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Witney 2 vs. Didcot 1


1 Girdlestone, Paul (193)  ½-½  Olehnovics, Andrejs (190)

2 Bourne, Johnathan (174)  ½-½  Gough, Nicholas L (179)

3 Asenov, Pavel (170)      ½-½  Crockart, Scott (176)

4 Searle, Howard AJ (154)  ½-½  McInnes, Graham (177)

5 Gentry, Alan (142)       ½-½  Cooper, Bernard D (156)

6 O'Byrne, Daniel (143)    1-0  Sheridan, Martin (142)

 (ave grade 163)          3½-2½ (ave grade 170)


Match played on 07 Apr.



Unbelievable, after 3 years as runners-up, Witney 2 finally came first in division 2. But what a tense evening for all concerned.


Everyone got off to a good start and all games were evenly balanced. Paul was first to finish on board 1, with a position still dynamic and with many possibilities of either improving or choosing the wrong course, both players agreed a draw. Johnathan also drew after the enterprising King’s Gambit led to equality. Thank you to those two for shoring up that end of the team.


Pavel, with the black pieces against a strong player, showed his maturity as he had gained a slight edge, but discretion ruled and his game also ended in a draw. Then Alan, who had allowed a lasting pin, managed to swap off into a Queen and pawn ending and found a perpetual. Five games finished and all draws. The tension mounted.


So it was all on Danny’s game. He had a definite plus with a supported passed pawn and a big space advantage, but could he pull it off as time was slipping by? Thankfully, Danny marched his King onto g7 as his opponent was reduced to repeating moves and the game was won. Our opponents were generous in defeat after such a close result and they hid their disappointment. Well done to the 2nd team, we have deserved a chance to play at the next level. Time will tell how we manage, but thanks to all who have contributed to this great season.


- Alan.



Wantage 1 vs. Witney 2


1 Bush, Martin L (159)     0-1  Bourne, Johnathan (174)

2 Piggott, Roly (152)      ½-½  Searle, Howard AJ (154)

3 Langham, Rod E (147)     1-0  Weston, Richard (149)

4 Hemmings, Peter (139)    ½-½  Gentry, Alan (142)

5 Spalding, George H (131) 0-1  O'Byrne, Daniel (143)

6 Barker, Richard (112)    0-1  Edwards, Derek F (142)

  (ave grade 140)          2-4  (ave grade 151)


Match played on 18 Mar.


So it was back to the league the following evening away at Wantage. The first to finish was Danny who won a piece against George causing immediate resignation. Then Derek won comfortably against his much lower graded opponent. Alan, playing the Lowenthall variation for the first time, reached equality early on, and never quite got anything more, so agreed the draw. Richard on his return from damper regions, had a good position but frittered it away, to lose rather disappointingly. Howard strived hard to win but had to accept a draw, to make the match score 3-2 in our favour. So it was all on Johnathan’s game. Johnathan had the better of Martin throughout the game and won the point and so Witney 2 go into the final 2 matches in close second place behind Didcot.


Well done team! Alan.



Witney 2 vs. Oxford City 1


1 Girdlestone, Paul (193)  0-1  McKenna, Jason (192)

2 Asenov, Pavel (170)      ½-½  Hayward, Philip (187)

3 Searle, Howard AJ (154)  0-1  Brown, Matthew (182)

4 Gentry, Alan (142)       ½-½  Rajangam, Karlmarx (178)

5 Moss, Patrick (151)      ½-½  Schilling, Christian (-)

6 O'Byrne, Daniel (143)    0-1  Dixon, Leif (153)

(ave grade 159)           1½-4½ (ave grade 178) away win


Match played on 17 Mar.


Well we tried. Perhaps we were a bit unlucky as, according to Derek, with 10 minutes to go we looked like winning on 3 boards, enough to take us through. Paul was 2 pawns up and Pavel 1 up while Alan had a strong attack going on. However, Paul lost queen for rook and lost; Pavel ended in a draw and so did Alan after a time scramble. Danny and Howard both managed to lose from promising positions while Patrick had to fight for his draw. A good cup run ended in the semi-final as last year.



Witney 2 vs. Cowley 3


1 Asenov, Pavel (170)     ½-½  Chapman, Andrew (148)

2 Searle, Howard AJ (154) ½-½  Viscu, Catalin (141)

3 Gentry, Alan (142)      ½-½  Mate, Maria (141)

4 Moss, Patrick (151)     1-0  Idle, Oscar (141)

5 O'Byrne, Daniel (143)   1-0  Keeling, David (141)

6 Edwards, Derek F (142)  1-0  Stanley, William (Bill) (125)

  (ave grade 150)        4½-1½ (ave grade 140)


Match played on 03 Mar.


Match summary from Patrick who finished early.


Danny finished first - not for the first time, the game was over quite quickly and I'm not sure anyone other than the two players saw what happened - but Danny won! 1-0. Next to finish was Howard, with a draw. I gather from post-match analysis that his opponent may have blundered a piece, but was then able to generate sufficient threats with Q, R, and B on Howard's castled King to prompt a draw. There certainly appeared to be some severe risks that would have needed careful navigation to avoid the mate. 1½-½. Next was Patrick, whose opponent made an unfortunate blunder in the opening, from which he was never able to recover despite a valiant effort. We were therefore 2.5 to 0.5 ahead after about 90 minutes.


However, anyone who watches Witney 2 matches regularly needs nerves of steel and a strong disposition, and so it was again here. Pavel was a pawn down and parrying various threats. Alan didn't look very comfortable in his game, and Derek was also a pawn down for no obvious compensation. The prospect of an upset was on the cards. However, Derek's opponent allowed Derek's Queen to invade just when he was building up some nice pressure, and the only option to avoid mate was for Bill to jettison his own Q - 3½-½. With the match unexpectedly safe, it was possible to have a relaxing custard cream and a coffee without too much tension, and enjoy the remaining two matches. Alan deployed a Knight sac to generate threats, confident he could recover the material at least. The audience were not so sure. Alan believed he may have missed a mate in 2 - a game for the website, perhaps ? - but he was duly able to recover the piece and the game moved to the final phase. Once again, the need to reset the far-from-intuitive digital clocks arose, due to an illegal move - but happily battle was ultimately concluded in a draw. 4-1.


After some vigorous 'sssshushing' from nearby Witney 1, involved in their own battles with the clocks, attention moved to our last game. Pavel and his opponent were both using up every last second, with the theme throughout being threats from White and brave defence by Black. Both clocks ran out of time and the game was drawn - probably a fair conclusion after an enthralling game. 4½-1½.



Two Match Reports


We suffered our first defeat at Didcot when we had a bad night with 3 individual losses. Only Howard won to maintain his great run this season. We will play Didcot at home later in the season and must hope for better things. Last night was a good performance against 3rd place Cumnor. Sadly for Dan, they defaulted on B5, so the Bell gained a few pounds! Mark was first to win as he outplayed the rare London system, good to have him back.


Howard had to overcome pressure down the e file but after exchanges of Queens and a pair of Rooks he won a pawn and with Bishop v Knight played a super endgame to bring us a point. Derek had pressure all the game against Steve and had 2 extra connected outside pawns which would have won, before his opponent tried for counterplay and went the exchange down and then completely blew it. Pavel and Gareth spent most of the night manoeuvrings in a blocked position and eventually agreed a draw. Richard had an overwhelming position but missed the win in a bit of time trouble, and accepted a draw offer from Mark with just a few seconds left on the clock. So we won 5-1 and go top again. Next match is FWS Semi-Final at Home to City 1 on 24th February. Well done everyone, Alan.


1 Crockart, Scott (173) ECF    1-0  Asenov, Pavel (147) ECF

2 Cooper, Bernard D (157)      1-0  Gentry, Alan (152) ECF

3 Robins, Andrew S (157) ECF   0-1  Searle, Howard AJ (147) ECF

4 Jacobs, Robert B (126) ECF   1-0  Moss, Patrick (154) ECF

5 Harkins, Sam (136) ECF       ½-½  O'Byrne, Daniel (143) ECF

6 Reynolds, Gary (119) ECF     ½-½  Edwards, Derek F (142) ECF


Match played on 22 Jan.


Witney 2 vs. Cumnor 1


1 Hannon, Mark (179) ECF       1-0  Terrington, Simon (-)

2 Asenov, Pavel (170) ECF      ½-½  Stevens, Gareth (142)

3 Searle, Howard AJ (154) ECF  1-0  Glenn, Liam (141) ECF

4 Weston, Richard (149) ECF    ½-½  Sayers, Mark (138) ECF

5 O'Byrne, Daniel (143) ECF    1-0 _default (-)

6 Edwards, Derek F (142) ECF   1-0  Bennett, Steven (109) ECF


Match played on 03 Feb.


- Alan



City 2 vs. Witney 2


A fine though very close victory keeps the 2nd team in first place with a 3 point lead over the strong Didcot 1, who are our next opponents in the league on Wednesday 22nd January(away). Danny arrived half an hour late but discovered he was 27 minutes up on the clock as black and his opponent was just arriving too. Danny quickly won a pawn and later had a supported rook on the 7th which decided things in his favour.


A nice evening for him. Derek then got a draw against his equally matched opponent . So it was a good start. However, Pavel was always looking second best as Mike March created 2 passed pawns on the queen side in a QGA/Catalan and after some tactics in which the queens came off Pavel could not stop the advancing pawns. A pity as this spoilt his 100% record. Howard reaches a queen and pawn ending a pawn down and though he had a winning time advantage he accepted a draw, probably the right thing to do. Alan finally got a good position out of the Sicilian and gradually equalised and gained a slight plus when Tony Lee, in time pressure, made a mistake.


So it was 3-2 to us with Richard still to finish. Neither player had castled in his game and both had pushed pawns on both sides of the board. Richard found a very nice combination against John Yates’ more exposed King to win the game and secure the 2 points for us.


1 March, Mike (170)    1-0  Asenov, Pavel (147)

2 Lee, Anthony (173)   0-1  Gentry, Alan (152)

3 Smith, Roger A ( )   ½-½  Searle, Howard AJ (147)

4 Biswas, Karl (147)   0-1  O'Byrne, Daniel (143)

5 Yates, John O (142)  0-1  Weston, Richard (157)

6 King, Simon E (143)  ½-½  Edwards, Derek F (143)


Match played on 06 Jan.


- Alan



Cumnor1 vs Witney 2


1 Gareth Stevens (149)  0-1  Mike Truran (188)

2 Liam Glenn (140)      0-1  Richard Weston (157)

3 Robin Carr (126)      0-1  Howard Searle (147)

4 Robert Steel (87)     0-1  Danny O`Byrne (143

5 Marc Ives (UNG)       ½-½  Derek Edwards (143)

6 Leonora Ives (UNG)    ½-½  Paul Smith (UNG)


Match players on 31 Oct


With it being half-term, Cumnor put out a weakened team. Eight year-old Leonora gave Paul a huge fright as she gained a hour time advantage and an overwhelming position - passed pawns to deal with, a trapped rook and a king exposed in the middle, along with a one hour time advantage to his opponent were Paul`s main problems but fortunately he managed to find a perpetual check to avoid the defeat. There were solid wins for Howard (following a strong Q-side attack) and Danny on the middle boards (although it took him a bit longer than the 20 min win the previous week!). Richard saw a return to form with a nice win with the black pieces - a typical performance that started with 1......a6 and 2.......b5 and with Richard not bothering to castle throughout the game! Derek had a strong position but chose not to exchange 2 pawns for a minor piece when the opportunity arose because his king would be somewhat exposed - it was the wrong decision as Marc was able to mount a strong attack as a consequence and Derek had to make the exchange sac to avoid disaster. Fortunately, the draw was offered by Marc when down to just 3 mins. Mike`s game was the last to finish with Gareth having put up a good fight, but in a difficult position his flag finally dropped.


Thanks to Derek for report.


- Alan.



Witney 2 vs. City 2


1 Hannon, Mark (181)      1-0  March, Mike (170)

2 Weston, Richard (157)   0-1  Dixon, Leif (153)

3 Gentry, Alan (152)      0-1  Biswas, Karl (147)

4 Searle, Howard AJ (147) ½-½  Yates, John O (142)

5 O'Byrne, Daniel (143)   1-0  Godfrey, David (140)

6 Edwards, Derek F (143)  1-0  Brooke, Ian R (109)


Match played on 21 Oct


With 5 players on a chess hangover after the 1st Witney Chess Congress over the previous weekend, we faced big rivals, City2. Danny soon gave us a lift as he won after 20 minutes and retired to the “Bell,” not to reappear. Richard was very aggressive but eventually went down, continuing his run of bad form. Howard and his opponent knew each other from many games before and they ground out a draw. Alan had some advantage but tried to complicate things pushing for a win and blew it. With time running out, Derek pulled off a nice win to level the match score with board 1 remaining. Mark looked to have lost it, but he had more time on the clock and complicated things to cause Mike March to think and eventually lose on time.


We count ourselves fortunate to have won this one.


- Alan Gentry.





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