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06 April 2011

Someone (OK - it might have been me) had the inspired (yes, inspired) idea of suggesting that City 1 should play away rather than at home for the Gunfight at the Cowley Corrall to get all the big guns together in the same venue. Matt Rose (the City 1 captain) kindly agreed, so all four top teams in Division 1 turned up at Cowley Chess Club for the big showdown: Cowley 1 vs Witney 1 and City 1 vs Cowley 2. True Grit was needed, but it was always going to come down to the Last Man Standing.


  Cowley 1


Witney 1
1 Zakarian, David (-) 0 - 1 Wells, Peter (232)
2 Starkie, Ray J (178) 0 - 1 Richmond, Peter (203)
3 Lang, Heather LE (169) 0 - 1 Truran, Michael (191)
4 Nixon, Rod (167) ½ - ½ Headlong, Timothy (188)
5 Cichy, Pawel (-) 0 - 1 Hannon, Mark (185)
6 Robson, David W (157) 0 - 1 Hackett, Dave G (180)
    ½ -  
Match played on 04 Apr 2011.

OK. That's quite enough of the Wild West analogies. If any of the teams had had a player called Shane I would have rambled on ......


We had our strongest team out, with Peter W hot-footing it back from Aix-les-Bains (the venue for the European Men's Individual Championship, where he achieved a FIDE rating of 2575 - don't, like me, believe what you read in the press) to play for us. An hour in though, and it was fair to say that none of the games was looking hugely promising for us. That was a bit of a shame really, because I had fumbled around in the opening against Heather Lang (a player who came close to beating me last season) in order to reach a position where repeating moves was probably the best option. In true manly Witney fashion I decided to decline the offer, play what was objectively a less strong move that at least kept the tension, and await developments.


My faith in my team was more than justified. Peter W in a complex Catalan outplayed David Zakarian in the middle game; my last look at the game was when he had 53 seconds left, but with an extra piece in return for a couple of pawns. Despite the complexities of the position, job done as far as I was concerned for a man of Peter's legendary time trouble prowess. Peter - if you do get a chance to write a few words about your European result and/or your game against David I would be delighted to include it on the website. Peter R on board 2 did the business against Ray Starkie, winning a pawn in a Sicilian Dragon where Peter seemed to demonstrate a better understanding of the queen side possibilities.


On board 3 Heather went astray after I declined the tacit draw offer (stay awake you lot!) and despite a late wobble I converted the point, my attempt to emulate the Pillsbury-Gunsberg pawn endgame (Hastings 1895) being entirely fortuitous. Tim on board 4, although conceding the only half point of the night, was the one to secure the league title, his draw giving us the 3.5 points we needed. Tim looked confused throughout. Given Rod Nixon's opening, I'm not surprised. On the bottom two boards, Mark and Dave continued the monumental performances that have been in large measure instrumental in securing the league title (machine-like springs to mind). Neither looked in any trouble throughout. Dave in particular demonstrated a mastery of IQP positions that I had only previously associated with Korchnoi's handling of the black side of the 3. Nd2 French Defence. OK - that's quite enough rubbish from me.


The icing on the cake was Cowley 2's 4-2 win over City 1. Not that I'm one to gloat.


Off to the Prince of Wales afterwards for a few celebratory drinks before going home. In bed at 12.30 am, fielded a call from daughter at 1.00 am, up at 3.45 am to get a flight to Spain. I bought Matt a pint, but he still looked morose. Not sure whether I was sad or pleased really.


- Mike

22 March 2011




As Virgil put it, "Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit". As they say in Witney, "B*llocks". Are we going to snatch defeat from from the jaws of victory after all? After losing to City 1 we maintain a tenuous one point advantage over them. Our final match is against a strong Cowley 1 outfit in two weeks time. If we win, we're home and hosed regardless of what City 1 do in their last match against Cowley 2. If we only draw and City 1 win, we finish as runners up by virtue of City 1's better head to head performance against us.


  Witney 1


Oxford City 1
1 Richmond, Peter (203) 0 - 1 Rose, Matthew (220)
2 Truran, Michael (191) ½ - ½ Tan, Wei Sin (214)
3 Headlong, Timothy (188) ½ - ½ Manley, Jon P (202)
4 Hannon, Mark (185) ½ - ½ Scott, David A (173)
5 Hackett, Dave G (180) ½ - ½ Marlow, Mike (169)
6 Gentry, Alan (165) 0 - 1 Terry, Sean (168)
    2 - 4  
Match played on 21 Mar 2011.

Tonight's match saw me draw fairly quickly by the simple expedient of getting into the Queens Gamibit Exchange variation against an opponent I had lost badly against earlier in the season and swapping off all the pieces.


At that stage the match looked to be going OK. Little did I know. Alan soon dropped a pawn for no compensation and Sean rounded him up competently; a further oversight dropping the exchange probably made little difference to the final result. Jon, blundering early on against Tim (who missed a forcing line that would probably have won the exchange) fished in troubled waters thereafter and staggered away with a somewhat fortunate draw. Dave had a complex battle with Mike in which he was probably always slightly worse, and made a timely draw offer as both sides were drifting into time trouble.


Mark always had pressure, but although he managed to win a pawn David managed to generate enough tricks with his remaining rook and knight to hold the balance. Peter caught Matt in an opening he was unfamiliar with, but Matt being Matt managed to find a series of moves which retained a slight advantage. Peter sacrificed the exchange for a seemingly unbreakable blockade, but Matt's position was easier to play in both sides' time trouble. Peter's clock ran down first with Matt still having three seconds left, and that was that. The final score may have flattered City 1 a little, but as they say, you can't win if you don't put the ball in the net.


I was going to kick the cat again, but it's done a runner.


- Mike 

08 March 2011

A comfortable win in the end, although to be fair the score was slightly flattering. Board by board summary:


1. Peter and Stuart launched (lurched?) into a theoretical argument in the Sicilian Sveshnikov; Peter seemed to lose control in the middle game and Stuart was soon hacking away merrily at Peter's king. Unfortunately for Stuart he missed a mate in three or win of the queen (in no particular time pressure it has to be said) and Peter scrambled out with a lucky draw. Peter's poker face as he played the move allowing the win was impressive.


  Wantage 1


Witney 1
1 Robertson, J Stuart (177) ½ - ½ Richmond, Peter (203)
2 Piggott, Roly (160) 0 - 1 Truran, Michael (191)
3 Bush, Martin L (159) 0 - 1 Headlong, Timothy (188)
4 Paxton-Doggett, Paul A (153) 0 - 1 Hannon, Mark (185)
5 Morris, Stephen A (148) 0 - 1 Hackett, Dave G (180)
6 Spalding, George H (136) 0 - 1 Gentry, Alan (165)
    ½ -  
Match played on 08 Mar 2011.

2. I maintained pressure on the black side of a Benoni throughout the middle game, but Roly defended well and after a couple of inaccuracies on both sides I had to resort to simplifying into a R+3 v R+2 ending (all on the same side). These are more often drawn than not, but White's king was somewhat unluckily placed and I managed to keep enough pressure going to win another pawn and bring home the point.


3. Tim had kept an edge out of a quietish Slav when Martin allowed an untimely c5 driving his bishop away from d6 and a follow-up Bf4 skewering the queen on c7 and the rook on b8. Tim's technique did the rest as more material followed.


4. Mark's game featured opposite side castling, with Paul castling queens side - often a heroic decision in Queens Indian/Hedgehog formations, and so it proved here as Mark worked up a venomous attack against Paul's king, with the usual consequences.


5. Dave played the aggressive Advance variation against the French, and I think it's safe to say that neither he (as player) nor I (as spectator) were able to guess too many of Steve's moves, in a particular an especially enigmatic Kd8 in the early middle game. Dave isn't the man to let himself be fazed by such hypermodern mumbo jumbo and soon polished off his opponent in short order.


6. Alan is apparently concerned that I might claim in this report that he was favoured by good fortune in his game. So let me put it firmly on the record that Alan kept up sufficient pressure on George's king to render his two connected passed pawns on the queens side academic, and that George finally crumbled in the face of Alan's relentless play. I have little idea as whether that's true or not, but as I have accepted everybody else's versions of their games it's only fair to do the same with Alan's. Alan has bragging rights at the moment anyway given his recent 12 move win against me in a five minute game, which will shortly be appearing on the website. Don't miss it if you want to have a good laugh at my expense.


So two matches to go. Regardless of what happens in our penultimate match against City 1, if we beat Cowley 1 in the final match of the season we will be Division 1 champions.


- Mike

15 February 2011

A quick report tonight - I need to get to bed! A solid win in a match we never looked in too much trouble in. Peter W with White was well on top, but seemed to go a little astray and Ravindram held on well. Peter R's opponent blundered a piece in the middle game, although by that stage Peter looked to be already better.


  Oxford 1


Witney 1
1 Shanmugam, Ravindran (-) ½ - ½ Wells, Peter (232)
2 Coleman, Robbie (185) 0 - 1 Richmond, Peter (203)
3 Smith, Chris (161) ½ - ½ Truran, Michael (191)
4 Zhang, Ren (-) 0 - 1 Hannon, Mark (185)
5 Rey, Daniel (159) 0 - 1 Hackett, Dave G (180)
6 Jackson, Mark ( ) ½ - ½ Gentry, Alan (165)
Match played on 14 Feb 2011.

I missed a win on move 12, and with my opponent gradually unravelling his position and also a couple of pawns up I bailed out with a perpetual. Mark exerted steady pressure throughout, won a pawn and his opponent gradually crumbled in time trouble. Dave soon had a vigorous king's side attack going, with the exchange up as well as extra insurance.


Alan hung on well, and managed to complicate the position sufficiently to recover his missing pawns and compel his opponent to offer a draw. Alan rather exuberantly declined, allowed his opponent's rook to get in among his pawns and was somewhat lucky to be able to get down to K v K with a couple of seconds left on his clock.


City 1 dropped a match point against Cowley 1 on 14 Feb so wins in our matches against Wantage 1 and Cowley 1 will give us an unassailable lead at the top of the table. Those matches take place on Tues 8th March (Wantage 1) and Mon 4th April (Cowley 1).


- Mike

08 February 2011

Another tough match against one of our rivals for the Division 1 title saw us get through 4½-1½, a result which didn't overly flatter us. For once we all seemed to play well - if only in patches in some instances.


  Witney 1


Cowley 2
1 Wells, Peter (232) 1 - 0 O'Reilly, Gerard ( )
2 Richmond, Peter (203) 0 - 1 D'Souza-Eva, Jon (181)
3 Truran, Michael (191) 1 - 0 Moyse, Nigel (174)
4 Headlong, Timothy (188) 1 - 0 Burt, William (168)
5 Hannon, Mark (185) 1 - 0 Rasell, Geoff C (158)
6 Hackett, Dave G (180) ½ - ½ Banuls, Adrien (-)
Match played on 07 Feb 2011.

Peter W tells me he played one of his best games for us - from the little I saw, he seemed to gradually outplay Gerard in convincing style, emerging with a strong passed c pawn which duly did the trick. Peter R was unlucky - in his view he played one of his most accurate games against Jon, but unfortunately ran out of time in a position where he had a winning advantage.


Conversely, I had some luck - I wheeled out the Benoni for the first time in twenty or so years (I've finally decided that the Dutch really is rubbish after all - as Peter W said in the pub afterwards, it makes the Benoni look like a solid positional choice), gained the exchange and a couple of pawns with, though I say it myself, some really nice play, proceeded to fritter my advantage away and sneaked a win with 30 seconds or so left on my clock when Nigel failed to spot a fairly simple tactic which would have resulted in stalemate. Tim played a very smooth game - Will seemed to get into an inferior version of the Tarrasch from what started out as a Catalan, Tim ganged up on the his weak d pawn and further material gains for Tim soon followed as Will lashed out.


Mark won in double quick time - Geoff had won in eleven or so moves at Kidlington at the weekend, so was clearly keen to maintain his sequence of miniatures. Unfortunately this time he was on the receiving end. Dave got the only draw of the match - again from the little I saw, he seemed to have a lot of pressure with a dangerous central passed pawn; however, absorbed as I was with my own game, I didn't see the denouement.


So we're now six points clear of City 1, but the dynamics remain the same as they were. If City 1 win their outstanding matches it will come down to our match against them on 21 March for the Division 1 title. Unfortunately Peter W can't play (some excuse involving playing in the European Individual Chess Championship I believe - honestly, you just can't get the staff these days). Still, the team seems to be playing itself into some sort of form, so there's no reason why we shouldn't be confident.


- Mike

02 February 2011

Our annual pilgrimage to the frozen North saw us beat Banbury 1 and move four points clear again at the top of Division 1, although with City 1 having a match in hand and still to play us there's a long way to go yet.


  Banbury 1


Witney 1
1 Vikanis, Georgs (174) 0 - 1 Richmond, Peter (203)
2 Manley, Nathan J (160) ½ - ½ Truran, Michael (191)
3 Staples, Neil (158) 0 - 1 Headlong, Timothy (188)
4 Vikanis, Egils (154) 0 - 1 Hackett, Dave G (180)
5 Jackson, Gary C (153) 1 - 0 Gentry, Alan (165)
6 Martin, Nick (144) 0 - 1 Weston, Richard (133)
Match played on 01 Feb 2011.

Peter R started us on our way by winning a piece in double quick time. Although Georgs managed to complicate things sufficiently to whip up an attack, Peter's extra piece and king's side mating threats were always going to be enough (cough). I got the upper hand in the late middle game, but Nathan fought back strongly and managed to simplify down to a drawn ending with each side having only a minute or so left.


Tim played steadily, saw off Neil's king's side demonstration (of sorts) in a gritty middle game and got home fairly comfortably in the end with his queen's side pawn majority. Dave claims to have been close to lost early on (having a bishop that could hardly move can't have helped his state of mind); happily Egils conveniently dropped a piece and Dave's technique did the rest. So Dave's valiant attempts to put his opponent and the rest of the players in the room off by claiming a defective clock in (marginal) time trouble in the end proved unnecessary. To be fair, this disturbance was as nothing compared to the racket caused by a player in another team in the same (small) room bellowing out his moves to his visually impaired opponent for most of the evening. Still, all's well that ends well.


Alan continued his unfortunate run of form by dropping two pawns when just out of the opening, and was soon consigned to the dustbin of history. Hopefully playing at Kidlington will see a restoration of his fortunes. Go Alan! Rick, valiantly stepping in to the team in Mark's enforced absence, once again demonstrated his cutting edge Antipodean opening knowledge (all right Rick, complete absence of opening knowledge) and the game rapidly become completely random in a way only Rick can achieve. Nick, clearly bamboozled by proceedings, staggered into a nasty uppercut, hit the canvas and was counted out. Chess boxing reaches Banbury (if only metaphorically).


- Mike

24 January 2011

A hard-fought victory against a resilient Didcot 1 team which, although currently bottom of Division 1, showed lots of fighting spirit and nearly caused a major upset. The first result of the evening, and a major shock, was Tim's loss to Bernard Cooper. Bernard blundered a pawn in the early opening, but found unexpected counter-chances which Tim seemed to underestimate, and crashed through with a nice king's side attack.


  Witney 1


Didcot 1
1 Richmond, Peter (203) 1 - 0 Gough, Nicholas L (177)
2 Truran, Michael (191) 1 - 0 Bromilow, Edward T (160)
3 Headlong, Timothy (188) 0 - 1 Cooper, Bernard D (146)
4 Hannon, Mark (185) 1 - 0 Jacobs, Robert B (144)
5 Hackett, Dave G (180) 1 - 0 Robins, Andrew S (141)
6 Gentry, Alan (165) 0 - 1 Sheridan, Martin (141)
    4 - 2  
Match played on 24 Jan 2011.

Alan Gentry suffered our other reverse, dropping a knight in an advantageous position. The other games, though, went reasonably smoothly (inasmuch as any games played by this currently somewhat erratic squad can be called smooth).


I didn't see much of Dave's game, but from the little I did see he always seemed to have things under control. For once I played a game without any obvious technical flaws, and Eddie was unable to extricate himself from a Classical Dutch in which he was left with a bad bishop and no discernible king's side attack. White's queen's side pressure did the rest.


Peter's game was, as usual, tactically complex, with Nick running short of time and failing to cope in general with Peter's usual stream of inventive ideas (all right, cheapos) and in particular with a rampant black king's pawn which outpaced Nick's two pawns on the queen's side - yet again proving the old adage that black passed pawns run faster than white passed pawns in the endgame! Mark brought the match home with a well controlled game which ended with most of his pieces around his opponent's king, with the usual consequences.


So we are five points clear at the top of the table - but both Cowley 2 and in particular City 1 have matches in hand. There's lots of hard work to do yet.


Congratulations to Witney 3, who were playing alongside Witney 1 and won a tight match 3½-2½ against St Clare's. No doubt Roger will supply a match report!


- Mike

11 January 2011

A reasonably solid win to kick off the post-Xmas campaign and leave us temporarily three points clear at the top of the table - although Cowley 2 and City 1 will doubtless be breathing down our necks once they have caught up their outstanding matches. Peter W, Black against Cowley's new 2362 FIDE rated recruit David Zakarian played down a line on which he tells me he has produced 40 pages of analysis - David played a line which gave him positional pressure for a pawn sacrifice and the game fizzled out in a three-fold repetition when Peter had a minute or so on his clock but any attempt to deviate from the repetition would have left him a pawn up in a fairly clearcut ending.


  Witney 1


Cowley 1
1 Wells, Peter (232) ½ - ½ Zakarian, David (-)
2 Truran, Michael (191) ½ - ½ McKenna, Jason (184)
3 Richmond, Peter (203) ½ - ½ Starkie, Ray J (178)
4 Headlong, Timothy (188) ½ - ½ Lang, Heather LE (169)
5 Hannon, Mark (185) 1 - 0 Robson, David W (157)
6 Hackett, Dave G (180) 1 - 0 Cichy, Pawel (-)
    4 - 2  

Match played on 10 Jan 2011.

I was pressing hard in a quiet Kings Indian until an unfortunate tactical accident left me the exchange for a pawn down - happily my bishop was so strong that I was still probably at least equal, but I decided that discretion was the better part of valour given my current propensity to blow up at the first hint of time trouble (two and a half minutes left on the clock - child's play for a man of Peter's calibre, but I'm not Peter).


Peter R engaged Ray Starkie in fierce complications which on reflection he might have been better to avoid - Ray finished up with a large number of pawns and an even larger attack for a piece, but an untimely decentralisation of his dominating knight allowed Peter to scramble out with a draw. Tim battled long and hard with White in a Leningrad Dutch against Heather Lang, but never looked likely to do more than halve out. So it was left to our bottom boards to ride to the rescue, which they did with some style. Mark with Black rapidly overran his opponent's lines with a succession of nasty pins and won quickly, while Dave playing his favourite Closed Sicilian ground his opponent down in a lengthy endgame, accruing several pawns in a rook ending.


So it's City 1 next up in the Frank Wood Shield on Thursday - wish us luck!


Congratulations to Witney 2 on besting Witney 3 in the Frank Wood Shield fourth round. Bah humbug to Rick Weston though in showing young Joseph T a thing or two in a double quick win. Shame about your national cricket team though, Rick! No doubt a report from Derek and/or Roger will follow.


A reminder to all players that if they would like to let me have their games in the prescribed format I will get them posted on our website.


Finally, a reminder about the forthcoming Peter Wells evenings - if possible, please let me know in advance if you would like to attend.


- Mike

10 December 2010


Another tight match against City 1 in which both teams fielded their best sides (Witney 1's average grade 196½, City 1's 198.4) which for a long time we looked like losing. The less said about my game the better; I spent a lot of time finding a series of indifferent moves, then blundered a pawn in a passive but defensible position. Mark drew soon after after his opponent managed to defuse a useful looking initiative. So one down, with Tim and Dave in trouble with Black and two double edged games on the top boards. Not looking good!


  Oxford City 1


Witney 1
1 Rose, Matthew (220) 0 - 1 Wells, Peter (232)
2 Manley, Jon P (202) 0 - 1 Richmond, Peter (203)
3 Tan, Wei Sin (214) 1 - 0 Truran, Michael (191)
4 Brown, Matthew (180) 1 - 0 Headlong, Timothy (188)
5 Rajangam, Karlmarx (176) ½ - ½ Hannon, Mark (185)
6 Ljubic, Ivan (-) ½ - ½ Hackett, Dave G (180)
    3 - 3  

All four remaining games went down to the last few minutes. Tim shed a pawn and got ground down in the ending, but Peter R played excellently to put away Jon Manley in an exceedingly complex and tactical game. Dave hung on heroically to draw in an endgame where he had little time to find a series of excellent defensive moves, leaving it to Peter W on top board to beat Matt Rose at the third attempt (two draws last season) in a game where both players ran tremendously short of time (not unusual for these time trouble aficionados).


Matt's ingenious attempt to pull off a devilish stalemate with around five seconds left on his clock was thwarted only by the inconvenient presence of a remaining pawn, and so the match was saved with less than a minute to go to the end of the session (Peter's remaining forty seconds or so being more than sufficient for a man of his calibre to mop up).



So a nervy 3:3 draw, leaving Witney 1 still clear at the top of the division and with our fate still in our own hands.


- Mike

30 November 2010

Another rollercoaster of a match! It can't go on like this or my nerves will be shot to pieces. Although missing Tim, Anco nobly stepped into the breach and we again outgraded our opponents by a significant margin on most boards. It didn't work out as expected though!


Peter R was the first to finish, drawing in a sterile position where he probably stood worse. Although Dave crashed through with a well-played kings side attack, it was clear that we were on trouble on the bottom two boards, where first Alan dropped a piece in a difficult position and then Anco failed to justify his two pawns investment in a Morra Gambit. That left us 1½:2½ down with two to play. Although my opponent, who had been in a positional bind for most of the game, finally suffered material losses in an attempt to break out, Mark's position looked as drawn as Peter R's had been against Cowley 3 the week before. Like Peter, however, he battled on, created complications from nothing as his opponent made a number of inaccuracies and finally got his e pawn through to queen in a rook ending. Well done Mark for playing on when he could quite easily have shared the point.

Here's my game - not because it was necessarily the best one but because it's the only one I have to hand:
Mike Truran (Witney 1) - Roly Piggott (Wantage 1), 29 Nov 2010

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Bg2 Bg7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O a6 10. a4 Re8 11. h3 b6 12. Nd2 Nbd7 13. Nc4 Ne5 14. Na3 Qc7 15. Kh2 Bb7 16. f4 Ned7 17. Nc4 Rab8 18. e4 Ba8 19. Qb3 b5 20. axb5 axb5 21. Nxb5 Qd8 22. Ncxd6 Nxe4 23. Nxe8 Qxe8 24. Rxa8 Rxa8 25. Nc7 Qb8 26. Qxb8+ Rxb8 27. Bxe4 1-0

  Witney 1


Wantage 1
1 Richmond, Peter (203) ½ - ½ Walley, A Clive (173)
2 Truran, Michael (191) 1 - 0 Piggott, Roly (160)
3 Hannon, Mark (185) 1 - 0 Bush, Martin L (159)
4 Hackett, Dave G (180) 1 - 0 Paxton-Doggett, Paul A (153)
5 Gentry, Alan (165) 0 - 1 Morris, Stephen A (148)
6 van Velsen, Anco (145) 0 - 1 Savoy, Keith (142)
Match played on 29 Nov 2010.

- Mike

9 November 2010

Ouch! A near cock-up of epic proportions at the hands of a team which, although well outgraded on all boards, have already shown their mettle this season by duffing up their colleagues from Cowley 1. Happily we scraped through as Peter R brought home both match points in the last two minutes of the three hour session. Gerard played an excellent game with Black to hand Peter W one of only two losses he has apparently ever suffered in English local league chess. Well done Gerard! I expect the game to be winging its way towards Matt Rose for publication in the Oxford Times as I write this. Mark had an assured win, Alec a solid draw, but Tim and I wobbled badly and were glad to escape with draws.


The result leaves us two points clear at the top of the league, but with plenty of hard chess to come we would be foolish to take anything for granted if tonight's result is anything to go by. 


  Cowley 1


Witney 1
1 O'Reilly, Gerard ( ) 1 - 0 Wells, Peter (232)
2 Moyse, Nigel (174) 0 - 1 Richmond, Peter (203)
3 Stanley, Douglas (-) ½ - ½ Truran, Michael (191)
4 Burt, William (168) ½ - ½ Headlong, Timothy (188)
5 Rasell, Geoff C (158) 0 - 1 Hannon, Mark (185)
6 Burns, Stephen (155) ½ - ½ Gentry, Alan (165)
Match played on 08 Nov 2010.


- Mike

2 November 2010

Another win for Witney 1, this time against one of our likely close rivals for the championship University 1. The final result looks convincing, but the reality was much closer. Tim was outright lost at one point, Dave and Mark had to work hard to break down their opponent's resistance and my game could have gone either way. Peter R had a relatively uneventful draw with black and Peter W showed why he's a GM against one of the university's new stars.

  Witney 1


Oxford Univ 1
1 Wells, Peter (232) 1 - 0 Shanmugam, Ravindran (-)
2 Truran, Michael (191) ½ - ½ Farrington, Ed (167)
3 Richmond, Peter (203) ½ - ½ Smith, Chris (161)
4 Headlong, Timothy (188) 1 - 0 Devane, Eoin (142)
5 Hannon, Mark (185) 1 - 0 Henbest, Kevin B (136)
6 Hackett, Dave G (180) 1 - 0 Sloman, Ben (141)
    5 - 1  
Match played on 01 Nov 2010.

One interesting episode in my game - I played an illegal move in time trouble, thereby gifting my opponent two extra minutes, but as neither of us knew how to cope with adding two minutes to a digital clock we agreed a diplomatic draw. Happily the game was drifting towards a draw at that point in any event. Roger, we need your help!

Next up Cowley 2 next Monday. If we see them off we'll have clear water between ourselves and the rest of the division.

Well done to Witney 2 on another fine performance away to City 3. No doubt Derek will be commenting in due course.


- Mike

25 October 2010

Witney 1 scored its second win of the season with a 5½-½ win over Didcot 1, and now heads the table with a game points difference of 10 (+11 =2 -0), six ahead of the second placed team. Regrettably I was the one to blot our copybook. Captain's prerogative I suppose.

  Didcot 1


Witney 1
1 McInnes, Graham (201) 0 - 1 Richmond, Peter (203)
2 Gough, Nicholas L (177) ½ - ½ Truran, Michael (191)
3 Bromilow, Edward T (160) 0 - 1 Headlong, Timothy (188)
4 Johnstone, Neil (-) 0 - 1 Hannon, Mark (185)
5 Jacobs, Robert B (144) 0 - 1 Gentry, Alan (165)
6 Duck, Mike J (130) 0 - 1 Toll, Alec (157)
    ½ -  
Match played on 25 Oct 2010.

Thank you to Alec for many years of honourable service to the club, and best wishes for his retirement (?) to the wilds of Norfolk. He will be missed. Tonight was his last match for Witney 1, although I understand his final curtain call is for Witney 2 on Wednesday. I have suggested to Alec that we hold a farewell dinner for him at some stage (ideally before Christmas), and that if he lets me have a suggested date I will endeavour to set something up. 


Next Monday represents an altogether stiffer test against Oxford University 1, who beat Oxford City in their first match. We will be strengthened with the addition of GM Peter Wells for his first outing of the season, although who he will actually play is anybody's guess given Univ's unpredictable teams and their track record of failing to organise their travel arrangements to Ducklington properly.


Finally, congratulations to Witney 3 on another excellent result. We currently have two teams heading the table and another team in third place (and poised to pounce).


- Mike

19 October 2010

Witney 1 got off to a great start to its Division 1 campaign last evening against Banbury 1, ably assisted by its new recruits:


  Witney 1


Banbury 1
1 Richmond, Peter (203) 1 - 0 Vikanis, Georgs (174)
2 Truran, Michael (191) 1 - 0 Manley, Nathan J (160)
3 Headlong, Timothy (188) 1 - 0 Staples, Neil (158)
4 Hannon, Mark (185) 1 - 0 Vikanis, Egils (154)
5 Hackett, Dave G (180) ½ - ½ Jackson, Gary C (153)
6 Gentry, Alan (165) 1 - 0 Hurst, Andrew (-)
    - ½  
Match played on 19 Oct 2010.

I was pleased to see that both Oxford City 1 and Cowley 1 both dropped both points in their opening matches! Oxford University 1 are looking like quite a formidable outfit this season, so we may well see a four horse race for the title.


Congratulations too to both Witney 2 and Witney 3 on their excellent starts.


- Mike





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