Match Reports: Cumnor 1 v. Banbury 1 and University 1 v. Cumnor 1

 

I’ve got a bit behind on the match reports for Cumnor 1, unfortunately ill health has left me rather low in energy, but here is an attempt to catch up on the two matches that we’ve played. Unfortunately we lost both 5.5-0.5, but in fact the raw results hide two somewhat different stories.

Firstly against Banbury 1, played a while ago on 31st March. Here the story is quite simple – Banbury were better than us. In fact when a team turns up with James Jackson IM on top board, and as good a player as Paul Rowan on board 6 you know you are going to be in for a tough night. Mark saved our blushes with a good draw against Georgs, but that was it as far as we were concerned:

So simply we were outplayed, nothing to add save for the top boards being a night for the hypermodinists, featuring two Pircs and two Alekhine Defences. Well played Banbury!

On April 28th we went to Wadham College to face the Champions elect, University 1.

Despite again facing a titled player on top board and having a somewhat weakened team due to illness the match was much closer, and we can, I think, feel unlucky with the final score – a comment echoed by one of the University players as we left. Debutant Callum and Andrey both had excellent winning chances, as did Nigel against his FM opponent and Liam nearly held a draw, only for it to slip away in time trouble.

Nigel’s game was excellent, despite his loss here it is in full. Under a bit of pressure early on Nigel decided to sac a piece for two pawns for activity. This turned out to be an excellent decision, giving Tom the eventual choice of accepting a perpetual check or playing for a win by returning the material. Understandably Tom chose the latter, but Nigel was better through much of the rest of the game, only to make a tired looking blunder when time was getting short:

It was my turn to save the team’s blushes, scrambling a draw for the second time this season against Max French. The game went straight down one of the more important variations of the so-called “Modern Main Line” of the Modern Benoni. This is a line where rather than trying to smash Black off the board, White initially spends more time stopping Black’s counter play and setting up a solid position from which to grind an inactive black down. I avoid the main main line with 10 … Nh5, stopping Bf4, which while not as solid as an earlier b5, tends to leave Black less passive – the latter is not my style. After that I slightly misplayed the queen side, 18 … Bd7 is a definite improvement as indicated, and Max slowly built the pressure until like Nigel I sacced hoping for activity and specifically a perpetual check. Which is what happened, though as you will see not quite in the way I expected after Max missed a cheapo when we were both short on the clock!

In fact I missed a chance to get a significant advantage near the end (i.e. after move 40), this month’s tactical quiz – can you find it? Warning: Not at all trivial, especially with seconds left on the clock!

So it could have been so much more but the final result was

In fact I think with a weakened team we can be tremendously proud of giving them such a good match, on another day who knows?

Answer to the tactical quiz

The point is black doesn’t have to take the bishop at once, white has the queen en prise and has to deal with this, allowing black to grab a pawn and the much more important black squared bishop, as opposed to the white squared one. This leaves black a strong passed pawn up with the initiative in a Q+opposite squared bishop ending, both very useful advantages.

Chess event in historic Abingdon venue

As a fundraiser for the Abingdon Passion play a 6 round rapid play event will be held at the Roysse Room, Guildhall, Abingdon on 28th May, 10:00 – 17:00.

There is a £10 entry fee, tickets can be bought here, where there is also more information.

All ages are welcome and it is restricted to the first 32 contestants. The event is not ECF rated. Registration will be at 10am, and the time table is
Round 1 10.15 – 10.55
Round 2 11.10 – 11.50
Round 3 12.05 – 12.45
Lunchbreak
Round 4 1.45 – 2.25
Round 5 2.40 – 3.20
Round 6 3.35 – 4.15
Presentation of the trophy at 4.30pm.

Thanks to Will Burt for bringing this to our attention.

Teaching chess in Oxfordshire schools with CSC

The charity Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) is currently recruiting new tutors to teach chess to school children in the Oxford area. There has been a significant amount of interest from local schools in our classroom teaching in primary schools and in after school chess clubs recently and we expect this to expand further again next academic year.

You do not have to be a brilliant chess player as most of the lessons are at beginner level. If you enjoy teaching, have some knowledge of chess and are interested in committing to some hours in the afternoon on one or more days each week during school term time, we would be very interested to hear from you. Please take a look at the CSC website for further information about the charity and fill in the application form if you would like to apply.

We are planning a one-day initial training day in Oxford in April or May (I will post the date and details on here once it is confirmed). If you would like to know a bit more about what is involved in the training and other requirements, how the lessons themselves work, remittance and such like please also feel free to contact me (see contact pages).

Andrew Varney
Regional Organiser (Oxfordshire)
Chess in Schools and Communities

https://www.chessinschools.co.uk/we-need-you

FIDE Chess World Championship 2021- Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi

The first match of the FIDE Chess World Championship kicks off today (26/11) in Dubai, between reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen and GM Ian Nepomniachtchi. It will run from until the 16th December.

Magnus Carlsen – is a Norwegian chess grandmaster who is the current World Chess Champion, World Rapid Chess Champion, and World Blitz Chess Champion. Carlsen first reached the top of the FIDE world rankings in 2010, and trails only Garry Kasparov in time spent as the highest rated player in the world. His peak classical rating of 2882 is the highest in history.

A chess prodigy, Carlsen earned the title of grandmaster at 13. He surpassed a rating of 2800 at age 18 years and 336 days becoming the youngest at the time to do so. At the age of 19, he reached number one in the FIDE world rankings, becoming the youngest person ever to achieve the feat.

Carlsen in 2013
Carlsen became World Chess Champion in 2013 by defeating Viswanathan Anand and since then won 3 times in a row to hold the title.

Ian Nepomniachtchi is a Russian chess grandmaster and one of the few players in the world to hold a positive score against Carlsen (+4 -1).

In December 2019, Nepomniachtchi qualified for the Candidates Tournament 2020–21 by finishing second in the FIDE Grand Prix 2019. He won the 2021 FIDE Candidates tournament with a round to spare to take the place as challenger to Carlsen. The Candidates Tournament took place in Russia in March 2020 and was famous for being one of the last sporting events to be played before the Coronavirus Pandemic lockdowns. It was eventually paused on the 25th March 2020 (a good few days after everything else had been cancelled) before starting again on April 2021.

The match will be held November 26-December 16, 2021, match times are 12:30 pm UK time and will be streamed/shown/analysed the world over.

Sources
https://www.chess.com/article/view/world-chess-championship-2021

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Chess_Championship_2021

Three Month Membership to the Club for Free!

“Cruel as it may sound’ but the COVID-19 lockdown was a boom for chess”

said five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand at the end of last year. We at Cumnor Chess Club would have to agree with him.

Its been a funny old 18 months or so but Chess has handled it pretty well.

Not just the lockdown, Netflix’s hit The Queen’s Gambit, has been a driving force behind at least some of it.

With an audience of 62 million in its first 28 days it did reawaken many peoples love of the game along with bringing new people to the game.

Chess has never been more popular.

Chessboard sales jumped 87% in the US after the show’s release. Lichess announced this week that 4 billion games have been played on the platform and Chess.com had 2.7 million new accounts setup last November, the month of the Queens Gambit release.

The club opened it’s doors at the beginning of September and it has been great meeting people and playing over the board again. We would like to give everyone a chance to come and enjoy our favourite game. So the Club will be free to all old and new members until January 2022! That gives any you 12 weeks of over the board matches, friendly and competitive games and even a chance to play in the league for free!

We are in a very fortunate position that this has happened and hope the offer gets taken up.

Cumnor One will play the first league match this coming Thursday the 30th September against Didcot 1. In fact this will kick off the season along with the Banbury 1 v Cowley 1 match, the first set of league matches since early March 2020.

More information can be found on our New Members page.

Mike Duck Online Tournament: The Final Rounds

Sorry this is a bit delayed I have been pretty busy over the last few weeks.

Cumnor 2 definitely blew hot and cold this tournament, with a bye in the first round they had the unfortunate task of playing Oxford 1 and Oxford University 2 in second and third rounds, both of these matches ended 6-0. In the forth round the result was another 6-0 but this time to Cumnor 2, beating Cowley 2. The fifth round saw the closest match against Cowley 1, with Cowley defaulting one game Cumnor ran into a 2- (negative) 1 lead. However, Cowley 1 had to fight for the remaining games and maybe on a different day Cumnor 2 might held out but it wasn’t meant to be. This would have been the shock of the tournament if it had happened.

The final round had Cumnor 2 pitted against Oxford City 2 and this time the result was back in our favour with a 4.5-1.5 win. Overall Cumnor 2 did very well, beating the other “2” teams they played against and finished respectably in mid-table above such powerhouses as Witney 1 and Banbury 1!

After the first three rounds of the Mike Duck Online Tournament Cumnor 1 was sat in a healthy position near the top of the table with 2 wins and a loss. The problem with this is that you end up playing some tough teams! Our forth round match was against Witney 1, in the furloughed 2019-20 season Witney 1 was one of only 3 teams who finished above Cumnor 1, so was this the chance we needed to show what we could have done if we had played the final few matches? The answer is yes, a good 4.5-1.5 win.

However, in our fifth round match we were up against the second strongest team in the tournament, a match against Oxford City 1 (this means we have played all the teams who finished above us in the league). In what was probably the best match of the competition Cumnor 1 pulled the rabbit out of the hat and got the win. Nick agreed a draw with 4 games still to go after looking at the remaining matches and prophesying that we would eventually win, Nick got any numbers for the lottery this weekend?

Mark’s match is a particularly nice win with a galavanting King and a couple of pawns which the whole game revolved around, Ian has put together all the games and they can be found here if you chance a watch.

Going into the final round first place was still within our grasp, well it would take an amazing set of results but we still had a chance. A Cumnor win and an Oxford Uni loss of 5-1 or more would mean we would win the tournament, a win would guaranty second place while a lost or draw would drop us down the table. Cowley 1 had all the big guns out and sadly we fell at the final hurdle losing 3.5-2.5. Oxford Uni won against Banbury so they won the First Mike Duck Tournament and deservedly so. Cumnor 1’s final position was third a very good achievement. The final table can be found here.

The Second Mike Duck Tournament starts on the 18th January 2021 with 4 player a teams so there might be (for the first time ever) a Cumnor 3! We are still planning to have online chess on a Thursday night over Christmas (again for the first time), if you aren’t up to much on Christmas eve or New Years eve… and lets be honest their isn’t much going on so you might as well.

So please have a Merry and Safe Christmas and New Year and hopefully next year we will get back to playing over the board chess. We will have a mighty celebration once we do!

2020-21 Season Goes Online

With the Coronavirus epidemic still being a problem and government rules changing every 10 minutes it has been decided that the Oxfordshire Chess League will move entirely to an online tournament for the coming season. Notes from the AGM can been seen below with the new tournament starting at the end of October.

More information will be published in due course.

*Notes from AGM*

For the 20/21 season, the OCA league will not compete as we normally do.

Instead, there shall be two separate Swiss tournaments played online. The platform will be lichess.org. The first tournament starts on the week commencing Monday 26th October. This tournament will consist of six rounds with a game played every week for six weeks. Game time will be 45 minutes plus 15 seconds per move.

All the teams will be pooled together, with the fixtures pulled out of a hat.

Cumnor will enter both of our teams into both tournaments. Liam will run the first team while Steve will run the second.

During the meeting we found that a number of clubs had difficulty being able to put out all of their teams to play online. Most notably Banbury, whom are only able to field one team to play online this season. Bicester said they cannot field a single team. Didcot said it could field one team and Wantage stressed they were struggling.

The second Swiss tournament will take place after Christmas, and will consist of eight rounds, with a game played each week over eight weeks. Depending on how the first tournament works, may influence how the second tournament works. For example two tiers, one for stronger teams and the other for weaker teams.
Nothing concrete was concluded, but the general consensus is to make it as simple as possible.

Your new Over the Board chess grades will not be affected by these tournaments. These online games qualify for an ECF online grade.

It was suggested that only players with ECF membership may take part. This is one of the things that Ian is going to clarify.

A few clubs stressed a preference for a team to consist of four players only for the 20/21 on-line tournaments. This was voted out by a significant majority of the clubs wishing to maintain six boards. This of course means more of us can get involved in this season’s online competitive chess.

The Swiss tournaments will be played weekly. Matches will be played on the evening of the clubs normal club night. Therefore, if Cumnor teams are drawn first, then we shall play the fixture on Thursday as usual.

I believe only Cumnor and some of Cowley’s teams play on Thursdays. No club plays on Fridays.

Fixtures are out!

The new season is upon and is due to kick off this week.

Cunmor 1 will playing in division 1 for the first time and will play their first match away to City 1 on 7th October before home matches against Didcot 1 and Cowley 2.

Cumnor 2 kick off with home matches against Witney 4 and Didcot 3.

We are always looking for new players so drop us an email / call or pop along to the club on Thursday more information can be found here.

All fixtures are subject to change.

Cumnor 1 win the League

Last night saw Banbury 2 travel down to Oxford University for a match which would have an affect over here in Cumnor.

Cumnor 1 have been sat on the summit of the Oxford and District Chess League 2 for most of the season gaining a healthy lead at the top. Big wins home and away to Banbury 2, our closest rivals, and a win against Bicester 1 last week put us 6 points clear with a better head to head record against Banbury.

The Frank Wood Shield, Players Cup and the Bill Laar Trophy
A single win in any of our remaining three matches would see us clinch the title and promotion to the first division while Banbury would need to win their four remaining matches to keep the pressure on. But Oxford University handed us the silverware be beating Banbury 4-2 yesterday. The result means we have a unassailable lead so Cumnor 1 will be promoted to division one of the Oxford and District Chess League for the 2019-20 season.

This tops off a very successful time for the club after winning the Frank Wood Shield last year and now this promotion. The membership continues to increase and we must congratulate all the players who have helped the club achieve this triumph.

As noted we still have three league matches left, all at home, to Wantage 1 and Cowley 3 and 4. At the same time as the Oxford University 2 v Banbury 2 the club had a Frank Wood Shield match against the Cowley Chessnuts which we won and now we have a semifinal tie against either the Wantage Alfredians or the Cowley Countergambits.

Lets get organising that open top bus tour.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As the end of the year approaches there are a few things to announce.

The two teams have so far had very differing seasons.

Cumnor 1 sit in second place in division 2 with 5 wins and a single loss to City 2. This puts us in a good position being only one point behind Banbury 2 with a game in hand, we played Banbury 2 last week and won handsomely 5-1, this is important as head-to-head is the decider when teams are level.

Cumnor 2 are struggling in division 3 but are already looking forward to playing in division 4 next season, Cowley Workers disbanded last year so Cumnor 2 stayed up in a division which is a little too strong for them.

Check out the leagues here.

The two internal competitions finish this week. Congratulations to Robert for winning the Bill Laar Trophy while Pedro finished in second place and Chris in third. The Players Cup is decided this week and I will let you know the permutations when someone explains them to me.

The club will be open on Thursday 22nd but closed on the Thursday just after Christmas (the 27th) and will open again in the New Year the 3rd Januray 2019.

Cumnor 1’s first match of the new year away to City 2 on the 7th January and Cumnor 2’s isn’t until the 24th January.

May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!