Apr 222014
Halifax Captain Carlos Velosa was at least as happy as Diego Maradona was in 1986 as his team lifted the title last Monday. Did his team carry him round the car park at Belgrave though?

Halifax Captain Carlos Velosa was at least as happy as Diego Maradona was in 1986 as his team lifted the title last Monday. Did his team carry him round the car park at Belgrave though?

By now most if not all readers will be aware that Halifax ‘A’ won their first Calderdale Evening Chess League 1 title for twenty eight years last Monday night. Belgrave won the League 2 title to be promoted as champions back to the top flight. They will be joined by Halifax ‘B’ who finished in second place. Halifax’s Darwin “Draw-Win” Ursal finished the season as the best individual in League 1 with a score of 12/14 (or 10/12 if you discount a couple of defaults). Another Halifax player, Scott Gornall, took the League 2 individual player of the year plaudits with 10/11 (with just one of these points coming from a default).

It’s been a wonderful year for Halifax Chess Club and all their members should be given great credit for their commitment and passion for the game especially when you consider that just two seasons ago they had no teams in the top flight. Naturally taking the League 1 title is a really big deal for Halifax. I was 11 years old when they last won it! Let’s take a moment to reflect on what the world was like  in 1986. Here are some of the big events of that year:

In the news

  • An accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine kills thousands and pollutes a huge are
  • The Challenger space shuttle disintegrates shortly after take off killing all 7 crew members
  • Prince Andrew, Duke of York, marries Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey
  • Pan Am flight 73 is hijacked by terrorists at Karachi International Airport
  • Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opens the M25 motorway
  • The UK and France announce plans to construct the Channel Tunnel
  • The Soviet Union launches the Mir space station
  • Out of Africa win Best Picture at the Academy Awards
  • Microsoft Corporation launches it’s first offering of stock shares
  • Pablo Picasso’s Weeping Woman is stolen and then found two weeks later in a locker at a station in Melbourne

In sport

  • At World Cup ’86 in Mexico England lose to Diego ‘Hand of God’ Maradonna’s Argentina in the Quarter Finals
  • Boris Becker wins his second consecutive Wimbledon Mens Singles title by defeating Ivan Lendl in straight sets
  • Liverpool win the League and FA Cup double beating near neighbours Everton into second place in both
  • Richard Dunwoody rides West Tip to victory in the Grand National at Aintree
  • Greg Lemond wins his first Tour de France
  • Joe Johnson surprises everyone by beating Steve Davis 18-12 in the final of the World Snooker Championship
  • Mike Tyson wins his first world boxing title defeating Trevor Berbick in Las Vegas

In chess

  • Garry Kasparov beat Anatoly Karpov to take the World Chess Championship for the first time
  • England (Miles, Nunn, Short, Speelman, Chandler and Flear) won the silver medal at the Chess Olympiad in Dubai finishing only behind the Soviet Union
  • Halifax won the Calderdale Evening Chess League

Quite a memorable year I’m sure you’ll agree! 1986 feels like a lifetime ago. Poigniantly I noticed recently that 1986 really was a life time ago for Vugar Gashimov. The Azerbaijani Grand Master was born in 1986 and died tragically from a brain tumour in January this year. The current tournament in Shamkir is being held as a memorial to him.

Now, back to the action in Calderdale. The final round of the season began with three teams still in contention for the title in League 1. Halifax ‘A’ were top on board count but they had to travel to Courier ‘A’, who were on the same match points as them, for the last round. Halifax knew they needed to win to be sure of the title because, if they drew, Huddersfield could over take them by winning away at Todmorden ‘A’. Courier also knew that they had to win the match so a truly bloodthirsty night of chess was in the offing.

The first result of the night came from Todmorden where the home side’s Andrew Clarkson won a miniature against Huddersfield’s Dave Keddie on board 3. This already left Huddersfield with a mountain to climb. Meanwhile at Belgrave Social Club the only early result was a surprisingly short draw on board 4 between the Captains Dave Patrick and Carlos Velosa.

By the middle of the evening it became apparent that Huddersfield were slipping out of contention. In fairness to them Todmorden ‘A’ have put together an incredible record at home this season having lost only one game from 35 played with the White pieces! By the end of the second hour’s play the home side had secured a draw on board 4 between Alastair Wright and Imre Zelei and they then put the title beyond the visitor’s grasp when  Pete Mulleady beat Mitchell Burke on board 2. Huddersfield now had to win both the remaining boards just to tie the match.

Back at Halifax the match situation remained tense for much longer. By 10 o’clock only a second draw in board 2 encounter between Tony Slinger and Winston Williams had been added to the early result and the match as in the balance. Courier’s Robert Clegg seemed to have the advantage over Sam Scurfield but failed to find the best way to press it home and then blundered to give Halifax the advantage on the bottom board. The top board match up between Phil Watson and Darwin Ursal was destined to run and run with the outcome being anyone’s guess. It was only when Bill Somerset beat John Morgan on board 3 that Halifax really started to believe they could do it.

Shortly afterwards Halifax did clinch the title as Sam mopped up against Robert to make the score 1-3. The last game to finish was significant only because it robbed Darwin of his unbeaten record in Calderdale this season. Phil managed to beat him in a time-scramble at the end of the evening’s play.

Zeintot could have played a part in the outcome at Todmorden too as both Rob Tokeley and Dave Tooley ran very close to the wire. The Todmorden man had to make his last nine moves before the time control in a minute but he just made it and the players went into an opposite coloured bishops ending which looked drawn. They squeezed every last drop out of the position but finally Dave offered Rob a draw and it was accepted. Todmorden had won the match and all that remained was for Leo Keeley to do all in his power to take down Martyn Hamer and give Huddersfield a consolation victory. Sadly for them, even that didn’t happen and another draw meant that Todmorden took the match 3½-1½.

The final league table therefore shows Halifax ‘A’ on top with 21 points. Courier ‘A’ were second on 19 points just one and a half boards ahead of Huddersfield who finished third also on 19 points. Todmorden ‘A’ were fourth on 18 points and will be left wondering what might have been had they not defaulted in the penultimate fixture at Halifax. Had they played and won that match they’d have won the league themselves by a single point!

Below Todmorden the 2012-13 champions Hebden Bridge ‘A’ finished the season off in fifth place but ended the season in fine style by thrashing Todmorden ‘B’ at home 4½-½. Todmorden therefore finished in sixth. For a change I’ll not bore readers with a long description of what was a meaningless encounter but suffice to say Hebden tried their best to hold on to their crown but simply didn’t have enough strength in their team to sustain a challenge this season. The match score card was:

Hebden Bridge ‘A’ vs. Todmorden ‘B’
M.Parsons 1 – 0 N.Suttie
P.Leonard 1 – 0 M.Connor
D.Shapland 1 – 0 P.Edwards
A.Leatherbarrow ½ – ½ R.Collier
M.Syrett 1 – 0 T.Webster
4½ – ½

The game viewer at the end of this post has four of the five games from this match in it. Some of them are quite interesting and I’d particularly like to draw readers’ attention to the slugfest between Martin Syrett and Tom Webster which is highly entertaining toe-to-toe struggle in a King’s Gambit Accepted. The viewer also has Bill Somerset’s critical win against John Morgan in the Courier versus Halifax match and Andrew Clarkson’s game against Dave Keddie from the Tod ‘A’ versus Huddersfield match. My thanks as always to Adrian Dawson for collecting Bill’s game and Andrew for taking the time to share his thoughts on his game and on the match at Todmorden. I’d also like to thank the Halifax Captain Carlos Velosa for his description of events at Courier.

As a curtain call on this year’s League 1 reporting it should be noted that Hebden Bridge ‘B’ defaulted their ‘dead rubber’ at Brighouse. Both those teams go down to play in League 2 next season. It seems highly unlikely that Hebden will be able to field three teams in the lower flight having struggled for numbers all season long.

… and so to League 2. Hebden Bridge ‘C’ finished their season off by playing the leaders Belgrave at the Trades Club. If they could emulate their ‘D’ team colleagues in defeating the front-runners then it was still possible for Halifax ‘B’ to pip Belgrave at the post by defeating Hebden Bridge ‘D’ at home. The last fixture of the night saw Todmorden ‘C’ take on Halifax ‘C’ at home.

As it was Belgrave assumed the mantle of Champions by dispatching Hebden ‘C’ comfortably. Here are the individual scores:

Hebden Bridge ‘C’ vs. Belgrave
J.Kerrane ½ – ½ G.Farrar
N.Bamford 0 – 1 M.Corbett
T.Sullivan ½ – ½ M.Barnett
R.Deravairere 0 – 1 L.Johnson
A.Brown 0 – 1 A.Gonzalez
1 – 4

The games from this match can also be found in the viewer below.

Belgrave secured the title with a score of 21 points. Halifax ‘B’ didn’t have to play in the end as Hebden ‘D’ defaulted their match as well. Halifax finished in second place with 19 points. Todmorden ‘C’ were third with 16 points as they defeated Halifax ‘C’ 4 – 1 in their last match and this meant that Halifax ‘C’ finished fourth with 10 points. Hebden ‘C’ were fifth with 9 points, Courier ‘B’ scored 7 and Hebden ‘D’ were last with 2 points (but what a glorious 2 points they were!)

In future posts over the summer I’ll do the usual thing of reviewing the season and the performance of the Hebden Bridge teams and individuals. I’d welcome further comments from players outside the club. Anyone who’s followed the comments posted against last week’s newsflash will see that the debate and opinion has been positive and extensive. Do feel free to contribute. In particular I’d very much like to see some nominations either in the comments here or by email to hebdenbridgechessclub@gmail.com for the best games of the season. I’m going to be writing a review of the Calderdale season for the Yorkshire website and would very much like to feature the best games of the year from right across the leagues not just from Hebden Bridge.

Thank you all for following the website during the season. I hope you’ve enjoyed the coverage and I’m looking forward to what I hope will be another fantastic year in 2014-15!

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  62 Responses to “Halifax’s 28 year wait is over!”

  1. I hope that the debate and contributions from the last post will continue here. Let me get the ball rolling with a suggestion. Is it time to reduce the number of players in a team for League 2? It seems that this would help clubs like Hebden and Todmorden field as many teams as possible in this division. As it stands neither club has quite been able to manage four teams with five players each. Should we think about four players per team? Would that make enough of a difference? Might it entice Huddersfield to enter a B team again? Would Halifax be able to field four teams if two of them were of four players and two of five?

    Please note, I’m only suggesting four players for League 2. I think League 1 is fine as it is.

    Also, continuing from the last post. Matthew suggested two games of 45 mins each for each League 2 fixture. That’s an interesting suggestion and I think it would have legs if there were more juniors involved right across this league. I don’t think we have enough to seriously consider this right now though. Any further thoughts on this?

  2. Also… PLEASE NOTE that if you’d like to a point made by a previous author in this strand you can click the orange “Reply” button and your response will appear right below the comment you are replying to rather than at the bottom of the page. This makes it easier for others to follow the various lines of debate.

  3. Seems like you can also be lucky in Chess 😉

    • I don’t believe in being lucky at chess Carlos. You guys deserved to win the title and you were the best team. Remember the Gary Player quote “The harder I practice the luckier I seem to get”

  4. “…the only early result was a surprisingly short draw on board 4 between the Captains Dave Patrick and Carlos Velosa”

    What do you mean surprising? 🙂

    Owen’s defense has given me a solid play with black (I know Nick will not agree) only having lost 1 match the whole season. On the other side of the board, Dave had not lost a match with white this season. It was all lined up to end in a draw.

    In the end, I suppose I looked at the draw as having gained half a point as opposed to having lost it. Also helped the team get that win we needed.

    • Hi Carlos,
      The key words in the sentence are “surprisingly short” rather than the word “draw”. Would you have seen it as a half point gained if Sam had lost his game and you had lost the match? Did Dave see it as a half point gained with the White pieces? In both cases I suggest not. Both teams needed to win the match so I’m just saying that a short draw was a risky outcome to agree to. In fairness it was much more risky for Dave as he is higher rated than you and had the White pieces. If I’d not lost all season I’d have backed myself to play for a win with White but I guess that’s just me.
      The game you and I played in Bradford earlier this year was a proper draw with no stone left unturned and yes, Owen’s Defence proved to be resiliant.
      I wasn’t saying I was surprised you drew just that I was surprised you drew before 9 o’clock! 🙂

    • The Owen’s Defence is not a great defence. You have good results with it as you are familiar with the position possibly more so than your opponents.

      However against a well prepared opponent (which is very rare in the CEL) it is NOT a great defence and leaves you facing difficult problems to solve.

      I don’t know the Owen’s to well and got a overwhelming advantage playing you, just by playing normal moves.

      The fact you won was nothing to do with your opening choice, likely the way I was playing the latter half of the season you would likely have beat me playing any opening.

  5. Ah the old opening debate! What is a good opening? A good opening is simply a choice that allows you to achieve good results.

    By that definition owens defence is a good opening for Carlos. Is it theoretically sound? Perhaps not, though I don’t think its necessarily not sound either.

    Is the London defence a good opening for me? Yes – as it gives me good results. Might I have better results if I seriously applied myself to studying the Lopez and all blacks counters, almost certainly. Alas we must play within our means and what are life outside of chess allows us to do, hence an opening choice of familiarity of position and experience benefits me, as it benefits Carlos.

  6. Here’s my game against Dave P

  7. I would have played on that game with black. Prefer blacks position. C file control, d4 target, king closer to centre, no risk.

    • 15…,Rc8 was anticipating the exchange that followed. The C file was controlled so I had no real threats to deal with.

      • Fritz saw the end position as a draw.

        Same applied to the whole game. Neither had a significant advantage at any point in the game

    • Is it that simple Matthew? White’s bishop covers c1 so after say 20.Rac1 Kd7 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.Rc1 Rxc1 23.Bxc1 can Black really win the opposite coloured bishops ending. Zero risk for both players isn’t it or have I missed something.

      I can see why the draw was agreed. Looks like you’ve changed your approach to this line since I played you Carlos. This ended up looking very much like a French Defence

  8. I really must interject at this point to set the record straight regarding Tod A’s defaulted match with Halifax. Only two players were available, three at a pinch-there were absolutely no reserves to call on regardless of strength, several of whom were in hospital or abroad. There was no question of any strategies or anything untoward being involved-why should the B team default there match when their regular squad was available?! It was simply bad timing and completely unavoidable, not helped by the final 2 fixtures being only a week apart followed by Easter. Why make all the teams wait to find out the destiny of the title until 3 weeks after the end of the season after a possible postponement? Contrary to any murmurings about motives, Todmorden A and myself should be congratulated for doing the honourable and self-sacrificial thing.
    A hearty congratulations to Halifax on a thoroughly well-deserved title victory which was not achieved through any kind of unsporting tactics and which was in no way predictable, despite the rather childish carpings from certain quarters, as evidenced by the eleventh hour victory… In short, well done Carlos and all the team!!
    Personally I can see nothing to suggest that the league is in anything but comparatively rude health; certainly it is better than it has been for many years. The only negative appears to be the petty and self-indulgent ramblings of the same old people who should, if they have nothing positive to say, either be quiet or take their leave if they are unhappy. This sort of tedious negativity and nit-picking over trivialities is partly why I have grown tired of the chess scene in general, with Calderdale no exception, and why I shall not be taking any further part for the foreseeable future… Good luck to all those who will and here’s hoping next season is as competitive and nail-biting as this one was from the start!

    Thus endeth the monologue, regards,

    • Hi Alastair,
      I think you feel I was casting aspertions against your good name in a comment I made against the last post. If so then I apologise. That wasn’t my intention. I only wanted to point out that when you have two teams in league 1 you sometimes have to make some tricky choices if regular players aren’t available. Certainly you chaps made the right decision not to postpone the match which would have been an unfortunate way to end the season (I think the league regulations don’t permit it either but I might well be wrong). It was as you say ‘bad timing’ which was a real shame for you because, as I said in the post above, if you had beaten Halifax away you’d have won the title – big if of course. Just goes to show how close it really was this season. Like you I hope that next year it will prove to be equally hard to pick the winners.

      • I wasn’t really pointing the finger at you particularly Dave, you weren’t to know the details. I just find the general level of distrust of motives and speculation irksome. That pales into insignificance however when compared to the displeasure I feel when reading some of the utter drivel espoused by one contributor especially, whose summary of the season and state of the league just reeks of hypocritical sour grapes. To suggest that the rest of us shouldn’t have bothered turning up in the face of an overwhelming onslaught from a Halifax team allegedly full of ringers is simply not borne out by the way things went from start to finish.
        Halifax fielded the most consistent team of any, not bringing in players for specific or crucial matches-unlike most other teams this year! The fact that they happen for once to have been blessed with a very strong line-up is not something for others to carp about: they will simply have to do better next time.

        Congratulations once again to Halifax- most worthy and deserving winners!

  9. I tend to ignore Fritz.

    Fritz says its a draw , well OK, if you can play and hold the position against fritz then its a draw. Too many games are not played out on the assumption that your opponent won’t make a mistake. They may!

    • “I tend to ignore Fritz.”?

      It’s only as strong as the next grand master with a FIDE equivalent grade of 2600 plus 🙂

      “Too many games are not played out on the assumption that your opponent won’t make a mistake. They may!”. True but that applies to both players and in my game I do not think either deserved anything other than the agreed draw.

  10. OK so in response, the fact that I think the league season was predictable this year does not mean I don’t think it wax worthwhile.

    Hence my discussion and shared thoughts with Darwin over the value of games.

    Its an easy aspersion to suggest Alistair that this is ‘sour grapes’ but if you feel that then you’ve misunderstood what I’ve been saying.

    Again – meaning or intent can be easily lost from just the written word.

    I already congratulated Halifax right at the start of the discussion, what I’ve been questioning is the value and long term impact on the league of selections that have taken place, as I have said, not just with Halifax, but other teams, hebden bridge included.

    I agree with Adrian, this is valuable discussion! If you think that raising these topics is negative, then I would argue that stagnation is the inevitable outcome.

  11. As for defaults, I was referring to the general issue as effecting the league and the individual championship. I said previously that I’m sure people had their reasons, just saying its a shame, and in saying something needs to be done about it, I’m not saying that some sort of punitive action should be taken, but rather that greater support from the league needs to be given to team to avoid this happening like it has in recent years.

  12. To be honest Matthew I have to disagree with saying that Halifax winning the league was predictable.

    I think with the strength of Huddersfield and Todmorden A and with Phil Watson playing for Courier that the league was wide open all season.

    Hey if Robert Clegg had managed to win his game against Sam Scurfield’ which on paper he should have, Courier would have won the league and we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    I think Halifax had this season what we had last, a pretty stable team who all played for each other, not players just playing their game and then going home only caring their own personal result.

    • “if Robert Clegg had managed to win his game against Sam Scurfield”

      Hence my comment about being lucky in chess 😉 When I looked at the board and Sam was a piece down I thought to myself – game over, just a matter of time. To his credit, Sam managed to find a way out of it. he had the lucky start on his side 🙂

    • I agree with you Nick. The title race was wide open and when you look back on January , when we lost to Huddersfield and fell 4 points behind, we were counted out from the title race until Lady Luck went on our side and top teams start losing against weaker teams and were able to catch up. So it only means the title race was unpredictable.

  13. As it happens Matthew, I do in part actually agree with some of what you are getting at, taking issue primarily with the timing of it and the rather graceless way you opine it.

    I too believe that the profusion of very strong “outside” players being used on a sporadic basis in order to boost winning chances, at the expense of regular locals who miss out, is indeed a very bad thing for any league and could quite possibly lead to the eventual downfall of chess locally. Too much emphasis is being put on winning at the expense of team spirit, something which is rarely being fostered lately.

    However, this was clearly not the case with Halifax who fielded a consistent and unchanged line-up throughout the season and who were genuinely elated as a team when they lifted the title!

    Perhaps the problem is in the definition of local: one could easily take issue with most of the teams, especially in division 1. Todmorden is virtually all from Burnley; Courier has a strong Bradford influence, as do Halifax and Belgrave in particular. Hebden Bridge are from all over the place these days… If one were to exclude players who, say, play in others leagues, then Calderdale chess would shrink by a half overnight.

    Quite why this has happened is unclear but may be partially attributable to factors Mattew is drawing attention to-regular local players become disillusioned at their paucity of games and drift away… The consequences of this long-term may prove dire as many of the transient strong players from elsewhere come and go as they please, no more than hired guns.

    The trouble is that not all of these “outside” players have been drafted in simply to make teams stronger: many have filled a void left by departed or non-existent locals .ie. Some teams would simply cease to exist without them. The primary question of course is age-old: which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    For me personally, the dissolution of team camaraderie and stability is a large factor in my recent disinterest and lack of further and future participation. We’ll, that and the fact that my wife is about to have another baby….! 😉

    • Sorry to hear you intend to have a break from playing (would like to persuade you otherwise if at all possible) but,congratulations to you and your wife !

    • which came first, the chicken or the egg?

      One of my favorite questions and here is the answer:

      Chickens evolved from non-chickens through small changes caused by the mixing of male and female DNA or by mutations to the DNA that produced the zygote. These changes and mutations only have an effect at the point where a new zygote is created. That is, two non-chickens mated and the DNA in their new zygote contained the mutation(s) that produced the first true chicken. That one zygote cell divided to produce the first true chicken.

      Prior to that first true chicken zygote, there were only non-chickens. The zygote cell is the only place where DNA mutations could produce a new animal, and the zygote cell is housed in the chicken’s egg. So, the egg must have come first.

  14. Hi Al,

    Well first congrats on the new baby! Great news.

    Perhaps my timing was ill judged, but i would say i dont consider posts here in this form to be necessairly any form of well thought out or greatly considered opinions.

    Like most internet forums or discussion, instant replys are normally made up the first thing that comes into the posters head.

    This ‘word salad’ is sometimes just the actualisation of where your mind takes you at the time, and is not necessarily what one might say in a more formal setting.

    That doesn’t mean that i dont think the league was predicable however, though as i hope i have made clear, the fact that i think that doesnt take away from halifaxs achievement in winning the league.

    The questions and ideas ive raised in previous posts are on a wide range of issues and not just the one thing.

    I also dont think that stronger players necessarily means a stronger/better league. A league is only successful if there are competitive teams and players available to play. It doesnt matter if everyone is rated 100 or 200, there just needs to be competition – and that leads to my point raised earlier that i think its more beneficial for teams and the league to include players in their team who are regular club members, even if they are lower rated than players that can be brought in.

    Again there is nothing necessarily wrong with that approach either, all ive been raising is a discussion about this issue. I’m not sure i have any truly defined opinion on the matter as of yet.

    I appreciate that a lot of people who go to a club night dont always want to play competitive chess, and i understand that. However, as discussed with colleagues from huddersfield over recent years, i believe this one of the (many) reasons why the once thriving club night at huddersfield has seriously declined, as the members who are the ‘heart’ of the club, rarely get a game.

    I think the calderdale league would be served well by having a handicap league as well – which would give more games to lower rated players.

    Please consider that again, these are just my thoughts in quick response, on an internet forum…I’m not attempting to write a new constitution or anything.

  15. regarding Nick Sykes comment on my failure to beat Sam in the crucial bottom board game,i would say
    that this was entirely down to pressure put on me by my own captain not attempting to win
    against Carlos.Before the match started,our team all agreed that draws were no use,and it was win or bust.Anyone who saw my game will know that I was a piece up,but that Sam had good chances of a perpetual check.I felt obliged to try to win for my team,but then blundered badly to lose-incidentally my first loss for 39 games.well done to Sam and Halifax,but this is why I much prefer playing for myself
    in congresses rather than league matches.

    • Hi Robert,
      Team chess competitions do throw up some very specific challenges don’t they? As you say, sometimes you have to over ride your natural instincts about a position and play for a result that you might not play for if it was an individual contest. Kudos to you for trying to get the result your team needed. I was in a similar boat to you when Hebden Bridge played Courier at yours earlier this season. On that occasion I continued to play for a win in a position we both knew was objectively drawn because Hebden needed a full point. I could well have ended up losing but in the end you defended accurately to prove the position was drawn. Afterwards you were sporting enough to acknowledge that you understood why I’d carried on playing.
      In fairness to your captain, having seen the final position of the game Carlos posted further up the comments to this post, I can see that it would have been very hard for him to carry on playing for a win without risking a great deal.
      Thanks for your contribution to the discussion. I’m sure Courier will be back for another go next year having got so close this time around and well done for your runners up finish which was a significant achievement when the league was as strong as it was this season.

      • Hi Dave,
        I appreciate your kind comments.Im not going to be too critical of both a team mate
        and personal friend,but I would like to make a few observations on the featured game.
        Firstly,i agree with Nick that Owens defence is weak,and I have a 100% plus score
        against it.I would also agree that the final position is drawn,but as a strong analyst I claim that
        the positions between moves 6-12 are very favourable to White,and possibly winning.If
        you need a win then the one thing you shouldn’t do is to instigate mass piece exchanges,and end up with opposite bishops ! better to manoeuvre and sac a piece for
        2 pawns and catch his king in the middle.
        I would also like to ask a question re the rules of the Calderdale league.arnt the teams supposed to play in grading order,as Courier do?
        throughout the season,Halifax(and others) have changed boards 1-3,and boards 4-5
        several times,so that actually they are picking and choosing which opponents they
        think they can beat?

        • Robert,

          I believe that Nick (below) is correct in saying that the current rules state players must appear in order of “known playing strength”. That does provide some latitude for players to be manouevred about during the season especially if captains are aware of player’s live ratings. Generally, where there is little to chose between players I personally don’t have a problem with swapping them around a bit especially if one player for example has endured several beatings on a high board and can be given a bit of protection for the next couple of matches to let someone else take on more senior responsibilities.

          For example in the case of Hebden Bridge ‘A’, Nick, Andy Leatherbarrow and I all had very similar live ratings for most of the season but early on we stuck to the 2013 year end grade order. This put Nick on board 3, Andy on 4 and me on 5. However, by the half way point Nick was sturggling for form and the live ratings had reversed so we were able to let Nick come down the order a bit. In my view that’s not against the spirit of the rules though if anyone disagrees feel free to.

          There was however (at least) one occasion this season where we presented our line up to an opposing team Captain who then went off for a huddle with his team to decide on how they would line up against us. That’s a bit naughty because although we certainly wouldn’t have complained about their final board order in terms of ‘known playing strength’ they did clearly gain a modest advantage by seeing our order before deciding on theirs. Both captains should present each other with their board orders at the same time and if one has a problem with the board order his counterpart has submitted he should take it up with him before the start of play.

          That’s my understanding/view on this subject which is an interesting one. I wouldn’t be in favour of tightening up the rules but again, happy to hear others views if they think we should.


  16. Isn’t it ‘known playing strength’ regarding board order. However I wouldn’t object if a rule came in to stop the fiddling about if players on boards. Difficulty comes if you have a player who has played very few games as their grade may not be accurate?

    • I selected my team order on all matches according to how I predicted the outcome against any possible opponent, yet still sticking to playing strenght guideline. My top 3 boards rotaded a bit but if you look at their grades at the start of the season, they are of similar strength (few points between). Any of them are capable of beating each other. Same applied for boards 4 & 5.

      Just like the home team has the ‘advantage’ of playing white, the opponens have the advantage of picking board order last and make small adjustments if needed, but within the ‘playing strength’ guidelines. Swings around and I have no objection to any team doing it.

      Playing white I very much used the same board order throughout the season.

  17. I completely agree with Dave in that both sides should give their teams at the same time.

  18. I’d like somebody to ask John Kerrane what format that he, or parents of juniors, would most likely support in the evening. If enough interest is shown, I think it would be of long term benefit to chess in Calderdale by having a reduced league on Monday with both leagues playing at the same time. I’d then suggest a quick play format on the other Monday nights? 25 mins seems reasonable, two games, teams of three (one car). Games would be graded on Chessnuts as quick play to give Juniors some sense of improvement.

    I don’t see any need to change league rules that would limit who can play. That should be decided by the clubs involved. I’m not a big fan of bringing in players for one match but it shouldn’t be against league rules. Gawain Jones turned out for Leeds CCCC against reigning Div 1 champions Rose Forgrove this season, Palliser on board 2, John Hall on 3, Colm Barry on 4! Magnus Carlsen recently turned out for his Norwegian club too. It happens.

  19. On a separate note, I’d also like the first time control to be at 35 moves. It divides nicely into 7 moves every quarter hour. It is also the same as the Leeds league and I can’t remember three different time controls.

    Another Leeds league ruling is that the away team have the white pieces so the home team doesn’t get all the advantage. It might be seen as anti- Todmorden though 🙂

  20. Mm,ok my initial reaction whenever I here stuff involving rules is STOP ! Occam’s Razor or some such must apply … stop making more fucking rules … we all wish to play a game of chess … chess has rules that are simple … keep it simple …

  21. Heck, if we are going to make it all more simple why not align Leeds, Bradford and Calderdale league rules?

    Consistency is key but the 3 leagues all have different time controls with 35, 37 and 36 moves respectively. Does anyone know why? League AGM are round the corner so it could be a matter of looking at each of the league rules, pick out the best and adequate rules then drop the out of date items. The end result would be 3 leagues in the area all with the same rules. Simplezzz!!

    I’m with Bill on asking parents what would work best for them in terms of having juniors playing. Existing format means that kids could be staying up to 11pm if they wanted to play in the Calderdale league.

    • In principle I agree with you Carlos. But other people more in the know may have reasons why it is not so simple!

      • It is simple if people do not complicate and oppose change just because people in general do not like change. Horses with blinkers I refer it as 🙂

        Anyway, we can discuss all sorts of changes for the benefit of the league (those with vision), but I bet any dollar, next season’s rules will remain unaltered 🙂

        • I don’t know carlos, given that the agm is made up of about 6 people, you just need to go with enough people supporting you to win a vote.

          The posts here in the last couple of weeks clearly indicate that certain changes needed to be at least discussed and put to a vote.

  22. I have been reading the above with interest. If there is interest in changing formats then I suggest a meeting to discuss this. Leaving everything to the AGM makes it impossible to get through all the agenda items. The purpose of the meeting would be to decide concrete proposals that can then be briefly reprised at the AGM and voted on. It is worth noting that voting is limited to two representatives per club. One comment for Carlos – nothing in the rules gives the away captain the right to decide board order after seeing the home team list. the team lists should be exchanged 5 mins before the match starts.
    As for the format changes, please let me know by email if anyone wants to take this forward.

    Dave Colledge

    • I’d like to propose 35 moves in 75 mins formally. I’m hoping to get the Bradford league changed too – ideally the whole of Yorkshire; presumably the world would soon follow.
      Does anyone have Dave’s email address?
      Genghis K

  23. Hi Bill. Regarding the proposal. It would carry more weight if there was some reason given as to why you would want the different time control? On the face of it I dont see that changing the moves by 1 would make any significant impact other than to take up the committee’s time considering it! Also you do need to be precise – are you proposing that all games are restricted to 35 moves? or will there still be 15 minutes extra? Also, will you be attending the agm to discuss your proposal?

    • Dave, it is purely a nicety; some consistency among local leagues. It may become a standard in time throughout Yorkshire evening leagues. There will be no real benefit other than a small one to people who play in 2 or 3 local leagues (such as myself playing in Leeds[35], Bradford[37], and Calderdale[36]). It won’t be to anyone’s detriment either. The number is not important either, it is just that 35 equates to 7 moves per quarter, Sheffield used to be 40 moves, or 8 per quarter. Note the extra 15 minutes 2nd time control remains. I may attend the AGM if there is any support for this other than Carlos, otherwise no. It is difficult (read impossible) to argue the case for one arbitrary number over another.

      • I still don’t understand what is so important about an exact number of moves per quarter hour – am I missing something? Do players want consistency? Or perhaps some variety is preferred? A standardised system is bound to displease some players. I personally like the HDCA time control of 70 mins for 35 moves and 20 mins back. More important is to move things on new formats / competitions. This will need a big effort to make something actually happen. It is easy to write blog entries but most chess players disappear without trace when it comes to actually doing something other than criticise the committee for inaction. need to know soon:
        Would clubs enter teams in new competitions? If so how many teams?

        • Dave, 35 or 7 moves per quarter just appeals to my logical brain. I agree it is arbitrary. I for one would like to see consistency among local leagues. Blogs are great for canvassing opinion on the subject. I will wait until more people share their preferences here before taking any action – for if it is required, it will then be action on behalf of many league players (not just myself). Maybe you are misunderstanding the intention, this is not for a new competition – it will replace Calderdale Leagues 1 and 2 (plus individuals) 36moves/75+15 mins with 35mins/75+15. Maybe HDCA can be persuaded to change from 35/70+20 mins to 35/75+12 mins too!?

          • That should be 35/75+15mins! not 12, of course.

          • Note: I used to mark my scoresheet on moves 8,16, 24, 32, 40 etc in Sheffield when I used to play there. It was supposed to help with timekeeping. I suppose this is where the moves/quarter comes from but I’m also an electronic engineer so making this pseudo logical number preference appeals. It is again arbitrary. The only strength to the case is consistency among local leagues – Calderdale, Bradford, Leeds, and now Huddersfield 😉

            It is technically illegal under FIDE rules, I believe, to mark up your scoresheet in the way described by the way.

            Can everyone else give their opinions please?

          • Bill,

            As another player who has taken part in the Bradford, Leeds and Calderdale leagues over the last few years I too can see that it would be ‘nice’ to have some consistency but agree that the benefits beyond that are pretty much none existent.

            On the one hand it’s so trivial a suggestion that one hesitates to trouble the league AGM with it, on the other hand if there is a consensus of opinion that consistency would be desirable then we will have to table it.

            The only other thought I have is that this could maybe be addressed by the YCA. Any thoughts on that?

            I guess it’s useful to discuss and test ideas in this forum rather than actually at an AGM as we can refine ideas before submitting them (or not!) to ensure discussion stays focused. I could set up a poll on the website to canvas opinion if Dave (in his capacity as League Secretary) feels that would help to quantify the strength of feeling on a pretty subjective topic.



  24. My reference to other formats referred to earlier blog entries about the possibility of new competitions, e.g. moving first and second div fixtures to same nights to free up some nights, 4 player second division teams, quickplay and handicap matches etc etc. I think there is an opportunity here that should not be wasted. I understand that your time control proposal refers to the current evening league competitions.

    • Understood. Yes, that is certainly a big one and probably requires some background digging by John Kerrane to try to get a format with more Junior participation (my opinion anyhow). At the very least it needs much more discussion. I’m not likely to participate in any quickplay league but I’d be willing to support or attend a meeting on any discussion involving changes that enhance chess promotion within Caderdale.

  25. I assume that the interest in reforming the evening league has zero interest other than a topic of discussion? My sincere apologies to Dave for killing this interesting thread. Suggesting action rather than talking has had the usual effect on Calderdales’ chess players!!!!

    • We’ll they certainly have gone quiet or forgotten how to type. I suggest you use all your powers Dave to create as much chaos as you can: one match day, one big league, quick play for the under 18s on Fridays’, home team has the black pieces. That should get some reaction 🙂

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