Match Report: Cumnor 1 v. City 1

Well for our second match in two weeks we welcomed City 1 to the Old School. With all due respect to Didcot, our previous week’s opponents, we expected it to be a much tougher match, partially because a few of our stronger players were not available, but mainly because City 1 in the before times were an extremely strong team, challenging University 1 for the title, while we are but newcomers to the top table. But we live in strange times, so while City had two very strong players on the top boards in Jon Manley and Phil Hayward, lower down there were a lot of new faces – great for the OCA, great for chess, but this also meant the match was going to be much tighter than we expected.

As in the previous report I’ll go through the boards in (roughly) the order they finished. Mark finished first, and to be honest I missed the vital phase. At one point it all looked fairly equal, a moderately complex queen-less middle game, at the next Mark had powerful rooks on the semi-open b and c files blasting away at the queen side castled white king, supported by his white squared bishop on f5. It looked to me that white was in all sorts of trouble, especially on the white squares, and so it proved – the next time I looked Mark was a rook up. 1-0 to Cumnor.

For the second time in two weeks I was second to finish. William played the Grand Prix Attack against my Pirc/Modern, but I managed to force the exchange of his white squared bishop – I had learnt after a few bloody noses from Joe in the Cumnor Clash that this makes white’s attack a lot less powerful. Anyway it sort of transposed into a strange Sicilian Dragon, and when William tried to attack he over-pressed and dropped a pawn. And then in trying to win back the pawn he ran into a nasty pin that bagged me a knight. After that it was a little bit one way traffic, and after struggling for a bit William resigned. Cumnor 2 City 0.

Tony and Liam finished more or less at the same time. Tony handled Tamal’s attack from a Stonewall structure very nicely – while the pressure down the g file looked nasty and sacrifices were very much in the air Tony realised that he could just calmly run his king to the centre, leaving the attack dissipated and White in a better position. And a pawn up, which became a piece as Tamal struggled to stop that extra pawn queening. And again there was a bit of a struggle after that, but soon Tony recorded his debut win for Cumnor, well played! Cumnor 3-0 and couldn’t lose the match.

Liam’s was like mine a Grand Prix Attack, but against a Sicilian rather than the Pirc, and Liam was white. And interestingly, at least for me, it resulted in a “Symmetric Benoni” structure:

The reason I mention this is I am currently studying “Chess Structures – A Grandmaster Guide” by GM Mauricio Flores Rios,

and the next chapter I’m going to read is on the “Symmetric Benoni”, so let’s see how it applies to Liam’s game. The position at move 21 is

Now GM Rios says in his book “… White usually retains a small spatial advantage. This a advantage increases if White manages to expand on the kingside, restricting Black’s pieces substantially. Black’s play can be rather difficult, and great precision is required to avoid being asphyxiated. A main theme in this variation is whether Black manages to trade off some minor pieces to decrease his space problem. In addition, the control of the e4-square is often an important factor to determine whether Black can equalize or not”. So how is Joseph doing currently? Not bad must be the assessment, he’s swapped off a couple of minor pieces, and he’s got some control of e4, and while White has started to expand on the King side nothing too much has been achieved yet, though g4 looks as though it is coming soon. And Mr Stockfish puts it about equal, maybe a small advantage to black but it is minuscule. “But, but, but what about that knight on d4? Doesn’t black have to deal with that now?” we all cry. NO! 21 cxd4 Qxd4+ drops at least one pawn, so black does have time to ignore this “threat”. Thus, given what is said above, 21 … h5! is the move. It holds blacks position together by stopping g4, so keeping pressure on e4, and incidentally threatening the somewhat embarrassing Bg4. Instead Joseph played 21 … Bxd3?!, arguably the losing move as it loses control of e4 and g4, and so white can be expected to expand on the king side. See how Liam takes it from that point:

Yup, squeezed to death. These GM’s know what they are on about … 4-0 Cumnor.

This left the top two boards. Phil had played the Dutch as is his want against Gareth’s 1 d4?. I don’t understand the Dutch. It always seems to me that black has no space and the pieces aren’t working, and then black wins by crashing through on the kings side. To me it looked like Gareth was a bit better early on having a bit more space and better pieces, but Phil is a good player, and slowly worked his way into the game, and guess what – eventually his attack crashed through on the king side. 4-1 Cumnor.

I don’t understand the Dutch. But I do understand the Pirc, and the last game to finish, the top board clash between Jon and Nigel, showed a fascinating example of what can occur. It’s also very much an example of what *not* to show the kids, at least when it comes to teaching them about development and the opening in chess … Here’s the game:

 

So what’s happening? Black seems to make weaknesses preparing Bg7, then never plays it and instead makes lots of pawn moves – look at the position at move 10. How can this be sound? This isn’t what we were taught! The point is after 5 Qd2 Black knows white’s plan – Bh6, swap, 0-0-0, h4 h5, sac, sac, mate. So if this is the plan why castle king side into the attack? In fact why even play Bg7 if white is just going to swap the bishop off? You can play Bxh6 just as well from f8 as g7. So the idea in not playing Bg7 and 0-0 is to save a move or two to further plans elsewhere, in particular on the queen side. If Black can make enough noise over there white might chicken out of queen side castling, and if white does that the sac, sac, mate plan doesn’t work.

So this is the point – Nigel’s queen side demonstration eventually makes Jon decide to castle king side, at which point the hack attack down the h file is no longer on and now Nigel can decide how to place his king in safety, which, complete with a nice sidestep, he achieves by marching it to the queen side. At which point Black has his own king side chances, but he has to keep an eye on white’s sacrificial ideas like Nxd6 or Nxc5.

So a nicely complex game between two very good players, ending in an honourable draw when both were running a bit short on time. So in the end Cumnor 4 1/2 – City 1 1/2:

Top of the table a while yet!

Fixtures are out

Please spread the news far and wide: The fixtures for 2021-22 have been released!

Cumnor 1 will be playing in the first division with 6 other teams: Didcot 1, City 1, Oxford Univ 1, Witney 1, Banbury 1 and Cowley 1. This should provide some tough games but with Covid we will have to wait to see the strength of some of these teams.

Thu 30-Sep-21 Cumnor 1 v Didcot 1
Thu 07-Oct-21 Cumnor 1 v City 1
Thu 21-Oct-21 Cumnor 1 v Oxford Univ 1
Thu 28-Oct-21 Cumnor 1 v Witney 1
Thu 18-Nov-21 Banbury 1 v Cumnor 1
Thu 25-Nov-21 Cumnor 1 v Cowley 1
Mon 24-Jan-22 Didcot 1 v Cumnor 1
Thu 10-Feb-22 Cowley 1 v Cumnor 1
Mon 21-Mar-22 City 1 v Cumnor 1
Thu 31-Mar-22 Cumnor 1 v Banbury 1
Mon 11-Apr-22 Witney 1 v Cumnor 1
Thu 28-Apr-22 Oxford Univ 1 v Cumnor 1

Cumnor 2 will be playing in the third division (so I guess we should celebrate a promotion at some point) with 6 other teams: Abingdon 1, Oxford Univ 3, Cowley 3, Wantage 2, City 3 and Witney 3.

Mon 04-Oct-21 Abingdon 1 v Cumnor 2
Thu 14-Oct-21 University 3 v Cumnor 2
Thu 21-Oct-21 Cowley 3 v Cumnor 2
Thu 04-Nov-21 Cumnor 2 v Wantage 2
Mon 22-Nov-21 City 3 v Cumnor 2
Mon 06-Dec-21 Witney 3 v Cumnor 2
Thu 03-Feb-22 Cumnor 2 v Cowley 3
Thu 17-Feb-22 Cumnor 2 v City 3
Tue 22-Feb-22 Wantage 2 v Cumnor 2
Thu 03-Mar-22 Cumnor 2 v University 3
Thu 17-Mar-22 Cumnor 2 v Abingdon 1
Thu 21-Apr-22 Cumnor 2 v Witney 3

I am looking for our first competitive over the board game in over 18 months! If you would like to get involved in the best Chess Club in the whole wide world check out our New Members page, (the “best Chess Club in the whole wide world” claim was taken by a small sample of Cumnor players who were asked the question).

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!

Mike Duck Online Tournament: Round 2

Both teams had tough matches this week in the Mike Duck Online Tournament.

Lets start with Cumnor 2, with a bye in the first round Cumnor 2 got thrown in with the big boys, this lead to a difficult match verse Oxford City 1.

Home Oxford City 1 Cumnor 2 Away
1 (B) Manley, Jon 1 – 0 Carr, Robinr
2 (W) Cont, Arya 1 – 0 Bennett, Steven
3 (B) White, Stuart 1 – 0 Cluley, Graham
4 (W) Hayward, Philip 1 – 0 Hudson, Andrew
5 (B) Tselos, Ross 1 – 0 Crittenden, Mark
6 (W) Brown, Matthew 1 – 0 Monteiro, Pedro
Total 6 – 0 Total

There was a very large average grade difference, average grade City 1 was 185 while Cumnor 2 had an average grade of 90. So the 6-0 result was probably expected.

Sean Terry the captain had a positive comment on the match “Not with standing the lopsided score, well done Cumnor 2 for keeping the tension on the top four boards; overall, they certainly deserved to get a score on the board somewhere!”

With Cumnor 1 winning (without the help of a bye) their first round match against Witney 2 they were given a match against Oxford University 2.

This match was very close and ended with a 3-3 draw with 3 wins each, all on the white boards!

Home Oxford University 2 Cumnor 1 Away
1 (B) Saravanan, Karthik 0 – 1 Moyse, Nigel J
2 (W) Enescu, Tudor 1 – 0 Burrows, Nick
3 (B) Hahn, Lilli 0 – 1 Terrington, Simon
4 (W) Pearson, Taylor 1 – 0 Bush, Ian
5 (B) Rochowicz, Nils 0 – 1 Sayers, Mark
6 (W) Cinaroglu, Suleyman 0 – 0 Glenn, Liam
Total 0 2 – 3 Total 0

However, if you look closely at the result it finished 3-2 to Cumnor 1?!?

Ian explains what happened to the game on the bottom board “Unfortunately board 6 was played as “casual” rather than rated, and so by the rules of the competition it is scored 0-0 despite it being a white win over the board. The University Captain did try, unsuccessfully, to contact his player about this.”

With Liams loss being discarded it means another win for Cumnor 1, putting us joint top with 2 wins from 2!

If you would like to take a look at the tournament, see the results and fixtures along with the table it can be found here.

The draw for round three happened last night after the end of the matches, Abingdon School have joined this week so no more byes.

Thu 12 Nov Cumnor 1 : University 1
Mon 09 Nov Cowley 1 : Oxford City 1
Mon 09 Nov Witney 1 : Witney 2
Thu 12 Nov University 3 : Didcot 1
Thu 12 Nov Cumnor 2 : University 2
Mon 09 Nov Abingdon 1 : Banbury 1
Mon 09 Nov Oxford City 2 : Cowley 2

So
Cumnor 1 v Oxford University 1
and
Cumnor 2 v Oxford University 2

Nice and symmetrical then but not exactly easy!

Mike Duck Online Tournament: Round 1

The season started with a bang last night as Cumnor 1 won against Witney 2 in the first round of the Mike Duck Online Tournament.

Home Cumnor 1 Witney 2 Away
1 (B) MacQueen, Stuart ½ – ½ Moss, Patrick
2 (W) Alizada, Eldar 1 – 0 Gilders, Ian
3 (B) Burrows, Nick 1 – 0 Kilbride-Newman, Robert (Bob)
4 (W) Terrington, Simon 1 – 0 Turner, Roger
5 (B) Glenn, Liam 1 – 0 Manning, Charlie
6 (W) Stevens, Gareth 1 – 0 Tomkys, Tony
5½ – ½

The five wins and the single draw puts Cunmor 1 at the top (joint along with City 1) of the early season table. Cumnor 2 had a bye in the first round and therefore sit in the top half. However, Cumnor 2 have been “rewarded” with a match against City 1 in the second round draw with the match scheduled for Monday evening. Cumnor 1 will play against Oxford University 2 who overcame Witney 1 in their first match, on Thursday.

If you would like to take a look at the tournament, see the results and fixtures along with the table it can be found here.

It looks like both teams will have a tougher week next than last!

2020-21 Season

We need to come together to put in place how the League will work this coming season.

The season traditionally starts in October so if you have ideas, queries or concerns please let Ian or Roger know.

“The 20-21 season is rapidly approaching. Due to the current pandemic it will be very different from any in recent history. Concrete proposals to address this will be made at the AGM in September, and will be available in full later this month. However we thought it best to provide as early as possible an outline of the ways that we might play chess next season in order to obtain feedback, and to this end the document linked to below discusses how the league might be run next season. Comments on the proposals contained therein would be much appreciated. If you have any please either contact your club representative, or send an email to the League Secretary, Roger Thetford”

Ian Bush OCA Chairman

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.

Witney 1 win the Frank Wood Shield

The final game of the 2016/17 chess season was played this week, it was the Frank Wood Shield Final between City 1 and Witney 1. In a match that was a lot closer than the match card suggests,
Witney 1 beat City 1 5 – 1.

Earlier in the competition Cumnor 1 were knocked out in the second round against Cowley 2 while Cumnor 2 were knocked out by Didcot 1 in round 1.

Check out all the results here.

Cumnor 1 Mid-Season Report

Sorry I have been pretty busy the last couple of months, so haven’t been writing up the match reports as they happen. But as Christmas is here and the League pauses for the festivities I have some time to take a look at the matches. The club will be open on Thursday the 22nd December, closed on the 29th and open again on the 5th January 2017.

cowley-3-v-cumnor-1
So after our first game against Bicester which ended in a draw, our next game was away to Cowley 3. It was a tough game and at the time of writing Cowley 3 are top of the table and currently unbeaten.

cumnor-1-v-city-2
Our next two matches were against City 2 and 3 both at home. We lost against City 2 but beat City 3 to leave City 3 at the bottom of the table.

cumnor-1-v-city-3

oxuni2-v-cumnor-1
We entered December with an away game to Oxford University. We had another tough game and lost 4-5. But a week later at Witney we picked up our largest win of the season with a 5.5-0.5 win against Witney 2.

witney-2-v-cumnor-1

At halfway stage of the season Cumnor 1 are currently in 5th place in division 2 a full table can be found here.

Cumnor 1 v MCS and City 1 (FWS)

A win and a draw from Gareth and Mark respectively wasn’t enough to earn Cumnor any points last Thursday night when Magdalen College School came to town. In our previous fixture MCS ran out 6-0 winners so at least this result looks a little more respectable.

MCS are currently 2nd in the table battling it out with University 2 and Banbury 1 for the title. Their team contained may seasoned players and they did outgrade us on every board. Marc was out graded by 59 points and it was no coincidence that our 1.5 points came from our closest matched games. However, the difference was still 26 grading points for Gareth and 25 for Mark, so it is quite an achievement.

Cumnor 1 v MCS

Our following game was an away match against Oxford City 1 in the second round of the Frank Wood Shield. Last season Cumnor 1 took on Oxford City 1 in the same round and lost the match in an exciting game which you can read about here. City 1 went on to win the cup by beating Cowley 2 4-2 in the final and will be looking to win the cup again this year for the third time in a row.

TrophySo hoping for some “magic of the cup” 6 fearless Cumnor players went to the St. Margaret’s Institute on Polstead Road on Monday evening. Due to the handicap arrangement in the cup City needed to win by at least 4-2 to go through, anything less Cumnor would get into the third round and have a game against Cowley 1.

The match was closer than the result may appear. Daniel had a excellent result and then though I didn’t see the game Gareth who was sat nearby said Daniel created a passed pawn which won him the game. Both Simon and my games where close, Simon’s in particular was tight with some drawing lines. Gareth’s also had chances, when I went over to watch the game Gareth had 12 minutes to Christian’s 2 in a pretty complicated endgame but it was Christian created the most aggressive lines and Gareth went on to lose on time.

City 1 v Cumnor 1

The result means Cumnor 1’s dream of winning the cup will have to wait for next year when hopefully the draw might be a little kinder.