Jul 112011

Welcome to the Hebden Bridge Chess Club website’s 100th post! As we pass this auspicious milestone we also enter the second half of our four-part end-of-season review where we will cover the performance of Hebden Bridge Chess Club’s league 2 teams. Here are the final standings in the league table.

It was a bit of a roller-coaster for the ‘C’ team and the ‘D’ team (‘D’ stands for “Development”) struggled as much as had been expected and ended the season on a doughnut.

Peter Rawlings guided his
team resolutely as always

The ‘C’ team’s “none-player-Captain”, Pete Rawlings, has kindly provided us with his perspective on the performance of his charges during the season.

“It was a happy season, with some impressive results, very impressive individual records and a respectable third place in division 2.

Todmorden ‘C’, who finished the season beneath us, were our downfall, beating us 4-0 and 3-2, though we managed to beat their ‘B’ team, winners of the division, once. Huddersfield ‘B’, second in the division, we beat twice, 3½-1½ and 3-2.

This year’s ‘C’ team was notable for being so reliable: they scarcely needed to be reminded of the next fixture. Then they all turned up early and played in a sporting manner. Each one is also a good loser although this quality was not sorely tested as you can see from their results below.

Much intelligent chess was played, along with some effectively dogged stuff, while a calm inscrutable manner and largely well-managed clocks, prevailed on our side of the board.”

Individual performances excelled. These were:

Dave Sugden — Board 1

Rating (at start of season): 127
New 2011 Rating: 137
Score: 11½/16

Dave’s score in league 2 (9½/13 – one result was a default) placed him third in the end of season individual standings. This result also meant he was the highest board 1 scorer in the league. In particular Dave showed excellent form with the White pieces as he scored 7½/9. He also contributed a score of 2/3 for the ‘B’ team in division 1 and these results are also represented in the table below (I haven’t included the default). A really good season for Dave who I imagine may well get a berth in the ‘B’ team next season as a result of his excellent performance this year.

Analysis of Dave Sugden’s league games in 2010-11

As his best game I’ve selected this spirited draw with Nick Sykes which he might well have won on another day. I know that Nick was certainly very concerned about his position for much of this game and felt lucky to escape with the draw.

Josh Blinkhorn — Board 2

Rating: 121
New 2011 Rating: 136
Score: 8½/13

Another good performance from Josh in this his second season of competitive play. His style is sharp and he does particularly well in complicated positions. As a result many of his games are interesting to watch. This style also means that he doesn’t tend to play many draws and this is reflected in his results for the season which also show that he has performed equally well with both colours even though, from a grading perspective, his White results have netted him more points. I should also mention that Josh had a decent run in the Calderdale Individual Championships where he scored 3/5 losing only to top seed Chris Booth in the first round and then Scott Gornall in round 4. Excellent results in other competition’s he has participated in outside Calderdale have led to him increasing his grade by 15 points this season. That’s no mean feat. If he can keep improving at his current rate Josh really will be a force to be reckoned with in another few years.

Analysis of Josh Blinkhorn’s league games in 2010-11

I have once again selected a draw in order to best demonstrate Josh’s style of play. His Captain waxed lyrically and at length to me about this game after it had finished and so I didn’t feel I could shirk from publishing it. It is indeed very exciting and well calculated.

Stephen Priest — Board 3

Rating: 121
New 2011 Rating: 120
Score: 11/15

Stephen must be the club’s busiest player. As well as participating in the Calderdale league he also plays in the Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield competitions. This season alone he has played 84 (!!) competitive games. Here in Calderdale league 2 his individual score (10/13) was good enough to place him second behind Tom Webster (Todmorden) in the end of season individual standings. He also secured 1/2 for the ‘B’ team in league 1. This represents an excellent contribution from Stephen. The reason for his relatively modest points gain in the table below is due simply to the volume of games he has played this season. The more you play the smaller the increments of loss or gain on your rating as increasing quantities of data enable the rating system to lower it’s margin for error.

Analysis of Stephen Priest’s league games in 2010-11

I’ve selected his win from round 2 of the Calderdale Individual Championship as his best game although he may well have played several others. I only have a limited base to chose from. In this game he plays nicely against his higher graded opponent and capitalises brutally on a terrible error to put the game away.

Neil Bamford — Board 4

Rating: 108
New 2011 Rating: 112
Score: 8½/13

Neil also put in a solid and workmanlike performance this season scoring heavily for his team and ending the year on 7½/11 in league 2 and 1/2 for the ‘B’ team in league 1. He is another player who seems to do better with the Black pieces than he does with the White ones and his rating certainly suffered as a result of his defeats with White. That said, his performance with Black has lifted his results and Neil will continue to do stirling service for which ever team he is selected for next season.

Analysis of Neil Bamford’s league games in 2010-11

In this game he defeated a higher rated player in the form of Ray Cully from Halifax and thereby helped the ‘B’ team gain a valuable and much needed drawn fixture.

Pete Leonard — Board 5

Rating: UG
New 2011 Rating: 158
Score: 6/7

What can we say about Pete’s season? He joined the club late in the campaign and Captain Rawlings used him to devastating effect on the bottom board of the ‘C’ team. It was always going to be hard to gauge his true strength after a (very!) lengthy sabbatical from competative chess but the club is certainly pleased to have him. Pete is dedicating himself to reaching his previous rating heights when he managed to acheive a rating in the 170’s. His results for the ‘C’ team were blemished only by a defeat to Tom Webster of Todmorden and this has led to a new rating that will be put to the sternest of tests in the new season, whichever team he is selected for.

Analysis of Pete Leonard’s league games in 2010-11

Pete provided glimpses of his historical strength on several occasions during the season and I’ve selected this utter rout of Huddersfield’s dependable Stuart Oliver as his best of the year.

It should also be mentioned that several others contributed points to the ‘C’ team’s cause this year. Terry Sullivan scored 1/2 and Pete Rawlings and Trevor DeLuca both scored 1/1.

As far as the ‘D’ team goes, very little was expected of them this season. As I mentioned above our ‘D’ team has traditionally been the place to blood club players who are new to league chess and still developing their game. The team performance was always going to be fairly humble and so it would seem unfair to focus too much attention on each individual’s performance for the year. Instead let me quickly record each hard won point gleaned by our spirited and determined squad.
  • ‘D’ team Captain Danny Crampton scored 2½ points this season. The best score in the squad.
  • The team’s board 1, James Todd, beat Brian Corner in round 2 of the Calderdale Individual Championships and also Brian Donkersley in the league.
  • Dave Pugh also scored a full point on board 1 against L.Innes of Todmorden ‘C’.
  • Matt Levy beat J.P Ellis, also of Todmorden ‘C’ in the league.
  • Chris Greaves drew with Richard Bottomley.

The pick of these results must be James Todd’s win against Brian Corner.

Hopefully these results will give all of these players some further confidence for next season. We’ll see whether they can improve enough to climb off the bottom of the table which just might be possible if Wheatley field another team this year.

Thanks to all those who contributed content to this post. Please do feedback your comments on the performances of the two teams and their players as all of this will help us to pick the teams for next season.

  4 Responses to “End of season review – part 3”

  1. Hey Dave isn't it Richard Bottomley!?

    Sory I missed the AGM last night, I really couldn't go!Please can you mail me anything important I missed!

  2. Hi there, HB chess people.

    May I be so bold as to point out that Joshua Blinkhorn did battle with me in round 4 of the Individual Championship and not Robert Sutcliffe, as stated.

    Although I gained a material advantage in the early stages, Joshua fought tenaciously and made it difficult for me. He was unlucky not to achieve a draw, which would have been well deserved.

    These rapidly improving players are very dangerous!


  3. Hi Scott,

    Thanks for the correction and the comment. It's nice to welcome some visitors from other clubs.
    Looks like I got a couple of facts wrong so I'll get to rectifying them as soon as I can.

    Nick, nothing much of note at the AGM. I'll publish the minutes on the blog soon though.



  4. Josh also beat Chris Booth in the huddersfield club championship!

    You can tell that Petes a quality player from that game. Thats how i would expect to beat people at that level – its just a higher level of tactics than they are able to see really.

    Have we come to an agreement on our teams yet?

    Now that Darwin is playing can i suggest –

    1. Matthew Parsons
    2. Darwin Ursal
    3. Alastair Wright/David Shapland
    4. David Shapland/Alastair Wright
    5. Nick Sykes


    Reserves – Josh, Pete, Andy etc

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