Congratulations to Toby Cox and James Gardner who share the Bedford Club Championship with 5 points each out of 8. The victory of Richard Bodily in the 25th November relegation decider against Qais Karimi meant that Toby and James finished with identical Sonneborn-Berger tiebreak scores. Toby is the youngest in a line of Bedford Modern School players to have gained the title. Stephen Taylor (1971) and Jonathan Hill (1977) won while in the Upper 6th form. James Plaskett (Champion 1980, born 1960) and Richard Freeman (Champion 1983, born 1958) had already left the school.
Who would have predicted that the winning score in the 2019-21 club championship would be a mere 5 points out of 8? At the dawn of November 4th Toby Cox had finished with 5 points and no fewer than four other players could catch him by winning their remaining games. By the end of the day, after Bodily 0.5-0.5 Ledger and Habershon 0.5-0.5 Pike, Richard Bodily, Steve Ledger and Paul Habershon were ruled out of contention, leaving only James Gardner to join Toby if he beats Richard Bodily.
The relegation battle is no less compelling. Nick Collacott on 2.5 will be in one of the relegation places, but he will be joined by either Richard Bodily or Qais Karimi. These two still have to play each other, but Richard’s game against James Gardner could also be significant. Tiebreaking Sonneborn-Berger scores will not be known until all games are finished.
Paul played a controlled game against Brian Valentine so finishes third equal – an excellent result
Unfortunately, Andrew Ledger lost so misses out but still finished joint second in the Open.
“No short draws in the last round:
Stimpson (3.5) 1-0 De Coverly (5.5)
Bray (3.5) 0.5-0.5 Myall (4.5)
Valentine (4) 0-1 Habershon (3.5)
So De Coverly wins outright with 5.5 despite losing today, Myall 2nd with 5, Stimpson and Habershon =3rd with 4.5. Phil Stimpson got a third place trophy on tiebreak, but I share the prize money: £60 halved to £30 each.
Brian Valentine lost on top board to De Coverly, who is thus guaranteed at least a share of the title. The tournament, like the British Championship proper, has been plagued by withdrawals. 21 entered the O-65 and top seed G H James had a fall at home and never started. For the last round the withdrawals now have reached 10, including the original 4/4 leader Oliver Jackson who then lost two games in a row. This has opened up the podium to Brian Valentine and me. Top board pairings for the final round (7):
Stimpson (3.5) De Coverly (5.5)
Bray (3.5) Myall (4.5)
Valentine (4) Habershon (3.5)
Jackson (4) has withdrawn
Prizes: 1st £240 2nd £120 3rd £60
I’m sure you will have seen that Andrew Ledger has a great chance to win the British – joint leader with Pert on 6/8 and playing a sub-2300 in the last round.
White missed a good continuation at move 18, then Fritz liked my position for the rest of the game – sometimes to the tune of +1.56 but I could not see a way through so agreed a draw with White well ahead on the clock. I didn’t want to turn down a draw then lose on consecutive days! Brian Valentine is having an excellent tournament and is on 4/5 to my 2.5/5.
We beat MKA 4-1. Great game by Ravi on 4 (see below). He’d requested Black. Order of finishing was quickish draw by Bodily on 5 v Whiteside. Double-edged draw on 1 where Kenworthy played an enterprising gambit v Beinoras and got a perpetual. Then Ravi made it 2-1. I was always plus v Elwin on 3 and turned Q side pressure into a K side mating attack. Lastly Steve on 2 ground down Graham Smith in R and N ending with better pawn structure.
This sets up a thriller away v Leighton Buzzard on 30th April. League will definitely be won outright – they just need a draw, we have to win.
|1||Mindaugas Beinoras||229||1||0||Andrew Perkins||194|
|2||Steven C Ledger||186||1||0||Damon D’Cruz||152|
|3||Paul F Habershon||180||0.5||0.5||Pete Montgomery||138|
|4||Richard T Bodily||178||1||0||Marek Gladysz||135|
|5||Qais Karimi||159||1||0||Humayun Mirza||100e|
Bedford A dispatched a heavily outgraded Luton side, but need to win their last two matches against MKA and Leighton Buzzard A to have any hope of winning the League.
Board 4 was the first game to finish. It was quite double edged but Richard prevented the Black king from castling and won nicely (see game below). Qais came in for the unavailable Andy Chapman and duly won, making it 4/4 as a sub for the A team this season.
I won a pawn against Pete Montgomery but failed to convert after allowing some spirited counterplay in the ending. Next Steve clinched the match with a breakthrough when Damon was short of time.
Last to finish was Board 1 where Mindaugas gave a masterly demonstration of pressure against pawn weaknesses. Game below.
|1||Steven C Ledger||186||1||0||Richard CP Freeman||181|
|2||Paul F Habershon||180||0.5||0.5||Francesca Matta||178|
|3||Ravi Arulnandhy||169||0||1||Phillip Ekhaesomi||166|
|4||Richard T Bodily||178||1||0||Robert Whiteside||160|
|5||Andrew J Chapman||169||0||1||Peter Edwards||162|
This was a match we really needed to win, but MKB held us to a draw for the second time. With Andrew shedding pawns on Bd 5 and Ravi always on the back foot we went 0-2 down. Then Rob Whiteside failed to convert a winning position and Richard wrapped up the point (see game). Steve did not seem to be making much progress on Bd 1 but eventually his persistence paid off. This left me playing the deciding game, but I had already missed a simple exchange into a won pawn ending (see below). I was still a pawn up in a bishop ending but Francesca defended well and it simplified to a dead draw.
Captain misses open goal (Paul is overly hard on himself here but it’s worth a look, what would you play? – Ed)