If you were out and about in Halifax on Monday evening you may have noticed an acrid burning smell in the night air.
The cause of the stench was Hebden Bridge Chess Club's 'A' team generating serious wheel spin as they accellerated off the start line in their first match of the new league season against Halifax 'A'. The impressive winning margin was 4½ - ½!
Board 5 player Nick Sykes provides us with the match report for this encounter.
"Hebden Bridge 'A’ travelled to Halifax as reigning Division 1 Champions and were confident of a successful start to the season against last year’s whipping boys, Halifax ‘A’. However, Halifax have substantially bolstered their line up since last season when they were seriously affected by the sad loss of Derek Holmes mid-way through the campaign.
This year they effectively have two new recruits. On board 1 the arrival of Darwin Ursal from the Philippines gives them (on paper at least) the strongest player in the league and on board 2 Howard Wood looks like he may feature regularly for the team this season having only played a couple of matches last year. This meant that Ray Cully, who last season took up Derek’s mantle on board 1, is now playing on board 5! This is the strongest line up that Halifax have been able to put out for some years and that has to be good for the competitiveness of the division in general.
However, despite this extra strength, Halifax were unable to prevent Hebden Bridge from making a superb score of 4½.
On board 4, Matthew Wedge-Roberts illustrated just why he will be playing in every match for the ‘A’ team this season by comprehensively dismantling Pete Moss in short order. Matthew has been one of the fastest improving players in the league for the last two or three seasons and played the opening very confidently, quickly establishing a big pawn centre against Pete’s quiet Reti System. On move 8 he won a pawn and then from move 16 he unleashed a powerful attack that White failed to defend accurately against and he was soon wiped out. The moves from Black’s 16th are given below.
Matthew Parsons was next to finish on board 2 claiming another victim with his pet 'Pterodactyl Variation' (1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 c5) which on this occasion transposed into a hybrid Sicilian. The position stayed roughly equal for quite a long time but Matthew slowly built up a big advantage on the clock and this later expressed itself on the board as well when he created an imbalance by exchanging his Rook for a Bishop and pawn and a very promising position. Howard eventually overstepped the time limit on move 27 but his position at the board was already extremely grave.
The 3rd game to finish was mine own against Ray Cully. I got an advantageous position out of the opening and then Ray went for a dodgy knight sacrifice on move 18. I had to defend accurately but managed to find the right moves. The game is given in full below.
On board 1 Dave Wedge found himself in the slightly unusual position of being the under dog against Halifax's new recruit, Darwin Ursal. It was certainly to Dave's advantage that the opening variation they played was the Modern Benoni - one of Dave's favourites. The game ended in a draw which was a good result against a very strong opponent. The full game is given below.
Last to finish on the night was team Captain, Alastair Wright, who demonstrated excellent technique in remorselessly grinding down Carlos Velosa in a From's Gambit line of Bird’s Opening (1.f4).
In all a satisfying start to the season for Hebden Bridge 'A'.Next up is Todmorden 'A' away on the 4th of October."
Thank's to Nick for his report. That just leaves me with the task of presenting the match scorecard.