On Monday night Hebden Bridge chess club’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams clashed in the semi-final of the Calderdale Summer Knockout competition. Both teams put out strong sides with the ‘A’ team even managing to bring their Division 1 Championship winning team to the party. The teams lined up as follows with the ‘A’ team taking white on the odd boards:
|Messrs Wedge and Leatherbarrow|
The first game to finish was on board 5 where Nick Sykes won quite quickly against Dave Sugden. The swift conclusion was all the more surprising as Dave had elected to play the Petroff Defence with the black pieces. This opening has a super-solid reputation and indeed, after following the opening books until black’s 11th move the position could be said to offer white only a slight advantage (see below).
|Board 3 was a close run affair|
Meanwhile on board 3 Matthew Parsons and Martin Syrett were engaged in a close contest which remained tense right into first a double and then a single rook and pawn ending. The critical position was reached after Matthew’s (playing white) 37th move.
|Alistair searches for the|
Wright continuation (sorry!)
This made the score 2-0 to the ‘A’ team. Shortly afterwards board 2 finished as well. This time the result was a draw as Pete took no chances against ‘A’ team captain Alistair. In an Alekhine’s Defence the Queens came off the board early and a draw looked like the only result unless one player or the other blundered. Neither did.
Meanwhile on board 4 Dave Shapland was laying some ghosts against Steve Priest who had won once and drawn twice in three previous games against him during the regular season. This time matters turned out differently. Steve chose the wrong time to castle long and was immediately forced to suffer as Dave inflicted a range of cruelties upon him. Steve bravely staved off the check mate threats but only at the cost of two pawns and an utterly hopeless position. This game is given in full below.
This result now gave the ‘A’ team an unassailable 3.5-0.5 lead.
The last game to finish was on board 1 where Dave Wedge steadily built up his advantage with the white pieces against Andy Leatherbarrow and eventually converted a very favourable knight and pawn ending into the full point sometime close to 11pm.
The final score card looked like this: