Bedford A beat Luton (again!)

 Bedford A   Luton 
1Steven C Ledger1940.50.5Andrew Perkins183
2James Gardner1870.50.5Damon D’Cruz161
3Paul F Habershon17510Samir Vora159
4Richard T Bodily1730.50.5Pete Montgomery146
5Ravi Arulnandhy17010Marek Gladysz140

In an unusual fixture arrangement Bedford A hosted Luton in a reverse of the away match from only 2 weeks ago. We’ve now played Luton twice having not played 3 other teams at all. Mindaugas was unavailable which gave Andrew Perkins a break as Mindaugas said that he’s played almost 50% of his total Bedford matches against him. Ravi deputised on board 5. Luton were slightly stronger than in the earlier match.

On board 4 I played Pete Montgomery and thought that I had a decent aggressive position out of the opening, a Pirc. However a couple of poor moves from me and effective counters by my opponent and I could see that I was going to get much the worst of it, so I offered a draw which was accepted.

Board 5 and Ravi was black in a favoured Kings Indian defence against Marek Gladysz. After a level opening, Marek unwisely opened the b file and then castled long. Ravi occupied the file and brought several pieces into the attack whilst his opponent couldn’t generate much counterplay on the kings side. In an already difficult position, white allowed a knight fork of king and queen, losing the queen for 2 minor pieces. Ravi finished nicely – see game

Paul was next to finish, playing an Alekhine’s defence against Samir Vora. Paul seemed to have a small edge when white, already with one bishop exchanged for a knight, swapped off the black square bishop with the resulting position favouring Paul. With a timely ‘f’ pawn push, Paul was able to fork queen and knight leaving him a piece up. Sensible play then followed, combining attacking the king and exchanging off pieces resulting ultimately in a pawn ending with Paul still a bishop up. After a few desperate moves white resigned.

On board one, Steve had a long struggle with Andrew Perkins. From an English opening and some exchanges, Steve obtained a decent edge with complete control of the d file by his rooks although opposite colour bishops were in place. Steve then seemed to miss his best chance to win a pawn although following an exchange of one pair of rooks he did manage to win one pawn and pressed hard and seemed to be making progress but with doubled pawns it was never quite enough and a draw was agreed.

Finally on board 3 James Gardner took on Damon D’Cruz. Damon elected to defend against the queens gambit with a Slav defence and appeared to be better in the early stages. After 23 moves all minor pieces had been exchanged but few pawns resulting in cagey manoeuvring. Although both players tried hard, there was never much in it and once an equal rook ending was reached a draw was agreed.

A third win out of 4 and Bedford A are joint top of the table for a short while at least.

Richard Bodily, 30th November 2019

En passant

Neil is still shamelessly trying to flog his book …

Greetings all.

Chess magazines are not cheap.

New In Chess €89.99 a year; CHESS £49.95; British Chess Magazine £55.00.

I am going to suggest that even though, naturally, it is primarily aimed at Norfolk’s chessplayers (I accept you are not going to be greatly interested in reports of the Norfolk League), you could do a lot worse than look at the online version of En Passant, Norfolk Chess Association’s monthly magazine. For £5 a year, you get twelve issues, normally 24 pages each issue, accompanied by a separate file containing all the games in that month’s issue in PGN format. (A printed version costs £30 a year). It is edited by David LeMoir, author of a number of excellent books on tactics, with much of the analysis from Senior International Master Mike Read. Because LeMoir does it very much as a labour of love, the price has remained unchanged for eleven (!) years.

As well as plenty of well-annotated games and tactical puzzle positions, En Passant carries some interesting theoretical articles – there was, for instance, a very good survey of the Vienna Gambit a while back. John Wickham, the Norfolk Chairman, is a qualified arbiter and there have been some interesting and useful articles by him about changes to the rules.

LeMoir is currently having a subscription drive among those of Norfolk’s chessplayers who do not currently take En Passant. With his agreement, I am circulating this among my contacts in Bedfordshire. The November 2019 edition is attached, to give you an idea of what you might expect. David LeMoir’s contact details are included on page 2.

Yes, I do draw your attention to LeMoir’s book review at page 12…

Best wishes,

Neil Hickman

Bedord A win smoothly

MK BBedford A
1Richard CP Freeman18201Mindaugas Beinoras228
2Francesca Matta17501Steven C Ledger194
3Dominic Bartram16310Paul F Habershon175
4Peter Edwards15701Richard T Bodily173
5Ali Kheyrollahi155e01Steve C Pike163

We travelled to Milton Keynes for our third match of the season . Unfortunately James Gardner had to withdraw through illness on the morning of the match but Steve Pike stepped in to save the day.

First to finish was Steve Ledger who was black in a Benko, same opening as last year against the same opponent. I didn’t see what happened but apparently in a position where Steve had an edge, Francesa left a knight en prise. When a second piece was lost all inside 20 moves, she resigned.

Next was Steve Pike who obtained a solid advantage out of the opening and continued this into a double rook ending a pawn up (there was a brief opportunity for black between those two phases but fortunately for me, it passed unnoticed – Ed). It appeared to me that it may be tricky to convert but Steve managed this neatly.

I defended a closed sicilian and opened the centre at a good time just as white was preparing an attack. A temporary knight sacrifice netted a crucial pawn and with a better position I was able to set up a mating attack sealing the match.

Mindaugas played against Richard’s modern defence and soon established a strong pawn centre and more space. As the pressure told, Richard gave up a pawn to try to obtain activity but Mindaugas was able to reduce the material to rook and knight v rook and bishop. Richard then went for a mating attack (which looked dangerous) conceding further pawns but this was successfully repulsed and he had to resign.

Paul was last to finish. He had a small advantage from the opening, a grand prix attack against the sicilian but this disappeared into a drawish endgame of rook and bad bishop against rook and good knight. When the rooks were swapped, black’s king became very active and invaded the kingside with Paul’s pieces remaining passive in defending pawns. Paul then missed his one chance to save the game and had to resign as a pawn was lost.

A good result against a team that caused Bedford A problems last year

Richard Bodily, 25th November 2019

Chess coaching opportunity for Bedford members

As previously posted, new member Darren Reed has considerable chess coaching experience. Darren’s wide ranging CV can be seen below. After returning from Finland, he is now looking to extend these activities in this country.

To this end, he is offering a free introductory online or face-to-face coaching session to all Bedford club members – I have already had a two and a half hour lesson from him, losing to him in the first match of the season, so I would suggest that he has much to offer!

Darren’s contact details are on the membership page or chat to him directly at the club if you are interested.

Darren Reed’s Chess Coaching CV

Coaching Achievements:-

  • World Chess Federation (FIDE) Qualified Coach (National Instructor) 2016 – only 19 other England affiliated FIDE qualified coaches.
  • Manager of Finland Youth Team at the European Youth Chess Championships in Batumi, Georgia (2014), Prague, Czech Republic (2016), the Nordic Girls’ Championships in Stockholm, Sweden (2017), The World Cadets Chess Championships (U8-U12) in Santiago De Compostela, Spain (2018) and the Nordic Girls Chess Championships in Koge, Denmark (2019).
  • Member of the Board of Finnish Premier League Champion club Tammer-shakki. Manager/coach of women’s and girl’s team and also jointly responsible for junior activities at the club.
  • Coached and organised Lentävänniemi School’s chess team which won the Tampere School’s Team Championships in 2015.
  • Coached former two-times Finnish U18 champion Touko Setälä.
  • Currently coaches Sini Jokinen who has won the Finnish Youth Girls’ title three times (U8 2014 , U10 2016 and U12 2017) and the Finnish Schools’ Girls’ title four times (U8 2014, U10 2015 and 2016 and U12 2017). Sini has also represented the Finnish Youth team in 6 international matches, played in the World Cadets Championships (2018) two European Youth Championships (2014 and 2016) and two Nordic Girls’ Championships (2017 and 2019).
  • Chess teacher and camp supervisor at the first International Chess Camp to be held in Tampere, Finland from 31.7-04.8.2017. Coached the English language group which included national youth champions and medalists.
  • Chess teacher at Shakkilinna: (Chess Castle) 2017- . Teaching chess to elementary school children and Tampere’s strongest junior players at the kilpakerho (competition club).
  • Thetford Youth and Community Chess Club (UK) coach before coming to Finland in 2004. First started coaching juniors in 1996.

Bedford C flying high (game added)

Milton Keynes DBedford C
1Josue Estevez Fernandez17001Michael T Botteley160
2Nick Tsimikalis103e10Giuseppe Valerio140
3Ivor Smith 01Robert S Walker128
4Yuv Saxena90e01Callum T Shields128
5Steven Wayne100e01Andy Evans100E

For once we outgraded the opposition, the newly (re)formed fourth Milton Keynes team. Only their top board with a grade of 170 had much experience the rest having estimated gradings from 90 to 103. I travelled to Milton Keynes as non playing Captain allowing Andy Evans to make his C Team debut (though he won against us as a last minute substitute for our D Team in our first match!) 

Callum was first to finish. His opponent Yuv Saxena had posted his Queen and Knight in aggressive positions but ought to have wondered with plenty of other options why Callum chose to retreat his Bishop to the back rank. Yuv walked into a pin, the Knight was lost and soon after the game. When he resigned he had used only 17 minutes for 20 or so moves. Callum, who is a quick player himself, had used twice as much.

Robert was going well against Ivor Smith on board 3 in a Sicilian. Major piece pressure on the Queen file enabled him to exploit a pin to win a pawn, after which he was able to eschew opportunities to win a minor piece and readily accumulate more pawns until he had a massive and unopposed pawn chain which would have netted several Queens if he had wanted.   

Despite the good start however the remaining games were not looking at all clear. Joe, playing a Modern Defence against Nicholas Tsimikalis, expanded on the Queenside and won a pawn. However he didn’t give sufficient attention to his opponent’s sacrificial attack on his King and failed to find a defence until we were on our way home! 

Suddenly a loss for the team looked distinctly possible, particularly as after a very solid start in which he had established an imposing pawn centre, Andy had lost a piece to their Captain Steven Wayne. He had compensation having established his Queen and rook on his opponent’s second rank. At one point he hardly seems to have any pieces which weren’t on the second rank! However, Steven’s King was nowhere near having scarpered all the way to Andy’s end of the board where he was threatening to promote a pawn. Andy missed a chance to blockade and would have to give up a rook to stop the pawn. However – fortunately for us – Steven lost his nerve and his attention turned to his own back rank where after all Andy’s pieces had come off he had a menacing trio of passed pawns. By the time Andy’s rook had gone his pawns were unstoppable. Phew! (see amazing game below, annotated by Richard Bodily – Ed!)

Meanwhile Mike had found himself playing in what appeared to be the comfort zone of Josue Fernandes. Deep into the game, whatever he tried, Mike could make no headway. In what appeared to be a blocked position with few exchanges I couldn’t make much of the game (over my head!) so I was delighted to find that Josue had finally cracked to give us a 4-1 victory.

Peter Gill, 22nd November 2019

Bedford D struggle

Bedford DLeighton Buzzard B
1Steve C Pike16301Peter C Clarke183
2Andrew J Chapman1600.50.5Kevin J Williamson168
3Richard McMorran13801Brian J Valentine167
4Lucian Cox1120.50.5Adrian Matthews158
5Anthony P Lawrence4501Peter Taylor151

Bedford D had a difficult evening against a very strong Leighton Buzzard B team, featuring their A team board 3, the county captain and no player under 150!

Andy was first to finish. Playing White against a Scandinavian, he always seemed to be on the front foot but Kevin played solid and peace broke out relatively early.

The other 4 games went more or less the distance and were well contested, rather giving false hope against the odds. What was required was for the captain to set a good example!

Sadly, this didn’t occur. Having had a bit of a grovel against Peter all evening, I reached a Q+B v Q+N ending, pawns equal although his were better. Had I sat on my hands, I might still have lost but would probably have been the last game to finish. Distracted by the heating (or lack of – I have to blame it on something!), I (a) made the inept decision to swap queens and (b) did it in such a way as to lose a pawn. Capitulation followed shortly.

Richard’s game looked difficult to me – a Sicilian with not too much counter attack. Brian looked to have the happier position but, in later complications (and with some confusion), Richard failed to make the 35 moves before his clock hit zero.

Tony, out-graded by over 100 points(!), had played a solid game. Despite thinking (and preparing so he told me) he was going to be White (sorry Tony!), his Queen’s Indian held firm for a long time. With 2xR+N each, he miscalculated and pawns (and the game) were lost, but he should take great heart from his efforts.

Lucian had to wait a while for his game to start. Adrian (unavoidably) arrived some 40 minutes late but Lucian (and I) was happy to play. A characteristically energetic, exacerbated by Adrian’s new 35 in 30 time control, game saw Lucian go a pawn up but ultimately go a pawn down but not lose his nerve in a K+PvK ending.

All in all, a disappointing scoreline but mostly (myself excluded) decent individual efforts. Against weaker opposition (there is surely some somewhere in this division!?), who knows!

Steve Pike, 14th November 2019

Bedford C impress but fall short

NorthamptonBedford D
1Chris Ross21110Darren Reed167
2Nigel Young14601Michael T Botteley160
3Srihari Iyengar1550.50.5Giuseppe Valerio140
4David P Curran1360.50.5Peter S Gill135
5Shane Ashley12610Robert S Walker128

The C team’s winning run (well 2 matches) came to an end at Northampton on Tuesday night.

On Board 4 I played Captain Dave Curran as I have done in our last four matches. An early draw was agreed, also as in our last four matches! When I fed the game to my chess engine it could barely stay awake offering only two suggestions one of which was not to play the modern defence!

On Board 3, playing a newcomer with the difficult name of Sriihari Iyengar, Joe survived a ferocious pawn storm on his castled King emerging with a slight material advantage and a good chance of a win only to fall asleep (his words) and allow his opponent to equalise with a cheap trick. At this point Joe encountered his usual opponent, the clock, but this time it was not Joe’s fault. It turned out the clock was not adding increments on each move. In a far from ideal solution it was agreed to add 10 minutes each.That was ample for the players to reach a dead draw.

On Board 5 Robert had got what looked like a winning position against Shane Ashley. Shane’s pawns were doubled whilst Robert had a massive pawn on e5. It was surely a matter of time before he cashed in. However, spoilt for choice with ways to win, Robert stumbled into about the only way to lose.

On Board 1 Darren had the unenviable task of playing the formidable Chris Ross – surely the strongest player to grace Division 2 of the Beds League. Chris managed to establish a fearsome Bishop pair in the centre of the board and drove one of Darren’s Rooks into a corner from which even Houdini could not hope to escape. Darren defended stubbornly but eventually dropped a pawn with more to follow. 

So the match was gone but on Board 2 Mike had gone two pawns up against Nigel Young. Nigel conjured up some complications before jumping up from the board and dancing round the room on one leg in what appeared to be a celebration in rather bad taste.  I assumed that Mike had somehow gone wrong but it turned out Nigel had had an attack of cramp. Mike sportingly insisted on stopping the clock but when Nigel was ready to resume, for some reason – I don’t know why – the clock was no longer adding increments. Nigel managed to muddy the waters with Mike’s King looking vulnerable but Mike cooly pressed on, promoted to a rook (I think!), and with 4 seconds left mated with two rooks against against King (and not much else.) That avoided a difficult conversation with Dave and Nigel, who I am sure would have recognised that a win for Mike was the right result.     

Peter Gill, 14th November 2019

Bedford A put points on the board

LutonBedford A
1Andrew Perkins18301Mindaugas Beinoras228
2Damon D’Cruz16101Steven C Ledger194
3Samir Vora15901James Gardner187
4Pete Montgomery1460.50.5Paul F Habershon175
5Aleksandar Juhasz12101Richard T Bodily173

Bedford A won their first points of the season with a victory at Luton. Bedford comfortably outgraded their opponents but the match was much tougher than the scoreline suggests with all games going long into the third hour of play.

First to finish was Paul, who as black v Peter Montgomery in a Reti opening quickly swapped queens and won the exchange but was unable to capitalise and in trying to simplify in a minor piece ending allowed a past rook pawn which cost him a bishop. The following exchanges resulted in a symmetrical rook and 4 pawns ending and a draw was agreed.

On board 5 as white and unusually for me I established an early advantage out of a kings pawn opening winning a pawn and maintaining it on d6. However Alexander recovered and created threats which should have enabled him to recover the d6 pawn. He spurned this in favour of an attack which never really got going. I was able to prepare a queen side attack and slightly (very) fortuitously crashed through into a winning ending.

On board 1, Mindaugas obtained a small edge v Andrew Perkins on the white side of a Queens Indian which seemed to turn into a Benoni type position. He gained both time and space and quickly established a dominant hold on the position with Andrew unable to counter in a typical good knight v bad black square bishop position. With Andrew exchanging pieces to attempt to free his position but then missing his only real chance to equalise, he felt he had to sacrifice his bishop for hope of a perpetual which Mindaugas could avoid. A solid win by the Bedford top board.

Steve was black v Damon in a symmetrical English opening, After the majority of minor pieces were exchanged, Steve had an edge with play against doubled isolated c pawns and won one of them. However Damon was able to create threats down the open files and had equalised when he moved his queen away from the main action to win a pawn on h7. Steve was able to take over the centre and exchange down to (his favourite) winning rook and pawn ending

Finally James was against Samir Vora and played the white side of a Kings Indian. After standard opening moves, James was able to advance both in the centre and on the queenside with his opponent unable to create much counterplay. James continued to press forward and black was driven so far back he had very few sensible moves, even the win of the exchange could initially be ignored in favour of a direct attack on the king. Material down and with a lost position Samir resigned, making the match score 0.5-4.5

We are now on the board and can look forward to climbing up the league in pursuit of the B team!

Richard Bodily, 12th November 2019

Bedford B defeat the champions!

Bedford BLeighton Buzzard A
1Qais Karimi1670.50.5Gary Kenworthy211
2Alex Taylor16810Evgeny Tukpetov202
3Nick Collacott17010Peter C Clarke183
4Marc ON Obi16001Stephen Law178
5Toby Cox1640.50.5Peter Hunt173

Bedford B faced their toughest challenge of the season as they hosted Leighton Buzzard A on Thursday.  Heavily outgraded on all boards, the odds were stacked against us, but after the first two results we were in good spirits.

Looking at the games from early on we all seemed to be at least holding our own – but could we convert the changes.

I had the white pieces against Evgeny and after a closed Sicilian opening seemed to be holding firm. I managed to neutralise any threats down the h file and went into a queen and bishop ending no worse.  My draw offer was spurned, but then managed to open the queenside up and win a pawn.  A mistake by my opponent then allowed me to force queens off go into a won endgame.

The next result came in soon after.  Nick had a very closed position against Peter, but had a space advantage and a slight edge, but nothing overwhelming.  Peter then chose the wrong moment to exchange central pawns which opened the c file, and then gave Nick the chance to win a vital pawn which then opened up Peter’s position to force a win.

Bottom board saw Toby take on Peter Hunt.  Toby’s position always looked comfortable and he managed to win a pawn in the middle game, although it was doubled, which limited its use one they went into a double rook ending.  After one pair of rooks were exchanged Peter offered a draw, which was accepted.

So with two games left, we were guaranteed at least a draw in the match – but could we get over the line?

Marc spent much of the evening with a very comfortable game.  Kings castled on opposite flanks led to a complex middle game with both sides attacking  Marc’s attack always seemed a little bit more potent and this meant that he had a clearly winning position in the endgame.  The frustrating thing with chess is that you can do all the good work and then you miss something – which happened to Marc as he missed a tactic which allowed Steve to push through a pawn to queen. 

Its was therefore all down to board 1 where Qais faced Gary.  In the early part of the game it looked from the outside that Gary was creating weaknesses in Qais’s position which looked prime for exploitation.  However, Qais then won a pawn and the exchange and although Gary had a strong attack against the king, Qais looked to be holding comfortably.  In the end Gary sacrificed his queen in order to force perpetual check.  However this was good enough to win us the match 3-2.

An amazing result by the team, and it is not an exaggeration to say that the scoreline flattered our opponents.  Who would have believed it?

Alex Taylor, 9th November 2019