My next competitive game is not due until early in the New Year, so I thought I’d start the blog by having a quick look back over the season so far.
In the Mid-Sussex League, the Horsham first team has scored two convincing wins (4 – 1 against both Horsham 2 and Lewes 1) and a shock defeat (2 – 3 against Lewes). On a personal level, I won against Paul Taylor (Horsham 2) and Barry Maufe (Lewes 1), but scored a somewhat fortunate draw against Chris Jones (Worthing 1), where he offered a draw in a winning position, since he has only a few minutes to play 17 moves.
The first team also managed to progress in the knockout by the minimum margin required by the handicapping system, following a close match against the Argumentatives at the Jolly Tanners. I lost a poor game against Peter Farr as White, and it all went down to the last game, which Ian Comley won against Dennis Collard to seal a 4 – 2 victory.
I attended the first 4NCL weekend of the year, on the 6th to 7th November, where I represented the e2e4.org.uk second team. The team had a couple of disappointing draws against lower graded opposition (The Rookies in round one, and FCA Solutions 2 in round two). I scored a lucky draw against Pete Jaszkiwskyj in the first game, while an early elementary blunder by yours truly, in a superior position out of the opening, set the tone for the second game, which I lost against Olufemi Adebajo.
Horsham Chess Club has been busy with its own internal events this autumn, as usual.
The first event of the season was the Champion Simul, where club champion Gavin Lock took on 16 other players from the club, winning with the excellent score of 10.5 – 5.5. This achievement was especially notable, given that a simul is usually given by a player who is substantially higher graded than his opponents, in order to compensate for being able to devote much less time to each move, and having to switch repeated between different positions. As it happened, the three games he did lose, against Dix Roberts, Peter Harbott and me, were against fellow first team players.
A special effort has been made in recent years to get the first few rounds of the knockout competitions out of the way before Christmas, in order to avoid fixture congestion later. As it happens, I have only played knockout games so far in club competitions.
In the quickplay knockout, I won my first round match 2 – 0 against Tony Locke. The first game was a routine win against his St. George’s Defence, but the second was a little more fortunate; I built up an overwhelming position, but then over-pressed, and was extremely lucky that he blundered into an instant mate.
My participation in the main quickplay competition came to an end on the last club meeting of the calendar year.
In round one, I defeated Peter Harbott in a smooth game, where I neutralised his London System and manoeuvred carefully, before opening up the centre and attacking his king.
Round two saw me overcome Mike Forster in a wild game featuring the Poisoned Pawn variation.
There were two replays in round three before the tie was decided in favour of my opponent, Steve Baines.
The first game saw me lose my way out of the opening, and after I rather rashly allowed a powerful sacrifice to expose my king, I was in desperate trouble. However, Steve ran short of time and bailed out with perpetual check.
The second game saw me start strongly, but I allowed myself to become over-committed with pawn advances, and was perhaps a little fortunate to be able to bail out into a balanced endgame.
Finally, there was a result in the third game. While the first two games were played at the usual club normal play time limit (42 moves in 90 minutes, followed by 28 moves every 60 minutes), this game and the next (if another replay was required) were played at the rate of 30 minutes for all moves. The game transposed from an English into an Exchange Slav (I was Black) and I secured a slight advantage based on the two bishops after my opponent failed to react aggressively enough against my less common defence. However, with both players going into their last few minutes, I blundered a pawn when I overlooked that a pawn advance was insufficiently supported. Steve kept things together and I lost on time in a hopeless position.
Looking forward, I have the following games coming up in the second half of the season:
- The remaining Mid-Sussex League games
- The remaining Mid-Sussex Knockout games
- The remaining 4NCL games
- All my Horsham Club Championship games
- The Horsham Lightning Tournament games
I may revisit some of the games described above, but my main intention now is to analyse these new games, as soon as possible after they have been played.