Thursday, 17 March 2011

News Flash: Calderdale Individual Championship Final Round

Your blog editor has been enjoying a recreational break
and is looking forward to witnessing first hand the Winter
X Games which are happening this week in Tignes
Greetings to all our readers from the Alpine slopes of Tignes! I mention this not to boast about my current location but rather to explain the absense of news updates on this blog during a particularly busy period of the chess calendar in Calderdale. Needless to say I don't have a great deal of spare time to write blog posts or analyse chess games at the moment so there is going to be a hefty backlog for me to deal with when I get home! In the meantime, the least I can do is acknowledge what's been happening over the last couple of weeks although I'm afraid it gives me little pleasure to do so.

First up is the final round of this year's Calderdale Individual Championship which took place on Monday night. Of course I was not there to witness the events myself but fortunately for this blog, John Kerrane was present and writes this report for the Hebden Bridge Times.

"On Monday evening at the Trades Club, Holme Street, Hebden Bridge Chess Club hosted the fifth and final round of the Calderdale Individual Chess Championship 2010/2011, with 34 players taking part.

The championship depended on the result of the game on board 1 between John Morgan, of Courier, who started with 3½/4, and Hebden Bridge’s Matthew Parsons on 4/4, with Morgan needing a win to secure the title, while a draw would be enough for Parsons. After a game in which Parsons started slowly, the players reached a tense end-game in which Morgan created a passed pawn, which caused Parsons enough difficulties for Morgan to force a win.

So this year’s Calderdale Champion is John Morgan, with Matthew Parsons in second place on a tie-break from David Wedge (Hebden Bridge), who won the first band grading prize after a flamboyant early mating attack against Huddersfield’s Robert Sutcliffe.

Unusually for the last round with prizes at stake, the evening was characterised by a lot of dynamic attacking chess making for interesting games and few draws. Other grading prizes went to Martin Syrett and Josh Blinkhorn, both of Hebden Bridge, and Tom Webster of Todmorden."

Our congratulations go to John Morgan who is having an excellent season for Courier and has succeeded in carrying his form into the Individual Championship as well. I've not been playing chess in Calderdale for all that long but in that time (5 years) I don't think anyone from outside Hebden Bridge Chess Club has managed to annex the title. Perhaps someone can tell me who the last person to do so was and when it happened. Your blog editor certainly hopes that John's success will encourage even more players from other clubs to take part next year.

Obviously from a Hebden Bridge perspective we must also offer our commiserations to Matthew Parsons for coming so close to winning the title and also to Dave Wedge for relinquishing it after two successive years of ownership. However, on the positive side, Martin Syrett and Josh Blinkhorn deserve much credit for their grading prize performances. It sounds like there were plenty of interesting games to look at and, although I haven't yet been able to review them, you can be sure that when I do a more detailed report will be prepared for your edification.

Now, I'm afraid, onto more grave news. Just before I took off on holiday the club's 'A' teams faced their last remaining title challengers for the Division 1 title. Sadly, the result was a chastening defeat at the hands of a powerful Huddersfield side who now take command of the title race by a single point. It seems very unlikely that Huddersfield will slip up on the run in but Alastair Wright and his team will have to hope they do and themselves succeed in beating their remaining opponents if they are to retain the title. Understandably, no one in the 'A' team has offered their games to this blog for publication so I'm afraid the match score card will have to tell the story of a disappointing night.

Huddersfield 'A' - Hebden Bridge 'A'
L.Keely 1 - 0 M.Parsons
C.Booth ½ - ½ D.Wedge
D.Keddie 1 - 0 A.Wright
D.Firth 1 - 0 M.Wedge-Roberts
R.Boylan 1 - 0 N.Sykes
4½ - ½

Sadly, the news was also grim for Hebden Bridge 'B' as they lost a few days earlier in their crucial relegation battle with bottom side Todmorden 'A'. Todmorden had beefed up their squad significantly with the addition of two strong players from the Lancashire League since the two teams last met back in November. In the end this additional musle on the top 2 boards proved to be decisive as, although Hebden Bridge held their own on boards three to five, they lost both of the games on boards one and two. I do have games from this match which I will get round to sharing at some point but for the moment here is the match score card.
 
Hebden Bridge 'B' - Todmorden 'A'
P.Olley 0 - 1 M.Hamer
D.Shapland 0 - 1 A.Clarkson
A.Leatherbarrow ½ - ½ C.Edwards
M.Syrett ½ - ½ S.Gornall
J.Kerrane ½ - ½ P.Edwards
1½ - 3½

This result leaves Hebden Bridge 'B' in a most precarious situation a point from safety behind Halifax 'A' who have a game in hand on them and a further point behind Brighouse who they play away on the last day of the season. They could help themselves and their colleagues in the 'A' team by scoring a result away against Huddersfield next Thursday but such a result would be an absolute miracle assuming Huddersfield put out the same side as they did last week.

1 comment:

parsnip said...

Congratulations to John on beating me and winning the title. He played very well, and i have to say so did I! I think it was a very high quality game until my blunder at the end. My mind had gone then, because the move after the blunder, i missed an obvious move that whilst still probably losing, did at least not lose on the spot.

Still i had my best win of the season last night, so am happy to get back on winning ways.

Win or lose, its the game i love, and theres always another game!

Next stop, Harrogate at home on saturday.