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Carnegie Revitalised

"Chess Notes" from County Down Spectator, 4 Dec 2003

Carnegie

Carnegie got off to a shaky start this season perhaps dismayed by their opening loss to Groomsport. But morale is now soaring after an excellent result against RVH Hawks. Carnegie were seriously out-gunned by a very strong RVH team, on paper at least. Conceding a minimum of 100 points on each board, and sometimes 200, Carnegie managed to claim a drawn match with 2.5 points plus a bonus for each team.

Eddie Whiteside on board 1 accepted an Queens Indian which he challenged strongly. Eddie fought through to maintain an equal position. Unfortunately, his clock fell first to concede the game. Even so, there was no demonstrable win on the board and still a lot of play.

Captain Mark Newman's board 2 game followed theoretical lines. Although a pawn down, Mark had better positional advantage. A well deserved draw.

Board 3, James O'Fee opened with a sharp Gundaram Gambit in the Four Pawn's Attack. James was rewarded with a lot of pressure and a strong attack. Black vainly tried to recover by exchanging pieces and eventually capitulated when material losses became inevitable.

Alan McConnell played his usual solid Caro-Kann defence maintaining equality until his opponent finally accepted a draw.

On board 5 Mark Seidman got the better of a Bishop's Opening against the Sicilian Defence. Later, Mark allowed Black to force an exchange of queens which equalised the position and after 40 moves, a draw was agreed in a tricky pawns and king endgame.

Groomsport

After a great start to the season, Groomsport topped the league. On Thursday they entertained a strong Fisherwick team. After two quick games the match was in balance. The remaining three games were exceptionally tense running down on time with no clear outcomes evident.

In a heavily theoretical Sicilian Defence on board 1, Steve Scannell took the proffered d4 pawn and prevented White from claiming sufficient compensation. Steve then sacrificed his Bishop into White's King-side for a Rook. This manoeuvre lured the White King into the open where Steve was able to force a mate.

In a wild attacking game, Damien Lavery chucked all the White wood on the fire, sacrificing 3 pieces for a winning attack. At the crucial moment, Damien chose the wrong path letting Black's King escape with enough time to reorganise his defences. When the smoke cleared, Black had an overwhelming material advantage. Damien was crushed.

Ron Henderson on board 3 responded to White's opening with a Closed Sicilian. To begin with Ron's position was cramped but eventually he exchanged off to open up and aquire the advantage. He had a won game but had to accept a draw as his clock was about to fall.

On board 4 Albert McCarter was forced into a protracted positional game from the Nimzo-Indian. The game reduced to a fierce major-piece end-game but Black's b pawn had managed to escape to the 7th rank and Albert was forced to resign.

From the start, board 5 Richard Proctor as Black was put under severe pressure. Resilient as ever, Richard kept probing for weaknesses allowing nothing to escape. After a particularly loose move from White, Richard was able to get his pieces active and gain some counter-play. Though seriously outnumbered, Richard managed to push White back and was very close to forcing a 3-move draw but White's King escaped the persistent checks by hiding behind a couple of pawns. Richard had nothing left to battle with and was forced to resign.

After the tense and hard-fought final three games, Fisherwick were fortunate to only concede half a point. The final match score of 1.5 to 3.5 scarcely does justice to an excellent performance from the Groomsport team.

Templar

Templar approached their match at CIYMS with trepidation. CIYMS looked the better team on paper and had already scored over other strong teams. What a surprise then, after 4 games, Templar had a full point advantage. In the final game, Mike McKimm offered a draw to give the team a win but his opponent insisted on playing on to try and salvage the match for CIYMS.

Martin Rogers stepped in to cover board 1. Through to the middle game Martin maintained a tiny advantage. Black was able to gain some counter-play with a promising attack but a loose exchange revealed a weak back-rank. Martin was able to capitalise on the error forcing Black to concede as material started to slip away.

On board 3 Philip Todd led a Scandinavian with an immediate Qxd5 giving a unexciting position. After move 15, the pace warmed up briefly but a few exchanges later an equal position was reached and a draw agreed.

David Grzymek opened strongly on board 4 gaining a piece advantage into the end-game. As his central pawns struck out for back rank promotion, David's superior numbers simply overwhelmed his opponent to claim a good win.

Board 5 saw Drew Ferguson forced into a Budapest variation. Drew was a pawn up, but Black was attacking strongly. After a backward pawn stumbled forward, Drew should have had a clear advantage but he missed an unprotected Rook. He lost the piece and allowed the Black Queen to wreck havoc behind his defensive line. There was no hope for recovery after this.

The match result revolved around board 2. Michael McKimm defended well as black claiming a pawn advantage early on. He was able to contain Whites sharp manoeuvring and a draw looked reasonable. But White was determined to reclaim some honour for his team and declined the draw. As the other 8 players gathered round to watch, Michael combined his pieces well and significant material gain looked certain. The tension round the board was palpable. With a last ditch effort, White forced a lonely centre pawn into the face of Michael's king. In a dangerous position, time pressure forced an error and Michael's defences collapsed.

An evening of good chess and better still, an excellent result for Templar. With the match drawn, both teams claim 2.5 points plus a bonus; enough to keep Templar near the top of the league behind Fisherwick.

This Week

Carnegie travel to Clifton House on Tuesday for a tough match. Winston travel to Fortwilliam on Wednesday expecting a good result. Groomsport have a free week so club night on Thursday will be busy with all players available. Templar play the only home league match against Bombardier; following their recent successes, the team expects to field powerful top boards in an effort to put some distance between themselves and Bombardier, only half a point below them in the league.

Next Week

Carnegie get a break next week while Groomsport travel to Civil Service on Wednesday. Templar are also away on Wednesday to Fisherwick. Winston entertain RVH Ravens on Thursdays club night.

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