Division 2 playoffs – promotion decided

Thanks to Peter for his report:-

A hard fought draw in the second playoff game so James goes up. Mike managed to win a pawn but his own pawn structure was poor and though he later got to two Rooks against Bishop and Rook (I’m not sure how many pawns each by then) he had to settle for a draw.

Ravi plays the Game of the Season!

In the game of the season competition, Ravi’s game against Graham Borrowdale accrued the most votes. Nick’s game against Marek Gladysz and Qais’s draw with Steve Pike shared second place.

All three games are worth a look if you haven’t already.

Division 2 Playoffs

Thanks to Peter for his report:-

Despite pressure from Alex and having at one point been down to 7 seconds on the clock for all remaining moves Toby held out for a draw in a pawn and minor piece ending to clinch a place in Division 1, having won last week.

James, playing white against Mike in their first play off, had sustained pressure, chasing Mike’s King up the board and delivering a neat check mate by the Queen, I think from her starting square. They will play the second game on 11 July.

Division 2 playoffs

Toby Cox drew first blood by beating Alex Taylor last night. The return tie, when Toby will have the White pieces, will be played next week, as will the first tie of the James Gardner v Mike Botteley playoff.

A place in division 1 next season awaits the victors.

Bedford Championship decider

In a thrilling final game Steve Ledger needed only to draw with Richard Bodily to clinch the Bedford Chess Club Championship.  After missing a good line in the middle game Steve found himself in a losing endgame. As usual he defended stoutly and in the end it was the clock that forced Richard to repeat moves and agree a draw. Preliminary analysis by Fritz strongly suggests that Richard maintained a winning advantage right to the end, but the correct line from the final position involves a bold piece sacrifice to force through the K-side united passed pawns.
After the game Chairman Paul Habershon took the opportunity to present the trophy to Steve who will be unable to attend the AGM.

Division 1 gets interesting.

Two big games in Division 1 last night saw Nick draw with Richard and Marc draw with Robert. With only 3 games to go, Steve Ledger looks favourite but Richard or Marc could still take the trophy.

Marc and Robert share an interesting game :

Bedford at the Beds individual

Eight Bedford players took part in this years event, which ended last Sunday. Steve Ledger finished runner up but there were a number of good performances. Full details may be found at here. Paul sets the scene, Toby adds a battling game and Steve demonstrates a couple of fun wins!

Paul Habershon – Although the county championship ended rather predictably with Gary Kenworthy first on 5 and Steve Ledger second on 4.5, it was an exciting final day, particularly notable for seeing Toby Cox on top board in the final round against Kenworthy.

The drama started days earlier when the sole leader, James Gardner, on 3.5/4 had to withdraw for work reasons. This left four players in joint lead on 3. The top Round 5 pairings were Habershon(3)-Kenworthy(3), Borrowdale(3)-Cox(3), Ledger(2.5)-Freeman(2.5). Kenworthy arrived nearly fifteen minutes late but still needed only about 25 minutes thinking time to dispose of me (see game). Cox drew with Borrowdale and Ledger beat Freeman. Thus Round 6 was: Kenworthy(4) v Cox(3.5), Borrowdale(3.5) v Ledger(3.5), Habershon(3) v Karimi(3). I beat Qais in a sacrificial game starting 1e4 g5!?, thus ending up sole 3rd on 4 points. Ledger mated Borrowdale. Toby put up a terrific fight(see below) , impressing Gary (‘my toughest opponent’), but eventually succumbed. Typically of a Swiss finish, Toby, despite a great performance, ended up out of the top three places.

Steve ledger – just to show that all my games aren’t turgid grinds or endgame swindles, here are the last two rounds games. The 2nd, especially, was a right mess, ending in an amusing king hunt …..….. Though would have been better if I’d sacrificed a few pieces to get his K right up the board (!)

Blackthorne Russia in 4NCL

Steve Ledger’s 4NCL team struggled in their 4NCL pool at the weekend, facing the likes of Guildford 1 (all GM’s including Adams, Fressinet, Hou Youfin …), Wood Green (Speelman, Houska …), Cheddleton (Howell, Hawkins ..) and others, but his brother Andy had an impressive draw against super-GM Ettienne Bacrot which is well worth a look.

Full details of results may be found at http://www.4ncl.co.uk/ (scroll down to
Weekend 5, 4-6 May 2019 , divison 1, pool C).

Bedford C struggle against a very strong Leighton Buzzard B

With James Gardner on board 1 we travelled to Leighton Buzzard for our last game with some hope but I can’t help feeling that standards in Div 2 have rocketed when County Captain Kevin Williamson, and National Manager of Grading Brian Valentine, can’t get in their A Team.

James having got off to a bad start against Kevin had to invest a lot of time trying unsuccessfully to disentangle. When I saw his Kingside Rooks pawns had been doubled (rarely a good sign I imagine) I correctly feared the worst.

I was also struggling on position but well ahead on the clock. Having lost a pawn and facing multiple threats I thought it wise to offer a draw. When I made the offer my opponent had about 2 minutes left for 16 moves to my 30 minutes. He used most of that considering the offer, by which time I’d have withdrawn the offer if I could. Subsequent analysis showed my position was completely lost but even with increments he might have struggled to avoid defeat.

Richard had a big pawn centre against Fred Dorn but it appeared to be under terrific pressure. After a long think he adopted attack as the best form of defence, thrust his Queen deep into Fred’s position and wouldn’t let go until the threat of a neat mate forced the win of a piece and an easily won ending.

When I first looked at Robert’s position all his pieces were developed and all his opponent’s were still at home. Somehow however his opponent managed to get all his pieces into the game only to succumb to a Queen sac and a bank rank rate.

That left Joe who seemed to have a drawn Rook and pawn ending against Brian Valentine and, a miracle, plenty of time on the clock. However there was still some play in the position and Brian pounced on one small error to clinch a win and draw the match – not good enough I’m afraid to lift us off the bottom of the table just behind the D Team who beat us twice!

James Gardner 0 – 1 Kevin Williamson
Joe Valerio 0 – 1 Brian Valentine
Richard McMorran 1 – 0 Fred Dorn
Peter Gill 0.5 – 0.5 Thomas Evans
Robert Walker 1 – 0 Tony Readman