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Carnegie stun members

"Chess Notes" from County Down Spectator, 11 Mar 2004

Carnegie faced Clifton House on Thursday in their pen-ultimate match of the season. Clifton House, leading the league and ambitious for honours, arrived without a board 5, perhaps reckoning Carnegie would follow Groomsport's 0-5 whitewash of a few weeks earlier. Carnegie knew they faced tough opposition.

Eddie Whiteside set the tone for the match refusing to give an inch demanding a draw from Olympiad Tom Clarke. Mark Newman followed, forcing another draw against Des Moreland.

It was James O'Fee and Alan McConnell who really turned up the heat for Clifton. James shocked Danny Mallaghan with a virtuoso tactical display. Alan's English positioned both Knights to dominate the centre. Damien Cunningham had no response to Alan's four pawns as they crossed the river to demolish Damien's tattered defences.

A superb win for Carnegie succeeding in not only advancing the team into the top half of the league, but definitely destroying Clifton's ambitions for league honours. Although league leaders, Fisherwick, are comfortably clear at the top, next weeks final division match remains a decider for Groomsport's tussle with RVH to avoid certain relegation. Groomsport face Clifton House then while RVH take on Fisherwick; Groomsport must take heart from Carnegie's victory and with their current half-point advantage should be favourites over RVH.

Templar

On Tuesday, Templar travelled to Hillsborough to claim an extra-ordinary win. Martin Moorcroft opened well against David McAlister establishing a very strong position with David's Black pieces well contained. Gradually David whittled away at Martin's position to launch a dangerous Kings-side attack. Fortunately Martin's defences were strong enough to withstand David's challenge and force a draw.

David Grzymek, as usual, played a quiet, sound defence against John Orchin until he found a tiny chink in John's position. Advancing his Bishop into the face of White's King, David delivered a vicious blow threatening immediate destruction. Carefully John manoeuvred to protect his King but only stumbled from one threat to another. Inevitably John pieces started to fall until his position was hopeless.

Philip Todd opened strongly on board 3 with a good attacking position against Alastair Armstrong. Disastrously, a sequence of weak moves lost Philip his advantage and he was forced to accept a draw.

Kevin Agnew also opened well, defending against Geoffrey Collins. Kevin established a strong defensive position and was about to launch a forceful attack promising material gains. But, perhaps over-estimating the strength of Geoffrey's position, Kevin demurred allowing Black back into the game to force a draw.

The match was saved for Templar by a spectacular win for Drew Ferguson on board 5. From the start, Drew dominated the centre and Black was at a loss for a reply conceding after exactly 90 minutes.

Winston

On Thursday's Club Night, Winston took on league leaders Fisherwick. As usual Fisherwick fielded a team strong in depth; only Evan Bell on board 1 faced a even match. In a tough game with aggressive plays from both sides, after an hours play both Evan and Ian Woodfield paused for breath. Neither side had given ground and an honourable draw was agreed.

Ken Browne opened on board 2 with a Kings Indian eventually leaving a pawn isolated. Ken had allowed Bobby Thompson to gain control of an open file. Both weaknesses cost Ken a Knight. Despite pawn captures from both players, the end-game arrived with a material disadvantage for White; enough to force resignation from Ken.

Richard Morrow defended against an English, a positional opening with long strategic gains. Richard made an error allowing Gerry Pollock to connect a pair of passed pawns. Gerry's subsequent pawn charge down the Queen-side devastated Richard defences and without any counter-play on the King-side, Black was doomed.

Board 4, David Symmington faced a 4 Knights defence from Bernard Jaffa. David battled through Black's early attacks and came through with a strong positional middle-game. Bernard surprised David with a complex sequence to claim a Rook advantage; too much to prevent a Black promotion and eventual mate.

Gary Johnston on board 5 managed to keep Alex Beckett under control. Trying to find counter-play to gain some initiative, Gary mis-read his position blundered his Queen and the game.

Fixtures

This week: Carnegie and Groomsport rest up in preparation for their final League match. Templar travel to Fortwilliam and Winston entertain CIYMS on Thursday's Club Night.

Next Week: Final matches of Division 1; Carnegie visit North Belfast and Groomsport entertain Clifton House. Division 2 matches are both at home on Thursday; Winston play Randalstown, Templar meet RVH.

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