Wednesday, 5 October 2011

League 2 Champions take control

Neil Bamford: Strong start to the
John Kerrane has filed us this report on Monday night’s league 2 fixture.

"The players of Hebden Bridge Chess Club’s D team set off on Monday evening to play away against the current Calderdale Chess League second division champions, Todmorden B, knowing they had a tough task ahead of them. Their own senior colleagues in the C team had only managed a draw against them in a home match a fortnight before.

The games all followed a similar pattern – after getting into difficulties in unfamiliar openings, the D team players fought back, but only Neil Bamford, on board 2, managed to overcome his initial disadvantage and won a complex rook-and-pawn endgame against his highly-rated opponent, Paul Logan. Finally, Todmorden emerged winners by a score of 4-1, which reflected the much greater experience of the Todmorden side."

The individual results were:

Todmorden ‘B’ – Hebden Bridge ‘D’
P.Edwards 1 – 0 J.Blinkhorn
P.Logan 0 – 1 N.Bamford
M.Huett 1 – 0 C.Greaves
R.Stoelman 1 – 0 M.Levy
R.Pratt 1 – 0 P.Dearden
4 – 1

I should add that both Josh Blinkhorn and Neil Bamford on the top two boards would normally have expected to play for the ‘C’ team. Unfortunately, Wheatley’s late withdrawal from League 2 has left only 7 teams in the competition and so Hebden Bridge ‘C’ had a walkover this week as their scheduled fixture was against Wheatley. I understand they will be awarded a 5-0 win.

Elsewhere in League 2: Courier B put an early dent in Halifax ‘A’s plans to return to League 1, after relegation from the top flight last season, by beating them 3½-1½. Courier won on all of the top 3 boards to seal the match.

Todmorden ‘C’ won their match at home against Halifax ‘B’ by an impressive 4-1 margin with Tom Webster, Dave Milton, Geoff Bowker and JP Ellis all winning their games. This win carries Tod ‘C’ to the top of the table as the only side in the league to have managed 2 wins from their opening fixtures. Their next match is away at Halifax ‘A’ in a tie one suspects Halifax are already under pressure to win.

I’ll end this post by saying “Well done” to Neil Bamford who has started the new season strongly with 2 wins from 2 games. He also won with White against Bob Pratt on board 5 in Hebden Bridge ‘C’s draw at home with Todmorden ‘B’ in the opening match of the season. As I don’t have his game from this Monday and didn’t publish that win at the time I will publish it now.

Neil has a straight-forward and uncomplicated style with an eye for exploiting a tactical opportunity which makes him particular dangerous with the White pieces. In this game he plays sensible developing moves in the opening and gives himself the best chance of capitalising on his opponents mistakes. The nice sacrifice 26.Bxf7+! wins at least the exchange and is the kind of combination some players of higher grade would easily overlook.

Keep up the good work Neil!

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