End of the 2021/22 Season Review

The WDCL league season came to a close recently as such we can take a look back at the past year.

The A team performed solidly in division one finishing in 2nd place overall. In our key games against league winners Atherton we were edged out by a single point on both occasions. Our only other loss came in the A team V B team fixture towards the end of the year in which we spread our strength (with the title at that point already having been decided) in order to give everyone present a competitive game.

The B team in the end survived to fight another season in Division 1, they got off to a rocky start and for a fair bit of the year were glued to the bottom of the table. In the end relegation was to boil down to the final match which was to be played v Northwich to decide upon who would be relegated. Rather anticlimactically Northwich were unable to raise a team for this fixture and were therefore relegated.

Mike Selway led the “4th” team in the Richard Furness league to 2nd place. Mike fittingly ended the season with a fine individual win against a 1600 rated player.

Nick Cooke’s “3rd” team in the same division finished further down the table despite ending the year on a high note with a match win against Winwick.

As for the Cup’s Andy Coe led us to our only silverware of the season with a fine win in the Kalmar Cup.

Our Peninsular cup team got demolished in round 1 against a resurgent Northwich early on in the year, the Kalmar Shield team also suffered an early exit.

All in all a positive year, a few old faces were missing who we hope may return in the future. We welcomed a few fantastic new members to our ranks.

On a personal note, Damian won division 1 player of the season with a score of 6.5/8. (Lee Kay from Atherton should have pipped me to this but he let me off when Atherton defaulted the final fixture.)

A mention to Ilya Dubov as well who won 8 of his ten games across all competitions this season.

Final table’s below:

Atherton Winners
Culcheth Winners!
Winwick Winners
Culcheth A team player stats (ignore performance rating tab this doesn’t seem to be working and is wildly inaccurate)
Culcheth B team player stats – again ignore the performance column

Culcheth A V Winwick A -4th May 22

The final game of the A teams 2021/22 season took place on Wednesday 4th May with the visit of Winwick chess club. Winwick had recently been the beneficiaries of a defaulted match when Atherton this years league Champions failed to fulfill their final league fixture, resulting in a 5-0 default win and lifting Winwick clear of the relegation scramble.

As for ourselves we had little riding on this game as we were now firmly fixed in 2nd place unable to catch Atherton.

The teams line up like this: latest May grades used

1.Jonathan Smith (2057) V Richard Clissold (1872)

2.Damian McCarthy (1966) V David Stuttard (1813)

3.Ilya Dubov (1965) V Ken Johnson (1929)

4.Robert Furness (1948) V Ben O’Rourke (1635)

5.Tom Vout (1921) V Mike Fleming (1573)

The first game to finish was my own on board 2. I was up against Dave Stuttard who I have played many times before. I attempted to punish Dave’s dubious (in my opinion) opening play, but in doing so only managed to play into his hands and fell into a bit of a tangle trying to cling onto my extra pawn. Thankfully Dave did not find the best continuation and resignation came as Black’s attack ran out of firepower. 1-0

McCarthy V Stuttard (pop out game link on new page)

The next result took a little while to arrive, Jonathan was playing the tricky Riachard Clissold on board one. The main imbalance of this game was Richards two bishop’s against Jonathan’s Bishop and Knight. The position was somewhat blocked however and it was hard for either side to show any real advantage. Therefore the players agreed to a draw in the early middlegame. 1.5-0.5

The final three games went down to the very end, for a little while it seemed like an upset might be on the card on board 5 as Tom looked to be in danger of losing a piece. Tom skillfully manipulated the position to a more favourable imbalance of two pieces V Rook and pawn. Eventually with both players with under 2 minutes left on the clock the players agreed to a draw. 2-1

Ilya’s game against Ken Johnson seemed to be another tense affair, from an opening Caro Kann Ilya managed to obtain a position with Rxg2+ in front of the king supported with a pawn on h3. Despite this White was still very much in the game as Black was not fully developed by this point and unable to conclude the attack. Ken manged to trade Queen’s but Ilya’s endgame play was excellent as he manouvered his more active king to win 2 pawns which was a winning advantage. 3-1

Robert was up against Ben O’Rourke on board 4. This was a game where Rob seemed to have a controlled position throughout, I didn’t get to see much of the early part (this game will hopefully be added to this post later) but from his verbal description afterwards it sounded like Rob may have tried to cash in his advantage slightly prematurely. This meant that Rob had to try and win the game all over again. Rob was easily up to the task of doing this and by the time I got to have a closer view of the position Rob had a strong knight outposted on f5 and it seemed like Black was tied down trying to defend far too many weaknesses. This game ended in a pretty Checkmate.

Robert Furness V Ben O’Rourke *full page version link

Final Score 4-1

This concludes the season for the A team, the B team have one final match v Northwich in 2 weeks time which will decide who is relegated from the division.

as of 4th May 22
match scorecard *using start of season grades

Culcheth Chess Club 1975-77

Many thanks again to Robert who has recently uncovered documents dating back to the very founding of our chess club. Shortly before Christmas we published a copy of Richard Furness’s first and second club bulletin’s.

Below we bring you seasons 3 and 4 of Culcheth Chess club’s foundation. Hopefully it may bring back some fond memories to long time WDCL players.

I will keep a link to these posts inside a page titled ‘history’ at the top of this blog from now on.