In these times of ‘social distancing’ chess players are having to become creative in order to pursue their favorite pass time! Thanks to Andrew Clarkson for sending me this amusing image!
With the Corona virus causing chaos and unprecedented disruption around the world, Hebden Bridge Chess Club and the local chess leagues have all been forced to adapt in order to continue their activities. All ‘over-the-board’ chess has been suspended until we are once again allowed to sit down across from each other to play the game we love. In the meantime, Hebden Bridge Chess Club has moved online. We’re still getting together on Monday evenings but now we’re doing it via Chess.com and Microsoft Teams.
Last Monday we hosted our first try at holding a Microsoft Teams video call so that we could look at some puzzles and a game together. More than 10 us managed to spend an hour and a half together analyzing. It was great fun, if a little ad hoc. I’ll be thinking about the best way for us to run these sessions in future so that we can get the most out of them. In the meantime though, for those that missed it, below are the three puzzle positions taken from the excellent ‘Invisible Chess Moves’ by Emmanuel Neiman and Yochan Afek.
I’ve set the board to display in puzzle mode. See if you can find the next move and do enough analysis to support your choice. Once you advance the game the solution will be displayed along with the required variations. Remember that you need to click on the bar above the board with the three dots in it to reveal and select the games in the viewer. At the end there is also a fairly wild game that we analysed at together.
Online activities for week commencing 6th April
This week we’ll continue with our online activities with another Microsoft Teams call on Monday the 6th followed by an online tournament on Chess.com. I’m also going to try out running some activities at other times and see how we get on. Here’s the schedule for this week.
Monday 6th of April at 19:30 – Puzzles and Game Analysis
Microsoft Teams video call with three more puzzles and a game prepared and presented to us by Pete Leonard. Follow this Microsoft Teams link to jointhe video call. You can choose either to download the Microsoft Teams software to your computer, or join via your web browser.
Monday 6th of April at 21:00-22:00 – Online Blitz Tournament
We’ll play an online blitz tournament on Chess.com. 5 minutes each for all moves. This will be another ‘Arena’ tournament where you play as many games as you can in 1 hour and get re-paired as soon as a new opponent is available. You get awarded extra points for ‘streaks’ of wins. If you aren’t already a member of Chess.com then it’s easy and free to create an account. Once you’ve done that follow this link to find our online chess club and click on the orange ‘Join’ button. Once you’ve joined the club you can follow this link to registerfor the tournament – online registration opens at 20:00 – so you won’t be able to join the tournament before then.
Wednesday 8th of April at 16:00 – Online Rapidplay Tournament
Online rapidplay tournament on Chess.com. Follow this link to join. This will be a 10 mins each. This will be a 6-rounded Swiss format and should be finished by about 18:00. Online registration is from 15:00.
Good Friday 10th of April at 19:00 – How good is your chess? This will be another Microsoft Teams video conference but this time a slightly different format. We’ll go through a Grand Master game and you’ll be asked to predict the next move and score points based on how well your answers correspond to the best moves in the game. At the end we’ll see who’s scored the most points and rate your performance. Follow this link to join us.
Hopefully there should be something here for everyone and we’ll be able to keep you out of mischief!
I just have one final notification:
Online Classical Chess Tournament I’m sure that lots of you, like me, are missing your slower time limit chess. So, I’m proposing to run a tournament at a classical time limit on Chess.com. The number of rounds and format will have to be determined by the number of entrants but I’d ideally like it to be at least 6 rounds and run the format as 90 minutes for all moves! (i.e. like the evening league but without the winding back of clocks after 36 moves). Obviously this tournament would take place over a number of weeks…
If you would like to take part in this competition then please email me to tell me you’re interested at firstname.lastname@example.org
The mist has finally cleared in the League 1 title race and we can now clearly see who the favorites are despite the fine margins involved. Photo:Coconino National Forest
Here is a brief article to bring readers (almost!) up to date on the status of the League 1 title race.
Hebden Bridge ‘B’ hosted Huddersfield ‘A’ at the Golden Lion last Monday (the 2nd) to play their match in hand. With this match both Hebden teams have now played nine times and so the position in the league table clarifies itself somewhat.
A win for Hebden ‘B’ would take them top of the league on board count, overtaking their ‘A’ team for the first time this season. The home side’s line up remained unchanged from the previous week’s match away at Belgrave ‘A’. Huddersfield visited with a marginally stronger line up than they had fielded against Hebden Bridge ‘A’ at home in the previous round. Out went David Booth on board 4 to be replaced by Richard Boylan, an experienced and steady presence. The visitors also swapped the order of their top two boards from the previous week with Steve Westmoreland playing on board 1 and Dave Keddie on board 2.
By the mid point in the evening the visitors seemed to be holding their own pretty well as Nick Sykes held Andrew Clarkson in a theoretical Grunfeld battle and Richard Boylan also drew his game with Sam Swain. The home side had won on board 5 however where Jamie Heritage continued his unbeaten streak for the club by beating Rob Mitchell. The game was not without chances for the visiting player however as you’ll see from the game viewer below.
Later in the evening however, Hebden’s ferociously strong top board duo gave the victory a pleasant gloss as Martyn Hamer overcame Steve Westmorland and Phil Cook defeated Dave Keddie. With that victory Phil puts himself in pole position for the League’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ title as he has now scored 7½/9 games. He is now a point and a half (!) clear of his pursuers, his team mate Martyn, Hebden Bridge ‘A’ captain Dave Shapland, Vivienne Webster of Halifax and Dave Patrick of Belgrave who all have 6 points. In fact Hebden Bridge ‘B’ have four players in the top 10 list of highest scorers in the league and so it’s easy to see why they have climbed to the top of the heap.
Here is the final match scorecard:
Hebden Bridge ‘B’ vs. Huddersfield ‘A’
M.Hamer 1 – 0 S.Westmoreland (W)
P.Cook 1 – 0 D.Keddie (W)
A.Clarkson ½ – ½ N.Sykes (W)
S.Swain ½ – ½ R.Boylan (W)
J.Heritage 1 – 0 R.Mitchell (W) 4 – 1
This result means that both Hebden Bridge teams now have 15 points from nine games. They have both drawn one and lost one match. In fact, their records are identical except for in the ‘Boards’ column of the table as the ‘B’ team have now scored 31.5 board points and the ‘A’ team have 28.5. This may seem like a narrow margin, but with only three matches left to play this season, a three point board count lead is significant especially when you note that Hebden Bridge ‘B’ have to play the two sides at the bottom of the division as well as Halifax ‘A’ with the White pieces, while Hebden Bridge ‘A’ have to play Belgrave ‘A’ and Halifax ‘A’ with the Black pieces and have Belgrave ‘B’ away for their other match. It seems most unlikely that the ‘A’ team will be able to overhaul the board count deficit and so may now be relying on an unlikely shock match result to turn the tables in their favour. Either way, the ‘B’ team are now most definitely in the driving seat.
Let us also note an excellent result for our ‘C’ team in League 2 on Monday night as they beat Belgrave ‘C’ at home in what looked like a tough match. On board 1, Pete Leonard got lucky when, after playing a winning combination, Faisal Rabbi resigned after an unexpected move by Pete, when objectively, he was still winning. The board 5 game was the last to finish and here Paul Gledhill had about 10 moves to make in a couple of minutes, but it was his opponent, Paul Edwards who made the inaccuracies, and then resigned.
Here’s the match scorecard:
Hebden Bridge ‘C’ vs. Belgrave ‘C’
P.Leonard 1 – 0 F.Rabbi (W)
N.Suttie ½ – ½ D.Colledge (W)
N.Bamford 0 – 1 C.Edwards (W)
J.Kerrane ½ – ½ L.Johnson (W)
P.Gledhill 1 – 0 P.Edwards (W) 4 – 1
After a long break for the summer (I really needed it!) this website will be coming back from it’s metaphorical vacation at an all-inclusive Caribbean paradise to report on the new Calderdale Evening League season which begins again tomorrow night.
There have been some changes to the league structure for the 2019-20 season. This year there will be seven teams in League 1 (instead of eight) and just four in League 2 which means the League 2 teams will play each other four times instead of twice. As always, fixtures and results information can be found on the Calderdale League website. At the end of the season two teams will be relegated from League 1, but only one will be promoted from League 2. That’s in order to further rationalise the distribution of teams between the divisions.
Another change this season is that both divisions of the League will be ECF rated. That means that players in both divisions will need to become members of the ECF. Anyone who has played more than three league matches and is not registered with the ECF will incur a charge that will be passed back to their club.
Their will still be one competition available for ECF refusniks to participate in however and that is the Handicap competition where local ratings will be used to calculate the handicap at the start of each match. There are just four teams entered into this competition too however and with each team playing each other just once, it will be interesting to see whether or not this format will thrive or wither and die.
Another change for this season is the demise of the Individual Championship. Hebden Bridge Chess Club – i.e. John Kerrane – has hosted and organised this competition for a very long time now and John quite justifiably wanted to pass the responsibility on to someone else. However, no one else volunteered to pick up the gauntlet and so, for the moment at least, this contest is no more. It’s a great shame to see it go, but ultimately, if more players from the league do not step forward to contribute to the running of the league and it’s competitions then some of them are bound to disappear sooner or later.
So, tomorrow night, Hebden Bridge ‘A’ (last year’s ‘B’ team but defending league champions) begin the defence of their title at the Trades Club against newly promoted Brighouse. Meanwhile, Hebden Bridge ‘B’ (our Todmorden-based enterprise) will have a bye round and will only begin their campaign on Monday 30 September when the local derby with the ‘A’ team will take place. Judging by the respective line ups that are beginning to emerge that match should be an absolute belter!
Elsewhere in League 1, Halifax ‘A’ will host Huddersfield ‘A’ and last season’s runners up, Belgrave ‘A’ will play their derby match against Belgrave ‘B’. It will be fascinating to see how those teams line up and perform in the first match of the season as players carry a bit of off-season rustiness into their first match encounters.
Of course we’ll update the website with match reports, results and games as they happen. We’ve also some games from the end of last season to publish and we’ll aim to put those up on the website next week too.
In the meantime, last Monday night we held our annual Individual Lightning Championship at the Trades Club. Eleven players took part with some very strong players present. Over the last few years Matthew Parsons has been the dominant force in this competition (although he hasn’t always had it his own way) and he arrived at the Trades Club as reigning champion and top seed.
However, after losing to Pete Leonard in round 1 and then Nick Sykes in round 2, it was soon clear that Matthew wasn’t going to retain his title. Instead the second and third seeds, new arrival Stavros Pantazopulos and Calderdale Individual Champion Phil Cook steadily pulled clear of the field. In round 3, Stavros beat Dave Shapland, who was the only other player on a perfect score after the first two rounds. Meanwhile Phil, having been held to a draw by Nick Sykes in round 1, beat Pete Leonard in round 2 and John Kerrane in round 3 to take second place on his own with 2.5/3.
The two leaders faced each other and drew in round 4 and this gave some of the chasers a chance to close the gap. Dave Shapland beat Nick Sykes and Pete Leonard beat John Allan to give themselves a chance of taking the title but then they both fell in round 5 to the top dogs. Phil swept Dave aside with the Black pieces whilst Stavros beat Pete with White. This kept Stavros half a point clear of Phil going into the sixth and final round.
In that last round Stavros was drawn to face Matthew with the Black pieces whilst Phil had White against John Allan. Phil duly won his game whilst Pete, from a seemingly lost position, took full advantage of a couple of terrible blunders by Dave to secure third place. The top two seeds played out a tense game that still had plenty of play in it by the time the 50 move beeper had finished meaning that an adjudication was needed. Everyone gathered round to suggest ideas for both sides but in the end it was clear that there was just too much play in the position and material on the board to call anything other than a draw and this outcome meant that Phil caught up with Stavros.
We don’t have tie-breaks in this competition and so Stavros and Phil share the title. Well played to both of them. They were certainly worth winners on the night.
Here are all the scores:
1st: Stavros Pantazolpoulos and Phil Cook – 5 3rd: Pete Leonard – 4 4th: Matthew Parsons, Nick Sykes and Martin Syrett – 3.5 7th: Dave Shapland and Mark Stollery – 3 9th: John Allan – 2.5 10th: John Kerrane – 2 11th: Terry Sullivan – 1
Nails were most definitely bitten at The Trades Club on Monday night as Hebden Bridge ‘A’ came very, very close to losing their unbeaten record to Huddersfield.
The Calderdale Evening Chess League division 1 title race is really hotting up as, on Monday night, the teams played the ninth of fourteen rounds. We’re at the business end of the season now and the destiny of this year’s title most definitely hangs in the balance.
This week title holders Todmorden ‘A’ hosted Belgrave ‘A’, current league leaders Hebden Bridge ‘A’ hosted their old foe Huddersfield and 2013-14 champions Halifax ‘A’ played Hebden Bridge ‘B’ whilst Halifax ‘B’ had a week off.
At Todmorden the champions found themselves weakened by the absence of Martin Hamer and Pete Mulleady but they still managed to field a team with an average rating of 165! Replacements Alistair Wright and Mick Connor can hardly be considered as weaknesses. Indeed, both played their part in a tight 3½ – 1½ victory where the home team displayed their resilience by remaining unbeaten on all 5 boards. No small feat with the Black pieces. The top two boards and board 4 were drawn (with Phil Cook drawing with Ian Hunter on top board in what could be a dress rehearsal for the final round of the Calderdale Individual Championship) with wins by Dave Patrick on board 3 over Karim Khan and Mick Connor on board 5 over Mike Barnett proving decisive.
Hebden Bridge ‘B’ were due to host Halifax ‘A’ but the fixture was switched to Lee Mount after the corresponding fixture in the first half of the season was played at The Trades Club. Hebden ‘B’ still played with the Black pieces though. Sadly, Hebden were again struggling to put out a full line up and defaulted board 5 but the remaining four players put up a terrific fight. Andy Leatherbarrow has been having a golden season (he’s only lost one game so far) and he put in another legendary performance to take Darwin Ursal’s scalp on board 1 (the rating list shows a whopping 58 point difference between the two though we all know what Andy is capable of) while captain Martin Syrett held Winston Williams to a draw on board 2 (overcoming a 47 point rating difference).
Sadly that was as far as the resistance went as John Lavan went down to John Morgan on board 3 and Neil Bamford lost to Richard Porter on board 4. Here’s full confirmation of the individual results:
Hebden Bridge ‘B’ vs. Halifax ‘A’
A.Leatherbarrow 1 – 0 D.Ursal (White)
M.Syrett ½ – ½ W.Williams (White)
J.Lavan 0 – 1 J.Morgan (White)
N.Bamford 0 – 1 R.Porter (White)
DEFAULT 0 – 1 S.Scurfield (White) 1½ – 3 ½
On paper the juiciest tie of the round always looked like being Hebden Bridge ‘A’ against Huddersfield. These old enemies have played out plenty of epic battles over the years although in more recent times Hebden have had the edge – in fact the last time Huddersfield won was on 22nd September 2014. Perhaps it was their time to win again.
Both teams fielded slightly unusual line ups. Hebden were missing the services of Matthew Parsons and Pete Leonard but drafted in Chris Bak and John Allan as replacements alongside Andy Bak, Dave Shapland and Nick Sykes. Huddersfield meanwhile were without regulars Greg Eagleton, Mitchell Burke and Dave Tooley but they still brought a competitive side with Leo Keely and Dave Keddie on boards 1 and 2 and Steve Westmoreland, Robert Sutcliffe and Bryn Charlesworth completing their line up. On paper Hebden looked much stronger on the lower boards with the top two boards looking more closely matched.
Of course what looks likely from an analysis of the statistics before the match often bears no relation to what actually takes place. This match turned into an epic struggle with all five games ending decisively. Right from the off the outcome looked in the balance as two of the five boards were decided relatively quickly. First of all Andy Bak had a bad day at the office against Leo as his double edged opening choice of the Schliemann Variation of the Spanish backfired. He first lost the exchange for a pawn and then blundered into a pawn fork that lost a piece. All this compelled his resignation before the players had reached the 20th move. A game to forget for Andy.
Hebden bounced back quickly though as John Allan made fairly short work of Steve Westmoreland. The Tarrasch Variation is not a popular choice against the Queen’s Gambit these days and Steve, who is normally very well prepared in the opening phase of the game, seemed to be caught a little bit cold. He lost a piece in the opening and after that John offered him no hope of recovering as he simply exchanged material and achieved an overwhelming advantage in the end game. 1 – 1.
Somewhat later on Nick Sykes made it 2 – 1 to the hosts as he converted smoothly against Bryn Charlesworth on board 5. It was a solid performance from Nick who has only lost three of his seventeen games this season. He met Bryn’s offbeat choice of the Nimzo-Larsen opening in principled fashion and slowly outplayed his lower rated opponent winning an exchange and then grinding out a win.
Hebden were in front but the remaining two games looked very worrying indeed for them by the time Nick had put them in front. On board 2 Dave Keddie and Chris Bak were playing a Classical Variation of the French Defence and it appeared that Chris had chosen a fairly unusual approach. In the middle game he overlooked a tactic that cost him a pawn and Dave found a clever way to maintain a passed pawn on f6. Chris was hanging on but White was clearly better.
Meanwhile on board 4 Dave Shapland had reintroduced the Budapest Counter Gambit to his repertoire against Robert Sutcliffe. The opening seemed to be going according to plan for Dave until it became clear that Robert was going to break with orthodoxy by castling queen’s side. This was a smart move because Dave burned way too much time on his clock trying to find a way to take advantage of Robert’s choice but in the end couldn’t find any way to improve on Black’s regular plan and the game took a fairly obscure turn.
Later on Dave missed a move order trick that enabled Robert to set up a various dangerous looking battery of two bishop and a queen pointing towards Dave’s castled king. Robert then played very energetically to advance his king’s side pawns in order to break open that side of the board and it was clear that White’s attack was going to be the fastest. Dave sought refuge in complications but was now extremely short of time and in trouble on the board as well.
Black (Chris Bak) has just played 30…Kd6 to try and protect his e-pawn. Can you see how Dave Keddie responded? The solution is in the game viewer below.
As both these remaining games reached their critical phases Hebden Bridge seemed in deep trouble but, as so often happens in these tense situations, mistakes changed the course of events. On board 2 Chris, desperately trying to prevent the advance of Dave’s f-pawn fell victim to a very attractive tactic that would have a decisive material cost. Chris chose a different path and went for a walk up the board with his king only to be caught in a mating net. It was 2 – 2.
The final act of the evening was no less dramatic as Robert and Dave approached time control with Dave down to his last minute on the clock. Suddenly Robert started playing quickly too although he had more time to think. A forcing line appeared in which it looked like Robert could grab a pawn and open up Dave’s king to a decisive attack. However, he’d missed an intermezzo from Dave’s queen which cost him the bishop and the game was suddenly over.
The Hebden players breathed a huge sigh of relief and congratulated their opponents on a ferociously hard fought encounter. The final scores were:
You can find a number of the games played on Monday night in the game viewer at the end of this post.
These results mean it’s ‘as you were’ in the league table. Hebden Bridge ‘A’ stay top on 14 points. Halifax ‘A’ are second on 12 and Todmorden ‘A’ are third with 11 although they have a match in hand on the other two which could bring them within a point of the leaders. Huddersfield have 9 points and now seem to be out of contention for the title although with Todmorden and Halifax still to play, they could yet have a bearing on the outcome.
At the other end of the table Belgrave ‘A’, despite running a number of the top teams very close have only 4 points and are not clear of the relegation dog fight as Hebden Bridge ‘B’ and Halifax ‘B’ are both on 2 points. It seems likely that the games between these three teams will decide which one of them goes down.
In the next round of fixtures on 27 February Hebden Bridge ‘A’ will travel to Todmorden ‘A’ for an absolutely critical encounter. Hebden have yet to lose a match but they have drawn two, one of these was against Tod. It should be enthralling especially if both teams are able to field their strongest line ups. Halifax ‘A’ have a week off and so you can imagine they too will be fascinated to see the outcome of his tie.
While this is going on Belgrave ‘A’ will play host to Halifax ‘B’ in the relegation battle of critical import. If Belgrave win you’d have to fancy that they wold guarantee their safety.
The final match sees Hebden Bridge ‘B’ on the road again at Huddersfield.
The Trades Club also saw another one of the inaugural Handicap League fixtures as Hebden Bridge played host to Belgrave while at Todmorden another match was played between Todmorden and Halifax. The final round of fixtures is due to be played on the 10th of April and there is a postponed match between Belgrave and Todmorden to be re-scheduled.
At Todmorden the home team put out the stronger side but as a result gave their opponents a 3½ point head start. They did manage to overcome this with a 5 – 1 ‘over-the-board’ score to take the match 5 – 4½.
At Hebden Bridge John Kerrane took the opportunity to field an all-junior line up against the visiting Belgrave side. What’s more, as the visitors came with only five players, he was even able to add a further player (Martha Leggett) to their team in order to make sure everyone got a game. This is really what the handicap league is all about, giving League 2 players more opportunity to play games and for the juniors, every game is great experience.
When the handicap (average rating difference between the two teams) was calculated Hebden also started with 3½ points but they too were overhauled by their more experienced opponents. Only the ‘enemy in the midst’ of Belgrave’s ranks lost her game as the visitors match Todmorden with 5 – 1 win at the boards and a 5½ – 4½ win over all. Below are the individual scores for the match.
When:Sunday 7th of February (player registration at 1.30pm with games starting at 2.00pm) Where: Hebden Bridge Town Hall Entry Fee: £20 (entry fees will be collected on the day) Register: There is an online form below or you can email us at email@example.com
Space is limited so boards will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
If you can’t play on the day don’t worry, you can still contribute to this worthwhile local cause. We’ll also be running a raffle and have a number of high-value chess related prizes that have been donated by generous sponsors including 3 annual premium memberships to Chess24.
About Danny Gormally
Started playing chess: 7 years old
International Master title gained:1997
Grand Master title gained: 2005
Achievements: Danny has represented England at the Turin Chess Olympiad in 2006 and at European Team Championships
Last year he finished equal second in the British Chess Championship scoring 8/11. This unbeaten performance included a win against the eventual champion Jonathan Hawkins and a draw with the defending champion David Howell.
GM Gormally has authored a number of acclaimed books and videos including:
We’ve just been given sad news by our colleagues at the Bradford Chess Club of the untimely passing of Steve Priest. Steve was a stalwart of our club and a regular player in our ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams up until last season when illness forced him to significantly reduce his playing commitments. He was a prolific player outside Calderdale too and I remember being amazed a few years ago when I found out that, aside from playing for us in the Calderdale League, he was also appearing regularly in Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield competitions as well. In fact a quick look at his record on the Yorkshire Chess Association Grading list confirms that he played an incredible ninety five rated games in Yorkshire in the 2011-12 season! Moreover, he played only a handful fewer in each of the three seasons before that one. These statistics demonstrate his passion for the game and his unquenchable competitive spirit.
Steve was a real fighter at the board. On the handful of occasions when I played him I found him to be a most tenacious and resourceful opponent who simply didn’t know when he was beaten and made you struggle to draw any concession from him. Even the handshake at the end of the game could sometimes seem grudging but he always gave his opponents full respect though he hated losing and it wasn’t uncommon to hear him muttering rebuke to himself at the board when he make a mistake. Put simply he was one of those characters that make playing club chess such a joyful and interesting recreation. Last year I published a particularly memorable and intensely hard fought epic draw that I had with him in my Travail Pursuit column on the Yorkshire Chess website. I’ve published the game again below as I believe it’s a typical of his uncompromising and spirited approach to the game.
I’m sure that some readers will want to share their own memories of Steve here. I don’t know where chess players go to when they pass on but I’m sure wherever Steven is he’ll have announced his arrival with his traditional greeting of “Fancy a game?”
If one lives by the sword one has to be prepared to die by it also. Sadly last Monday Hebden Bridge ‘A’ were on the wrong side of the violence. This image is used under Creative Commons terms and sourced from One Lucky Guy’s Flickr photostream
The Hebden Bridge ‘A’ team’s League 1 campaign has begun with an unusually bloodthirsty set of encounters. Having lost to Huddersfield 3-2, with three decisive games and one very hotly contested draw, in their first match of the season they faced Courier ‘A’ and Belgrave in back to back Monday night fixtures on the 6th and 13th of October and a veritable cascade of blood was split in both matches.
On the 6th they hosted Courier ‘A’ who last season came within a whisker of winning the title and served up a double helping of misery to Hebden at home and away. Frankly, the team did not expect much from the match as they had a weaker line up (without Matthew Parsons and Dave Shapland) than in the corresponding fixture last season. However, Courier were also a little bit weaker as Phil Watson played on board 1 for them at the Trades Club in 2013 and he was replaced by Tony Slinger (still a very strong player) for this match. Gone too was last season’s board 5, Pete Hughes, replaced by a slightly weaker player on paper this time in the form of Dave Colledge. Hebden were still out graded on every board but the bottom one then.
As it turned out the Trades Club men were in ferocious mood as they over turned the odds on the top two boards and on board 4 and drew on board 5 to secure an splendid victory and gain a measure of revenge for their shortcomings last season. Team Captain Pete Leonard provides us with some of the match details.
I finished first, after a surprisingly easy victory against John Morgan. Quite uncharacteristically, I sacrificed a piece for two pawns; this was Fritz’s preferred move, so it was sound as well! John immediately blundered and it was then just a question of making sure I didn’t throw it away. 1-0 to Hebden Bridge.
Nick Sykes opened 1.d4, as he said, not wishing to face Robert Clegg’s French. Robert opted for a King’s Indian, which it turned out Nick knew much better than he did. By the time I looked, Nick had a very nice position, with an advanced c pawn that eventually the game for him. 2-0 to Hebden Bridge.
On board 4 Andy Leatherbarrow got into a frightful pickle on the king’s side against Dave Patrick. He got into time trouble as well and went down under pressure. 2-1 to Hebden Bridge.
Andy Bak gained a small advantage early on and just kept it. He finished off nicely after Tony Slinger moved his king to the worst possible square in an endgame. 3-1 to Hebden Bridge.
Finally, on board 5 Martin had looked to be in a dreadful mess against Dave Colledge. He won a pawn but omitted to get his king into safety. Dave missed plenty of winning chances, and was still somewhat ahead when they reached the time control. By that point, we were 3-1 up, so Dave generously offered a draw, which Martin accepted with alacrity!
So there were four decisive games out of five in that match. Then last week Hebden went one better at Belgrave as all five games in the match ended with a resignation rather than a peace treaty. Sadly the result of the match was not such a happy one!
On this occasion Hebden looked like the favourites on paper as they out graded their opponents on every board. The night got off to a splendid start for them as Nick Sykes quickly won a piece for just a pawn against Les Johnson on board 4 and Dave Shapland appeared to have Karim Khan completely bamboozled with his obscure opening play on board 3. The other three boards all began in much more measured and closely contested fashion.
Mid-way through the evening it looked like everything would go according to plan as Pete Leonard pounced on Gordon Farrar’s mistake in the endgame to put Hebden one point up and Nick Sykes inevitably compelled his opponent’s resignation soon after to make it two. Surely nothing could go wrong from here.
Sadly it could. On board 1 Andy Bak appeared to overlook a tactical shot for a material advantage and ended up material down against Malcolm Corbett. He struggled on to the very end of the evening trying to hold a rook and pawn against queen and pawn ending but finally Malcolm’s technique privailed and he converted the full point.
Before this Andy Leatherbarrow had lost control in a tense and complicated strategic struggle with Mike Barnett on board 5. Although he only dropped a pawn his position fell apart in the ending.
The true tragedy was taking place on board 3 however. Dave Shapland had managed to gain a great measure of control in the position out of the opening against Karim but there was still much work to do. The position was very messy and Dave realised that he needed to take some time out to consolidate his position and complete his development before pressing forwards. Karim appeared to be restricted to fairly passivity but defended himself resolutely until he played an inaccurate move that allowed Dave to grab a pawn and demolish the defences around the White king.
Normally Dave is in his element in this kind of situation and he increased his advantage until it was a winning one… but it took him too long on the clock to do it. With both players in some time trouble and the position still terribly complicated Dave overlooked a defensive resource, mistakenly pressed ahead with his attack when he needed to defend and suddenly found himself getting checkmated. Sometimes when you live by the sword, you also die by it.
The outcome was a stunning reversal and Belgrave continue to be a real bogey side for Hebden ‘A’ when they are playing at home. Here’s the final match scorecard:
Elsewhere in League 1 the title seems to be becoming a two horse race between Huddersfield and Todmorden ‘A’ already. On the 13th Huddersfield travelled to the champions Halifax ‘A’ and dealt their hopes of retaining the title a huge blow by beating them 2 — 3. The week before Halifax had travelled to Todmorden ‘A’ and lost 3½ — 1½ so they are now 1 and 2 for the season to date. Critical to Huddersfield’s success last week was Matthew Parsons’ win on board 1 against Winston Williams whilst Daves Firth and Tooley also won against Sam Scurfield and Scott Gornall respectively.
Todmorden ‘A’ seem to have found some very handy new players this season. They travelled to Brighouse (a destination they’ve performed poorly at in the past) without top board Martin Hamer but they came away with a convincing victory of 1½ — 3½. The damage was done in the middle order by Messrs Cook, Gil-Fresno and Clarkson.
All this means that Tod and Huddersfield are the only two teams with a perfect record and next Monday that statistic can’t fail to change as the two play each other at Todmorden as Huddersfield begin the season with four away fixtures in succession! It looks like we’ll find out what these two teams are made of.
Courier ‘A’ bounced back from that defeat to Hebden Bridge by seeing off Tod ‘B’ at home last week. This puts them back in touch with the leaders as the only other team with two wins to their name. Behind Courier, Belgrave are the fourth team in the table with a win, a draw and a defeat. Then come Hebden ‘A’ and Halifax ‘A’ with a single win each, Brighouse with a draw and Tod ‘B’ prop up the table with no points thus far. They have however been very competitive in all their matches and won’t be taken lightly by anyone.
Next Monday besides the Todmorden vs. Huddersfield match there is also a match between Halifax ‘A’ and Courier ‘A’ which you’d already have to classify as a ‘must win’ for the title holders. Meanwhile Hebden Bridge travel to Brighouse knowing that they need a result to stay out of the relegation dog fight and Todmorden ‘B’ host Belgrave hoping to get their season off to a start at the fourth attempt.
In the game viewer below you’ll fine a number of games from the last two rounds of Hebden Bridge fixtures as well as the game between Matthew Parsons and Wintson Williams which Matthew kindly sent on to us.
Hebden Bridge Chess Club travelled to the Albert Hotel in Keighley for a pre-season friendly
After a nice long break for the summer I’m starting up the website again as the usual pre-season activity begins. Last week six Hebden Bridge players travelled to Keighley for a friendly match that was a return tie for last year’s equivalent which I think was played over ten boards.
Here’s John Kerrane’s match report:
The new Calderdale league season approaches, and Hebden Bridge Chess Club accepted an invitation from Keighley Chess Club to a warm up match at their home venue, The Albert Hotel, Keighley. A six-strong team from Hebden Bridge set out across the moor on Wednesday evening to take up the challenge.
The Hebden side was a little weakened since the corresponding match last year, and were surprised to find that Keighley had made a very strong addition to their line-up in the form of Greg Eagleton, one of Huddersfield’s leading players.
A couple of blunders on lower boards left the Hebden side struggling, and although the other team members fought back hard, the match slipped away from them. The last game to finish was between Eagleton and Hebden Bridge captain Pete Leonard, who put up a strong fight, but succumbed in the end, leaving the home side with a 4-2 victory.
The individual results were:
Keighley vs. Hebden Bridge
G. Eagleton 1 – 0 P. Leonard
R. Zaidman ½ – ½ N. Sykes
D. Duffton ½- ½ J. Kerrane
M. Cunningham 1 – 0 T. Sullivan
M. Boyd 0 – 1 N. Bamford
J. Nuttall 1 – 0 D. Crampton 4 – 2
Pete Leonard and Nick Sykes have annotated their games and these can be found in the game viewer at the end of this post.
Here are the important dates coming up in the month of September:
8th of September:Matthew Webb Simul
Matty will play a 20 board simultaneous match against Hebden Bridge Chess Club players and invited guests. This will be held at the Trades Club and will begin at 7.30pm. The match will be played as a clock simul where the standard Calderdale League time limits apply on all boards (36 moves in 75 minutes + 15 minutes allegro finish). Matty has been playing in occasional matches for Hebden Bridge for the past three seasons and had a very impressive season indeed in 2013-14. He played in the Bradford A side that took the Yorkshire League Division 1 title and he represented White Rose in the 4NCL this season too. Altogether he played 23 games in Yorkshire last season winning 20 and drawing just 3! This saw his Yorkshire rating rocket to 217 and he is currently the 5th player on the YCA rating list. This will be his first ever simultaneous match and there are still a handful of places available for any Calderdale League players that might be interested. If you would like to play please email us as soon as possible to confirm your place. firstname.lastname@example.org
15th of September: Club Lightning Competition We’ll be holding our traditional curtain raiser for the league season at the Trades Club on Monday the 15th. All members are encouraged to coming along for a fun evening of high speed chess. The Lightning format of the game allows each player just 10 seconds per move with each move being played on the sound of a buzzer. There are always plenty of thrills and spills and the playing field is generally levelled with the amount of thinking time reduced.
22nd of September: League 1 fixtures begin. Hebden Bridge ‘A’ are due to play Huddersfield
29th of September: League 2 fixtures begin with Hebden Bridge ‘B’ playing away at Courier ‘B’ and Hebden Bridge ‘C’ playing at Todmorden ‘C’
I’ll be posting reports on both the simul and the lightning competition as well as a review of last season and a preview of the forth coming one. in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
Any excuse for another amazing photography of a lightning strike!! This one is used under Creative Commons terms and sourced from Bo Insogna’s Flickr photostream
The annual Calderdale Team Lightning competition will be hosted by Courier chess club this year and will take place at the Belgrave Social Club on Monday the 12th of May.
Players are asked to arrive at the venue as close to 7.00pm as possible so that teams can be registered in time for the first round to begin at 7.30pm.
If you would like to register a team in advance of the event then please email Dave Colledge at email@example.com. Please send your team name and the players in the line up. This will enable him to have your team registered early but you will still need to arrive in plenty of time before the first round starts.