Friday, 10 September 2010

A Knockout Success for Hebden Bridge A

On Monday night Hebden Bridge chess club’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams clashed in the semi-final of the Calderdale Summer Knockout competition. Both teams put out strong sides with the ‘A’ team even managing to bring their Division 1 Championship winning team to the party. The teams lined up as follows with the 'A' team taking white on the odd boards:
Messrs Wedge and Leatherbarrow

Hebden Bridge A - Hebden Bridge B
 Dave Wedge - Andy Leatherbarrow
Alistair Wright - Pete Olley
Matthew Parsons - Martin Syrett
Dave Shapland - Steve Priest
Nick Sykes - Dave Sugden


The first game to finish was on board 5 where Nick Sykes won quite quickly against Dave Sugden. The swift conclusion was all the more surprising as Dave had elected to play the Petroff Defence with the black pieces. This opening has a super-solid reputation and indeed, after following the opening books until black’s 11th move the position could be said to offer white only a slight advantage (see below).


Board 3 was a close run affair
Once Nick had played 12.Ne3 and 13.Qe2 it looks very difficult for black to hold on to both the d and f pawns and in fact it would appear that Dave had to find the obscure 13…Rf7 which prevents 14.Nxd5 on account of 14…Qxd5 15.Bc4 Qd7 16.Bxf7+ Bxf7 which my computer adjudicates as being good for black. Once the d-pawn had fallen white’s initiative became significant and a few more inaccuracies from Dave were all that were required for Nick to finish the game off in short order.

Meanwhile on board 3 Matthew Parsons and Martin Syrett were engaged in a close contest which remained tense right into first a double and then a single rook and pawn ending. The critical position was reached after Matthew’s (playing white) 37th move.



Alistair searches for the
Wright continuation (sorry!)


This made the score 2-0 to the 'A' team. Shortly afterwards board 2 finished as well. This time the result was a draw as Pete took no chances against 'A' team captain Alistair. In an Alekhine's Defence the Queens came off the board early and a draw looked like the only result unless one player or the other blundered. Neither did.

Meanwhile on board 4 Dave Shapland was laying some ghosts against Steve Priest who had won once and drawn twice in three previous games against him during the regular season. This time matters turned out differently. Steve chose the wrong time to castle long and was immediately forced to suffer as Dave inflicted a range of cruelties upon him. Steve bravely staved off the check mate threats but only at the cost of two pawns and an utterly hopeless position. This game is given in full below.



This result now gave the 'A' team an unassailable 3.5-0.5 lead.
The last game to finish was on board 1 where Dave Wedge steadily built up his advantage with the white pieces against Andy Leatherbarrow and eventually converted a very favourable knight and pawn ending into the full point sometime close to 11pm.

The final score card looked like this:

Hebden Bridge A - Hebden Bridge B
Dave Wedge 1-0 Andy Leatherbarrow
Alistair Wright 0.5-0.5 Pete Olley
Matthew Parsons 1-0 Martin Syrett
Dave Shapland 1-0 Steve Priest
Nick Sykes 1-0 Dave Sugden
4.5-0.5

I don't think anyone expected such a comfortable scoreline at the beginning of the evening.
Please feel free to post comments about any of the games above. My analysis is certainly not flawless and my assessments are therefore absolutely open to criticism!

2 comments:

parsnip said...

Excellent report.

The photos combined with the chessboard diagrams and written analysis over excellent coverage of the night.

I dont disagree with your analysis of my position against Martin.

However....

I never really felt the game was tense! Yes, it was never too far from equality, and black could have made things far harder in the rook ending, moves such as b5, for instance had to be played. Despite this, the nagging advantage was always with white, as black due to the results of the first 6 moves, was never able to gain counterplay and achieve an active plan.

As such he had to sit and defend a passive position for a long time, and to be honest i always felt i was going to win. I like games like this. Against a stronger opponent, the game might have been different, but then again in such a circumstance, my approach also would have been different.

Intermezzo said...

Thanks for sharing your insight Mr Parsnip :)

I guess that the game looked tense from the outside. To be honest, I view any game that still has material parity in the endgame as being tense. But then, I am a relatively uncultivated brute when it comes to positional subtlety!

I definately agree that you were never really in any danger right through the game and there was only ever going to be one of two results. The third being a win for black ;)

See you Monday...