Lancashire v Yorkshire (Score 4.5 – 7.5) full match score to follow.
Report from Bill O’Rourke (captain)
Many thanks to all the players who made the effort. Sickness claimed a few players, so we were a little under par. However we clearly had a bad day at the office – 9 draws, and 3 defeats (two of them very late on for John Whitfield and Cliff Rutlidge, hard luck men) gave Yorkshire a comfortable 7.5-4.5 victory,
John Addison was unlucky to not be able to convert an advantage in a very tricky knights ending. In my game I thought I saw an early sacrifice in the middle game that trapped his king in the centre – unfortunately couldn’t quite make it work (been reading John Littlewood’s middle game book too much!). i had to watch my defeat be compounded by 9 straight draws. To be honest, apart from John’s game, none of the games really offered any real hopes of victory for ourselves. A late incursion by the opponent’s queen into John Whitfield’s position proved fatal, and Cliff Rutlidge on board 2 finally had to succumb after his opponent’s rooks coordinated better for an eventual queen-side breakthrough.
The U140 team also played on the 2nd of December for the annual battle of the roses over the chessboard. The U100 report is elsewhere! The U140 team expected a battle with team selection hampered due to a clash with the Preston Congress.
In the end, a good victory, but as always the games could have gone either way. Lancashire running out victorious 7.5 to 4.5.
We seem to have a good rounded u100 squad this year, that essential mixture of some old pros and some strong youngsters. The target we have set is to try to go one better than beaten national finalists last year.
We got off to a great start in that aim when young Kyden Waite, playing his first county match, had a smooth win, taking advantage of his opponent’s inaccuracies. And then fellow youngster Thisumi Jayawarna weighed in with a faultless victory to make it 2-0. John Crompton was working on the assumption that even good youngsters tend to be a bit weak in the endings and so it proved in his match when he ground his opponent down with two bishops versus two knights, 3-0.
Aisha Benhamida outplayed her young opponent on board one. Extremely sadly, when she had done all the hard work, she saw a mirage that she thought was checkmate only for her opponent to take her queen for nothing! We’ve all done it once in our chess careers, and learn never to have to suffer it again! 3-1. Peter Wallace played an excellent technical ending making it 4-1, and when Jason Chapman kept his concentration up throughout his game we were 5-1 and approaching the winning line.
A couple of draws for Shaun Tumelty (who came back well after losing the exchange) and Rachel Horton (she and her opponent felt any progress for either player was going to be difficult in a stodgy position) mean it was already 6-2. James Wildsmith made up for losing some time in the beginning by claiming the draw that made it 6.5-2.5 in a rook and pawns endgames.
We then suffered a couple of reversals when Jeff Wilson went under in a game that for a long time looked quite even, and Goodchild Ndou finally succumbed in a topsy-turvy encounter that was very sharp, making it 6.5-4.5.
Gary Bennett closed off the match with another victory, 7.5-4.5. This was important because Gary had been the exchange down but stuck to his guns and eventually checkmated his young opponent to win his first county victory.
Well that is what is seemed for the two main forces in the Northern Counties Chess Union. Lancashire were represented in 3 finals, Yorkshire had gone one better and had 4 teams in the finals. Not to be outdone, Lancashire would make the trip back up north the happier!