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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.