In today’s post we finish our catch up on the month of December with an article outlining the results of the final round of fixtures from before Christmas when both divisions of the Calderdale League met on December 17th.
Calderdale League 1
The juiciest match up in League 1’s final round of the first half of the season took place at the Trades Club where league leaders Hebden Bridge ‘B’ welcomed Halifax ‘A’, the team in third place.
Hebden have been able to field a very stable line up this season and that has certainly been a contributing factor in their success so far. For this match they were missing Neil Suttie on board 5 but replaced him with Richard ‘Beaky’ Bedford to ensure that their team was just as strong as usual. The other team members were Matthew Parsons, Dave Shapland, Pete Leonard and Sam Swain.
Halifax conversely were slightly weaker than they might have been without Winston Williams on board 1. They therefore lined up with Bill Somerset, Richard Porter, Carlos Velosa, Vivienne Webster and Sam Scurfield. This was a team that looked likely to give Hebden a run for their money and so it proved to be.
The night began badly for the hosts as Matthew Parsons fell victim to some very clever opening preparation by Bill Somerset. Bill had seen a game Matthew had played recently in the Bradford League and found a subtle means to improve White’s play in a line of the Philidor’s Defence. It took a little while for Matthew to realise the true severity of his situation and he tried to limp on an exchange down in an end game, but he never really had a chance of saving himself. Bill’s fine win gave Halifax lead.
Hebden struck back on board 4 where Sam Swain, who’s had a magnificent season for them so far, beat Vivienne Webster fairly comfortably after grabbing a pawn in the opening and hanging onto it. The match was tied but the situation on the remaining three boards didn’t look great for the hosts. On board 5 Beaky seemed to be in a bit of a tangle against Sam, on board 2, Dave was similarly in a difficult situation against Richard, but on board 3, Pete Leonard appeared to have the better of it against Carlos. Hebden would need at least a point and a half from these three board, but in the end they only managed a single draw.
First of all, Beaky capitulated as Sam forced home his advantage. Next Pete made tactical mistake against Carlos and slipped from being better to a defeat. Dave did at least manage to salvage a draw from Richard but that was only because his opponent played a few inaccurate moves in the run up to time control.
So, Hebden Bridge ‘B’ dropped their first points of the season to Halifax ‘A’ who closed the distance between the two sides to 2 points. Here is the match scorecard:
Hebden Bridge ‘B’ vs. Halifax ‘A’
M.Parsons 0 – 1 W.Somerset (W)
D.Shapland ½ – ½ R.Porter (W)
P.Leonard 0 – 1 C.Velosa (W)
S.Swain 1 – 0 V.Webster (W)
R.Bedford 0 – 1 S.Scurfield (W)
1½ – 3½
Hebden’s slip up gave second-placed Belgrave ‘A’ a chance to close the gap at the top to a single point. To do this they needed to beat the back markers, Hebden Bridge ‘C’ at home. Belgrave didn’t make things easy for themselves when they defaulted board 5 and gave the visitors a point’s head start. However, the remaining four players all performed admirably to ensure that Belgrave’s didn’t miss their chance.
John Morgan and Richard Bowman drew on boards 1 and 4 with Andy Leatherbarrow and John Kerrane respectively and Dave Patrick and Tony Slinger beat Martin Syrett and Paul Gledhill on boards 2 and 3 to clinch a crucial victory for the hosts.
These simple stats don’t tell the entire story of the match though because Martin was beating Dave hands down and then resigned when he thought head over looked a mating attack. In fact, both players had missed that Martin had a flight square for his king and that it looked the best Dave could do was draw. But Dave’s win gave Belgrave a 3 – 2 win in a match they could very easily have lost. Now they look set to mount a serious challenge for the title this season having seemingly strengthened their line up over the last few matches.
Here is the scorecard from that match:
Belgrave ‘A’ vs. Hebden Bridge ‘C’
J.Morgan ½ – ½ A.Leatherbarrow (W)
D.Patrick 1 – 0 M.Syrett (W)
A.Slinger 1 – 0 P.Gledhill (W)
R.Bowman ½ – ½ J.Kerrane (W)
DEFAULT 0 – 1 N.Bamford (W)
3 – 2
Meanwhile, in Todmorden, Hebden Bridge ‘A’ were trying to continue their revival against Huddersfield ‘B’. Having been anchored to the foot of the table until their round 5 win against Belgrave ‘B’, they had a chance to get some more points on the board and over take their opponents in the table at the same time. They too did not make life easy for themselves as a last-minute withdrawal meant they also had to default a board.
In this match the top three boards were critical as Hebden had their famous triumvirate of Andrew Clarkson, Martyn Hamer and Phil Cook all present and correct. Both Martyn and Phil had substantial rating advantages over Simon Anscombe and Granville Boot, but on board 1, Leo Keely was a much closer match for Andrew to have to take on.
Happily, for the home team, the top three all did their jobs as they swept the boards. It was a good job too for, on board 4, Pete Dickinson succumbed to David Gray which meant that the margin of victory was the narrowest possible. Nevertheless, it was enough to see Hebden ‘A’ climb to 5 points in the league and take them further away from the danger of relegation.
Here is the match scorecard:
Hebden Bridge ‘A’ vs. Huddersfield ‘B’
A.Clarkson 1 – 0 L.Keely (W)
M.Hamer 1 – 0 S.Anscombe (W)
P.Cook 1 – 0 G.Boot (W)
P.Dickinson 0 – 1 D.Gray (W)
DEFAULT 0 – 1 A.Ward (W)
3 – 2
In the final match of the round Belgrave ‘B’ went down heavily to Huddersfield ‘A’. Greg Eagleton beat Gordon Farrar on board 1 and Steve Westmoreland and A.Hossain did the same to Steve Harrington and Paul Jacobs on boards 4 and 5. Dave Keddie and Nick Sykes dropped half points to Les Johnson and Dave College as Huddersfield went undefeated.
With half the season now gone both ends of the table are tantilisingly poised. At the top Hebden Bridge ‘B’ have 12 points, Belgrave ‘A’ have 11 and Halifax ‘A’ have 10. It would now seem that these three teams are the only ones who can challenge for the title unless something remarkable occurs.
Next in the table come Huddersfield ‘A’ on 7 points and Hebden Bridge ‘A’ on 5 points. On their day, either of these teams could beat the top three teams and so, although the first half of their seasons have been sub-par, they could yet have a influence on the title race. On the other hand, both could get drawn back into the relegation dog fight if they aren’t able to continue their recent runs of form.
At the bottom, Huddersfield ‘B’ and Belgrave ‘B’ have 4 points each and Hebden Bridge ‘C’ have 3. It looks now like two of these three will go down but which of them will survive is anybody’s guess. At present Hebden ‘C’ are the only the only team in the League yet to win a match, but they’ve drawn three against some decent teams and that demonstrates that they aren’t easy to beat.
Round 8 matches took place this week and we’ll be reporting on those here very soon.
Calderdale League 2
The League fixtures page on the Calderdale Chess League’s website may have tricked some team Captains into thinking that they were not playing their seventh round of fixtures until the New Year, however, three matches were due to be played on December 17th.
Hebden Bridge ‘D’ were certainly caught napping as Huddersfield ‘C’ arrived at the Trades Club for their match and (as they were mistaken for Huddersfield ‘B’) were then mistakenly directed to the Golden Lion in Todmorden where their real ‘B’ team were already sitting down playing Hebden bridge ‘A’. All this because we Capatins are in the habit of understanding that the right-hand side of the fixture list on the website is played after Christmas!
The Brighouse vs. Belgrave ‘C’ match did not take place either, so it appears others were laboring under the same misapprehension. Gladly, Huddersfield ‘C’ were very generous in allowing their match to be re-scheduled.
The only match that did take place on the 17th was between Halifax ‘C’ and Halifax ‘B’. This was played on four boards and the ‘B’ team overwhelmed their colleagues for the lose of a single draw on board 3 where John Nicholson held Barry Wadsworth. This result allowed Halifax ‘B’ to leap frog Brighouse to reach the top of the table but Brighouse of course now have a game in hand.
Calderdale Individual Championship Round 3
John Kerrane reports on the third round of the Individual which took place on the 7th of January.
Winter ailments took their toll on the line-up for the third round of the Calderdale Chess League Individual Championship 2018/9, which took place at the Trades Club.
Although the number of players taking part was reduced, the evening produced a lot of interesting games, including a close and difficult endgame between Pete Leonard of Hebden Bridge and Richard Porter of Belgrave, which was finally won by Leonard in the last game to finish. The upset of the evening was Andy Swales’s win against considerably higher-graded John Allan, but the front runner, Phil Cook, proceeded smoothly, leaving him with the only player on a maximum 3 points with a group of others close behind on 2½.
The full results of the round can be seen on the Calderdale Chess League website. The next round is due to be held at the Trades Club on 4th February.
Thanks to all those players who have sent us games from these fixtures. They are all available to play through and download in the game viewer below.