Review of Leamington Chess Club Season – 2011-12

By Ben Graff, Club Chairman

Looking back on 2011-12, Leamington Chess Club had a very encouraging and enjoyable season in the Leamington and District Chess League. Our members have been very active in a range of League, Club and other events and next season promises to be another exciting one.

We are always delighted to welcome new players of any strength, so if you are thinking of taking up chess, or are an existing player looking for a club, then please contact us or come along to a club night at The Home Guard Club in Portland Street on a Tuesday.

Individual Club Tournaments

Congratulations to Adrian Walker who is our new club champion. Adrian won the All-Play-All event by a huge margin and went on to beat Andy Price in the Play Off Final, following Andy's equally good win in our knock out event. Congratulations also to Mark Armitage for winning the U-125 All Play All and to Andy Collins who won our inaugural Plate Competition. A special mention also to Roy Hadfield, who had an excellent run to the final of the Knock Out. All of our competitions were extremely well supported and a lot of enjoyable Chess was played. We will be running the same events in 2012/13 with the All-Play-All starting again in June and the Knock Out Competitions towards the end of August. Steve Burnell will be in touch with you all, to book your entries!

Leamington and District League

The Club ran four teams – one in each of the four divisions. A number of players who had joined the Club in 2011 had their first full season playing in the League and their excellent contributions all made a big difference this year. The influx of new talent should certainly stand us in good stead next year.

In Division One, the A Team enjoyed a reasonable season, finishing in fourth place behind Stratford, Olton A and Banbury. Congratulations to Andy Price whose victory against Alan Lloyd of Stratford who outgraded him by 32 points, gave Andy the Club's trophy for the best result in an individual League game.

In the Second Division the B Team finished sixth in a league which did not have much to choose between any of the teams. Ola Oladejo and Tom Darling had very good first seasons for the club and wins for the team against second placed Banbury B and third placed Solihull B were amongst the highlights.

The C Team finished seventh in Division three, but again there were a lot of positives. Andy Collins had a very strong first season for the club on Board one and the team drew with the eventual winners Olton C.

The D Team were our most improved team, coming fourth in Division 4 this year, having been bottom last year. Ben Egid 5/5 and Richard Lorch 3/3 led the charge in their excellent debut seasons for the club.

In the Team KO Cups we entered one team in the Open, two in the Under 700, and one in the Under 120 Cup. It wasn't really our year in the Cups this year, but we did manage to reach the final of the Open, before losing heavily to an Olton team who outgraded us significantly.

National Club Championship

For the first time, Leamington entered a team in the National Club Championships. We lost narrowly to both Rushall and Alwoodley, but these were enjoyable matches and we will enter a team again next season.

Individual League Tournaments

Leamington players featured strongly in Leamington and District Chess League individual events this year. Adrian Walker and I shared joint first in the U-150 section of the Leamington rapidplay with 5/6. Jason Madden reached the semi final of the League Open Championship. I reached the final of both the Open and the U-140 and probably wished I hadn't, but I did pick up the League's trophy for best game prize which was something.

Changes in Officials/Leavers

At our AGM Steve Burnell stood down as Chairman and Guy Greenland stood down as Secretary. I took up the position of Chairman and Tom Darling became our new Club Secretary. I wanted to again take this opportunity to record my thanks on behalf of all of us to Steve and Guy for all that they have done for the Club in these positions over the past few years. The Club really is in great shape and we owe them a big debt of gratitude. Of course Steve remains our A team Captain and is now also our tournament organiser, so no rest for the wicked really!

I also wanted to record my thanks to Mark Page, who is leaving Leamington to play for Kenilworth (which is where he lives) after 84 games for us. Mark has been our Board one for a long time and has played a massive part in the success of our A team over the last few years. We will miss you Mark and wish you well (except for when you come back with Kenilworth to play us!) Mark's favourite game for Leamington is below.

Having won most of our trophies, Adrian Walker is also leaving the club, as he is moving to Stroud. (Albeit, he might still have time to win this seasons All-Play-All if he is quick!) Adrian's energy and enthusiasm will be greatly missed, as will his ability to predict likely opponents first 15 moves. Can we still borrow your data base Adrian?!?

Roy Hadfield is also leaving to pursue other Chess interests. Roy is a former Chairman who has served our club with distinction in a number of different capacities over the years and we wish him well.

Final Thoughts

So a really good 2011/12 for the club and we look forward to 2012/13 with enthusiasm. As promised, Mark’s favourite game (with his comments) is below ...

M E Page - J Vickers

Banbury v Leamington, Bd 1, 18.09.2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 e6 6.Be3 d6 7.f4 Nge7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 a6 10.Bf2 [Not very clever if White is going to play d4, as this could easily lead to the loss of a tempo] Rb8 11.Qd2 Qa5 12.d4 cxd4 13.Nxd4 Rd8 14.Nb3 Qc7 15.a4 b6 [15...b5 16.axb5 axb5 17.Nd4 would only be very slightly in White's favour. The move played is rather passive.] 16.g4 Bb7 17.Rae1 Ba8 18.Bg3 b5 19.axb5 axb5 20.f5!? [White decides its time to lurch forwards] Nc8? [20...b4 21.Nd1 exf5 22.exf5 also gives White attacking chances, but would have been a better bet.] 21.f6 Bf8 [21...Bh8 22.g5±] 22.Bf4 Rd7 [22...Ne5! would have been more to the point] 23.Bh6 Qd8 24.Bxf8 Qxf8 25.Re3 Ne5 26.Rh3! [Now White throws a pawn into the attack to stir things up] Nxg4 27.Qg5 Nxf6 [27...Ne5? 28.Rf4 with the threat of Rh4 would be winning immediately, so Black has to give up a piece] 28.Rxf6 b4 29.Ne2 Qg7 30.Nbd4 [Not best, but White wanted to throw his minor pieces into the fray] Na7? [Black should have pushed the knight backwards with 30...e5 31.Nb3, but after 31 …Nb6 32.Nd2 White should still be winning] 31.Nf4! [I won’t begin to claim that I saw all the following complications, but its clear that White has virtually all his pieces pointing at the Black King, and that Black has rather fewer defending, so it wasn’t too hard a decision to sacrifice a piece] e5? 32.Nfe6! [After the previous move it should have been very obvious where the knights were heading, so it was not a good idea to waste a move forcing the reply] Qh8 [32...fxe6 33.Nxe6 Qxf6 (if 33...Qe7 34.Rxg6+ hxg6 35.Qxg6+ Qg7 36.Nxg7 Rxg7 37.Qe6+ Rf7 38.Qh6 wins) 34.Qxf6 Rf7 35.Qh4 wins] 33.Nf5! [A second knight sacrifice. And Black can only take one piece at a time] fxe6 34.Rxg6+! [And now a rook, though this is quite clearly untouchable, as 34 … hxg6 35.Qxg6+ wins the queen and mates shortly] Kf8 35.Rf6+ Rf7 [35...Ke8 36.Rxe6+ Kf8 was a better try, when White would have to find 37.Rf3! Bxe4 (37...Rf7 38.Nh6 Rxf3 39.Qe7#) 38.Nh6+ Bxf3 39.Qf5+ Qf6 40.Qxf6+ Rf7 41.Qxf7 mate] 36.Rxf7+ Black resigns [As after 36 …Kxf7 37.Qe7+ it is mate next move whichever square Black goes to.]

White 1hr 11mins; Black 0hr 52mins

Review of Leamington Chess Club Season – 2010-11

Read last year's report >>