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09.4.13 - Witney 2 vs. Witney 1 (Final)

1 Bourne, Johnathan (169) 0-1  Harvey, Marcus (223)

2 Gentry, Alan (159)      0-1  Girdlestone, Paul (189)

3 Searle, Howard AJ (153) 0-1  Richmond, Peter (197)

4 Edwards, Derek F (139)  0-1  Truran, Michael (189)

5 Moss, Patrick (147)     ½-½  Headlong, Timothy (186)

6 Weston, Richard (142)   0-1  Hackett, Dave G (183)


- played on 8 Apr.


This was the first time since 1993 since Witney had both teams in the final. Four players from the 1993 match played in this year's final (Mike Truran, Tim Headlong, Howard Searle and Derek Edwards), with Danny O'Byrne (who also played in the 1993 match) making an appearance as a very welcome spectator.


Eheu! Fugaces, Posthume, Posthume labuntur anni.



As so often this season, the match was closer than the score suggests (Alan G said I would write that - Alan, glad not to disappoint), and it was only in the last third of the match that the Witney 2 players started to tire. Indeed, after walking round and seeing Dave and Tim worse against Rick and Patrick respectively and Paul struggling to make progress against Alan I had some doubts as to whether we would reach the 4-2 score we needed to win under the FWS's handicapping system. Things though improved for Witney 1 thereafter. Marcus and Peter won smoothly, Johnathan allowing a troublesome rook to drop in on his c2 square to unpleasant effect and Howard saddling himself with a horribly bad bishop. Tim battled back to halve the point with Patrick soon after, so 2½ out of 3 with the Black pieces was a pretty good start. Derek played the Benko Gambit against me (I had completely forgotten that he played the Benko despite having see him play it only a couple of months before) but failed to make much headway in return for the pawn and his position rather fell apart once his advanced knight on d3 was undermined. Paul sealed the match when Alan dropped a piece in a still defensible position, leaving Dave to scramble back from his poor opening and see Rick off in rook endgame in which to be fair Rick probably missed a couple of draws. However, yet again the OCA's unforgiving time control played havoc with the standard of play in the last few minutes.


Then off to the pub for a few drinks afterwards. Alan told me he was going to refuse to write a report about the match, but I think there was a twinkle in his eye as he said it.


So another cracking year for the club, with the Division 1 title and the Frank Wood Shield secured, Witney 2 still in the hunt for promotion to Division 1 and both Witney 3 and Witney 4 acquitting themselves well in their respective divisions. Next up is the annual Summer Rapidplay, when the thrusting young Turks of the club get to measure themselves against the old lags. I'll be sending round an email about this shortly.


- Mike


02.3.13 - City 1 vs. Witney 1

1 Manley, Jon P (192)      0-1 Wells, Peter (225)

2 Hayward, Philip (180)    0-1 Harvey, Marcus (223)

3 Rajangam, Karlmarx (175) ½-½ Truran, Michael (189)

4 Dixon, Leif (167)        0-1 Headlong, Timothy (186)

5 _default (-)             0-1 Richmond, Peter (197)

6 _default (-)             0-1 Hackett, Dave G (183)


- played on 25 Feb.


  Siegbert Tarrasch

So the Frank Wood Shield final will be contested by two Witney teams - huzzah! But in truth Witney 1's task in the semi-final against City 1 was much easier than Witney 2's against Wantage 1 as our opponents defaulted not just one but two boards against us, so the match was pretty much over before it started as we also outgraded them heavily on the remaining four boards. Still, as they say, you can only beat the opposition put in front of you. Three of our four players won smoothly enough, and it was left to yours truly to spare the blushes of the City 1 team by plummeting new depths of incompetence when two pawns up in an overwhelming position and with half an hour on the clock against my opponent's five minutes. To be fair, being abroad on business for the whole of the previous week together with travelling to and from Daventry twice to play two tough 4NCL games over the weekend did finally catch up with me.


All this whingeing rather puts me in mind of the lamest excuse in history for not winning. After losing to Lasker, Siegbert Tarrasch blamed his loss on the influence of sea-air. The match began at Düsseldorf, 100 miles from the coast. As Tartakover also said, "I never defeated a healthy opponent".


So onwards to the final. It's excellent news that the club has already bagged a big trophy already this early in the season, and well done to Witney 2 for their fine win in the other semi-final.


- Mike


17.1.13 - Witney 1 vs. City 2

1 Harvey, Marcus (213)    1-0  Terry, Sean (170)

2 Richmond, Peter (200)   1-0  Lee, Anthony (-)

3 Hackett, Dave G (189)   ½-½  Biswas, Karl (151)

4 Headlong, Timothy (187) 1-0  King, Simon E (149)

5 Hannon, Mark (184)      1-0  Yates, John O (140)

6 Smith, Paul (-)         ½-½  Brindley, Malcolm (137)


- played on 14 Jan.


This was an absurdly flattering result which did no justice at all to a battling City 2 team which looked for most of the evening as if it might win the match, let alone score the 2½ points it needed to progress to the next round. As non-playing captain for once I popped in to the club expecting the lads to do the business in double quick time and allow me an early evening for a change. Half-way through, however, the wheels looked like they were well and truly coming off; although Mark had a healthy advantage, Tim and Paul (on his debut for the club) were a pawn and a piece down respectively and we were not particularly better in any of the other games.


So it looked as if your esteemed reporter was going to finish the evening in an even grumpier state of mind than usual (which I know many of you will find hard to believe). Happily for my blood pressure, however, City 2 managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, imploding spectacularly in the last half hour or so; although Mark won efficiently, picking off various errant pawns that John offered him, and Marcus gradually developed an advantage as Sean drifted and finished off with a nice mating attack, the remaining four games saw Oxford score one point when 3 1/2 points would have been a fair return. Malcolm generously returned his extra piece on bottom board and took the draw that a mightily relieved Paul offered him, Anthony stumbled into a one move mate in an ending which he should have held comfortably, Simon dropped a pawn and a bishop in successive moves when still a sound pawn up against Tim, and Karl offered Dave a draw in a position in which Dave had seriously over-reached.


So we stagger into the semis bloodied but unbowed, where we will play either City 1 or Banbury 1.


- Mike


13.12.12 - MCS Blackbirds 1 vs. Witney 2

1 D'Souza-Eva, Jon (192)  1-0  Kennedy, Jonathan (162)

2 Place, John F (144)     0-1  Gentry, Alan (161)

3 Cole, Graham (143)      0-1  Searle, Howard AJ (151)

4 Ward, Eric (143)        ½-½  Edwards, Derek F (141)

5 Sayers, David (127)     0-1  Weston, Richard (131)

6 Cole, James (125)       0-1  Kilbride-Newman, Bob (117)


- played on 26 Nov.


Well done everybody, a great result in the FWS, especially after losing to them last week. The night began when Alan’s opponent overstretched and found his Queen trapped and resigned after 19 moves. Jon, playing on board 1 against the highly graded D’Souza-Eva, and with the black pieces, went down in a Rook ending, unable to prevent pawn losses. Derek and Eric then managed another draw, being equally matched, as they exchanged into a Queen and 3 pawns ending where neither could make progress. Bob played a nice tactical game, sacrificing a pawn to open up his heavy pieces against his opponent’s uncastled King and breaking through with the humble pawn to force resignation.


Richard played conservatively(!) and made use of his 3-1 pawn advantage on the queenside with pressure from pieces on both sides of the board, eventually going 2 pawns up and allowing no counterplay. A good win. Finally, Howard eked out a win in a drawish position with a risky manoeuvre in which he won 2 pawns but gave away 2, one dangerously passed. However, Howard won another while getting his Rook behind the passed pawn and with that the game was won. Next game away at Wantage on Tuesday, 4th December.


- Alan G


27.11.12 - Witney 1 vs. Banbury 2

1 Richmond, Peter (200)    ½-½  Poderico, Francesco (137)

2 Girdlestone, Paul (194)  1-0  Rumsby, Stephen (127)

3 Hackett, Dave G (189)    1-0  Fox, Chris (97)

4 Truran, Michael (189)    1-0  Hurst, Andrew (100)

5 Headlong, Timothy (187)  1-0  Campling, Michael (79)

6 Default (-)              1-0  Default (-)


- played on 26 Nov.


This was a match we had to win 4½-1½ under the Frank Wood Shield's handicapping rules (Banbury 2 being in Division 3), but the team came though in fine style and were never in much trouble other than a wobble on board 1 where Peter, after allowing Francesco rather too much play for a piece, looked to me to be rather lucky to scramble a draw in a rather whiffy rook endgame. Banbury 2's defaulting on board 6 didn't exactly help their cause either. Our next round opponents will be either City 2 or Bicester 1 in the New Year.


Well done by the way to Witney 2 on a cracking win against MCS Blackbirds 1 in the Frank Wood Shield; their reward in the next round is a very winnable match against Cumnor 1 (who rather luckily eliminated Witney 3). No doubt Alan and Roger will be reporting on these matches in due course.


- Mike.




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