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Final - 20 April 2012

A fine match worthy of the occasion as University 1 fielded their strongest team of the season (effectively their Varsity Match team) - so strong in fact that Alan K had a frantic phone call with Jon D'Souza-Eva during the match to establish whether under the fairly arcane rules for the competition they were all eligible to play in the Frank Wood Shield. Happily, Witney 1's narrow win meant it was all academic in the end anyway.

 

  Witney 1

vs.

University 1
1 Wells, Peter (236)

½

- ½ Zakarian, David (-)
2 Richmond, Peter (194) 0 - 1 Shanmugam, Ravindran (206)
3 Girdlestone, Paul (204)

½

- ½ Foord, Dominic (192)
4 Truran, Michael (189)

½

- ½ Schaper, Steffen (187)
5 Headlong, Timothy (187) 1 - 0 Smith, Chris (181)
6 Hackett, Dave G (181) 1 - 0 Yu, Jeffrey (178)
 

(home win)   

-  
Match played on 30 Apr 2012.

With barely a difference in the teams' gradings (an average of 3 ECF points per board) a very tight match was expected, and so it proved.

 

Tim was the first to finish, competently converting a pawn advantage after Chris's speculative expedition on the queen's side went a bit awry. Peter W tells me his game was fairly balanced most of the way - what shade of advantage there was lay with him, but with both sides getting short of time he didn't feel inclined to push his luck in view of the match situation.

 

Peter R was the next to finish - in what looked like an incredibly hairy game (even by Peter's hairy standards) with both sides hacking away at the other's king Ravindran landed the final haymaker. So all square, and with five minutes to the end of the match three games still in progress! I was first ot finish - I played well to win the exchange (having maybe missed something close to a win earlier on - the usual story, seeing the move I should have played a split second after taking my hand off the piece I actually moved), but in doing so gave Steffen so much play that I was glad to bail out with a draw. I made my strategically timed draw offer when he had only three minutes left (fair enough - I only had two). On reflection, maybe he shouldn't have accepted. Dave seemed to be in control throughout (which was a great comfort to his captain as the other games swung to and fro) and so it proved.

 

Geoffrey was always under pressure and finally crumbled; although each side had only a minute each left, Geoffrey had lost so much material by then that Dave would have hoovered up in ample time. Paul's game was another roller-coaster; he had always looked better, but in both sides' time trouble Dominic broke out in the direction of Paul's king. Paul though had sufficient play against Dominic's own king to hold the line, and in the absence of a forced checkmate and with only ten seconds left on the clock Dominic accepted Paul's draw offer to win us the match.

 

The tightness of the match was such that had we dropped another half point anywhere we would have lost on board count. As it is though, Witney 1 have completed the league and cup double for the first time since the 1990s to round off a highly successful season for the club which has seen:

  1. Witney 2 miss promotion to Division 1 by a hair's breadth.

  2. Witney 3 retain their place in Division 3 after looking odds on for relegation for most of the season.

  3. Witney 4 continue its successful policy of introducing juniors to competitive chess.

  4. Witney, in partnership with Cumnor, winning the national title in the Junior 4NCL.

  5. The club gaining the English Chess Federation's prestigious Website of the Year award.

There will be a lot to celebrate at the annual dinner!

 

- MT.

Round 5 - 14 Mar 2011

Playing a Division 3 side in the Frank Wood Shield semi-final provides all manner of opportunity for upsets, particularly given the requirement under the competition's handicapping rules to win by a 4.5:1.5 margin, but in the end we made it to the final with few alarms, with nobody as far as I could see worse in their games at any stage.

 

  Witney 1

vs.

Cumnor 1
1 Girdlestone, Paul (204) 1 - 0 Stevens, Gareth (140)
2 Richmond, Peter (194) 1 - 0 Sayers, Mark (138)
3 Truran, Michael (189) 1 - 0 Carr, Robin (128)
4 Headlong, Timothy (187) 1 - 0 Glenn, Liam (120)
5 Hannon, Mark (186) 1 - 0 Bennett, Steven (110)
6 Hackett, Dave G (181) 1 - 0 Jones, Michael (128)
 

(home win)

6 - 0  
Match played on 12 Mar 2012.

Playing for the first time with our newly acquired pieces and boards seems to have brought us luck!

 

Paul finished first in a Bg5 Nimzo-Indian, Gareth getting his minor pieces and king in a terrible tangle in the middle of the board early on and losing material. Peter kept steady pressure throughout on the white side of a Centre Counter and easily refuted Mark's fairly desperate piece sacrifice.

 

Robin with white seemed to get caught out in the opening (1. c4 b6), losing a pawn fairly quickly; I made quite heavy weather of it thereafter, but Robin dropped a piece in the ending to ease my task (although it was looking tricky for him by then anyway). Tim nursed a Maroczy Bind positional edge through most of the game; Liam sacrificed a pawn for insufficient compensation and Tim won a nice endgame. From what I saw of Mark's game a heavy duty positional battle resolved itself in Mark's favour late on, while Dave, playing the Centre Game (a much underrated opening). kept up steady pressure throughout and won material in the endgame.

 

So we meet University 1 in the final, this time on level terms with no scoring handicap. Our two league matches have proved to be tough affairs, so we will need to be at our best to win - but the league and cup double is still a very real possibility.

 

- MT.

Round 2 - 22 Nov 2011

Witney 3 went into the FWS round 2 with a tough ask ahead of them, 2 points required and out graded on every board, the top four by over 50 points. There was a glimmer of hope with the bottom two boards weaker and fewer points higher than our two juniors.

 

  Witney 3

vs.

Cowley 1
1 Turner, Roger N (132) ½ - ½ Starkie, Ray J (184)
2 Flory Mark (116) 0 - 1 Nixon, Rod (178)
3 Murray, Jon (92) 0 - 1 Paxton-Doggett, Paul A. (157)
4 Partridge, Tim R (89) 0 - 1 Keeling, David (143)
5 Truran, Joseph (81) ½ - ½ Ottino, Simon (115)
6 Hauer, Isabel (-) 1 - 0 Ottino, Solomon (72)
 

(home win)

2 - 4  
Match played on 21 Nov 2011.

With the odds against us the team played with little fear as defeat was most probable and hey, let’s enjoy it.

 

The match started well with Isabel finishing her game early and with a victory, early enough that I only briefly saw a solid position. Well done Isabel (1-0).

 

Alas it didn’t continue and the first of the expected losses was to follow as Mark valiantly fought a losing battle (1-1).

 

 
 

Roger Turner (white) vs. Ray Starkie

Then a shock! I was suitably positioned and lucky that every attack my opponent played I was able to counter and keep the position even. After 24 fluent moves from both players I checked my opponent with an obvious repeating move to follow and offered the draw. It was accepted!

 

Although my opponent felt my position was slightly better, Fritz evaluated it 0.00, a perfectly balanced position and a draw (1½-1½) See right.

 

Tim had been playing a fairly solid position but his opponent worked his queen in behind and Tim was out manoeuvred and was lost (1½-2½)

 

Jon, by his own admission, made a complete hash of his opening, losing a central pawn after four moves. He stayed in contention though and later had what seemed a promising queen attack, forcing a series of checks. But after that ended, he fell to his recent nemesis - doubled-up rooks (1½-3½).

 

We were now down to our second junior, Joseph who held a fairly even, if disjointed, position and was well positioned throughout his game. As the pieces were slowly swapped off both players got up to find out the match position. Joseph looked the most relieved returning to the board knowing that his opponent had to win for us to lose.

 

With the clocks ticking, a tired Joseph worked his rook and pawns into a strong position before allowing his opponent to move his own pawn to the sixth rank. He then moved his rook offering the exchange of pawns and moving into a won position and offered the Draw! His opponent accepted and the tie was won! (2-4). Well done Joseph.

 

Cumnor 1 or University 2 await in the next round, a match we will actually have to win!

 

- Roger.

Round 2 - 21 Nov 2011

An unexpectedly straightforward win in the Frank Wood Shield against Bicester 1, who were however considerably weakened in comparison with the team that gave us such a run for our money in the league just a few weeks ago.

 

  Witney 1

vs.

Bicester 1
1 Wells, Peter (232) 1 - 0 Harvey, Marcus R (212)
2 Richmond, Peter (198) ½ - ½ Marlow, Mike (163)
3 Truran, Michael (191) 1 - 0 Beckett, Richard (162)
4 Headlong, Timothy (187) 1 - 0 Poderico, Francesco (157)
5 Searle, Howard AJ (155) 1 - 0 Burcham, Anthony (115)
6 Moss, Patrick (142) 1 - 0 default (-)
 

(home win)

- ½  
Match played on 21 Nov 2011.

A defaulted board hardly helped their cause. So we move on into the third round, along with our third team who gloriously and unexpectedly triumphed against the might of Cowley 1. Roger will no doubt be reporting on this match shortly, but in the meantime many congratulations!

 

1. Peter W played a very nice game against Marcus, whose predilection for tactically sharp but positionally unsound openings (in this case the Classical Dutch) caught up with him on this occasion. Peter seemed to have everything nicely under control throughout (helped by a giant pawn on e6). Peter will hopefully be letting me have the game for posting on the website in due course.

 

 
 

Mike Truran (white) vs. Richard Beckett

2. Peter R, feeling distinctly under the weather, agreed a quick draw with black against Mike and spent the rest of the evening sleeping in the corner of the hall. Choosing Tim's board as the one to fall asleep next to was clearly an excellent choice in this regard (only joking, Tim).

 

3. Richard played the Benko against me, and although I say it myself I did play rather well to secure the extra pawn, break through in the centre and carry out a mating attack with a couple of sacrifices which, although fairly obvious, were still quite pretty. Gold coins cascading onto the board were, however, not in evidence. What a miserable and tight-fisted bunch of spectators.

 

4. Tim ground out a win with black in the Tarrasch Defence, never an easy thing to do (but if anyone can do it, Tim can). Francesco gradually weakened in the late middle game and finally lost a couple of pawns in a hopeless rook ending.

 

5. Howard, rediscovering some good form after a tentative start to the season, kept a small edge throughout the game. Anthony lost on time in a position where he still had some holding chances but in which Howard was clearly on top.

 

6. Default. Nothing more to say really, except to thank Patrick for making the effort to turn out despite the joys and cares of parenthood. Last time I looked, he and Derek were hacking away at each other in a series of friendlies, so hopefully the evening wasn't entirely wasted.

 

- MT.

 

 

Round 2 - 28 Oct 2011

Well, Witney 1 snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the Frank Wood Shield Match vs Cumnor 2. Needing to win 5-1 it was a challenge without their captain being available and many of the club's better players being cup tied. The matched started well enough with Howard showing amazing tactical skill.

 

  Cumnor 2

vs.

Witney 1
1 Glenn, Liam (125) 0 - 1 Richmond, Peter (198)
2 Varney, Andrew (-) ½ - ½ Hannon, Mark (189)  [game]
3 Knox, Geoffrey (-) 0 - 1 Headlong, Timothy (187)
4 Bennett, Steven (114) 0 - 1 Hackett, Dave G (181)
5 Steel, Robert (92) 0 - 1 Searle, Howard AJ (155)
6 Harrop, Richard (-) 0 - 1 Kennedy, Alan (126)
    ½ - (away win)
Match played on 27 Oct 2011.

Howard's opponent had got his knight right in amongst his pawns and was hopping around the sixth and seventh rank causing all sorts of mayhem eventually winning the exchange. Howard however had seen the “deeper magic” to quote CS Lewis clearing having thought ten moves ahead (rather than the five of his opponent) and came out with some vicious tactics to win back the exchange and several pawns to boot (1-0).

 

Dave showed his superior skill trapping the opponent's king in the centre and bishop in the middle of the board. Again, vicious tactics saw Dave with an easy win. (Dave was playing white – unusually for him – who knows what his grade would be if he had not had to play with black for most of last season) (2-0).

 

 
 

Alan Kennedy (white) vs. Richard Harrop

Tim came out extremely well in the opening. He had chances to take a bishop for a pawn but instead opted for two pawns instead (not sure why but being a lowly 126 I did not see the “deeper magic” – well done Tim (3-0). Peter on board 1 obtained more active pieces in the opening and used this to go round mopping up opponent pawns, turned down the rather cheeky draw offer, and so we ended up (4-0).

 

So far so good with both Mark and Alan looking good with White pieces and doing well after the opening. Then Alan turned a good position into a bad one by a series of inactive moves (thanks to Tim and Howard for so graciously pointing this out to him in the post match analysis) and Mark was struggling against an opponent playing well above his grade. One could see both Mark and Alan thinking “what will our absent captain say if we lose this from winning positions" – the stress levels were obviously sky high. Alan then pulled off one of the swindles of the season when his opponent failed to spot a simple discovered attack and capitulated very easily after losing his queen and two pawns for a rook and bishop. A little more resistance and Alan might have struggled as time trouble was looming (no surprise there I hear you say!). 5-0 up and we were home and dry.

 

I did not see the end of Mark’s game – apparently the opponent missed moves for an easy win but eventually Mark ended up with a knight up but had to swap it off to avoid the opponent's pawn queening. 5½-½, job done! Afterwards Alan proudly pointed out that his record for the first team was now running at 75% (one win and one draw) – conveniently forgetting that he should have lost both games.

 

The final comment of the evening – come back Mike Truran – your first team needs you!

 

- Alan Kennedy

Round 1 - 15 October 2011

On Monday Witney 2 and Witney 3 again locked horns in the Frank Wood Shield.

 

Unlike last year, Witney 2 had an easier chance of beating Witney 3 as they only required 4 points to last years 4½ points. Despite Matt and Tim’s match starting early due to work commitments it was the two Juniors on the bottom boards that finished first.

 

  Witney 2

vs.

Witney 2
1 Gentry, Alan (155) 1 - 0 Turner, Roger N (132)
2 Edwards, Derek F (146) 0 - 1 Flory Mark (116)
3 Weston, Richard (139) 1 - 0 Murray, Jon (92)
4 Coburn, Matt (123) 0 - 1 Partridge, Tim R (89)
5 Gilders Ian (110) ½ - ½ Truran, Joseph (81)
6 Kilbride-Newman, Bob ( ) 1 - 0 Hauer, Isabel (-)
    - (away win)
Match played on 11 Oct 2011.

Isabel played well out of the opening, but unfortunately decided to trust Bob's analysis when he sacrificed a knight to open up the king side. Accepting Bob's kind offer would have probably left her with a shade of an advantage. Instead, she declined it and Bob converted his material advantage efficiently (1-0).

 

Joseph emerged from a Grunfeld a pawn down but with active pieces. He then played an inspired rook 'sacrifice' which in fact should have just dropped a whole rook. Fortunately for him Ian missed it too, and Joseph competently traded off pieces into a bishops of opposite colours ending which, although still a pawn down, he held comfortably enough (1½-½).

 

Jon lost to Richard on Board 3 after trying a speculative bishop sacrifice. His compensation was two pawns and the disintegration of the centre of the board, but that proved insufficient as Richard’s queen was able to dominate, arrowing to h8 to ambush a rook and then returning to amass troops along the c-file after Jon was forced to castle queenside. Piling up queen and both his rooks on the c file, and then adding a bishop to the attack, it was only a matter of time before Richard broke through.

 

 

 

The inaugural game with the Website of the Year 2011 board (larger image)

 

 

Jon battled on but in truth he probably should have resigned about ten moves before he eventually did.

 

Not for the first time in their recent meetings, Richard proved just a bit too strong (2½-½).

 

Tim's game against Matt was a bit a bit of a rollercoaster - Tim won a piece early on, then contrived to lose it back and finished up with a rook for a knight and a couple of very angry looking pawns. The game reeled on until Matt dropped another piece - which this time proved terminal (2½-1½).

 

The two captains played a very steady game with not much given and after Alan declined a draw promptly worked a minor advantage into a mating attack ... (3½-1½) was it going to be so near and yet so far again for Witney 3?

 

Mark and Derek had left everything to the last and after a tight game Mark went into the ending with a slight advantage which required accuracy to avoid a draw. With Derek’s panache at end games Mark was up against it but successfully forced two pawns through and Derek was beaten ... (3½-2½).

 

Although Witney 2 won on the night Witney 3 win the match through handicap and are through to the next round, revenge

is sweet ...

 

Monday  also  witnessed  the  inaugural  game  played  with  the  Website  of  the  Year 2011 board and pieces which were

subjected to a cracking game even if I did lose ...

 

- Roger, Witney 3 Captain.

 

 

 

 

 

© SC

 

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