Crowthorne went into Weekend four of the 4NCL season, played over 13-14 April, with a weakened team because of holidays and clashes with other events. The first team was missing Ken and Richard, and unfortunately it was not possible to raise a second for the weekend – the 4NCL was notified well in advance of this so that Crowthorne 2 was not included in the pairings. We expect to reinstate the second team for the final weekend (4-6 May).
Fears that Crowthorne 1 would lose top place in Div 4 were unfounded, as the Saturday game saw them beat their closest rivals, Watford 1. It seems that Watford also had problems getting their strongest team out, and in the event Crowthorne outgraded them. Paul Cooksey, Peter Tart and John Upham won their games, with Harvey Duckers, Mark Cross and Colin Purdon (somehow) drawing theirs:
In the Sunday Game, round 8, Crowthorne was paired against Wessex B … and were again successful! Paul and Peter both made it 2/2 for the weekend, with Harvey also winning. Colin drew, and Mark and John lost to substantially higher-rated opponents:
This leaves Crowthorne with a healthy lead at the top of Division 4, but with a number of teams still able to overtake us in the three rounds of the final weekend:
Andrew Kirby had a nice win for Crowthorne 2 on Saturday game, in the match against All Anands on Deck. He played the active Scandinavian Defence, and produced a fine temporary pawn sacrifice in order to activate his pieces:
Many thanks to Ken Coates, the Crowthorne 4NCL squad captain, for providing the following report on this season’s weekend 3.
With 6 rounds completed and 5 remaining Crowthorne 1 head the table following 2 wins at the weekend. On Saturday Crowthorne eased to a 4½-1½ win against Warwickshire Select 2 setting up a top of the table clash with Ashfield 1. Round 5 had seen Ashfield 1 beat Watford 1 leaving Ashfield as the only team on maximum points. Paul had to jet off on the Sunday to work in the USA this week and despite losing him and being out graded we eventually won a closely contested match.
Crowthorne 1 (average rating 1999)
Ashfield 1 (2027)
1 – 0
1 – 0
Esteve Mateu Guiu
1 – 0
1 – 0
0.5 – 0.5
0 – 1
Richard won and nicely controlled game by gaining a positional edge early on but needed care and patience to convert for the win. My game proved a complex struggle in which both players thought they held the advantage but my opponent played a few “sub optimal” moves under time pressure and his position collapsed. Colin’s opponent sacrificed a piece unsoundly leaving Colin to convert two knights and several pawns against a bishop and less pawns. Harvey’s game was a close struggle and difficult for me to assess what was going on (like most of Harvey’s games it feels) but he emerged with advantage and was able to convert the ending. Peter, first to finish, had a solid game for once and was never worse as any point perhaps having a slight advantage until a draw was agreed after almost 4 hours. Despite being heavily out graded Mark might even have been better at points in his game and was unfortunate to eventually lose a long game.
The top of the division 4 South table now looks like:
The second team drew their Saturday match when their opponents defaulted bottom board but could so easily have won as James had a very good position but ended up losing. Andrew had a good win efficiently catching his opponent’s king in the centre of the board. John drew a competitive game which promised the full point for much of the match. Christine won by default and because the other team did not declare the default in advance they were penalised a further point. Effectively Christine won 2 points for the team!! Mark and Scott went down to much stronger opponents.
Crowthorne 2 (average rating 1633)
All Anands on Deck (1805)
0 – 1
0 – 1
John E Upham
0.5 – 0.5
1 – 0
0 – 1
1 – def
default (-1 score)
2.5 – 2.5
The Sunday saw Crowthorne 2 lose to a significantly stronger team – “Throw in the Tal”. However I must mention Kim Shek’s result:
0.5 – 0.5
To concede almost 500 points and draw is a phenomenal achievement and with the black pieces!!
The next weekend is 13-14 April in Daventry again and sees Crowthorne 1 heading the division with Crowthorne 2 comfortably mid table.
In addition to Richard’s game seen in the previous post, there were a number of interesting games and positions from the recent 4NCL weekend. Here are two examples, starting with Panos’ nice combinational win with the Black pieces in Round 4:
Also in Round 4, Harvey (with Black) found a nice finish:
Rounds 3 and 4 of the 4NCL took place over the weekend of 12-13 January in Bedford, with the two Crowthorne teams in action in Division 4s.
Crowthorne 1 got off to a shaky start, drawing 3-3 against Throw in the Tal despite outgrading them by an average of 180 Elo (around 25 ECF) per board. In some games the results could have gone either way, and the final result by no means flattered Throw in the Tal. It was better news for Crowthorne 1 in the second game of the weekend, beating All Anands on Deck by 4.5-1.5, hence gaining clear third place on 7 points (out of 8) behind Ashfield 1 and Watford 1.
Crowthorne 2 fared even better, winning both matches against Barnet Knights 3 4-2 on Saturday and Rook & Roll 4.5-1.5 on Sunday despite being outgraded in the latter match. These results mean that they jump 9 places to 23rd (out of 38).
Richard Webb’s Saturday game had an amusing finish – Richard was Black against David Ireland:
The complete division 4 South cross-table can be found on the 4NCL web site here – just click the items in the cross-table to see the individual match results.
The speed handicap tournament is a Crowthorne chess club Christmas tradition, with this year being its thirty first year. We had an amazing 29 players this year, which I believe is a new record. Because of the large number of entrants, the group stage was split into 4 groups of 7 or 8 players, the first time we’ve needed to have four groups.
The two top players from each group went up to play in the knock-out stage. These were: Richard Webb, James Love, Harvey Duckers, Andrew Kirby, Dave Hemmings, Scott Leadbetter, Robert Starley and Louise Head. After hard fought quarter- and semi-finals, we reached the final between eight times previous winner Richard, and Scott, entering the handicap for the very first time. The game was evenly balanced, before Scott allowed Richard to unleash a winning attack to win the game and the tournament.
Congratulations to Richard who adds his name to the Harvey-Ironside shield for a phenomenal ninth time, proving he still has the speed of mind and hand to win after an absence of nine years from the handicap. Commiserations to Scott, who nonetheless was the clear winner of the most Christmassy costume, with his eternally memorable snowman onesie.
At the opposite end of the results, the other knock-out was between Pradeep and Bob, in which Pradeep produced an opening novelty, an astounding king sacrifice, which secured him the wooden spoon and bottle of fine Harrods wine. Many thanks to Pradeep and the other parents who sportingly joined in.
Thanks to Christine for organising the lovely buffet, and thanks also to all those who helped set up the room and helped contain the evening’s chaos.
I will make a few amendments to the arrangements next year to make it easier to support the increasing number of players.
Crowthorne chess club will be running as normal on Wednesday (December 19th), though in a festive mood, but we will be closed on Wednesdays the 26th December and 2nd January, and resume in the new year on Wednesday the 9th January.
Also, a reminder, the Christmas Handicap event is on Friday 21st December. If you’ve not already indicated to Jonathan that you’ll be attending please could you do so.
The 43rd Chess Olympiad is currently in full swing at Batumi in Georgia. There are currently two Crowthorne players representing England at the Olympiad – GM Nick Pert is playing in the Open tournament, and WFM Louise Head is in the Women’s tournament. Click the links to follow the progress of all the teams on the chess24 web site, including live games.
The Berkshire League website has been updated for the 2018/2019 season, including fixtures, divisions, match captains and so on. You can check the details by going to the website directly, or by using the links in the Useful Links page.
Now the fixtures/tables etc are available for both the Berkshire and Surrey Border Leagues.
From 01 September 2018 the Chess Club will meet in its original location in the newly-refurbished maths block. This is the venue that we used prior to the 2017/2018 season. Please see the About Us page for detailed instructions and map.