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!

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!

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?

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!