C team edged out by strong Leighton Buzzard

This fixture ought to have been played before Christmas but Leighton Buzzard couldn’t raise a team and we agreed to reschedule. This time they had no such problem – they turned up with County Captain Kevin Williamson on top board.

With black against Peter Taylor’s e4 I played the Petroff. I have been trying for a year or two to “Lure my opponent into the Philidor Swamp” but after some early successes I found I was usually the one in a swamp so I decided to revert to the Petroff. I spent too long remembering the right moves but not – sadly – in the right order. For a moment or two I thought I had trapped white’s Queen, only to find I was losing a pawn and in danger of shedding more material. Fortunately Peter counter blundered into a dead drawn ending and for once it was my opponent who offered the draw, gratefully accepted.

Mac on board 5 was next to go. Playing Black he got a cramped position in the Pirc, lost (or sacced?) a pawn early on in a vain attempt to get some activity and went slowly down hill until 3 connected passed pawns down he resigned. 

Robert on board 4 managed to win a minor piece against the always tough to beat Fred Dorn but with all Fred’s remaining pieces focussed on f2 and Robert’s King cowering on g1 he had to be be very careful as he chased Fred’s Queen away from the attack. He managed to do so and thus, something he has not always been able to do of late, converted a winning position into a win.

So all square with everything to play for. Joe’s game against Kevin was down to King, Rook and several pawns for both sides heading I thought for a quiet draw, and Richard’s was far too complicated for me to follow, so I decided to take a short break in the bar. There however I was soon joined by Joe himself who told me that he had nodded off with two moves to go and lost on time. When you have Joe’s talent I suppose you are easily bored by a quiet position.

When I returned I still thought a drawn match was possible as both Richard and Adrian Matthews were threatening bank rank mates with hot spots on all four corners of the board. The only result that looked unlikely to me was a draw. However Richard lost a Bishop and the central passed pawn he got in return was never going to be enough for a win. He did well to exchange off all Adrian’s pawns leaving Adrian with only a few seconds – a few hours would not have been enough for a win as he was down to a solitary Bishop. 


Joe Valerio              0 – 1          Kevin Williamson

Richard McMorran  0.5 – 0.5  Adrian Matthews

Peter Gill                0.5 – 0.5  Peter Taylor

Robert Walker        1 – 0          Fred Dorn

Mac Mackenzie      0 – 1          Tony Readman

                                2 – 3

Bedford A beat Luton comfortably

1Mindaugas Beinoras22910Andrew Perkins194
2Steven C Ledger18610Damon D’Cruz152
3Paul F Habershon1800.50.5Pete Montgomery138
4Richard T Bodily17810Marek Gladysz135
5Qais Karimi15910Humayun Mirza100e
Played: 14/03/19

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.

B team gain important point

The B Team hosted Milton Keynes B, still looking for points to avoid relegation. The fixture earlier in the season has seen the sides draw and another close match was anticipated.

Marc played the From gambit in response to Richard’s opening f4 and seemed to have more than adequate compensation for the pawn. Richard’s pieces were very cramped, but he was able to hold on and the game was drawn.

My game against Francesca proved a little hairy. Out of the opening I stood worse and had to rely on pressure on the open h file to counter the pawn grabbing on the queenside. Eventually I managed to regain my pawns and simply to a drawn endgame.

Steve played actively against Rob and tried to launch a kingside attack. Rob equalised and seemed to have a bit of pressure in the endgame, but eventually the position was blockaded and peace terms were agreed.

Qais seemed to have a cramped but compact position. However, eventually he dropped the exchange, which proved crucial as his opponent simplified into a won endgame, despite Qais’s valiant attempts to hold the game.

James was left with the task of winning his game in order to tie match. In the middle game he created a lot of pressure and at one point it looked like he could break through. Some good defence by his opponent led to a rook and pawn ending which looked unpromising for James, until a mistake allowed him to create a passed pawn on the kingside which allowed him to clear the queenside and force through a pawn.

Overall result was therefore 2.5 -2.5, meaning that all Bedford A and B matched against Milton Keynes this season were drawn! A valuable point earned which increases our survival hopes.


Bedford A held by MKB (again!)

1Steven C Ledger18610Richard CP Freeman181
2Paul F Habershon1800.50.5Francesca Matta178
3Ravi Arulnandhy16901Phillip Ekhaesomi166
4Richard T Bodily17810Robert Whiteside160
5Andrew J Chapman16901Peter Edwards162

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)

Bedford C disappoint

Having drawn the away fixture, just missing out on a win, and bolstered by Mike Botteley on top board, I had high hopes for this fixture against the leaders in Division 2 last night particularly when they turned up without Graham Borrowdale. We comfortably out graded them but it was not to be!

I failed to convert a middle game rated by Hiarcs at one point as 5 points better and when still just about level I left a Rook en prise to a pawn. My opponent Dominic Bartram has won 7 games in the league so far with one draw and no losses mostly against much higher rated opponents. He didn’t play the opening at all well but outplayed me in the ending. I think I was the first to fall but Joe soon followed. I can’t say much about his game against Josue Fernandez – one moment it looked fine and the next he and his opponent were analysing a mate. And to complete the rout of our middle order Richard had all his major pieces aiming at Colin Solloway’s King but got nowhere and ended up in a pawn and minor piece ending a pawn down against an opponent he had beaten twice before this season. He battled on but could not resist a monstrous pair of connected passed pawns in the centre which hatched into a Queen – more than enough to squash Richard’s own hopes of promoting a pawn.

Mike did the business on Board 1 against James D’Alexander converting pressure from a pawn advantage to a classic bank rank mate against the fianchettoed King position with Rook and Bishop. That just left Robert playing on board 5. (When did we last have a Club Div 1 Player on bottom board for the C team?). He didn’t have things all his own way but eventually managed to free his extra pawn to promote.

So a very disappointing 2-3 defeat.

Mike Botteley 1 – 0 James D’Alexander
Joe Valerio 0 – 1 Josue Fernandez
Richard McMorran 0 – 1 Colin Solloway
Peter Gill 0 – 1 Dominic Bartram
Robert Walker 1 – 0 Paul Endersby
2 – 3

Peter Gill, 8th February 2019

Bedford A take the derby spoils

Bedford A hosted Bedford B as both teams kicked off the second half of their seasons with the A Team looking to re-boot their title challenge and B Team looking to pull away from trouble at the bottom of the table.

Blink and you missed the Board 1 clash between Marc and Steve. Marc tried a Ledge-esque opening and initially looked OK, but unfortunately had one of those moments we have all experienced of missing a tactic, and managed to get his queen trapped on h5.

James made is B Team debut against Richard on board 2. A Queen’s Gambit led to a an level position with James having more space, but an isolated queen’s pawn. Matters took a Karpov-Kasparov turn (think about all those exciting draws in their first match) and the game was halved in 18 moves.

Qais faced Andy on Board 5 and initially the game was even, but after queens were exchanged Qais appeared to have a clear advantage with a better bishop v knight and more active rooks. Qais pushed his kingside pawns effective and firstly pushed a protected passed pawn to h6 then finished with bishop sacrifice which was going to lead to the pawn promoting.

Board 4 saw Steve take on Ravi. A Queen’s Indian-style opening saw Ravi get the bishop pair and an awful lot of space. At one point it looked like Steve was going to get crushed in the centre, but he managed to hang grimly on to an ending, where Ravi stood clearly better. I have to confess I did not see the end, but Ravi converted his advantage to a full point.

My game against Paul (see below)was a re-match from earlier in the season. I thought I was OK in the opening (another Queen’s Gambit), but played e5 too early – realising this was a mistake as I played the move. It gave Paul all sorts of chances to take on f7 and cause mayhem, but luckily for me he did not play it quite in the right order. Nevertheless Paul had a clear advantage, which he held into the endgame – a draw offer was refused, but I was not able to create any chances and a draw was agreed.

A 3-2 victory for the A Team re-ignites their title campaign; for the B Team their next match against MK B and their April clash against Luton now look key to their survival chances.

Alex Taylor, 8th February 2019

Youth triumphs

No revenge for the old codgers as the young whippersnappers of the D Team completed a double against us.

Unfortunately our top board Joe Valerio had to pull out on the day because of illness, so Nigel Walker who, as luck would have it, had just returned after a 6 month break from chess was able to step into the breach, playing on board 4. Lucian Cox never got enough for his gambit pawn and Nigel eventually cashed in for a win.
However gone are the days when you could pretty much say two Walkers – two wins. Robert Walker, having achieved a winning position, blundered twice against Callum Shields. He might have survived one blunder but not two.

Mac MacKenzie got into a King and pawn ending a pawn down against Ben Pike and eventually succumbed. I couldn’t work out what was going between Richard McMorran and John Harbour. At one stage I think Richard had two minor pieces for rook and pawn but then he seemed to have cornered John’s King with a tasty choice of dangerous discovered checks. It ended in a draw – perhaps by a perpetual check for one or other!

Regular readers will have noticed more than the usual lack of detail in this report. Playing on Board 1 for only the second time in decades I had my hands full playing rising star Toby Cox. I knew he would play the French and decided to follow our last game (in which I managed to scrape a draw) but carelessly played e5 instead of Nc6 on move 3 and found myself in unfamiliar territory. He soon equalised and throughout the middle game he was better but never by very much. As the first time control loomed I wasted a lot of time pondering a Knight sacrifice to get at his King. (It would have been a disaster.) In the end I opted for exchanging off the rooks and got to a drawn ending which, short of time and endgame technique, I duly lost.

Peter Gill 0 – 1 Toby cox
Richard McMorran 0.5 – 0.5 John Harbour
Robert Walker 0 – 1 Callum Shields
Nigel Walker 1 – 0 Lucian Cox
Mac Mackenzie 0 – 1 Ben Pike
1.5 – 3.5

January gradings are out!

Old news really – sorry, I was throwing myself down a mountain last week – but worth a look if you haven’t already.  Very little movement but praise should go to all the Cox’s and Qais who hit all-time highs.  Toby managed a 10+ increase also which is always impressive in this context in 6 months!

Name Standard Grade January 2019 Standard Grade July 2018
Ravi Arulnandhy 168 D 169 D
Mindaugas Beinoras 227 D 229 D
Richard Bodily 176 B 178 B
Mike Botteley 153 B 154 A
Andy chapman 166 C 169 C
Nick Collacott 166 C 164 C
Ben Cox 130 A 124 A
David Cox 74 A 63 A
Lucian Cox 111 A 107 A
Toby Cox 150 A 139 A
James Gardner 171 B 167 C
Peter Gill 133 C 138 C
Paul Habershon 183 A 180 A
John Harbour 141 C 139 C
Chris Hill 146 B 140 B
Qais Karimi 164 A 159 A
Tony Lawrence 49 C 54 D
Steve Ledger 188 A 186 A
Mac Mackenzie 67 C 71 C
Richard McMorran 138 A 132 A
Gerry Nolan 127 D
Marc Obi 167 A 167 A
Ben Pike 102 D 103 C
Steve Pike 168 C 170 C
Callum Shields 137 D 134 E
Alex Taylor 164 C 163 C
Giuseppe Valerio 149 C 150 C
Robert Walker 128 C 128 B

Bedford D 0-5 Open University

  Home Team: Bedford D   Away Team: Open University
Board Name Grade Score Score Name Grade
1 Toby Cox 139 0 1 Graham E Borrowdale 177
2 John J Harbour 139 0 1 James NO’D Alexander 149
3 Callum T Shields 134 0 1 Josue Estevez Fernandez 130e
4 Gerry Nolan 130e 0 1 Dominic Bartram 111
5 R David Cox 63 0 1 Paul Endersby 107
Played: 24/01/2019   0 5    

As I wandered around occasionally the other games were hard to judge: the typical complicated, level material, positions that we all get into. How we managed to lose them all is a mystery. All I can say is well done to the O.U. players.

In my game a dodgy “theoretical novelty” at move 5 led to a decent position where I eventually won a pawn. Disaster struck as I was coasting to victory, with more spectators than time.

Bedford A slip up


Home Team: Milton Keynes B Away Team: Bedford A
Board Name Grade Score Score Name Grade
1 Richard CP Freeman 181 0 1 Mindaugas Beinoras 229
2 Francesca Matta 178 0 1 Steven C Ledger 186
3 Phillip Ekhaesomi 166 1 0 Richard T Bodily 178
4 Peter Edwards 160e 0.5 0.5 Paul F Habershon 180
5 Robert Whiteside 160 1 0 Andrew J Chapman 169
2.5 2.5
Played: 24/01/19
Bedford A slipped up again and were indeed lucky to draw the match. First to finish was Mindaugas whose central control proved too much for Richard when short of time. Mindaugas was then dismayed to see his four colleagues under time pressure and with poor positions. On Board 3 Richard at first seemed to have better development but once his opponent had untangled his pieces it was Richard whose king was more exposed and he reached a lost Q and N v Q and N ending two pawns down. On Board 5 Andy had a promising position but once the ending came his pawns were scattered  and weak. So we were 1-2 down with my game looking dire and Steve at best level in a rook ending after being a pawn up for most of the game. However, my opponent missed the killer punch (see game) and in the ending I even declined a draw in a level position in the hope of something good happening with both of us short of time. Eventually I thought I’d better not push my luck, agreed a draw, and then was delighted to see Steve pull off yet another trademark swindle with each side down to a rook and one pawn each. Steve’s h pawn was motoring and Francesca’s f pawn was going nowhere. Indeed the pawn soon fell and Francesca would have had to give up her rook when Steve’s pawn queened.
Paul Habershon