice to play an away match within walking distance and this was one of those occasions (the other being Gambit). It was the first time I have played at Nomads venue, the Organ Grinder, and it turned out to be an enjoyable experience (if you ignore the match result). The pub has a nice selection of Blue Monkey real ales.

Upon arrival I was led through a door, up the stairs, to the ‘players’ entrance’. The other entrance is from the outside and this way all the heat is kept in. Unfortunately Mike Swanwick came in through the ‘street’ entrance and let all the heat out anyway.

We were facing a stiff task against the high-flying Nomads team being rather badly outgraded and the result reflected this. Lukasz was facing Rob Parker for the third(!) time this season and the result was depressingly familiar, Lukasz playing very quickly and very quickly losing.

Graham lost on board one against Shane Bhayat and I was under a lot of pressure against Paul Rees so already things were looking bleak. On board 2 Andy Sutton was doing well against Greg Sargent and went a piece up when Greg blundered in Andy’s time pressure. After the time control Andy could have ended matters by forking Greg’s King and Bishop but only saw the win of a Pawn in the time available. Eventually, with only a few seconds left he had to agree a draw.

I was struggling on board 4 but under heavy pressure I found what turned out to be a saving move. There was still a win for Paul but the line, although looking very dangerous,  involved temporarily losing a Rook and it was beyond both our calculating abilities to see to the win. After a long think he decided to passively defend a weak Pawn and the attack was gone. I then took over the initiative but Paul had a draw by perpetual check.

After Simon lost on board 5 to Will Eyre, the match finished 4-1 to Nomads.

The consolation was a welcome pint of Blue Monkey ale and I learnt how to play Backgammon.

 

Central Teams Going Well in the New Year!

January 14th, 2016

A good week for Central teams, who now have a 100% record in 2016 and a 12-2 points aggregate!

The First Team continued their march to promotion from the third division with a strong performance against Mansfield 3 who now look doomed to a quick return to Division 4.

Alan put together a commanding performance on Board 1 against Janos Wagenbach, a masterpiece of attacking play which ended with everything pointed at Janos’ King which was stuck in the centre. John had to work harder on Board 2 but eventually got on top and efficiently brought home the full point. Mark’s opponent on Board 3 was rated around 100 points lower than him so he was on a hiding to nothing but experience told and he won comfortably.

Steve’s game was dead from the start and a draw by move 17. Graham’ game, not unusually the last to finish, ended strangely with his opponent (having looked at the scoresheet) offering him a draw…or a win. Graham took the win.

Central 1 won 4-1.

The Third Team hosted Newark 3 the following night. Simon was the first to finish. His opponent gave up two pieces in the opening which Simon assumed was a fiendish opening trap and expected to be checkmated at any moment. But no, his opponent had just lost two pieces in the opening.

Alex played a good game on Board 4 which got to the first time control, at which point instead of putting the clocks back 15 minutes her opponent screwed up his scoresheet. Alex took this as a resignation.

Didn’t really see any of John Dell’s game on Board 1 but he was eventually ground down. My opponent on Board 2, Tony Bourke, seemed confused by the Division 5 time controls. We got to an endgame where I was about to go a Pawn down on the Kingside but seeing my opponent’s time trouble I created a passed Queen’s Rook pawn which was enough of a distraction to safely win on time.

Centrsl 3 won 3-1.

 

 

Central 1 v Gambit 4

January 8th, 2016

(From observation and players’ comments)

The First Team usually have the look of a sleeping giant in the first half of the season and you always felt that there was a severe thrashing just waiting to be dished out. Unfortunately for Gambit 4 they were in the right place at the wrong time on Tuesday night.

Alan, on top board, played a Nimzo-Indian against Onus Kofi-Ofuafar. Having had a few games with John Harrison down the club recently where John had experimented with some unusual lines in this very opening, Alan was not entirely surprised by his opponent’s 4.f3. The resulting position was fairly even with progress difficult on both sides. Onus spent a fair amount of time walking around looking confident but the position became very sharp (mutual Queen sacrifices being possible in some variations). Eventually Alan ended up with a Bishop for two weak Pawns and systematically simplified into a clearly won ending.

John Harrison has had to wait a while for his first win this season but when his own unusual line resulted in his opponent Gary Hopkinson going wrong in the early complications and losing his Queen to a Knight fork, the result was never in doubt. Gary battled on all the way to checkmate but John appeared to be stifling a yawn for most of the game.

Steve is looking very comfortable now on board 3 in Division 3 and this match was no exception with a smooth win against Derek Padvis.

Graham, on board 4 against Mick Harper seemed to have made a New Year’s resolution to play some interesting chess. He offered an exchange sacrifice and Mick couldn’t resist the offer of “a big, fat, juicy Rook”. According to Graham this was a mistake and he wrapped up the win soon after.

Andrew (in the running for most improved player this season, along with Alex) faced Margaret Gretton on board 5. The win apparently came about through ‘tacking’ (“you mean ‘attacking’?). No, Andrew had borrowed a sailing term to describe probing for weaknesses on both sides of the board. This eventually led to an error from Margaret and the 5-0 win was duly completed.

Promotion looks very much on the cards now.

 

Club Champs Final Round Pairings!

January 2nd, 2016

Results from Round 5

S.Foster 1-0 P.Allen; A.Griffiths 1-0 G.Forster; M.Radford draw L.Kacprzak (not played); A.Lester draw G.Gibson (not played); M.James 0-1 A.Sutton; A.Lathif draw J.Dell (not played); S.Parham 0-1 K.Argyle; A.Meade 0-1 M.Frings.

Standings

S. Foster 5.0; A. Griffiths 4.0; P. Allen 3.5; M. Radford 3.0; G. Forster 3.0; L. Kacprzak 3.0; A. Sutton 3.0; K. Argyle 2.5; G, Gibson 2.5; J. Dell 2.0; M. Frings 2.0; M. James 2.0; A. Meade 1.0; S. Parham 1.0.

Pairings for Round 6  (to be played Jan/Feb)

A. Griffiths v S. Foster

G. Forster v P. Allen

A. Sutton v M. Radford

L. Kacprzak v M. James

G. Gibson v K. Argyle

M. Frings v J. Dell

A. Meade v S. Parham

In the running for the Club Championship; S. Foster, A. Griffiths.

In the running for the U130 Championship; P. Allen, G. Forster, L. Kacprzak, A. Sutton.

In the running for the U100 Championship; K. Argyle, J. Dell, M. Frings, M. James.

Note; there will be playoffs if necessary. Format to be arranged.

 

 

A Merry Christmas From Central!

December 24th, 2015

The Nottingham Central Christmas party was held on Tuesday 22nd at the King William IV pub. The special theme this year was “Chess” and so there was lots of it to dive into along with the excellent (as usual) buffet and the typical wide choice of beverage.

Kev Harvey provided some brain teasing chess puzzles to solve which got groups of Centralites huddled round the end table at various times during the evening in a desperate bid to win the small prize Kev had promised for best solver. I believe Alan won it.

There was a ‘random draw’ six round blitz tournament and although not really an ‘official’ winner, notable results were Pat Allen scoring 5.5/6 and Kev Harvey scoring 5/6.

Kev Harvey took the honours for Tournament Performance Rating based on opponents’ grades with 149, Andrew Sutton coming second with 143 and Geof Forster third with 137.

Worst performance was Drag Sudar from Gambit with 1/6 although to be fair he did only play the first round.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

 

Central News 10th Dec.

December 11th, 2015

Not much Christmas cheer for Central 2 and 3 in the run up to the festive period.

The Third Team were turned over by West Notts and not even a fist fight in the pool room next door could put the youngsters off their stride.

The Second Team hosted WB4 and I had some hopes of a decent result as we had Mark Radford back for his first game of the season on board one. He played Allan Brown but couldn’t make the grading difference count and only drew. Mark’s only comment on the game was “I played like a muppet” (polite word substituted for the one Mark actually used).

Graham was again rock solid and drew a tight game against team captain Chris Budd.

I played a decent game against Ed French on board 3 and found myself with a really good, probably winning, position leading up to the time control. Unfortunately the two random moves I played to actually make the time control frittered away most of the advantage and I blundered shortly after. Such is life below 100.

Both Mick and Simon lost to give WB a 4-1 win.

Not even the woman with the incredibly irritating laugh could save us this time (nothing is THAT funny).

Roll on the Xmas do…

Newark 2 v Central 1

December 3rd, 2015

(From Steve’s report)

The First Team’s last match of the calendar year saw Central 1 travelling to Newark for what promised to be a tricky encounter against a strong Newark side.

As it turned out, Newark were missing some strong players and this gave Central the opportunity to move up the table after a disappointing start to the season.

John was still searching for his first win after returning to the club but was frustrated by Ian Burrage who took a perpetual check for the draw. Andy’s opponent did not seem up for the fight and lost tamely. Steve was playing well and in control but instead of playing straightforward moves to maintain the advantage, he tried something different that didn’t work. A pawn down and with a worse position he was offered a draw by his opponent who was low on time. Draw accepted gladly.

Alan agreed a draw with Keith Alton in an unbalanced position. In Graham’s game with Nick Spencer, nothing happened in the first 30 moves as is normal for Graham and the position looked very drawish, equal material and opposite coloured Bishops. However, Graham continued to try and find something in the position and was rewarded in mutual time trouble when his opponent blundered and allowed a Knight fork losing the Bishop.

So an enjoyable night out for the First Team in a spacious and warm venue. Not even Alan’s flat battery could dampen spirits. Luckily Steve had some jump leads and the evening ended well.

Central 1 won 3.5-1.5

The Central Week

November 25th, 2015

The wind was howling around our ears last Tuesday as both the First and Third teams ventured into battle against Ashfield 3 and University 3 respectively.

I had volunteered to play for the Third team and after an uneventful trip we found ourselves waiting at the Portland Building outside room C30 along with the Long Eaton squad who were to face Uni 2. Unfortunately no sign of any University chess players. I hurriedly rang Charlie Grainger who asked the rather strange question “Are you waiting outside C30?”. When I answered in the fairly obvious affirmative we were ‘fetched’ and led to the bowels of the Trent Building. Along the way I was able to congratulate Charlie on his excellent win against our own John Harrison a week or two before.

We then proceeded to get thrashed 4-0. I went a pawn up against the ungraded Tom Dabner and was feeling good about my position until allowing a fiendish one-move killer tactic (apparently rather spookily titled a ‘night fork’), losing my Queen in the process. Alex and Harry also lost. John Dell held out the longest against the improving Steve Luland (who went on to success in the County Championship) but wasn’t able to withstand a nasty king-side attack.

I got back to the Billy in time to see the end of the First Team’s match against Ashfield. We had already wrapped up the points and there was just Andy Sutton left trying to defend a King and Pawn endgame two Pawns down against Nigel Wright. It looked hopeless but Andy nearly pulled off the draw. With both squads watching and time running out, Nigel appeared to have run out of ideas and swapped the Rooks off. This led to a technical draw but with time pressure, a big audience and the tiredness that comes with having to get up early, work hard for a living and then concentrate for hours in the evening, he was unable to find the correct moves and Nigel held his nerve for the win.

The County Championship at the weekend saw an excellent Central turnout with mixed results. Steve Foster, Mark Radford, Graham Gibson, Andrew Sutton, Myself and Alex Meade all played with Simon Parham dropping in for support. Andrew got close to some prize money in the Minor but failed to take advantage of a winning position against Steve Luland in the final round (who came equal first). Myself and Alex (who beat Bob Abrahart in the final round) managed one win each. I checkmated Ronnie Watson with about 10 seconds left on my clock. I think he fell into the trap of moving too quickly in my time trouble, the move that allowed my checkmate was played almost instantly even with around 10 minutes left on his clock.

Sunday evening was spent in the Lincolnshire Poacher in the excellent company of a smattering of Gambiteers and the Uni lads (who had done really well, Owen Hunt having won the Intermediate although Sean Grenham was still smarting from having missed a really nice checkmate against Drag). Later on, me, Mike Naylor and Drag continued to put the world to rights, the conversation ranging effortlessly from adjournments to racial stereotypes to bowel movements.

Monday saw Central 2 take on the mighty West Bridgford 3 who already seem assured of promotion back to division 3. We put up a good fight and ended up losing 3-2. Alex got an excellent draw on Board 5 against the experienced Allan Brown (who had crushed me a couple of weeks earlier). In fact she was very disappointed she hadn’t won. Pat and Simon lost to Mike Hunter and David Gold but I managed to beat Chris Budd in a very interesting game where I had a strong kingside attack brewing. I almost threw it away by neglecting to stop any queenside counterplay but an error under board and time pressure by Chris allowed me a mate in three.

All in all an enjoyable chess week.

Latest Central Team Action

November 11th, 2015

On Tuesday 3rd the Second Team entertained Nomads 2 and it started out looking like a straightforward victory as Mike Swanwick rang up twenty minutes before the match start to tell us that they only had three players. Also we were pretty much at full strength (I had left myself out). However, chess being chess, things didn’t quite turn out as planned. They eventually turned up with four players and we started off well, Andy’s opponent blundering a Rook and resigning to add to the default point. Lukasz faced Rob Parker again, the player who had checkmated him quickly a week before. This time he made much more of a game of it but was outplayed to give Nomads a point back.

Pat had a tough game with Mike Swanwick who seems to be playing for all three Nomads teams. I had taken on the role of ‘irritating observer’ and when Pat agreed a draw I wasted no time in showing him a move he had missed that led to – a different draw!

Graham was, as ever, the last to finish and with both players short of time his opponent, Graham Neil, showed great composure to bring home the full point and draw the match.

A week later, both the First and Third teams played at home against Uni 2 and 4. It was pretty cramped in our upstairs room. Added to this was the unique King Billy atmosphere with a folk group downstairs and a woman with an incredibly annoying laugh somewhere outside.

I didn’t see much of the Third Team’s games as I couldn’t physically get to that end of the room. Alex was the first to finish with a crushing win. She later told me that she had ‘checkmated him at least 5 times’ which I took to mean that she had enjoyed an enduring initiative. The match finished drawn.

Unfortunately the First Team unexpectedly lost 3-2 with both Alan and John uncharacteristically losing on the top two boards. Andy had a small advantage from the opening but made a mistake in recapturing with the Queen instead of a Pawn and his opponent took full advantage with two connected central passed pawns eventually deciding the game. Steve and Graham both won well but it wasn’t enough to save the game.

Still, as is the Central way, the night finished with some rousing choruses of ‘Rolling Home’ from me, Andy and Simon before we eventually did roll home.

Latest Club Champs Results/Pairings

November 3rd, 2015

Sept/Oct 2015 Results

S.Foster 1-0 M.Radford; P.Allen 1-0 L.Kacprzak; A.Sutton 0-1 A.Griffiths; J.Dell 0-1 G.Forster; A.Lester draw M.James (not played); G.Gibson 1-0 A.Meade; K.Argyle draw A.Lathif (not played); S.Parham 0-1 M.Frings.

Round 5 – November/December 2015 Pairings

S. Foster(4) v P. Allen(3.5)

A. Griffiths(3) v G. Forster(3)

M. Radford(2.5) v L. Kacprzak(2.5)

A. Lester(2) v G. Gibson(2)

M. James(2) v A. Sutton(2)

A. Lathif(1.5) v J. Dell(1.5)

S. Parham(1) v K. Argyle(1.5)

A. Meade(1) v M. Frings(1)

 


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