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Carnegie hold their own

"Chess Notes" from County Down Spectator, 26 Feb 2004

On Thursday Club Night, Carnegie entertained Civil Service in an important league fixture. Mark Newman opened with his usual Kings Indian attack to John Nicholson. Black was slow developing and Mark took advantage by opening up the game. With careful play, John nearly equalised before losing the exchange and a pawn. Mark had established a very strong position but time was running out and he was forced to accept John's offer of a draw. A good result and an excellent game.

On board 1, Eddie Whiteside uncharacteristically blundered to give the game to Jonathan Brown. James O'Fee and Alan McConnell fought tenaciously to claim draws. Mark Seidman defended resolutely on board 5 until he was able to gain advantage when he took the offensive to claim an excellent win. Overall the match was drawn with no change in league positions.

As a finale to Club Night, in a demonstration blitz match against Richard Proctor, Mark astounded the audience with a Goldfish manoeuvre, moving his Bishop in front of his King. "Chess is about fun" he explained afterwards.

Groomsport

On Tuesday, Groomsport travelled to RVH hoping to repeat Carnegie's victory the previous week; RVH had other ideas, fielding a very strong team. White boards Steve Scannell, Albert McCarter and Richard Proctor did well to keep the match even with draws against long odds. Damien Lavery went down to a ferocious assault from John Masterson on board 2. Ron Henderson, returning to the team after a 6 week rest, managed to score an excellent win on board 4 just as his clock was about to run out. Overall the match was a draw, a good result for Groomsport against such strong opposition. Both Groomsport and RVH continue to share bottom slot in the League with RVH still a game in hand.

Winston

Winston entertained Fortwilliam on Thursday Club Night.

On board 1, Evan decided to attempt a Dutch defence against Martin Donaghy. This aggressive opening where Black opens up the pawns in front of his King to challenge the centre rarely leads to boring games. The game certainly kept him on his toes. Finally both players agreed a draw in a dangerous endgame where one false move could have sent either player over the precipice of defeat.

Captain Richard Morrow got equality in the opening on board 3 from Ed Morgan. Richard was playing well until his pieces got muddled. He had allowed his Queen to be overloaded, protecting too many pieces and Ed was quick to capitalise, winning the exchange and eventually the game.

David Symmington's aggressive Queen pawn opening on board 4 led to strong White dominance early on but as the game progressed, John Cahoon countered bravely as material remained equal. However, a weakness appeared in John's fortifications around his enclosed king and David stole in behind Black's defenses for a disguised checkmate.

Owen's weariness with playing Black showed early in his board 5 game with Dermot Neary. Owen lost a Knight on the edge to White's Queen and never really recovered any kind of equality. Dermot maximising his advantage to claim the win for Fortwilliam.

Meanwhile, Ken Browne's battle with Eamonn Walls on board 2 continued, possibly to save the match for Winston. Ken's Queen Pawn opening had developed similar to the Colle System with Eamonn's fianchettoed Queen's Bishop proving quite strong on the long diagonal. Black relieved pressure in the middle game by exchanging Queens and after careful play Eamonn emerged a pawn up. But Ken had the advantage of the bishop pair and eventually managed to regain the pawn. Positionally Ken was now slightly stronger but Black had a big time advantage of 25 minutes. Time-pressure made Ken rush his remaining moves and Eamonn was able to force mate to claim the game and the match for Fortwilliam 3.5 - 1.5.

Templar

On Monday, Templar traveled to Bombardier expecting a tough match against their closest rivals in the League.

Martin Moorcroft opened on board 1 with a surprise English. Martin maintained a tiny advantage against Paul McNaughton until a flurry of exchanges removed most of the pieces leaving both players materially even and with no prospects. Martin and Paul agreed a draw.

David Grzymek defended well against David Murray's Queen Pawn opening, managing to keep White's King in the centre. White's defense collapsed with a stunning Rook sacrifice from David Grzymek forcing mate.

In a French counter to a Kings Indian, Philip Todd kept a cool head against forceful play from Stewart McConaghy who launched repeated Queen-Bishop and Rook forays against Philip's King. Philip gained a pawn early on, adding another as pieces were traded off. When Philip forced exchanges for a pawn endgame, his 3 King-side pawns lined-up on the fifth rank against a helpless, solitary Black pawn; Stewart could do nothing but resign. An excellent win for Philip.

Kevin Agnew reconciled himself to the drawish determination from Eric Bookless accepting the draw after only 12 moves.

Drew Ferguson opened strongly against Bill McKitterick establishing a powerful attack with Black trapped on the back rank. Inexperienced under time-pressure and under scrutiny from the other players, Drew strung several weak moves together losing his positional advantage and squandering exchanges to let Bill steal the game.

Despite Drew's disappointing result, Templar won the match 3.5 - 1.5 fortifying their position in the league; probably giving CIYMS a clear run in 2nd slot for the rest of the season. The result has rekindled Templar's resolve and if they can sustain this quality of play, there is still opportunity for advancement.

Fixtures

This Week: Winston travel to RVH on Tuesday while on Thursday Club Night Groomsport challenge Civil Service, and Templar meet Fisherwick. Carnegie have a free week.

Next Week: Templar travel to Hillborough on Tuesday and Club Night sees Carnegie take on Clifton House and Winston meet Fisherwick. Groomsport have a free week.

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