|Posted on October 19, 2015 at 10:50 AM|
Brewood managed a nerve-jangling, last gasp victory over Lichfield to clinch a place in the semi-final of the Chase Trophy, in dramatic style. The final and deciding game of the evening saw a large crowd of spectators gather round board two, as Mark Keady settled the game in Brewood's favour, with what was more like a blitz finish, rather than a quick play finish, after a long evening.
This had followed an earlier “touch move” incident earlier on in the evening, to round off a gripping evening of chess.
To get the formalities of the website out of the way though, here is the match card:
Board 1: Derek Laight (166) (Black) 1-0 Gary Monks (137) (White)
Board 2: Mark Keady (151) 1-0 Michael WA Hoare (127)
Board 3: Roger Grainger (130) 0-1 Brian Homewood (126)
Board 4: Peter Crozet (96) ½ - ½ Peter Willett (114)
Total: Brewood (543) 2½ - 1½ Lichfield (504)
Brewood are through to the semi-finals to play Sutton Coldfield away.
Although they were the away team, Lichfield had took the unusual step of contacting us first, and offering us three dates that were suitable for them. Although the match was arranged at very short notice, Andrew Davies and I who had to arrange the match, concluded that as it was a home match, we would have no problem in getting a team of four players together for the match.
With a total team grading limit of 550 for all four boards, this competition would enable us to field a very strong team from the club, although it would not be completely open to us.
Team captain Mark Binfield quote before the match: "I think that grading limit could suit us well."
That statement proved to be correct. In Mark's absence I was made the acting team captain for the evening, and after I had picked the two highest graded players at the club, Derek Laight on board one and Mark Keady on board two, the total team grade already added up to 317. This left myself with 233 on boards three and four.
There was a temptation to play myself, and as I am graded 105, it would have meant a limit of 128 on board three. John Fenby is graded 129, Roger Grainger 130, Paul Wright 133. I made the decision that it would not be in the club's best interests, to have a lower graded board three in the team, just so that I could play in a match.
There was a bit of a laugh as I did the match announcement, as I announced that this was a Quarter-Final match, and also a 1st round match! Here is what happened on the boards in the match:
Board 1: Derek Laight 1-0 Gary Monks. Derek had a very strong attack on the king side, which consisted of his rook, a couple of pawns, a centralised queen, and a bishop attacking from long range from the queen side.
The powerful combination in attack allowed Derek to push his h pawn all the way to h3, backed up with the rook from behind. At one point Gary had his king going around for a walk although in a position where you do not want your king anywhere apart from safely castled on the back row. Shortly after Gary had resigned.
David Blower: “Well done Derek. You were making the same moves I was thinking you should have made, whilst I was watching.”
Derek Laight: “The game played itself.”
Board 2: Mark Keady 1-0 Michael Hoare. A classic. The game went to the final few minutes for both players, with at least seven spectators watching the ending of the game. Mark was the last to finish, and little did he realise it, but he only needed a draw, for us to win the match via board count.
Mark Keady: “If I had known I only needed a draw, I would have taken it.”
The famous concept of opposite coloured bishops appeared in this game. Michael was definitely a bit nervous, and his hand was shaking like mad, whilst Mark appeared quite calm. The clock ticked down to single digit minutes for both players.
At one point Michael had a chance to gain a pawn off Mark, and then exchange bishops. However he did not notice this opportunity, and whilst he did do this at a later point in the game, it was less favourable for him by the time he did do this, as Mark had exchanged pawns off on the queen side, and had produced a passed pawn.
Mark had being using both of his bishops to control key important diagonals, and almost block off the centralised d file for Michael’s rook. Mark also had a good kingside attack with these long range and centralised bishops. Mark could move his rook to attack some of Michael’s backward pawns, on the king side, although Michael did defend this part of the attack.
At certain points of the game even though he was behind in material Michael seemed to be offering Mark exchanges of pieces. Mark's passed pawn on the queen side was pushed to b7, one square away from promoting. Michael would have to give up his bishop in exchange for the pawn to be a queen and placed his dark squared bishop on the h2-b8 long diagonal.
Mark also had a light squared coloured bishop and a pawn on the h file. With Mark’s own king ready to take the bishop after b8=Q Bxb8, it may have looked like a draw as Mark had the wrong coloured bishop for the h file. However Michael then placed his king in the way of his own bishop in a time scramble to allow a skewer b8=Q+ and he therefore resigned immediately afterwards.
Board 3: Roger Grainger 0-1 Brian Homewood. This was a disappointing and a rare loss for Roger Grainger. Earlier on in the game Roger Grainger had gained a knight in exchange for his own pawn. A progress report by myself said: “it’s complicated,” at this point in the game, as I said what was happening to Andrew Davies.
Mike Jarocki was overseeing the final few stages of the game: “Roger got into a position, where the only thing he could do, to defend the checkmate was to move his knight back.”
But then, according to Mike Jarocki, Roger had touched a piece, and his opponent compelled him to have to move that piece. Not nice, but it is chess. Brian secured a support kiss checkmate after this, with Brian’s queen next to Roger’s king, supported by the knight. To be fair to Roger he did not complain about the incident, so he obviously agreed with his opponent.
Mike Jarocki further commented: “Roger had all of his pieces on the other side of the board and they could not get round to defend."
Roger Grainger gave this post match reaction via email the next day: “I am still in shock having lost to a lower graded player, but that is the joy of chess. Just looking on Fritz 11 to see where I went wrong.”
Board 4: Peter Crozet ½ - ½ Peter Willett. Peter Crozet got a draw with the material even.
Lichfield were sporting in their congratulations to us. Although disappointed they did comment that it is really good to see a match go down to the wire. They also added that if we kept the same team we would have a good chance of going far in the competition.
Both sides already knew that the winner would be away to Sutton Coldfield in the semi-finals, and no sooner had the match result details being forwarded to the relevant league committee members, did preparations begin to arrange the semi-final. That has now been arranged and it is Monday 4th January 2016 at Sutton Coldfield Chess Club. Happy New Year everyone!