Nomads A v Barnsley A

Nomads A 5½-2½ Barnsley A
Jon Nelson 1-0 Andy Butterworth
Chris Shephard 1-0 Pete Micklethwaite
Ian Barwick 1-0 Ken Hunter
Mike Newett 0-1 Richard Desmedt
Geoff frost ½-½ Neil Todd
Nick Mahoney 0-1 Tony Perry
Arjun Babu 1-0 Paul Lea-Kime
Eric McKenna 1-0 default

Matches against Barnsley are always tough.
We had the advantage of a default win on board 8 after a late withdrawal through illness. The match proceeded cautiously with no real early advantages. Nick took a gambit pawn and seemed to be keeping it but lost it back in the middlegame. Mike won a pawn but the sacrificed it back for play.
Jon’s game was steady, Chris was looking favourable as was Ian. Arjun had a position where all the pieces are put on randomly, on unusual squares. I could not read it at all. My game was another inferior opening as black, and I soon felt in difficulties, real or imagined.
Ian then won with a strong finish. Chris won soon after so with the default we were 3-0.Things then wrong. Nick won/lost 2 Knights for a rook. His Knights were uncoordinated and the Rook rounded up his pawns and won. Mike had sacked a Knight for 3 pawns, but Richard’s Knight was very strong an that was 3-2. I offered my ususal draw at move 29, and Neil correctly declined. Mine then simplified and at move 40 he offered me a draw. I was sure that I was not losing but only had 3 minutes left. 1 of which I spent looking at Jon & Arjun! I concluded that 3 draws would get us home, so took the draw. Later analysis showed me to slightly better but only 2 minutes. Jon then won to secure the match. The icing and my incredulity was Arjun’s win in the last few minutes.

Return to winning ways for Nomads B

After Nomads B had Suffered their first loss against Stannington B:

7th November

Stannington B 4 2 Nomads B
Carl Walker 1 0 Ian Barwick
Kier Morton ½ ½ Geoff Frost
John R Mercy 1 0 Stuart Crosthwaite
Bryan Wood ½ ½ Henry Withington
Mike Grimsley 0 1 Ken Dewhurst
Adrian E Millward 1 0 Steve Withington

We welcomed Worksop A to our home venue with with 5 of our 6 players being outgraded on their respected boards,Nomads gained a victory and returned to the top of Div2

22nd November

Nomads B Worksop A
Ian Barwick 1 0 Jim Davis
Henry Withington 0 1 Phil Griffiths
Stuart Crosthwaite 1 0 Oliver Graham
Ken Dewhurst ½ ½ Ionel Dragan
Steve Withington 0 1 Andrew Allen
Keith Wicks 1 0 A David Fidler

 

Nomads D vs Ravenfield

Nomads D 1.5 4.5 Ravenfield
Duncan Chambers (w) 0 1 Tim Gollens
Les Day 1 0 Andrew Shaw
Eric Mckenna 0.5 0.5 Roy Evans
Robert Shaw 0 1 Barry Shaw
Jo Woollard 0 1 D Hill
Francesca Biggio 0 1 M Wilkes

Nomads won the toss, and chose white on odd boards.

Robert emerged from the opening with a bishop and five pawns against a bishop and four pawns. After much manoeuvring, he miscalculated, ending up in this position:

Seeing no way to prevent his opponent forcing promotion, Robert resigned.

Eric’s game began well, but eventually deadlocked, ending in an agreed draw. Duncan went a pawn down, and never quite recovered. Francesca also lost material early on, and eventually resigned.

Jo maintained material parity, ending up with a queen, two rooks, and seven pawns against a queen, two rooks, a knight, and four pawns. However, he defended well, holding Jo at bay until her flag fell.

Meanwhile, Les emerged into a bishop and pawns endgame two pawns up, with a clear time advantage. Before long, his opponent resigned.

Worksop B vs Nomads C

Worksop B 3 3 Nomads C
Phill Beckett 0 1 Henry Withington (w)
Ionel Dragan 1 0 Steve Withington
Dave Fidler 1 0 Duncan Chambers
Rob Porter 0 1 Les Day
Andrew Smith 0 1 Eric McKenna
Alan Story 1 0 Jo Woollard

With the score standing at 3 – 2 everything hinged on Les’s game with Rob. Anything less than a win and the match would be lost. Fortunately Les had an extra pawn, and in a tense endgame accurate play ensured a win, and Nomads levelled the scores for a drawn match.

Henry wins the Ecclesall Chess Club 2016 Championship

Sunday was a very enjoyable day of chess at Ecclesall’s venue – Dore and Totley Golf Club. The small Nomads contingent was made up of father and son duo, Steve and Henry Withington, both eager to win something.

The Championship was a six round rapid-play tournament, with each player having 30 minutes on the clock for all the moves.

The first round was less than an ideal start for Henry, who was drawn against his father. Despite Henry’s patricidal onslaught, Steve was able to mount a strong counter-attack and a draw was agreed. But this was to be the only game Henry didn’t win. He scored 5½ points from six rounds, putting him one point ahead of nearest rival, and club champion, Peter Hempson. With three points Steve also picked up a grading prize.

A big thank you to Ecclesall Chess Club for hosting this excellent event.

And here is Alan McIntosh’s report from the Ecclesall website:

The annual Ecclesall Club Championship took place at our home venue, the Dore and Totley Golf Club, on Sunday 20th November. It was a 6 round swiss tournament, with 30 minutes per player per game. The entry fee was £3.50, plus an optional £6.50 for the food that was available, and the event was open to all Ecclesall Club members and invited guests. The tournament was well represented by our guests. Regulars such as Mark Allison and Bill Ward from Woodseats, Paul Fletcher from Stannington, and ‘newcomers’ such as Steve and Henry Withington from Nomads, all turned up to support the event. 18 players took part in total and all the entry fee money was returned in prizes: £20 1st prize, £15 2nd prize, £10 3rd prize and 2 x £10 grading prizes (one for the middle third and one for the bottom third of ranked players).
Henry Withington was drawn against his lower graded father in the first round and only managed to draw. Thereafter he ‘saw off’ Francis Kay, Paul Fletcher, Stephen Lee, John Neely and Ken McIntosh, to win the tournament outright with 5½.
Our own Peter Hempson, despite a loss in the first round to Stephen Lee and a draw against Ken McIntosh in round 5, finished 2nd with a score of 4½and not for the first time became the Club Champion.
There was a three way tie on 4/6, between Mark Allison, Stephen Lee and John Neely, for 3rd place. The latter two also picking up a half share of the first grading prize.
Paul Fletcher and Ken McIntosh followed with 3½. Then came a clutch of Ecclesall players (Peter Hoare, Alan McIntosh, Elliott Spencer and Norman Wragg) plus two guests (Paul Cheshire and Steve Withington), all on 3/6. These two guests and Elliott, sharing the third grading prize.
Those that scored less than half marks, and indeed some with more than half marks, may have been disappointed with their performance but, all seemed to have a good day. The venue was comfortable, the atmosphere friendly, the food tasty and the chess – brought us together.

The above report is by Alan McIntosh, Ecclesall Chess Club Secretary who also ran the Club Championship.

Many thanks Alan from everyone who attended.

Ken McIntosh vs Henry Withington

Eccesall B V Nomads B

The Nomads B team travelled Ecclesall Chess Club on November 2nd. We must apologise to their team for our tardy arrival, the game was a very closely fought match with draws on all of the first five boards reflecting how evenly matched the teams were. Fortunately Keith pulled of a win to swing the tie Nomads way, Nomads B are back on top of the Div continuing their 100% record

Eccesall B 2.5 – 3.5 Nomads B
1 2800 J Marley 1/2-1/2 I Barwick (w) 7426
2 1468 K.McIntosh 1/2-1/2 M Newett 3043
3 1467 A McIntosh 1/2-1/2 H Withington 3414
4 2131 N Wragg 1/2-1/2 K Dewhurst 1247
5 5765 P Cooper 1/2-1/2 S Withington 3293
6 3300 P Hoare 0- 1 K Wicks (c) 4298

Nomads C vs Clay Cross

Nomads C 3.5 2.5 Clay Cross
Henry Withington (w) 1 0 DEFAULT
Steve Withington 0.5 0.5 Brian Lever
Duncan Chambers 0.5 0.5 Jerome Redhead
Keith Wicks 0 1 Frank Pearson
Ben Remy 0.5 0.5 Brian Redhead
Eric McKenna 1 0 Dudley Thorpe

Henry’s opponent unfortunately got lost on his way to Nomads’ venue, but the point was gratefully received. After draws for Steve and Duncan, a quick loss for Keith and a nice win for Eric the scores stood 3 – 2. Everything depended on Ben Remy, who just needed to draw.

His game with Brian Redhead proved that chess can indeed be a spectator sport. After a frenzy of clock-bashing and flying pieces, with both clocks seconds from falling, a draw was agreed. And this was all Nomads needed to win the match.

Steve Housley v Geoff Frost

Nomads A vs Chesterfield A

This match has often been a title decider in recent years, and Chesterfield’s recent away record at our place isn’t half bad. The sides were exceedingly evenly matched as well for this one, with the biggest ‘live’ grading difference across the eight boards being 17pts and no other player conceding 10+ points on either side. So even before we got started it seemed entirely plausible that this would be one of our closest battles yet. Early finishes do not appear to be a hallmark of this season either – the last three matches came down to the final few minutes and at that point the score was still in the balance too; past 9.30 all eight boards were still in action – chess may not be considered a spectator sport but for the few players in attendance tonight it couldn’t have been anything less than gripping stuff to watch. I can testify that it was even more gripping to be playing!

So how did things pan out? Well board one featured pretty much every single possible configuration you’re likely to see in a chess match and several you’d probably never see again. An early Kg3 from Dave, some very complicated moves from Jon… I’ll confess here and now I have absolutely no clue what was happening, even after speaking to Dave a couple of times in the course of it. Board two was a little more standard although Chris’ bishop looked particularly unhappy hemmed in on h-file for quite a while as Peter grabbed a kingside space advantage in the opening. Board three… Mike’s slow and steady build up, Jamie’s calm and considered piece play; time a likely critical factor here (with both players not exactly unfamiliar with time trouble!). My own game against Martin featured some pushed pawns, long castling and a long, drawn-out battle for control of d4 and the a7-g1 diagonal. Ian’s game, on the other hand, featured a relatively quick swap down of major pieces and a minor pieces ending with all three results possible. Mike and Andy had a (slightly) standoffish Sicilian going on. Geoff had his ‘favoured’ French (with the Black pieces yet again) and Arjun appeared to be adopting a safety-first approach against notorious gambiteer Steve B.

And then the results started to dripfeed through. First… board 4. Seconds before the time control for Mike, a little longer for Jamie. Heavy pieces ending, some exchanges and an accepted draw offer. Mike might have had a positional plus but his clock negative could have been more telling in a tricky ending so the draw seemed reasonable enough. The second match to finish wasn’t too far behind with Andy and Mike reaching a rooks, piece and pawns ending; Andy slightly more space, Mike perhaps with the more centralised pieces – again a fair result and now this was a six board match.

Arjun was in time trouble. Again. And not in a position that appeared to offer any significant breakthroughs; I must have missed something though because the game that concluded not long after I had last looked at it had concluded in our favour – a surprise additional half point swing (I had assumed it was a draw) that ultimately proved crucial and edged our noses in front.

Boards 1 and 2 were next to finish, albeit not in that order. Chris managed to make his h-file bishop an important piece at the end of the game, winning a pawn, invading with his queen… but not quite having enough for a winning attack. A good draw nonetheless from a tricky position that could easily have come unstuck. Dave and Jon, meanwhile, continued to randomly scatter pieces across the board to an extent that I swear at one point there was a draughts piece involved in proceedings. An early Kg3, a much later exchange sacrifice, Dave with doubled pawns on the 7th and 5th, Jon offering a poisoned bishop – I could make neither head nor tail of it and I’m glad I didn’t record the position as putting it into Fritz might just cause my laptop to explode. Dave felt minded to recall a quote from Howard Staunton – “I cannot see how it is possible for either player to save his game.” And I was obliged to agree. Turns out Dave just about managed it – when the queens came off the pawn on the 7th went from threat to crowning glory as a second queen was enough to win material and enter a winning endgame. I don’t know whether it was myself or Geoff that finished next – either way, at 2.5 – 2.5 we needed 2 from the last 3 and it was these two games that brought the necessary points haul. My game ultimately hinged on Martin’s doubled h-pawns, which occurred on move 6 and gave me a route into the kingside from where I was able to prise open his pawn structure after winning the exchange. Geoff’s game hinged on him winning the d-pawn and then retreating into his shell and staving off Steve’s kingside attack for what seemed like 20 or so moves. Either way, stave it off he did before turning the tables and invading with queen and rook to seal the deal. All of which left Ian’s knight and pawns ending – a probable draw (Steve had repeated at one point and would have again if Ian had also done so) but with a pawn advantage Ian tried to push for more. It didn’t quite work out though – a pawn up became a pawn down (the only pawn left) and careful husbandry of that pawn allowed Steve to queen before Ian’s flag fell.

To sum up… Exciting! Thrilling!! Confusing!!! Classic midweek chess, with two very well matched sides going toe-to-toe and battling to the very end. This didn’t feel like a lucky win, or a one-sided win – it felt like a match that could go either way and would hinge on the smallest of detail. That’s exactly what we got, and fortunately for us it was the Nomads contingent that got that break and brought home the points. It seems that the entire season will be consisting of tight, hard fought but friendly competition – personally, I can’t wait for the next match!

Andrew Hards vs Martin Howard