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
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.