Northwich V Culcheth A

The A team managed a comfortable win in the end against Northwich. At the bottom of the page, Rob Furness kindly provides us with an insight into his standout game against Tom Walton.

Match Report – 23 rd Sept 2019 – Northwich A.
Apologies for the late submission of this report – my opponent’s efforts deserved sooner praise, but I
found myself deluged in work.
5½ – ½ is one of those scorelines that gives the impression of a fairly straightforward evening, but
although though Northwich A were short of their top 2 board players (Richard and Paul’s absence
meant that Northwich’s average grade was 100 (against our 175)) we were given more than a
decent match.
I acknowledge that this report is woefully short on match commentary: the reason is that I spent
little time on manoeuvres checking out the other boards and spent most of the evening at my board
undertaking significant works of repair to my increasingly threadbare position.
Damian was the first to finish and did so before I even got a chance to have a good look at it, 1-0.
However, although I got the sense that things were starting to turn in our favour on most boards
(mine being the notable exception), there was no change to the match score until the sun had long
disappeared below the horizon and we had got to the business end of the evening.
John Benyon’s 2.e5 against the Sicilian on top board appeared to be holding material equality
against Marek, but Marek found a tactic with queen and rook which (IIRC) exploited a possible back
rank mate and gain the upper hand – 2-0.
Rob was next to finish, and his game with annotation of the tactics is already on the blog, 3-0.
I had expected Tom to finish off his board 6 opponent somewhat sooner, not because of the grade
disparity, but because Tom had steadily accumulated a significant material advantage at seemingly
minimal risk, but he later observed that although he was a rook up he still had to work hard for the
win. 4-0.
Iain had started off in usual buccaneering style and entered into tactics early on, but they seemed to
fizzle out, and he ended a pawn up in a better ending, 5-0.
My ‘trauma’ was the last game to finish, and is one which I would prefer to forget. This is not
because Charles missed a clearly winning knight sac (or to be more exact, spotted it and then
rejected it) so strong that I had seriously considered resigning on the spot.
No, Caissa had worse to come…
Charles played well but it is fair to say that the game was not ‘el classico’. Charles managed to lose
the exchange but still had a lot of play with connected passed pawns, but after much effort (and
clock time !) I had shepherded the game into a winning K+P ending, and needed only to choose
between pushing my remaining pawn (to where it could not be caught before queening), or moving
my king, I inexplicably and somewhat absent-mindedly touched my king….and we all know the rules
don’t we ? Ouch ! 5½ – ½ .
No excuses…It brought back terrible memories from last season when I did the same at St Helens
and there is a moral about sitting on your hands here somewhere. In truth, I could, and probably
should, have been dead and buried at least a couple of times. I didn’t get any traction in the
opening, shoved my h pawn down the board, failed to castle, and for these sacrifices of position, I
got nothing of note for it except grief.

Next match: St.Helens (home) on 9 th Oct.

Jonathan Smith – A Team Captain

NorthwichVCulcheth A
John Benyon0-1Marek Mazek
Charles Metcalfe0.5-0.5Jonathan Smith
Peter Hamill-Stewert0-1Iain Johnson
Tom Walton0-1Robert Furness
Aaron Milne0-1Damian McCarthy
John Lightfoot0-1Tom Vout
Final Score0.5-5.5(Culcheth white on boards
2,4 & 6)

Culcheth A V Culcheth B 11/09/19

Board one’s game can be viewed below along with the Captains match report and also board four can be viewed here, with many thanks for the humorous annotation of his game given by Nick Burriss!

Culcheth BVCulcheth A
Keith Maudsley0 – 1Marek Mazek
Stephen Cole0 – 1Jonathan Smith
Andy Coe1 – 0Iain Johnson
Nick Burriss0 – 1Robert Furness
Mike Rotchell0 – 1Damian McCarthy
Nick Cook0 – 1 Tom Vout

1 – 5 Final Score

Match report: Culcheth A v Culcheth B – 11 th September 2019.

Welcome to a new website and new blog ! We hope, dear reader, you like it. We are looking to raise
the profile of chess and perhaps most of all to have a bit of fun.
With a bit of luck, this will be one of many posts from club members of match and congress reports,
brilliancies, blunders and whatever takes the interest of club members (though anyone writing an
essay on ECF administration will be given a ‘talking to’ by the committee).

“To begin at the beginning…”

There is, apparently, a 1997 slasher flick called “I know what you did last summer”. In my case, this
was breaking the annual promise to myself to ‘learn an opening’ – any opening in fact. As I sat down
with black to play in this season’s curtain-raiser, I noted my lack of industry and poverty of ideas.
Fortunately, my board 2 opponent and opposition captain, Steve Cole, seemed to have had raw
meat for tea and played into one of only 3 openings I know up to move 9, playing 10.f5 to the
poisoned pawn variation of the Sicilian.
However, after move 9 it all became a little hazy, and I was forced to dredge through memories of
playing it in a simul, a Kasparov DVD lost in a burglary (seriously – who in Warrington nicks chess
DVDs ?? Who fences them down the pub ?…ere, fancy a knock orf chess DVD guvnor ?) and my last
competitive matches in the line 35 years ago (as a junior !!). I sank into unproductive thought,
guessed a move because it looked ok to save some time, and then wombled off to look at the other
boards in my first attack of ‘captainitus’* this season. Our game is, for what it is worth, tacked on
below. Steve V Jonathan
Both teams were at pretty well full strength, which meant Marek got white against Keith in a
classical looking queenside opening (I really don’t know openings do I ? – thankfully Damian
identified it in his game comments and analysis – many thanks webmaster !). Iain had white against
Andy’s Owen defence, Rob played a Pirc against Nick B (this game is on the blog with Nick’s
commentary) and Damian faced Mike’s Scandinavian. More on board 6 later.
On my return, Steve seemed to be confidently in known theory and started chopping wood, Nxc6,
Bxf6, and then dropped his Bishop onto e2 hoping to occupy h5. Without the knights, my position
looked bereft of activity for my extra pawn. I played h5, which apparently Steve has seen before. It
looks unconvincing but has the advantage of controlling the dark squares if I can engineer Bh6, e3
etc, and he paused for a bit of a think. In the simul I have vague recollections of playing Rg8-g5 to
cover the square which might be better.
The wood chopping had spread to (or perhaps, from ?) board 4 and there the position appeared
somewhat wild to my untutored eye. Rob’s finish was a nice sac, 1-0.
On board 5, Damian got a lot of play out of the opening, and Mike fell victim to a fork of king and
rook – the pawn covering the check was pinned to the king. The loss of the exchange and position
was too much, 2-0.

Tom beat Nick C on 6, but it was the subject of a little debate in the bar afterwards as to whether
Nick could have struck a glorious win with a Bxh7, Kxh7, Ng5+ etc motif. No final carbon-based
verdict was returned, and I haven’t heard from our silicon friends yet, 3-0.
In my match Steve exchanged pawns on e6 to get his rook round the back on b7 hitting the pawn on
f7, and then without castling lined up Q+R on it as well. My position felt rather loose at the back, but
Steve’s nice idea was lost by an oversight. After the exchanges on f6 the Bishop pinned the knight on
c3 and after…d4 the loss of material was too great, 4-0. Lucky me.
By this time, Iain’s game had started to go south – an open g file turned out to be a disadvantage
because both rooks appeared tied to the defence of wing pawns which were simultaneously
attacked by Andy’s queen on e7, and it was only a matter of time before black’s bad bishop was re-
positioned. A few tricks were soon negotiated by Andy, 4-1.
I will leave you to play through Marek and Keith’s game as annotated by Damian. It had a
conventional look until Marek gave up a pawn on f5 to open the lines, and Keith sacrificed the
exchange on c3 to get his bishop to e4 and eye up an invasion on g2. No-one fancied a draw by the
look of it. The ending was an oversight in time pressure, but entertaining. 5-1.
As Damian has already said on the blog, the match was not as clear as the 5-1 result would suggest.
Next stop: Northwich A – perhaps I can learn some opening theory for this one? You never know –
ever the optimist.
Your unelected despot, JS.

Ps. Captainitus – an obsession with checking the state of the match such that the captain spends
more time at other boards than his own.