|A bacchanalian orgy did not take place at the Trades Club |
on Valentine's night! (Auguste Leveque ca. 1890-1910)
No, not some depraved bacchanalian orgy at the Trades Club, just round 4 of the Calderdale Individual Chess Championships! Sorry, I couldn’t resist the temptation to post a gross and unsuitably sordid headline and accompanying image as the lead for this most sombre of occasions.
Seriously though, someone must have a word with the League Fixtures Secretary who deemed it fit to locate this event on the 14th of February and thus place the chess players of the Calder Valley on collision courses with their other halves. Your editor (who is not playing in this year’s championship) therefore took the opportunity, along with several participants, to pursue his “romantic” interests. Yes, that’s right, I stayed at home to study the games of Labourdonnais, Staunton, Anderrsen and Morphy.
Enough of the light humour! Round 4 is traditionally the point at which the really critical encounters in the competition start to take place. This year was no exception. Event Organiser, John Kerrane, provides the story of the night’s events in his column for the Hebden Bridge Times.
“Attention was focused on the match on board 1, between Matthew Parsons and Dave Wedge, both of Hebden Bridge. The game was the last to finish, and the situation looked like a draw until, with both players short of time, Wedge made an error in the endgame, and Parsons emerged the winner with a score of 4/4 in the competition so far. In the fifth and last round on 14th March, he must face John Morgan (Courier) who beat Angel Gonzalez of Belgrave to bring his score to 3½. Only a win will do for Morgan, while a draw will secure the championship for Parsons, which should guarantee an exciting finish. On the lower boards, John Whitehead of Courier continued his strong showing with a draw against Mike Barnett of Belgrave, rated 60 points above him.”
No doubt about which game was the main event then! Here is the eagerly anticipated match up between Hebden Bridge’s top 2 players. I make no apologies for focusing my efforts on providing some sort of commentary on this game to the neglect of the others.
On board two, John Morgan made fairly light work of Angel Gonzalez who can be an obdurate opponent on his day (as I know from my own experience).
What this should mean is that John will have the White pieces in the last round against Matthew who essentially plays the game with draw odds for the title. It should be another tense affair and it will be interesting to see how the two combatants approach the contest.
Elsewhere, John Kerrane mentions in his commentary about John Whitehead’s good form in this competition. From what I’ve been able to observe he has consistently found ways of stirring up trouble in his matches and has reaped the rewards with a nice win against Adrian Dawson in round 3 and, below, a very creditable draw with Mike Barnett on Monday night.
Some of the other interesting games from the round included an almost inevitable draw between old adversaries Alastair Wright and Nick Sykes. These two must have played hundreds of times in friendly games at the club and although the result was therefore no surprise, this shouldn’t give the impression that they chopped wood and agreed an early peace. In fact Alastair chanced his arm by playing a sort of Pseudo-Orangutan (2.b4!?) and although Nick secured an excellent position out of the opening as a result he ultimately couldn’t make it pay.
Former Champion, Andy Leatherbarrow continued in his resurgent form since the season’s Christmas break by executing a smooth win over John Aldridge. He now joins a group of 5 players occupying 3rd-7th places behind Parsons and Morgan.
Robert Sutcliffe (Huddersfield) has had an excellent tournament this season. He also sits in the 3rd-7th placed group and, thus far, his only defeat has been to the tournament leader who he pushed to the very limit in round 3. On Monday he also won in a Sicilian Defence, although this time with the Black pieces, against Hebden Bridge’s Dave Sugden.
That game brings round 4 coverage to a close. Full results for the round are given on the Calderdale Individual Championship page of this site. Current standings after 4 rounds are therefore as follows:
4 points: M.Parsons
3½ points: J.Morgan
3 points: D.Wedge, A.Leatherbarrow, S.Gornall, R.Sutcliffe, M.Syrett
2½ points: C.Booth, A.Wright, M.Barnett, M.Wedge-Roberts, N.Sykes, P.Edwards, A.Gonzalez, J.Whitehead
2 points: D.Sugden, A.Dawson, S.Priest, J.Blinkhorn, M.Shah, J.Aldridge, B.Corner, N.Bamford, T.Webster
1½ points: P.Olley, C.Edwards, D.Milton
1 point: J.Nicholson, J.Todd, B.Wadsworth, J.Gilhooley, C.Greaves, P.Dearden
½ point: D.Crampton, D.Pugh
0 points: M.Levy, J.P.Ellis, T.Whelan
Withdrawn: T.Sullivan, D.Ursal, M.Webster, H.Webb, C.Velosa
Of course there will be coverage of the final and decisive round shortly after it takes place on the 14th of March. Next week we return to Division 1 action as the Hebden Bridge ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams meet for the second derby clash of the season.