Bristol & District Chess League Forum

Clifton A vs Bath A - le crunch
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Author:  John Curtis [ Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Clifton A vs Bath A - le crunch

Clifton A 3½ - 2½ Bath A

James Cobb (b) 0-1 David Buckley
David Collier 0-1 Ben Edgell
John Curtis ½-½ Jim Sherwin
Duncan Grossett 1-0 Adam Musson
Gareth Morris 1-0 Adam Stirling
John Waterfield 1-0 Andy Gregory

An exciting top-of-the-table clash, played in front of our highest crowd of the season (attendance: 2). It went down to the wire, with the match decided in the last minute of play. My impression of the games below

Buckley - Cobb
I thought James was doing well on the black side of a Nimzo. David’s king side pieces were stuck at home looking forlorn, with James having active play. Next time I looked, however, David’s bits had come to life and he’d snaffled a couple of pawns. The counterplay wasn’t quite enough, so a point to Bath.

Collier – Edgell
Oh dear. David played a good opening and had a great position, causing team mates to mentally chalk up a win. Unfortunately he hallucinated a win of an exchange, which in fact forced Ben to win material. Ben then cleaned up nicely.
This was David’s first loss in the league for something like 3 years, bringing a fantastic run to an end.

Sherwin – Curtis
Jim surprised me by playing Bird’s opening. I wish more people would surprise me with rubbish openings. Not much happened in the game, and I was happy being on the more comfortable side of a draw.

Grossett – Musson
A slightly odd c3 type Sicilian, with Dunc gaining the 2 bishops for a bit of activity. Adam then went for a piece sac; unfortunately for him it didn’t work, and Dunc finished well.

Stirling – Morris
The last game to finish, and the game that may win us the league. Gareth was nursing a small advantage throughout, which continued as the players entered time trouble. Gareth had less time, but played well, winning an exchange. He then avoided any nasty tricks, and Adam resigned just as his time was running out.

Waterfield – Gregory
I didn’t understand much of this game, a Pirc where the queens came off early. John voluntarily accepted a bad pawn structure, a decision that had Gareth & I scratching our heads. John may have been right though, he had lots of activity. A strange position ensued with rooks flying everywhere; I couldn’t work out who was better so went to the bar. When I looked again John had somehow liquidated to a winning pawn endgame.

All in all a close, enjoyable match, played in good spirit. And the right result :D

Author:  Ben_Edgell [ Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Clifton A vs Bath A - le crunch

I have to admit that for most of my game I was somewhere between clearly worse and losing. Jim Sherwin said to me after the match "When I decided to accept a draw I thought your position was crap, but that you'd probably swindle a win like usual". or words to that effect. Certainly the results I've had this season have been much more down to luck and good blitzing then a decent standard of chess.

Very much enjoyed the match, albeit must admit to swearing under my breath when the final game finished, and fingers crossed for Downend to do us a favour.

Author:  David Buckley [ Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Clifton A vs Bath A - le crunch

Well done last Wednesday. Let us know what happens on Tuesday please. Go Downend! ;)

Author:  Dave Tipper [ Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Clifton A vs Bath A - le crunch

Downend A held Clifton A to a draw last night so the situation is as follows

Clifton A finish the season - Played 18 – 28pts – 69.5 Game Points

Bath A are currently on - Played 15 - 22pts – 53.5 Game Points

Bath need 16 Game points and three wins from their final games and would win if they finish level on the basis that Default Points would come into play as Clifton A currently have accrued 1

A tough ask - ( Bath A's final fixtures starting next week on the 11th against Clifton B ) Clifton B & Thornbury A at home & finally South Bristol A with only 2 game points that can be dropped from all 3 Games

Author:  Ben_Edgell [ Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Clifton A vs Bath A - le crunch

Piece of cake 8-)

Author:  David Buckley [ Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Clifton A vs Bath A - le crunch

5-1 versus Clifton B. Need 11 gamepoints versus Thornbury and South Bristol

Author:  John Curtis [ Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Clifton A vs Bath A - le crunch

Good result. It's going down to the wire!

Author:  David Buckley [ Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Clifton A vs Bath A - le crunch

Not right to the wire, John. Thornbury held us to a 3-3 draw this evening. We will find out on Wednesday whether our match against South Bristol has any significance at the other end of the table. Congratulations to Clifton.

Author:  John Curtis [ Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Clifton A vs Bath A - le crunch

Thanks for the update David

That's six in a row for Clifton now :) This has been the closest during that time, and for most of the season I expected Bath to win the league. I look forward to another close battle next season!

Author:  PaulHatchett [ Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Clifton A vs Bath A - le crunch

Paul Hatchett v Adam Musson
Bath A v Thornbury A Board 3 18 April 2012

I was apprehensive at the start of this game for two reasons. Bath A had to try and win by at least 5-1 in order to have a chance to win the league. Hence, we could expect aggressive chess. Also I know Adam has had a tremendous season and is much stronger than me. Being nervous is good for my chess though as there is no chance to be complacent.

1 e4 c5

An excellent choice for black if he wants to win.

2 Nf3 d6 3 c3

I had no desire to face a Najdorf or Dragon on this or any day.

3 ... Nf6 4 Bd3 !?

Ok what is this. Well many years ago, perhaps in the late 70s (yes I am that old) I recall some copies of Chess magazine. There were two articles by an American called Danny Kopec and he extolled the virtues of Bd3 and called the opening after himself. Jim Sherwin beat me rather easily with the opening a few years ago and kindly gave me a few words of advice afterwards. Adam later told me that one of the few games he lost this year was against 4 Bd3 but I did not know that at the time of course.

4 ... Nc6 5 h3

Adam said after the game that white does not need this as Bg4 is not that good. Jim told me that h3 was a good idea. It turned out ok in the game

5 ... g6 6 0-0 Bg7 7 Bc2 0-0 8 d4 cd4 9 cd4

So the opening has took its course and it is perhaps time to take stock. Black has a nice and fairly safe king position and potentially a good fianchetto bishop. He has perhaps to decide what to do with his white squared bishop and make a good plan. White has a nice centre and some pretty looking bishops although they don't do anything at the moment. Every move is key from now on. Will black mobilize and wreck white's centre? Will white complete development and squeeze? Also who will own the c file - normally black's territory in the sicilian but not necessarily in this case?

9... Qc7

I think this may be the wriong plan. The queen becomes a target and white has some tactical chances. b6 with the idea of Ba6 and Nb4 may be better. I am not sure.

10 Nc3 a6 11 Bg5

Now black has a problem as I am threatening Bxf6 and Nd5 which would wreck black's pawn formation.

11 .... e6 12 Qd2 Re8 13 Rac1

I was beginning to feel happy now. The chance for tactics against the black queen gave me hope. Perhaps I may not get crushed as I first thought when I sat down.

13 .... b5 14 d5

This is a nasty move to meet and Adam started to think for seemingly the first time in the game. Before this move he had about 15 minutes advantage on the clock. I think he took about 10 minutes before playing the next move. I expected the next move but still think I went wrong somewhere.

14 ... Ne5 15 Nxe5 de5 16 Bb3 Qb7

Well he had to do something about the discovered attack but I was quite pleased to see it on b7.

17 Rfe1

I don't think this is right but as I don't have a computer programme then I don't know what was better.

17 .... Rb8 18 Qe3 Qb6

I think black is back in the game and I don't want to exchange queens.

19 Qf3 ed5 20 ed5

A commital decision. Will the d pawn be weak or strong?

20 ... Bb7 21 Qg3 Nd7

After the game Adam thought Nh5 was better and I agree.

22 Ne4 f5

When he was thinking I was wondering whether he would play f6 or f5. It is incredibly double edged and showed tremendous bravery to willingly open the a2 to g8 diagonal. However, I did not want to retreat with my knight so played equally sharp.

23 Be3

Now if moves his queen I may play Ng5. I was not sure as he can win a piece. I was calculating 23 ... Qa5 24 Ng5 f4 25 d6+. Now he cannot play Kf8 because of Nh7 mate and if he plays Kh8 I have at least a perpetual with Nf7+. If I had a computer then I am sure I would know what is happening. Before I had time to work out anything he played

23 ... f4

I was now ahead on the clock but wasted 5 minutes looking at the crazy sacrifice 24 Qh4 fe3 25 Rxe3. I say wasted because I knew I was too cowardly to play it. I don't think Adam saw it as he had to analyse from scratch after the game. In one variation Peter Varley found a brilliant move Rc6. It was a superb decoy which led to mate. We did not look at the perhaps critical 25 ... h6. For those with computer programmes maybe you could let me know what is happening after 25 Rxe3 please? Otherwise I will have to invest some money I suppose and I have been trying to avoid living in the digital age.

24 Bxb6

I had noticed that once the smoke clears I would have a good position.

24 ... fg3 25 Bc7 gf2+ 26 Kxf2 Rf8+ 27 Kg1

Not Kg3 as this gives black chances with a later Bh6. This was the position I saw after 22 .... f5 and thought that black had problems not losing a piece or the exchange

27 ... Ra8 28 Nd6 Bc8

It is all going to plan. Of course on move 23 I had not seen that black could play 28 ... Ra7. Perhaps I would have had if I had a computer in my brain but that would be cheating. Anyway 28 ... Ra7 was played in another universe. In my World he played 28 ... Bc8 and I went home happy.

29 Nxc8! Raxc8

More stubborn is 29 ... Rfxc8 30 d6+ Kf8 31 Be6 Ke8 but surely white is winning with maybe 32 Rf1 and 33 Rf7

30 d6+ Kh8 31 Be6 Bh6 32 Bxd7 Bxc1 33 Bxc8

Black resigns as Bd2 can be answered by Re2. Adam played bravely. It was an injustice.

For history buffs this was the exact point I think that Clifton A won the league as before Adam resigned I think the score was Bath 1.5 Thornbury 0.5. Bath needed to win 5-1 for any chance to catch them. I was a bit lucky I think so no need for donations, Clifton. I should say that I felt ok about this set of circumstances as although I think the people at Bath are very nice, Clifton A were incredibly sporting to Thornbury and me earlier in the season and this cost them two points. Let me explain. There was a possibility that they could have claimed perhaps three games during the Clifton A v Thornbury match. I went the old Clifton venue close to Gloucester Road and it took me a long time to find the right one. I arrived about 60 minutes after kick off expecting that I had lost on time. Instead I found the incredibly patient and sporting Duncan Grossett sitting at my board and willing to play. I had wasted 45 minutes only on my clock and managed to scrape a draw. There were two other Clifton players who did not claim games when perhaps they could have and these games also ended in draws. Thonrbury won by 1/2 point. I am pleased that this sporting behaviour has been rewarded by the title. Congatulations to Clifton. However well done to Bath and Horfield for pushing them so close.

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