Richardson Cup Nomads III

Woodseats I 6 0 Nomads III
Andrew Ledger 1 0 Les Day (w)
John Toscano 1 0 Eric McKenna
John Trafford 1 0 Robert Shaw
Andy Lee   1 0 Jo Woollard
Nigel Carpino 1 0 Duncan Chambers
Bill Ward 1 0 Gordon Shaw

For our first cup match of the season we had many familiar faces, and one not seen for 20 years: Duncan Chambers.

We won the toss, and chose to play white on odds. After that, it went downhill.

Eric was the first to succumb. After swapping off one pair of knights, he lost his queen to a discovered attack with check by the remaining knight, and resigned. Gordon went next. OBill’s Knight and bishop penetrated deep into Gordon’s position within the first dozen moves. Facing inevitable mate in two, he resigned.

Meanwhile, Robert offered up a knight in an attempt to lure his opponent into a draw by perpetual check, but John saw through this, avoiding the draw but taking the knight. Robert struggled on for a bit, still looking for a draw, but resigned when it was clear his position was hopeless.

After the initial exchanges, Les was left with two rooks, doubled on the d file, a bishop and six pawns, against two rooks, a bishop, a knight and four pawns, a slight material disadvantage. Andrew then outmanoeuvred Les, getting a pawn to e2. Facing inevitable promotion, Les resigned.

Jo began by swapping knight for bishop on f3. Further exchanges eventually left her with a knight and four pawns, one of them passed, against two bishops and five pawns, a significant material disadvantage.  Unable to push her passed pawn to promotion, or stop the advancing white pawns, Jo resigned.

Duncan was the last to finish.  After most of the pieces had been swapped off, starting with the queens, the game  came down to a knight, bishop and four pawns against a knight, bishop, and five pawns.After much manoeuvring, Nigel forced his way to inevitable promotion, and Duncan resigned.

Overall, while this was another whitewash for Nomads III, most of the games were closer than the scoreline might suggest. Duncan put in a particularly good performance, after his long absence.




Sheffield Deaf vs Nomads E

Sheffield Deaf 1½-2½ Nomads E
Michael Freund   1/2 – 1/2   John Woollard (w)
Pete Sharpe 0-1 Eric Mckenna
M Simmonds 1-0 Robert Shaw
David Whiston 0-1 Jo Wollard

Robert blundered early on, losing a couple of pieces. He defended as best he could for a while, then resigned once there was no longer any prospect of recovering material through pins, forks, or skewers.

John and his opponent both castled king-side, and swapped off bishops. A subsequent queen swap left John with a slightly stronger looking position, but no clear lines of attack. After some probing showed the position was deadlocked, a draw was agreed.

Eric and his opponent began by exchanging minor pieces, ending up with the queen, two rooks, and a knight each, but Pete was forced to double pawns on both the c and f files, giving Eric a slight advantage.

Eric then won a knight with a pawn fork, leaving him with a rook, knight and four pawns against just  a rook and four pawns.  Pete resigned shortly afterwards, when it became clear he couldn’t prevent promotion.

Jo gained a bishop early, then traded a rook for a bishop and knight, before using a promotion threat to win a rook outright. heading into the  endgame with two knights and three pawns against just two pawns.  After considerable manoeuvring , Jo was able to force promotion, so her opponent resigned.


Novelty in the Sicilian

I suffered a bad loss in a Sicilian mainline recently when I ran into an opening novelty that I was unprepared for. The move should not present White with serious problems but you might want to look in to this in case you face it over the board:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. d4 d5!?

My game continued:

5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bc4 Nb6 7. Bb5 cxd4 8. Nxd4 a6 9. Nxc6 Qxd1+ 10. Kxd1 axb5 11. Nd4 b4 12. Nce2? after which I got into trouble (Ncb5 is better).

After the game my opponent told me that IM Jon Rowson won as White in the line 6. dxc5 Nxc3 7. Qxd8+ Kxd8 8. bxc3. Despite the extra pawn I’m not attracted to White’s structure but who am I to argue with an IM?


Nomads A vs Ecclesall A

Wednesday 1st October at Eten Cafe

Nomads A 5 1/2 – 2 1/2 Ecclesall A
Jon Nelson (w) 1/2 – 1/2 Dave Adams
Deji Jeje 0 – 1 Jim Burnett
Chris Shephard 1 – 0 Pete Hempson
Andrew Hards 1 – 0 Ewan Cormack
Geoff Frost 1/2 – 1/2 James Marley
Nick Mahoney 1 – 0 Gunnar Mallon
Henry Withington 1 – 0 Ken Norbury
Steve Withington 1/2 – 1/2 Chris Marley

Last season this was the showdown, top vs second and the points shared after two away wins. This year, both teams have been weakened and perhaps it won’t prove to be quite the top of the table clash it was before… but it was still a fantastic battle. We were outgraded, again – this time by an average of 5 points and particularly Nick and Henry who were conceding more than 10 points to their opponents – so to come away with only one defeat on eight boards was an exceptional performance… and of course, both Nick and Henry secured stunning wins to boot.

So how did it happen? Geoff was a doubt even on the morning of the match but was eventually persuaded to turn out. His game against James seemed pretty even and although his queen and bishop buzzed around the black holes in James’ kingside, there were no real threats and nothing to prevent the draw offer being accepted. This was followed not too long afterwards by another draw on top board – a complicated middle game with Jon’s queen centralised and Dave’s central pawns providing a barrier to his attacks. Queens off, bishop and knight and a pair of rooks each, draw eventually agreed. The first underdog victory was to follow – Henry and Ken were at each other from the early middlegame but Henry’s attack eventually resulted in Ken’s central pawns being doubled. Henry’s rooks were then doubled on the adjacent file and Ken resigned rather than face the inevitable pawn chopping that was likely to follow. Another great scalp for Henry who continues to improve rapidly. His father then followed with another hard fought draw against Chris – this time on the back foot for pretty much the entire duration of the game before managing to swap off everything but a pair of knights each for another half point.

Nick then edged us closer to a win – the game against Gunnar was a maelstrom of attacks, possible sacrifices, open king positions and menacing pieces. Nick’s queen was nearly trapped more than once…Gunnar’s queen eventually was as it was forked with check to end a fascinating competition. Definitely one to see again if you ever get chance.

Half a point from the win… it was left to Chris to nudge us over the finish line – a very slow, methodical build up around the centre eventually crashed through and although Pete limited the damage, materially, to a couple of pawns, there was no coming back from that and the only danger was that Chris’ scoresheet, where it looked like he had marked move 32 instead of move 30 for the time control, might rush him into a time-control error. It didn’t. Game over.

Jim’s match had looked won against Deji for some considerable time – a massive kingside attack that there seemed no way to repel. Yet repel it Deji did… for several moves and an hour or so. The h file eventually cleared though, and Jim’s heavy artillery found its way onto that file and into Deji’s position – score one for the visitors. And that just left my game against Ewan – dead drawn last time we played this time I managed to eke out a pawn in the early middlegame. Several attempts to try and activate my pieces seemed destined for failure but when Ewan pushed a pawn one square too far I was able to win it with check, exchange a set of rooks and break out of the position; eventually entering an ending with a rook and three pawns versus a rook there was only going to be one outcome.

So a second consecutive win – well played Nomads! I’m sure revenge will be keenly sought in the return leg…

Les Day v Barry Shaw

Henry Withington vs Ken Norbury