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

Bedford D lose narrowly

MKCBedford D
1Ray Holland1480.50.5Steve C Pike163
2Alan Heath1400.50.5Andrew J Chapman160
3Dave Wells1380.50.5Richard McMorran138
4Colin Solloway12410Lucian Cox112
5John McKeon1150.50.5R David Cox80

I wandered around the boards about an hour into this match and was fairly happy with all the positions – Lucian looked to have Colin Solloway on the ropes, his dad had got his Knight to f7 against John McKeon and the other games looked at least level if not better.

First to finish was Lucian – I didn’t see exactly what happened but I think he must have overreached because suddenly he was lost from what I thought was a strong position – this can happen when you play aggressively – its still a great way to play so keep it up!

My game was happening at quite a pace, Ray Holland only using 20 minutes for his first 25 moves! Against a Rubinstein French, his Queen had moved around a lot so I was way ahead in development. At the critical moment,

I played what I thought was a clever combination (20. Rxe6?!), only to find that I had swapped a good position with level material for a rubbish position a pawn up. I actually went into a pawn ending, still a pawn up, and nearly lost the game! – a draw was agreed.

Richard was next to finish. His Catalan type opening had given him a strong (imho) grip on the middle game but the heavyweight pieces rather cancelled each other out and a draw was agreed with neither side able to progress.

Andy had been making all the running against Alan Heath, both sides had R,B,N+6P but Andy’s rook had invaded with lots of tricks, but sadly no treats. A draw was finally agreed.

This just left David, who had managed to convert his opening advantage to a bishop ending, two pawns up. Nothing was simple however, both sides had chances but eventually all the pawns got swapped off and a peaceful conclusion was ratified.

All this left the D team just missing out but I felt that everyone had enjoyed good positions along the way so maybe with just a little bit more luck …?

An excellent Finnish!?

One of our more recent members, Darren Reed is in Finland for a short visit so he could take his stepdaughter Sini to the Finnish Schools’ chess championships. She got a silver in the U14 girls’ section and Darren also got a silver in the teachers’ category with 5/6.

He thought it might be of interest and I agree with him – very well done to them both!

B team continue to impress!

Bedford B Luton
Board Name Grade Score Score Name Grade
1 Qais Karimi 167 0 1 Andrew Perkins 183
2 Alex Taylor 168 1 0 Damon D’Cruz 161
3 Michael T Botteley 160 1 0 Samir Vora 159
4 Marc ON Obi 160 0.5 0.5 Pete Montgomery 146
5 Toby Cox 164 1 0 Marek Gladysz 140
3.5 1.5

The B Team hosted Luton for their second match of the season as they looked to build on their victory the previous week.

Marc and Peter were involved in a royal struggle on Board 4. With kings castled on opposite sides of the board, Marc mounted a strong attack on the kingside, while Peter sought to break through on the queenside. At one point Marc appeared to be about to crash through, but Peter made desperate knight sacrifice, which in his words “proved to be rather good” and Marc had to play very carefully avoid traps and eventually accept a draw by perpetual check.

Qais faced Andrew on Board 1 and out of an English opening the position was balanced. Some queenside pressure allowed Andrew to win a pawn, but this advantage was not immediately conclusive. The position simplified to Q,R & B v Q,R & N, with Qais’s active pieces giving him good chances. Qais’s attacking instincts go the better of him, and a knight thrust rather than a retreat led to the loss of material. At one point, it looked like a perpetual check could be forced, but not quite, and Andrew simplified and won the game.

Mike always seemed to have the upper hand in his game against Samir. From a Sicilian-style opening kings ended up on opposite wings. However, Mike was able to launch his queenside pawns much more effectively and once he opened up the diagonals for his bishops, it always seemed to be a matter of time before he broke through to win the game.

Board 2 say me play Damon. A Ruy Lopez opening gave me a space advantage and always some nagging pressure on the kingside. Some tactical manoeuvring eventually allowed me to win a vital pawn and a mistake by Damon allowed me to win a second one and subsequently the game.

I have to confess I did not see much of Toby’s game, but from a Dutch Defence he managed to establish a strong pawn on e3 which hampered Marek’s pieces. At one point I thought that this pawn was going to drop, but I am sure Toby had it all under control and he eventually found a way to break through and win the game.

Another 3.5 – 1.5 victory sees the B Team briefly top of the table. Next the toughest challenge – Leighton Buzzard A

Bedford B earn early bragging rights – game added

Bedford ABedford B
1Steven C Ledger19410Qais Karimi167
2Paul F Habershon17501Alex Taylor168
3Ravi Arulnandhy17001Nick Collacott170
4Richard T Bodily1730.50.5Marc ON Obi160
5Darren Reed16701Toby Cox164

Bedford A hosted Bedford B in the opening game of the season for both teams.  In recent years the matches have been close, and with the A Team not at full strength, the B team were hopeful!

Richard and Mark were the first to finish on Board 4.  A closed Sicilian opening led to a tight game, where Richard had a very cramped position and was under pressure on the queenside, but no obvious weaknesses.  Marc lost/sacrificed a pawn and seemed to have good compensation for it, but a draw was agreed soon after.

The next to finish was Board 1, where Steve and Qais played an English opening.  Qais decided to be active on the queenside, and Steve focussed his efforts on the kingside.  Although chances looked even, Qais posted a rook on b6, but unfortunately for him, a tactic from Steve led to a devastating fork on king and rook to win the game.

Board 5 saw Toby take on Darren.  Toby sacrificed a pawn in the opening which gave him a lot of space and good counter-play.  He won the pawn back and entered an endgame with a R & 4 pawns each, but Toby had a passed d pawn.  A rook exchange allowed Toby to consolidate his advantage and win the game.

A complicated tussle took place on Board 3 between Ravi and Nick from a King’s Indian opening.  Ravi played an aggressive f5, but it was loosening and Nick was able to parry away any threats and then break through on the g file, which led to Ravi’s position collapsing rather quickly.

The decisive game was therefore the Board 2 clash between Alex and Paul (see below). A far too common inaccuracy in the opening led to Paul winning an early pawn and he managed to establish a passed pawn on d6 and with two bishops as well, he looked in the driving seat.  Some desperate queenside pawn thrusts, coupled with some defence in front of the d pawn allowed me to hold out and suddenly turn the tables.  Ultimately my queenside pawns proved decisive and secure the game and match.

3.5 – 1.5 victory for the B Team was therefore the slightly surprising (but deserved) outcome on the balance of play.

Bedford C take early division 2 lead

Bedford CLBB
1Brian J Valentine16701Darren Reed167
2Adrian Matthews15801Michael T Botteley160
3C Fred H Dorn1380.50.5Peter S Gill135
4Edward P (Ted) Brown1170.50.5Robert S Walker128
5Tony Readman1060.50.5Callum T Shields128

Reinforced again by Darren Reed on top board we headed to Leighton Buzzard where for once we had a small grading advantage. 
Fred Dorn, a player I have always feared as a wily tactician, quickly equalised against me playing a Centre Counter, but such tactics as he produced were damp squibs. Gradually his position went downhill and I got into a rook and pawn ending a pawn up. I thought I had devilish back rank threats but it turned out he did also and rather than trying to grind out a lengthy ending I settled on a draw.
Callum won a piece for a pawn and seemed to have excellent chances but Tony Readman somehow acquired a very imposing pawn centre which steamrolled him back to equality.
I always expect Robert Walker to get at least one Knight into the heart of his opponent’s position and he eventually obliged but he couldn’t make it tell this time and a draw duly followed.
Over to our star players! Mike’s game took a long time to get going – late in the evening each side had only lost a minor piece and a pawn – but gradually Mike got a strangle hold and a time advantage which he cashed in for an excellent win on his debut as a C Team Squad player
So a good away draw was in the bag but Darren had other ideas. He had opened with the Evans gambit which Brian struggled to meet. He got behind on the clock and hurrying to make the time control he lost two of the three pawns he had got in return for Darren’s extra piece. However he fought strongly against what I had thought to be inevitable defeat and seemed very close to forcing though a pawn wedge. By the time Brian’s clock fell Darren had managed to block Brians pawns however and his own passed pawn was well on its way to promotion.
So played two won two, already better than last year, we’d better be careful we don’t get promoted. Now that would be a disaster!   

Bedford C wins the derby opener

Bedford CBedford D
1Darren Reed167e10Steve Pike163
2Joe Valerio14010Andy Chapman160
3Peter Gill13510Lucian Cox113
4Robert Walker12810David Cox77
5Callum Shields13701Andy Evans100e

Having published many match reports from other captains over the years, suddenly it is my turn to reflect on the performance of others. I hadn’t appreciated how hard it was to have any clue about what was going on in other games! Anyway, I’ll make the most of the fact that Peter is away for a couple of days to get my version in. Please would the participants correct my ramblings and I will try better next time!

Mr Gill played a master stroke before the match had even started, somehow convincing me to part with my new best player (Darren Reed, recently arrived from Finland) because Mike Botteley was stuck at work. In return, I got Andy Evans on debut which, on reflection, turned out well!

Half an hour or so into the match, there was some interest in board 5 – Andy had trapped Callum’s queen! – I publish a bit of the game below (sorry Callum) – this is clearly not going to be the only match Andy plays for the club. Callum struggled on gamely but the damage was done.

A short while later, I noticed a queen imbalance on board 2 also! Joe had pulled some subtle trick (so he told me later?) – Andy had seen it two moves earlier but …? Again, Andy struggled on and Joe made hard work of it (his words) but a queen is a queen.

David’s game looked very entertaining – opposite side castling and open files against the kings. It looked to me like both sides were trying to find the sac, sac, mate strategy rather than the sac, sac, oh dear I’ve run out of stuff strategy. Robert’s attack eventually prevailed.

Young Lucian was showing very little respect for Mr Gill, gambiting pawns with abandon. I rather lost track of this game but sadly, when I next looked up, Peter was a knight up in an endgame and the inevitable followed. Peter – “Lucian launched the King’s gambit against me. Having no idea how to play it properly I responded with the daft looking Qh4 check on move 2. Lucian did not appear in the least bit perturbed (he probably expected something odd from one of the club’s oldest codgers) but finding himself in unfamiliar territory left a piece undefended after which it was only a matter of time to whittle down to an easily won ending. “

My game against Darren was quite a roller coaster (see below). I think I got a bit carried away with my pawns in the opening and he probably had it all under control the entire time but I (and even Fritz right up until about move 48) felt the game was in the balance. Any which way, both Darren and Andy look like great assets for club teams going forward.

All in all, the result was obviously a bit disappointing for Bedford D but all the games were interesting. It did look a bit like some people on both sides (including me) were still playing in Cordon Trophy-style, but hopefully next time we play (in February), it will be a top of the table clash!?

Bronze medal for Steve

Steve Ledger has been adding comments to his original post but, given his success, I thought it might be worth reproducing them into a single post.

Very well done Steve!

Last 2 rounds and we were brought back down to earth with a bump as we were soundly beaten, not wholy unexpectedly, by Russia and then by the Czech team. Andy excelled himself on board 1 by drawing with GM Gleizerov, as we lost 0.5-3.5 to Russia, then dishing out quite a pasting to GM Pavel Blatny, as we lost 1-3 to Czech, which will tell you that the rest of us couldn’t manage even 1/2 a point between us in the last 2 rounds. Blatny was a pretty well known 2600+ name in the past so it was a mighty fine win. One thing one notices at seniors events, ourselves included, is just how much higher most players ratings used to be ! Anyway, basically we were 5th seeds and finished 5th= having beaten the 4 lower rated teams we played and lost to the 4 higher rated teams we played with one bye. To my great surprise, and my team’s / brothers amusement, I won the bronze medal for board 5 / reserve board rating performance, a fact I shall be mentioning to them once or even twice in the future I would imagine. A reasonably enjoyable seniors debut in a pleasant, if remote, location though a bit disappointing that the odd number of teams coupled with our additional player, as mentioned in earlier reports, meant we only played 6 or 7 games each having been there for 11 nights. I see I wasn’t missed for the Corden Cup !

Our decent form continues as we won for the 3rd time in a row beating Germany women 3-1. Andy Lewis won with a fairly smooth effort, I won a messy game where my opponent invited me to Chuck my K side pawns at her then managed to consolidate before a few inaccurate moves allowed me to sweep in and mate her. Jon Nelson took a 3 fold repetition, in a much better position, to secure the match. Dave had blundered a pawn away early in the game but managed to battle back before forcing a drawn K&P ending. We now find ourselves playing Russia, with 4 2500+ GMs, on board 1 in the penultimate round. I am resting for this one.

Round 6 and a match v an on form Ireland team. Andy played a very nice game, thematically sacrificing a pawn and sweeping into his opponents position. Andy Lewis had a game of fluctuating fortunes, 4 draw offers I’m told, which duly ended as a draw. Dave won an ending which must have been drawing at some point. My own game also fluctuated quite a bit before I took a 3 fold repetition with a minute for 6 moves and to win us the match though was a bit perturbed to see Fritz had me +4.5. So a 3-1 victory. The draw is getting hard to do now with 13 teams for a 9 rd Swiss. We expected to be playing top seeds Russia but instead have Germany women who we outrate a fair bit though Andy is resting today. If we can win we might even be in a medal position ….. then we can play Russia

A day off and a visit to the (plentiful) bars of Mali Losinj seems to have done us some good as we’ve roared back up the table. Sunday saw us with a fairly comfortable 4-0 win over a heavily outrated England 2nd team. Andy had to work for his point and Dave recovered from a bit of an iffy middle game. Next up Ireland.

Bit of a poor showing yesterday as we lost 1-3 to Austria who were rated about the same as us. Dave and Jon took solid draws on 3 and 4 but Andy Lewis grabbed too hot a pawn and got smashed on 2, Andy then managed to mess up a good position, went all in with an attack against the king but lost when he didn’t manage to break thru. Guess they struggle without their guiding light of a captain ….. we now have the bye today so will explore the nearby town of Mali Losinj …. or more likely the bars of said town !

Round 2 and the 2nd seeds Croatia 1 resplendent with 4 GMs and we were pretty soundly tonked to be honest. Andrew Lewis blundered a piece after about 15 moves. I was outprepared then outplayed then properly stuffed by a very nice, if relatively forced, mating combination (see chess24 etc if really keen). Andy was doing perfectly OK for most of the game but an inaccuracy let his 2570 opponent sweep in. Jon Nelson managed to keep a certain respectability to the score line by drawing though may have been winning at some point(s). Austria up next, a tightly matched affair with me rested today.

A late withdrawal before the event and Petra Nunn falling over on some rocks, breaking several ribs, an hour or two after we arrived means we have 14 players in total so my England 1 50+ team now has 5 of us to rotate around the 4 board matches. Mildly annoying, as there are 13 teams for 9 rounds so we’ll likely get the bye at some point, but FM AndrewLewis strengthens us at least.

A pretty much as expected start to our seniors debut. We beat a pretty outrated Spain team in round 1 though not as straightforwardly as it should have been. Jon Nelson won fairly easily in a nice little game, Dave then overpressed and managed to lose, Andy didn’t have it all his own way but eventually the 300 pt ratings advantage came home to roost. This left captain me to bring home the bacon though I tried my best to mess up from a clear exchange up. A messy ending with passed pawns all over the shop, one of which I managed to force home first. The games are live on chess 24 and elsewhere.

European Seniors:
Rd 1 – England 3-1 Spain
Rd 2 – England 0.5-3.5 Croatia 1
Rd 3 – England v Austria


I shall be off to Losinj in Croatia for the European Seniors Team Championships from 18th to 27th September.

Seems a bit weird that when I joined Bedford Chess Club I was 12 and now I’m off to play in a Seniors event (!) but it’s the only way I’ll ever get to play for the England 1st team at anything 😊-