Cowley Summer Blitz: Online on Monday 4th July

 

Cowley Chess club has announced that the regular Cowley Blitz tournament will be held online at Lichess on Monday 4th July. Details are below, and also on the OCA web site :

This year’s Cowley Summer Blitz will be played online on Lichess on Monday 4th July at 7:30 p.m. It will consist of as many blitz games as you want to play between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. To play, you must have a Lichess account. You must also be a member of the Cowley Blitz Lichess team. If you aren’t already a member, you can visit lichess.org/team/cowley-blitz and click the “Join” meeting. When the admins notice, they can then admit you. Please also email David.W.Robson@gmail.com and tell me the name of your Lichess account, and also your real name, so I know who is playing. Also if you would like to be considered for an age or gender related prize, please send me the details. As there are no admission fees, the awards are for the prestige only. Finally, if you are signed up, all you have to do is to visit the tournament link on the night at lichess.org/tournament/9CJSrxxc

End of Season Awards

After the conclusion of the season last week, the OCA May committe meeting took place last night and I am happy to report that Two Cumnor Players have received awards for their performances in the Oxfordshire League this season.

Nigel Moyse won the Ray Starkie award for the best OCA game this year for his win against Dave Hackett in the Witney match on the 9th May. A match report will be published  soon, and the game will be included in that, and all the games submitted for the prize can be found here . Simon Terrington has also published a YouTube video on the game.

Andy Hudson won the David Del Nevo Trophy for the player who scores the best game points percentage in Division Three, who has played more than 50% of the League Matches. Andy managed 7 points from 8 matches giving him a win rate of 87.5%! It should also be noted that Andrey managed 5 wins from 5 but sadly didn’t play enough matches be eligible for the Trophy.

 TeamPlayerPoints
Games
Percentage
1Cumnor 2Hudson, Andrew7887.50%
2Cowley 3Asquith, Ivon7.5983.33%
3City 3Rodriguez-Bachiller, Agustin6.51065.00%

Congratulations to both players! The League is now over for another season which is an achievement considering the situation, well done to every player who took part. Next season should start again around the first week of October.

Unlike some clubs we will remain open over the summer (but not during August) for players to get some Players Cup and Bill Laar Trophy matches played, information on the cups along with the current standings can be found here. It should be noted every year that the Summer Months are the best to get these matches done, I make it 10 weeks until August and once the league restarts players won’t necessarily be available to play. Get those matches played so you aren’t relying on others come December!

*UPDATED 23/05 FROM THE OCA WEBSITE*

2021-22 Prizes
Now the season has been completed, the following prizes have been awarded:

Arthur Mushens Trophy for the best percentage score in division 1 – Filip Mihov

Bernard C Wyatt Trophy for the best percentage score in division 2 – Kenneth Hobson

David Del Nevo Trophy for the best percentage score in division 3 – Andrew Hudson

Lester Millan Trophy for the best percentage score by a junior in any single division – Kenneth Hobson

Ray Starkie Best Game Prize for the best game played in the ODCL or an Oxfordshire County Match – Nigel Moyse

All entries for the Ray Starkie Best Game Prize can be found in the lichess study below.
Congratulations go to all the winners.

Link: https://lichess.org/study/FzNi1KxF/EZUsPkEe

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

Tournament News

The Kidlington Chess Congress was due to be played online over the the usual Kidlington weekend (the first full weekend in February), however for a variety of reasons, it will not now be possible to hold this event on that particular weekend. We hope this will be merely a brief postponement of a few weeks and are currently considering dates towards the end of February.

Looks like we will have to wait until 2023 to see Exeter Hall in Kidlington this busy again!
Further news will be posted here and on the Kidlington Tournament website as soon as arrangements can be made.

The 2023 tournament has been booked out the usual venue, Exeter Hall. As ever, the event is scheduled for the first full weekend in February, so we look forward to welcoming returning and first-time players for our next annual over-the-board tournament on Saturday and Sunday 4 & 5 February 2023.

In some good news, The Swindon 2022 Rapidplay Chess Tournament will take place in Swindon on Saturday the 5th March 2022. This new (as far as I am aware), Rapid play will be over the board and I am sure some local players might want to make the relatively short trip down the A420, more information can be found here.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Club is now closed for the Christmas period. It has on the whole been an exciting time since reopening in September. Cumnor 1 currently sit in second place in the first division while Cumnor 2 sit forth in the 3rd division.

The Club will be closed on the 23rd and the 30th of December and will reopen again on Thursday the 6th (unless we get told otherwise). But the club will be open for a Lichess Cumnor Clash on both Thursdays, kick off at 7 to remember the good old days of last winter(?!). The Cowley Blitz will also be online again this year, for more information follow this link.

Hopefully I will see some of you online at either Cumnor Clash or at the Cowley Blitz but if I don’t Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

“Merry Christmas
May your every New Year dreams (of mating with a Bishop and Knight) come true!”

County Matches

Steve Rumsby is looking for players in the county matches.
Oxfordshire is in a little league with Buck, Berks and Hants and there
are 6 matches a year which are held on Saturday afternoons, details of
the first match below. Genuinely all standards catered for, and it’s a
nice leisurely 2hrs for all your moves.

The first County match is on the 13th November away to Bucks.

The Bucks venue is
Prestwood Village Hall, 1 Wycombe Road, Prestwood, Great Missenden,
Bucks. HP16 0NZ

The start time is 2.00.

If you are available and would like to play can you please let me
know. I am hopeful of fielding a team of 20 across the whole ability
range.

I will send out a list of all the match dates shortly.

If anyone would like a chance to play for the Oxfordshire Team drop Stephen Rumsby an email.

stephen.rumsby@maidford.plus.com

Busy Nights at the Club Coming Up

The over the board Chess season is now up and running. For the next two weeks, 21st and 28th October, both teams will be playing League Matches. The Club will be open for social Chess but there numbers will be down as 12 players will be involved in the matches two weeks running.

Cumnor One will be playing against Oxford University 1 on the 21st and Witney 1 on the 28th, both matches will be at home. Cumnor One currently sit top of division one with two wins from two but these two matches will provide some tough games for the first team. Oxford University 1 will be playing their first match of the season as the University teams as they need fit their matches around the academic year.

Cumnor Two will be playing their first matches of the season after two false starts. They will be playing Cowley 3 on the the 21st and then Oxford University 3 on the 28th both of the matches will be away from home. Originally Cumnor two’s season should have started against Abingdon School on the 4th October but it was postponed due to Abingdon’s Michaelmas fair. Then the Oxford University 3 fixture was also rearranged after they had some issues with the fixture pile up.

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!

Match report: Cumnor 1 v. Didcot 1

So last night chess returned to Cumnor Old School for the first time in over 18 months!

It was so nice to welcome Didcot 1 for one of the opening matches of the 21-22 season, and just great both to see so many familiar faces after all this time and to welcome a new one or two into the fold. COVID of course meant we had to be careful about a few things like keeping socially distanced where possible and having the Old School’s windows open in late September, but all in all it didn’t intrude too much into an enjoyable evening.

As for the games Stuart was first to finish. He dropped a pawn to Andy early in the opening, only for Andy to return the compliment with interest, losing a knight to a queen fork. It was over soon after that once Stuart activated his pieces, 1-0 Cumnor.

I (Ian) was next. I had a bit of an advantage out of the opening – more space; a bit of an initiative; a little bit of pressure down the d file; more active pieces. Basically while I had no game winning threats white’s position was easier to play than black’s. Florian worked hard to activate his pieces, but as is typical in such position he got a bit too optimistic, which lead to dropping a knight, and soon after the game. 2-0 Cumnor.

Eldar was playing a fascinating game on board 1 against Nick Gough, a heavyweight clash indeed! Eldar on the black side of an Advance French had grabbed white’s pawn on d4 with his queen, so while a pawn up his queen had very few squares and it would have been so easy to let it get trapped. One position I remember distinctly. On first glance Be3 won the queen, but on looking harder back rank threats saved it – all very complicated! Anyway Eldar navigated all the problems, and as is his way won with the extra pawn. In fact Eldar has previous here, winning a very high quality game in the same line against Dave Hackett in 17-18 4NCL, see below for the game.

So Cumnor were 3-0 up, and couldn’t lose. but the other 3 boards were far from foregone conclusions. Simon’s game on board 5 against Gary Reynolds was interesting. Gary as white had mangled his pawn structure with doubled, isolated h pawns to gain pressure down the open g file against a backward pawn on g7. On going through some of the game afterwards Simon and I demonstrated our different chess philosophies, I very much liked White because of the pressure, Simon preferred black because of the long term structural advantage. As is often the semi-conducting monster told us the truth was somewhere in between … Let’s say dynamic equality. After various excursions Simon lost in the endgame – I suspect as much because he was much lower on time as anything else. 3-1 to Cumnor.

I didn’t see the end of the other two games as I was going through Simon’s with him. On board 6 I thought Mark looked good early on, but his opponent managed to unravel his position and established a strong knight on e5 which Mark couldn’t kick away with a pawn. It went down to a Q+B endgame, which Tony won – 3-2 to Cumnor.

So it came down to board 3. The last time I saw Nigel’s game he was 2 pawns down in a N+P endgame. But, as is his way, he managed to swindle a win. Nigel, how do you keep doing this? A few lessons would be much appreciated. 4-2 to Cumnor!

So a tough and exciting match – I think we just deserved to win it, but then again I’m biased. And with Cowley drawing at Banbury it leaves us top of the table!