Results - A team
|Division 1||7 Mar 2017|
|Horfield A||University A|
|1||b||Pugh, Derek||1 - 0||Default|
|2||w||Guthrie, Aaron||1 - 0||Manghiuc, Bogdan|
|3||b||Dilleigh, Steve||½ - ½||Chapman, M|
|4||w||Easton, Alex||½ - ½||Prasse, Philipp|
|5||b||Nendick, Phil||1 - 0||Gupta, Arpit|
|6||w||Atkinson, Harvey||1 - 0||Sakiotis, Evan|
|5 - 1|
Although all the games in the match were drawn there was plenty of fighting chess. I'm afraid this can't be said of my own game though - an early exchange of queens followed by futher simplification saw the point being split after only 14 moves. However this did give me plenty of opportunity to follow the remaining games.
The board 6 game between Chris and Jerry looked like a typical Pirc where white had a large and well supported centre, but with black trying to create counterplay on the queenside. Ultimately neither side decided they could make progress and a draw was agreed.
On board 2, Aaron and Chris were playing a complicated game where I feared for Aaron a little in the opening, as it looked like he just needed a couple of moves to organise his position but might be tactically vulnerable in the meantime. However the tactics seemed to work for him and the queenside was eventually liquidated with not enough play remaining for either side to fight for the win.
The most promising looking game from a Horfield perspective was Alex's on board 3. In a King's Indian structure Alex had managed to create two passed d pawns and Javier was running short of time in the complications. However with one of the d pawns given up and the other then securely blockaded I couldn't see how Alex would create further pressure. Neither could he and the fourth draw of the match was agreed.
This just left the board 4 and 5 games, neither of which were going well from the Horfield side. In particular on board 5 John had lost a pawn and positionally it looked worse than this. However Charlie began to run short of time, and with John defending tenaciously eventually 'pawn down and worse position' became merely 'pawn down'.
Similarly on board 4, Steve had been forced to give up a pawn in a rook ending. However this was very tricky for both sides and although Richard made progress with his king, he was short of time and there were always tactics in the position.
Hence the finale was very tense, with the Horfield players trying to hold on in both remaining games, which they finally managed to do successfully. Although one could argue that this match was our last chance to put pressure on Downend A for the title, the result definitely felt like a point saved rather than a point lost! (DP).
Missing some regular players and with a C team match on the same night, I was very grateful to Howard and Mike J for stepping in to play this match. On arrival we learnt that S Bristol had also had player availability problems and would have to default board 6 - unfortunate for Mike J who therefore didn't get to play, but at least his availability had gained us a vital point.
In the match, board 3 was first to finish. Mike H had flung his kingside pawns at Richard's king but it was looking very double-edged to me. I was quite surprised though when I heard a groan from Richard and a handshake indicating that some catastrophic blunder had happened putting us 2 up. John subsequently agreed a draw on board 4 in a cagey game with double fianchettos.
On board 5, Howard was playing some sort of nineteenth century bishop's opening/centre game gambit. I don't see enough of Howard's games to know whether this is normal for him but it seemed to do the trick with a draw being agreed only due to Howard's time shortage. On board 2 Patryk had created a passed d pawn from the opening, but Steve seemed to have this securely blockaded and although Patryk tried hard to inflitrate the black position with his queen, this never looked really dangerous and a draw was agreed.
My game against Paul wasn't quite so smooth, with Paul having defused my Nh3 closed sicilian and having established a strong central knight on e5 in conjunction with a pair of rooks bearing down on my kingside. However I just about managed to hold my position together and the game ultimately fizzled out to a drawn rook ending. All in all an excellent result for the team (as well as for the B team). (DP)
|Division 1||24 Jan 2017|
|Horfield A||Bath A|
|1||b||Bicknell, Carl||0 - 1||Buckley, David E|
|2||w||Guthrie, Aaron||½ - ½||Payne, Matthew J|
|3||b||Pugh, Derek||0 - 1||Musson, A|
|4||w||Dilleigh, Steve||½ - ½||Bogdan, H|
|5||b||Easton, Alex||1 - 0||Gregory, Andrew M|
|6||w||Richards, John||1 - 0||Brown, Chris|
|3 - 3|
As is customary when my own game isn't going smoothly, I didn't have as much opportunity as I would have liked to follow the other games. I did note that in the early stages, Aaron looked to have pressure against Matthew's slightly draughty king position in an advance French, and that Carl seemed to be a piece up against David although whether the piece had been sacrificed or lost wasn't clear to me with the black position looking somewhat precarious.
The other games seemed to be heading along more stable paths. As mentioned my own game on board 3 against Adam was proving tricky with a lot of positional manoeuvering. Having given up the bishop pair I then unfortunately managed to get my knights in a tangle on the kingside, and eventually Adam prised opened a key diagonal winning him the game. At this stage I learnt that Carl had succumbed to the tactical pressure, Aaron's game had been agreed drawn and that John had won on 6 (sorry - missed this one entirely).
So 2.5-1.5 down, this left Steve and Alex to rescue the match for us. Alex had a large endgame advantage which he managed to convert. Steve also had an extra pawn although this proved insufficient to win with both players short of time. Steve was relieved though as apparently his opponent had previously had a very strong attack, so overall the match result was probably a reasonable one (DP).17 Jan Horfield B 2½ - 2½ Horfield A
The early skirmishes in this match went very much went in our favour. With the white pieces on boards 4 and 6 respectively both Aaron and Phil built up strong attacks which their opponents were unable to contain. With Steve drawing against David Collier on board 2 (a short game with a well-timed draw offer in that Steve felt he stood a little worse), this left us 2.5-0.5 to the good.
However the other games were clearly going to prove more tricky. On board 5, Peter had lost a pawn against Duncan Grossett leaving him in a very tough endgame, compounded by his opponent's customary rapid play. On board 3, Mike (playing Gareth Morris) had entered a problematic queenless middle game, where the white pieces had found some active squares, particularly a knight on b5 which was tying down the black pieces and could not easily be challenged. My game against James Cobb on board 1 was a positional struggle in a Two Knights Defence with 4 d3 in which I was also under pressure, battling to limit James' central control (particularly of the d5 square).
Eventually we succumbed on boards 3 and 5 leaving just my game remaining. As time for both players became short the position started to open up. This created enough counterplay at least to make the position hard to handle (although probably still objectively better for white), and with around 2 minutes left on this clock James accepted my draw offer, leaving the match drawn.
Unfortunately we had been unable to repeat our great result in the away match against Clifton A, but all in all a 3-3 draw seemed a fair result on the night. (DP)
With Dan dropping out on the day due to illness, I was very grateful to Rob for stepping in at short notice. Downend were also missing one of their regulars, so the line-ups were a bit different from what I'd previously expected.
I faced Lewis Martin on board 1 and almost paid the price for entering a sharp opening without knowing much of the theory. Lewis and I both used up quite a bit of time to find the correct (or at least sensible) path through the complications. When the dust settled I had 2 pawns for an exchange, and a safer king which eventually decided the game in my favour.
My heavy time consumption meant that I didn't catch much of the other games which had by then finished. On board 2 the battle of the Steves (Dilleigh v Meek) had been drawn following some heavy Kings Indian theory which the players had already tested up to move 24 in an earlier game. The black position proved difficult to crack and a draw was agreed. On board 4 Alex's opening knowledge had proved to be a key factor in a sharp encounter with Mike Brigden. I understand that Peter's win against Martin White on board 6 was more positional.
I was able to witness the conclusion of the other games. On board 3 Aaron had things under control, the tactics and positional pressure eventually netting a piece which forced Javier to resign. On board 5 Rob looked to have been under some pressure on the black side of a 4 Ng5 Two Knights Defence. He put up some tenacious resistance but eventually succumbed to the white attack.
All in all a very good result against a tough Downend B team who have been performing well this season. (DP).
|Division 1||29 Nov 2016|
|Horfield A||Horfield B|
|1||b||Malkiel, Dan||½ - ½||Harris, Michael|
|2||w||Guthrie, Aaron||0 - 1||Nendick, Phil|
|3||b||Easton, Alex||1 - 0||Richards, John|
|4||w||Bicknell, Carl||½ - ½||Kirby, Peter|
|5||b||Dilleigh, Steve||1 - 0||Attar, Rob|
|6||w||Perrin, Brent||½ - ½||Fisher, Jon|
|3½ - 2½|
A team report
Carl was a late addition for the A team, but having already agreed the arrangements for board 6 (with Brent filling in for the As and Jon for the Bs), I decided to step out and act as a non-playing captain for this match, letting Carl take my place on board 4. I caught the start of the match and its end, but missed much of the play in between. When I left the early stages of the match I noted that board two was already a sharp Evans gambit and when I returned I learnt that Phil (for the Bs) had successfully managed to hold the pawn. In an effort to justify the gambit, Aaron had opened the position but this activated black's bishops which quickly proved decisive.
I'd also missed Alex winning for the As with enterprising pawn play on both sides of the board. The games between Carl and Peter and between Brent and Jon had been drawn, so when I returned it was all square with the board one and five games remaining.
On board one Mike (for the Bs) was a pawn up in a rook ending, but he was short of time and Dan's pieces looked to have sufficient activity to hold the balance. Mike perhaps wisely decided not to look for anything more and the game was agreed drawn. By this stage the Rob (for the Bs) was also a pawn up and short of time in a rook ending against Steve. However by contrast with the board one game, Rob enterprisingly pressed for a win, but this proved mistaken as his pawns began to fall to Steve's active rook and king. Thus the game and match turned in favour of the As, who ran out 3.5-2.5 winners. (DP)
B team report
Recent A vs. B encounters have been close affairs with players knowing each other well enough to mount a few surprises and see the complications through. Though the match was no exception, Phil did not need any prior experience in storming through newcomer Aaron's ambitious opening play to score a lethal early win with black. John on the other hand was struggling against a typical squeeze from Alex and quickly gave way. 1-1. I was feeling good on board 1 when Dan took the exchange in return for a pawn, as I felt I had the usual minor piece activity required. Peter was holding off Carl, whilst Jon willingly went into an unbalanced ending; two knights were strong but Brent had a rook and an extra outside pawn and one felt that at some point a knight would have to give itself up for it. But he battled on as Rob next to him was pressing Steve in a major piece ending - Steve looked to have the attack under control but Rob pulled it by exchanging queens and switching focus to the centre.
My piece activity told and Dan blundered, but found the best way to blunder and went into a rook ending ending one pawn down. I was not proficient enough to find the winning chances and offered a draw - about the same time as Peter had proved the draw too - Carl tried a last effort to sacrifice a rook to queen a pawn but Peter held on. 2-2 and Jon had managed to activate his queen and threaten enough sacrificial mate/perpetual checks that Brent could not afford to queen his pawn. They wisely both repeated moves - more to the relief of Jon - and so it was all down to Rob and Steve. By a harsh twist of fate with a couple of pawns left, Rob fell prey to a few intermezzo rook checks and was suddenly on the defensive. Steve found all the good clear moves to eventually swap the rooks with an unstoppable pawn. 3.5-2.5.
Maybe it is a karmic outcome given Derek's sportsmanlike decision to step out of the match for the last minute appearance of Carl; or maybe it just shows why the top teams are at the top. Even when you get lucky, you don't quite get lucky enough. (MH).
Report to follow.
|Division 1||18 Oct 2016|
|Horfield A||South Bristol A|
|1||b||Malkiel, Dan||½ - ½||Helbig, Paul|
|2||w||Guthrie, Aaron||1 - 0||Roberts, Shane|
|3||b||Pugh, Derek||1 - 0||Garrett, Richard|
|4||w||Easton, Alex||½ - ½||Harvey, GA|
|5||b||Kirby, Peter||½ - ½||Neagle, David C|
|6||w||Richards, John||½ - ½||Pacion, Dorota|
|4 - 2|
Although South Bristol didn't bring all of their big guns to the match it was still a tense affair, and we could easily have dropped points had Richard (Garrett) played the correct winning continuation in his game against me rather than blundering into a back-rank mate. Fortunately Aaron's win was much more convincing with a powerful kingside attack which he was able to convert.
The other games were drawn. On board 5 Peter's opponent (Dave Neagle) found a sacrificial way to achieve his draw, and Alex couldn't quite find a way through Tony Harvey's defences. On board 1, Dan's MacCutcheon French produced a position typical of the variation with chances for both sides, although I didn't catch enough of the game to know who was better of the draw which resulted.
John was a pawn up on board 6, but with Dan's game still going and the score at 3-1 took the pragmatic decision to agree a draw and thus secure the match win (DP).
|Division 1||13 Oct 2016|
|University A||Horfield A|
|1||b||Manghiuc, Bogdan||½ - ½||Malkiel, Dan|
|2||w||Prasse, P||1 - 0||Guthrie, Aaron|
|3||b||Wu, X||0 - 1||Easton, Alex|
|4||w||Rimanic, Luka||0 - 1||Pugh, Derek|
|5||b||Cleary, M||0 - 1||Dilleigh, Steve|
|6||w||Sakiotis, E||0 - 1||Harris, Michael|
|1½ - 4½|
Things got off to a good start when my opponent fell into an opening trap which won a key pawn. He tried to complicate but couldn't avoid piece exchanges which left me with a clearly winning rook ending. Mike was next to finish on board 6 where he was able to convert the strong positional pressure exerted by his pieces on his opponent's position.
The other games took a little longer to decide. On board 5 Steve had won an exchange for a pawn but with his opponent having decent compensation in the form of a strong centre, However, by tactical means Steve was able to disrupt the blak centre and force home his advantage. Dan looked to have the better of a positional tussle on board 1 although I'm sure there were many hidden tactical points. Dan's queenside minority attack left black defending a vulnerable b pawn, but Bogdan was able to achieve sufficient piece co-ordination to hold the position and a draw was agreed, securing us the match.
On board 3, Alex had also achieved a significant positional advantage, and had reached a position where his strong passed d pawn on the 7th rank was tying up the black position. The lack of black activity allowed Alex to prepare a neat tactical finish to force home the pawn. The board 2 game was a wild one, where a queenless middlegame had turned into a race between Aaron's kingside passed ones and his opponent's queenside ones. However the white pawns were slightly more advanced which ultimately proved decisive. (DP)
This was another tight match against a tough Downend A team. The match got off to a great start for us with Kajetan crashing through against Jerry, and Alex appearing to have a strong attack against Lewis on board 3. The other games looked hard to judge, although my unusual opening play against Charlie turned out to be too optimistic and after unravelling his queenside pieces he was simply a couple of pawns up in a rook ending.
My struggles meant that it was hard to follow the other games. A cagey hedgehog on board 4 resolved itself to a draw, and the board 2 game also simplified to equality and a handshake. I didn't see the finishes on boards 3 and 1. I understand that Alex's attack was eventually sufficient for perpetual check, and that Henry eventually found a way to break through Aaron's defences. This just left my game, but Charlie's technique was up to the task and he duly converted his material to win the game and therefore the match (DP).
After the tough start against Bath we managed to secure our first match win against a reasonably strong Clifton B team.
This match was dominated by the white pieces, with excellent wins for Dan, Aaron and Alex. On board one, Dan held a positional advantage with his strong centre cramping Chris's pieces, eventually breaking through to secure the point. On board 3, an opening slip by his opponent in a French defence allowed Aaron to generate an overwhelming attack. On board 5 Alex also managed to break down his opponent's resistance to score the win.
Things were much trickier for us on the even numbered boards. Kajetan's attempts to make progress against his opponent's solid play led to some overcreativity and time shortage eventually told. A sharp opening in my board 2 game had left us both in time trouble, Although objectively drawn, the game became random with less than 30 seconds each and I eventually cracked, blundering my queen. However by that stage, Steve had already agreed a draw with Dominic on board 4, thus winning the match by being the only player on either side not to lose with black (DP).
I always find the away match against Bath A to be a tricky fixture, and although we generally outgraded our opponents, they played well to frustrate us and win the match.
Following an oversight in the opening I was in too much difficulty in my board 3 game to be able to see exactly what went wrong on the other boards. Dan looked to be having a typical sharp Grunfeld struggle against David Buckley, but something went wrong and the game ended suddenly in victory for David. On board two our new recruit Aaron had won a pawn but at the cost of some development and a messy position. I thought he was about to consolidate, but an accident happened allowing white a strong attack which he duly converted. On board 4 Alex was struggling to make headway against white's solid position and attempts to unbalance things unfortunately rebounded. With board 5 ending in perpetual check and solid play on 6 also leading to a draw, Bath had secured the match. I eventually managed a consolation win somewhat luckily when Rob couldn't quite find the right path to convert his advantage, eventually running out of time.
As the old football saying goes, if you're going to concede a goal it's best to do so in the first minute. And so we hope there will be plenty of time to bounce back after this slightly disappointing start to the season (DP).