Chester C got off to a winning start in the Wirral League despite being understrengthed. Due to a miscommunication, the captain (me) failed to save a place for regular board 3 Ian McLean. And with squad members John Harvey and Nick Pendlebury also unavailable, new member Anh Pham was drafted at almost the 11th hour.
Over on board 5 Anh had a decent position against Kevin Mitchell and soon began to take advantage. Then, Anh delivered the incredible Queen (on g6) to e7! Checkmate! The two players shook hands until a spectator pointed out the irregularity of the move. Discussions then took place about whether to accept the result or continue. The two players agreed to continue and Anh (fairly this time) soon converted his piece advantage to victory.
Board 4 saw Phil McKeown (C) play Graham Bromley (B). The two played a slow French defence and it one point it looked like both players would end up in a time scramble. The match seemed destined for a draw until Graham blundered his Queen. 2-0
My game with Chris Doran had it’s ups and downs. My anti-King’s Indian set up saw me launch the h pawn up the board and later exchange for the g6 pawn to open up his kingside. However Chris had a strong centre and was slightly better. Soon, after exchanges I went a pawn down with check, forcing my uncastled king to f1. With his queen threatened, Chris elected to sacrifice his rook for my knight on f4, however in hindsite this wasn’t the best plan as it allowed me to open up the g file. Chris then tried to make something happen in the centre however this lead to his king being exposed to my bishops. After I sacrificed the exchange to further expose the king, Chris soon resigned. 3-0
Chester B pulled one back when Rokas defeated Colm Buckley on board 2 after Colm gave away a pawn. Finally on board 1 C’s Mike McDonagh may have had chances to win against Phil Crocker and declined his draw offer when the scores were 3-1. However he was not able to find a way to win and a draw was agreed instead. 3.5-1.5 to C which sees them go top of the league, at least temporarily!
Several Chester players attended the revived Crewe Chess Congress, now in it’s third year, at Ibis Styles Hotel between 12th and 14th October. There were a record 141 entries as described in the report on Crewe’s website here.
In the Open, Chris Doran scored 3 out of 5 including a good win against 199 rated Mike Surtees. Colm Buckley unfortunately didn’t have a good time, scoring only two draws and a full point bye.
I played in the Major Section. A draw that I should have won was followed by a draw that I should have lost. A win in round 3 put me in contention, but this was ended after defeat in round 4. I won my final game, so I scored 3 out of 5, which was enough for the grading prize (a feat I achieved last year). Also involved was part time club member David Hulme, now officially of Crewe Chess Club. David was playing in his first tournament in quite some time and should be pleased with his 50% score.
The Intermediate section was won by our own Joe Nemcek. His half point bye in round 1 was followed by 4 straight wins. Finishing equal fourth was young Jack Yang who scored 3.5 points whilst his father Jixin could unfortunately only manage 2 points. Due to computer pairings the two met in round 1, with Jack being victorious on this occasion.
This Sunday saw members of Chester Chess Club take part in the first Crewe Rapidplay at the Ibis Styles Hotel. Mike McDonagh and Colm Buckley were the representatives from Chester in the Open, and as luck would have it, they met over the board in round 1 (a draw, if anyone was wondering)!
In the Major there was myself and our former secretary David Hulme, albeit dressed in Crewe Chess Club attire! David very kindly offered to pick me up from the station to save me rushing to make the first round.
The end of the congress saw Mike finish on 2½/6 but Colm (pictured below after receiving his cheque) went one better scoring 3½/6 – losing only to IM Laurence Cooper and drawing with winner Mike Surtees in the final round.
Elsewhere I finished on 3½/6 and narrowly missed out on a share of 3rd place after failing to convert a winning endgame. David Hulme, in his first congress in 15 years, ended on 3.
Results and standings can be seen in the links below.