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Last gasp Halesowen A win in thrilling finish - Brewood A 2.5 - 3.5 Halesowen A

Posted on December 9, 2014 at 1:05 AM

On Tuesday 25th November 2014 Brewood A hosted Halesowen A in Brewood's 2nd match of the season in the Wolverhampton & District Chess League 2014-2015 division 2 season.  This match report will not really do justice to the drama of the evening but I will try my best.  Halesowen A won as the title suggests right at the very last moments.  But first here is the match card: 

Board 1:  Derek Laight (163) 0-1 Stewart K Fishburne (193)

Board 2:  Mark Keady (154) 1-0 Malcolm A Hunt (187)

Board 3:  Roger Grainger (131) ½-½ Adrian A Priest (147)

Board 4:  John Fenby 128 0-1 Andy Ambrose (147)

Board 5:  Mike Jarocki 118 0-1 Robert Grimes (140)

Board 6:  Stephen Micklewright (112) 1-0 Andrew Field (64)

Total:  Brewood A 2½-3½ Halesowen A

Match Report

Board 1:  Derek Laight 0-1 Stewart Fishburne.  This was the last board to finish and eventually decided the match in Halesowen's favour.  The match went down to the final few minutes for both players hence this match report title.  It was a very high quality match with Derek doing everything possible from Brewood's point of view to get a result for us but it was not to be. 

In the club's long history I am not sure if a higher graded player than Stewart Fishburne has ever played a match at Brewood.  Stewart is graded 193 and once players become graded over 200 they become competitive enough at chess to play in national and international tournaments and make a living from playing chess. 

There are of course a few players who are graded over 200 and play in the Wolverhampton & District Chess League but this is mainly in division 1 of the league.  However due to the promotion and relegation system of the Wolverhampton & District Chess League Brewood A were playing against Halesowen A on merit, as Halesowen A were relegated from division 1 of the league last season. 

A new word might have to be invented to describe this match, but "thrilling" was the eventual word I used in the thread title.  As both players went down to the final few minutes neither player notated which meant there was not a complete notated record of the whole game which was a shame as it was the ending that was the most exciting part of the game. 

Stewart went a pawn up by taking a pawn with his bishop which left it en prise.  Was it a blunder by someone so highly graded?  I was watching the game and followed a continuation in my mind about 3 or 4 moves in advance which would mean that Stewart would give Derek endless checks.  Before I could work everything out Derek played his response and he declined to take the bishop. 

After the match I asked the question:  "Going back to earlier on in the game and the bishop was left to be took.  Couldn't you have just took the bishop Derek."  Both Derek and Stewart said it was checkmate if Derek had have took the bishop so in answer to the question had Stewart blundered his bishop, the answer was no.  It would have been a great bishop sac had Derek took it though. 

This opened up Derek's kingside.  Stewart had a number of passed pawns and desperate defense was required by Derek and desperate defense it got by Derek.  The game went into the final few minutes pieces were traded and Stewart kept his pawn advantage.  Both players were now slamming the clocks and slamming the pieces on the board, could Brewood hold on for a draw? 

No.  Stewart queened his pawn and Derek exchanged his rook for the new queen, leaving Stewart with his rook.  Stewart had minutes to do a rook and king v king checkmate which would have easily been done within the time limit anyway had Derek not resigned. 

Stewart Fishburne:  "Did everyone get all that," said to a few smiles as he was referring to if anyone had notated the whole match. 

David Blower (to Stewart Fishburne):  "Well done congratulations on your victory, it was a great game to watch." 

Stewart Fishburne:  "It wasn't such a great game to play in," and we all knew that Derek had played to the best of his ability almost holding on but making a player graded 193 really work hard for his win. 

David Blower (to Derek Laight):  "Even though you lost, well done anyway." 

Derek Laight:  "Yea thanks, I don't think I could have gone any closer than that." 

Mike Jarocki:  "He just went a pawn up and that was it, basically all over." 

Mike Jarocki gave some further reaction to me as he gave me a lift home:  "These higher graded players see things sometimes that takes us ages to see, and even then we sometimes still don't see it." 

This match report does not really do the game justice, nothing really could. 

Board 2:  Mark Keady 1-0 Malcolm Hunt.  Mark Keady got a very impressive victory against another highly graded opponent on board 2.  For most of the match Mark Keady had his opponent under a lot of pressure.  There were quite a few pins that Mark forced his opponent Malcolm into.  At various times whilst watching I was wondering if some crazy sacrifice from Mark would force a checkmate. 

The point of the sacrifice would be to create open files which his queen could then exploit but it is easy when you are watching and I do not think any such sacrifice was ever on and it was never played.  Unfortunately the exact moves which were then made to decide the board were missed by me. 

Board 3:  Roger Grainger ½-½ Adrian Priest.  Roger Grainger managed to draw his match but a detailed board report is unavailable at present.  Should one later become available it will be edited into the blog.  

Board 4:  John Fenby 0-1 Andy Ambrose.  John was involved in a close match for much of the evening but near the end Andy won two pieces compared to John's one meaning he went a piece up. 

Board 5:  Mike Jarocki 0-1 Robert Grimes.  There can not have been too many more horrible ways for a queen to leave the board in the entire history of chess than Mike Jarocki's queen in this match, as she became almost suffocated whilst trapped in amongst her own pieces.  It was almost a smothered queen and demostrates that useful ability that knights have in that they can jump over other pieces. 

David Blower reaction as Mike Jarocki was giving me a lift home:  "I felt sorry for you.  It looked as though there was no where for your queen to go." 

Mike Jarocki:  "There wasn't.  After that I tried some counter play." 

The counter play did not work.  Mike Jarocki played a bishop move to attack Robert's rook via a skewer.  Such was the advantage for Robert though he played a move to counter attack the counter attack.  This would mean an exchange of rooks.  There was little Mike Jarocki could do and in the end he resigned whilst still heavily down in material. 

Board 6:  Stephen Micklewright 1-0 Andrew Field.  Chess is a game where you can play brilliantly for over 2 hours and then make 1 mistake and the game is suddenly taken away from you.  That is why it is so enjoyable and so often frustrating at times.  If it was easy though no one would play it.  In this match Andrew Field was winning for the large majority of the game.  He was a piece up. 

Stephen meanwhile had a passed pawn for the majority of the game when I was looking at it, but it was never going to queen and there were pieces attacking it.  It looked certain that Andrew would win.  Looking at the scoresheet to see that Stephen had won I had to find out how.  I had being moving backwards and forwards across the boards for a while and I missed what had happened. 

David Blower:  "You won?" said in surprise. 

Stephen Micklewright:  "Yes." 

David Blower:  "What happened?  You were losing.  In fact he was a piece up." 

Stephen Micklewright:  "He just made completely the wrong move, which allowed me to take the bishop with check, and then afterwards the knight as well.  So I was able to go a piece up." 

David Blower:  "Oh ok, well done on your victory." 

Stephen Micklewright:  "Thanks but I was extremely lucky." 

Overall then a close win for Halesowen A who must have been delighted as they left Brewood having won what had been a tough match.  They certainly look good for promotion this season back to division 1 of the Wolverhampton & District Chess League. 

As for Brewood despite defeat it was very pleasing how we competed against Halesowen A. 

Andrew Davies reaction by email the next day:  "Well done to the team for last night.  Comparing team grades, and assuming everyone plays to grade, mathematically our team might have expected to score about 2.  So we did better than expected." 

David Blower gave this reaction to the website:  "Although we lost, it was a night that I was proud to be part of this chess club.  If we compete like this in the other matches we will stay up." 

Next up for Brewood A is Telford on Tuesday 9th December 2014.  Telford are currently top of the league but if this is anything to go by, they will be in for a tough match.  The good news for Halesowen A is that we will give it everything that we have got to try and win. 

Categories: Brewood A team, Halesowen

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