43. The League-Clincher!?
(I thought it had more to do with the A team winning nearly all their matches but that’s probably churlish – Chris’s modest notes belie an excellent result against a strong player – Ed)
Due to popular demand (well Neil asked to see it!), here it is at last.
42. Never in doubt
The club champion shares one of his more fortunate results from a successful season!
41. A missed opportunity
The annual Ledger foreign chess trip pitched up in the quiet Czech town of Teplice ( via the less quiet Czech town of Prague ! ) this year as Myself, Andy, Dave and our friend Jon Nelson entered the 180 or so player Teplice Open.
In the days leading up to our departure, Dave and Andy had been gleefully mailing and texting to tell me that I was almost exactly half way down the draw and thus a potential 1st round victim for the top seed, 2660 rated Armenian GM Movsessian.
In the event, late entries and non-arrivals meant I ended up on board 5 against a mere 2580 Icelandic GM. The draw only went up 15 minutes before the game so nobody had the chance to prepare.
40. Championship decider
This is it – if White wins or draw he wins the title, if Black wins then the spoils are his. Annotated by the editor and improved upon by the winner.
39. End of season amusement
I have an ominous feeling that I am quite likely to feature in a number of “Game of the Year” nominations, on the wrong side. This affair will not trouble the judges (except, perhaps, in the categories of “ridiculous”, “tragic” and “downright deceitful”), but had its interesting points.
38. A tragedy!?
Peter, who modestly supplies the notes, really does enough to win this one
37. Central control
Marc demonstrates an efficient technique to overcome strong opposition and help Bedford D to their first win of the season. Notes by the winner.
36. Pin it to win it
An interesting game where multiple pins on the Queen and King proved fatal.
35. Two bishop mayhem
An example from the recent county match of what two bishops can do when unleashed.
34. County Individual Decider
Sixth and final round, Paul 4, Steve 3.5 – all to play for! (when you only need half a point to win the trophy, who’s the worst person to face in a drawn endgame!? – Ed)
33. C v D decider
Gerry and I agree that our game from the C v D match was interesting, and (though Gerry’s far too polite to say so publicly) that the better player won. Beyond that…?
32. Division 1 thrills
An extract from an absolute thriller from division 1. Thanks to both players for the annotations which, although a little cumbersome, are quite enlightening – Chris was playing chess but I think Mike may have been playing poker!
The crowd is left baying for more here! – understandable with time pressure but disappointing nonetheless….
Not my place (when did that ever stop me?) but it should perhaps be noted that it is important what is (and isn’t) recorded on the scoresheet, as young Wesley So recently discovered in the US Chess Championships. My interpretation of the laws of chess (or at least the “Competition rules”) state that both players should record the game up until there is less than five minutes remaining on the clock. Once the time control is reached, both scoresheets should be brought back up to date as necessary. Once into an increment phase of the game (which I presume applied here once the time control was reached), both players must record the moves without qualification (this is echoed in the club’s own competition rules) – Ed.
31. 4NCL Action
Chris Hill suggests the following gem, played by Steve Ledger in the 4NCL. Play it through until Black’s 19th move and try to decide whether Steve’s 226-graded FM (!) opponent has blundered or not.
30. Best in the East
A decisive game of Bedford’s recent triumph in the EACU “Team 600” – notes by the winner.
29. Fortune favours those with strong nerves
A decisive game in Bedford B’s recent triumph against MK – notes by Alex.
28. Passed pawns must(n’t) be pushed
Mr Nolan once again shows how his opponents overreach at their peril – notes by Gerry.
27. Looking ahead
From an apparently positive opening, White gets taken apart by an opponent seeing further and deeper – notes by Gerry.
26. Lateral rook power
Gerry annotates his decisive game from the county match against Suffolk
25. Tension on board one
The deciding game in the D team’s struggle with the OU.
24. Pawns are the soul of chess …
… but when is the right time to trust them to win the game on their own?
23. Never in doubt?
If Brian wants less of his games on our website, he will need to play more boring chess than this! It would be nice to assert that I had this under control but the fact is ….? (‘BV’ denotes Brian’s comments)
22. f or g?
Sometimes, the result of a game (and in this case the match – sorry Kevin) comes down to the choice between two pawn moves!
21. Commanding high board county action
Steve modestly suggests that the conclusion of this game was not so impressive or hard to find but I rather liked it, and the game, so persuaded him to send me the score. The naive comments are mine – Ed.
Here, White has greedily grabbed back his pawn with 31. Qxb7. Find the winning move, mate in 16 according to Fritz, but you need only find the next two (not just the first one and no metal help!) before you press the button.
20. Fortune favours the brave?
In this giant-killing act, Ben plays actively from the outset and, despite blundering the exchange, always looked to be having more fun than his much higher rated opponent. Fritz disagrees of course but … Fritz wasn’t there!
Notes from Ben with some minor heckling from the (proud) Editor.
19. Endgame technique?
As Black, Richard has played an exemplary counter-attacking game thus far and enters a king and pawn endgame with an apparently winning advantage. From this position however, he cannot see how to convert this to a full point so reluctantly agrees to a draw – can you see, not just the next move but, the plan required to gain the well-deserved victory?
18. Hair shirt time
“So having regaled us with several of your wins” inquired Harbour and Gill, “are you going to publish your game with Peter Housden?” Well, here you are, gentlemen.
17. Trouble in the corner!
White has chances here but Black holds his nerve to score the decisive point in this key Division 1 clash.
16. Trouble in the middle
Getting the king caught in the middle can spell trouble. And the winner of a game is often the player who made the last mistake but one. My game with Gerry Nolan in the C v D match featured both of the familiar cliches.
15. Never mind the quality, feel the panic
14. The match decider
Ravi wins the day ….
13. The edge of reason
There is no mitigation for this performance, but as it it may be my last competitive chess game ever, perhaps it deserves the oxygen of publicity!?
12. Leading from the front
Gerry steered his C team to their first win of the season with this win. A strange game with lots of missed opportunities on both sides, ended by an illegal move from White in severe time trouble that lost a Bishop and the game.
11. A match-saving draw
An interesting game, where I mishandled the defence against a nasty-looking
attack by a strong opponent, but managed to hang on for a draw, despite being a pawn down.
10. Neil “having fun”
The recent D team match wasn’t a terribly happy affair one way and another, but I had a bit of fun on board 1.
9. Life in the Slow Lane
I have done reasonably by playing loose aggressive chess this year. In the last few games though I have tried a slower approach, with the hope of being able to chip away at an opponents position later in the game. The result has just been a lot of dodgy/passive positions – I have not won any of these games.
In reality playing good positional chess means playing one’s position well, not playing passively and then hoping for the best!
Joe had a small advantage, which thankfully for our team he did not press to convert – drawn in 30 moves.
Take this as an example of how not to play the white pieces!
For several moves, Paul has been trying to advance his a-pawn, thinking it to be the only winning method.
Chris had outplayed me throughout this game and deserved to convert it to victory. It’s funny how often both players misjudge a position in the same way though!
6. The Highs and Lows of County Chess – Mike describes a couple of recent matches
Here is my effort from this years Fleming Trophy
Okay that was fun, but its a bit unusual to get such an attack quite so quickly in those sorts of positions.
5. Welcome back to reality
I recall a coach at a gym I used to attend would to say “welcome back to reality” to those who came to train. Bedfordshire played Norfolk in the Opening match of the EACU series last weekend. We lost and I think the final score was something like 12-4. Welcome back to reality indeed ….
Here is the position after 32 moves of my game. This time an attack has failed and I am left with no advantage. Black has a protected passed pawn on g4 and quite a strong bishop. On the other hand my pawns are invulnerable to the bishop and they can be protected by my pieces as things stand. Because black has no obvious way to round up my weakness on h4 or push his own passed pawn I think this position should be equal. Having said that black has little to lose by playing on and he has a few ideas to choose from.
Nick modestly describes the following as a demonstration “that these very strong players do occasionally make one-move cock-ups”, but I think this is rather under-stating an excellent performance leading to a top result for himself and the team.
An efficient victory by the A team captain, showing that opportunities for points against him are fleeting, and must be seized as soon as they present themselves.
2. Steve Ledger v Sarah Hegarty – Salento A Gallipoli 14/09/2014
Bit of a long way to travel to the boot of Italy to play a WFM from Manchester but it was a fun game and she was the British Ladies Champion at the time.
1. Steve Pike v Roger de Coverley – Beds v Bucks 14/09/2014
Maybe a bit self-indulgent but an interesting game, I hope you will agree. My first ever game for the county and board 6 against a 190 grade was a bit of a rude awakening after the Summer break.
A real roller-coaster of a game – hopelessly outplayed in the opening and then blundered into a potential victory only to fail to convert in the dying minutes. If we’d had increments, who knows what might have happened?