Atticus 1

League Controller:
Dave Whitby (Littlewoods), e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

The champs come out swinging

Atticus 1  3½-4½  Atticus 2, MCA League Division One, Monday September 11 2017.

202 John Redmond   ½  ½ Andrej Stancak 198
194 Dave James   1  0 Steve Kee 190
186 Nick Martin   ½  ½ Tom Bimpson 181
156 James Rothwell   0  1 David Odunaiya 177
150 John Lambert   0  1 Giorgos Christodoulou 172
134 Derek Rooney   0  1 Brian Ewart 159
134 Chris Wentworth   1  0 Dave Stuttard 147
130 Steve Philip   ½  ½ Andrea Brecevich 153
     3½  4½    

It could turn out to be a close season. We played our first Division One match in our new home, and the current champions came away the winners. Chris, who stepped in kindly from Atticus 4, had a convincing victory over Dave Stuttard, winning an exchange and closing in on the White King. Dave James played a tense game against Steve Kee's Classical Dutch. They went into a R+B v R+N where Dave's active rook seemed to balance Steve's better Knight. In time-pressure at the end, Steve allowed a King and pawn ending which turned out to be hopeless. Steve Philp was considerably better in his game with two Bishops and a passed pawn but couldn't overcome his opponent's blockading defence. Andrej and I played an opening where White gets two Bishops for doubled pawns, Andrej undoubled his pawns at the right moment but lost the two Bishops and neither side had much after that. Our debutante, James Rothwell, had a tough introduction to league chess against Dave Odunaiya. Black won a pawn in a Dragon-style position and, after that, seemed to suppress White's counterplay very effectively. Derek played a sharp-looking game where Brian had a big centre but a slightly exposed King. Somewhere in the complications Derek may have had good chances but he lost in the end. John Lambert played a long game where he seemed to lose a pawn early. In time-pressue, his doughty defence couldn't quite save the game. So well done to Atticus 2 - it looks set to be a competitive season.

 

Relegation decider

Aigburth 2  2½-5½  Atticus 1, MCA League Division One, Wednesday April 19 2017

173 G Lilley  0  1 J Redmond 203
169 M Cooksey  0  1 D Foord 197
169 I Campbell  ½  ½ N Martin 190
154 D Pearcey  0  1 B Ewart 159
152 JN Hawkins  ½  ½ D Rooney 135
142 D Rowlandson  1  0 J Wiseman 126
125 S Gerrard  0  1 T Webb 129
131 F Molnar  ½  ½ S Bannerjee 116
     5½    

Atticus 1 travelled to Aigburth for the last match of the season, which was (almost) a relegation decider. For Aigburth 2 to stay up, they needed at least a draw and to hope that their FIrst team beat Waterloo (the matches were played side-by-side.) In the event Waterloo beat Aigburth 1 anyway - so congratulations to them for staying up. Meanwhile we got the better of Aigburrth 2, despite missing three of our regulars. The match was effectively decided on Boards 5-8 where we split the points despite some rating disadvantage. Dominic had a convincing win in a French Tarrasch, coming up with an imaginative pawn sacrifice and gradually strangling his opponent (not literally.) I got a highly favourable French structure by transposition on Board 1 against Graham and was able to crash through on the K-side. Tom Webb played a great game with some adroit use of in-between moves finishing off his opponent. Brian had an early grip against Dave Pearcey's Bird, winning a piece and keeping central domination. Keeping things solid. Derek had a very creditable draw against Nick which got down to a complicated-looking Q+B ending. Sanjoy had the better of his draw, and was perhaps unlucky not to get the full point. Nick Martin was up against his old foe, Ian, and neither side made too much progress. Jim seemed to be holding into the ending but dropped a piece and then went down to a mating attack. Commiserations to Aigburth 2, then, but they will be favourites to bounce back up next year.

Hoylake knock us over

Atticus 1  3½-4½  Hoylake, MCA League Division One, Monday April 3rd 2017

203 J Redmond  ½  ½ D Tebb 193
197 D Foord  ½  ½ M Smith 182
188 D James  ½  ½ M Stone 179
190 N Martin  ½  ½ T Carroll 171
159 B Ewart  0  1 T Jones 164
154 J Lambert  ½  ½ P Holian 151
135 D Rooney  0  1 M Stoddart 146
120 M Blasczyk  1  0 D Picken 145
       

A big night in the club - Atticus 2 won their match and became MCA Champions - congratulations to them (see report and photo below.) Meanwhile, we lost a tight match to Hoylake. Drafted in at short notice, Martin was our only winner, overcoming a significant rating disadvantage against Dave Picken. Elsewhere, there were many draws, including a few of the 'grandmaster' variety. Nick Martin drew very quickly against his youthful opponent, while Dave James also headed for an early shower. Derek launched a kingside assault, but it rebounded on him, as his opponent's heavy pieces came down the g- and h- files. Brian seemed to be losing from an early point in the game, though he prolonged matters with gritty defence, John Lambert had a long equal-looking struggle which went into a heavy-piece endgame. Dominic had a choice between grabbing a pawn and sitting on his opponent's position - somewhat to his regret he chose the former and struggled to contain his opponent's counterplay in an obscure Q+N ending. Against Dave Tebb, I missed various wins (including mate in 37 according to my computer) but we ended up in a drawn Rook ending. Well done to the visitors.

Battling draw

Widnes  4-4  Atticus 1, MCA League Division One, Wednesday March 22 2017

205 S Jones  1  0 J Redmond 203
188 M Mazek  0  1 D Foord 197
183 M Ellis  0  1 D James 188
169 D McCarthy  ½  ½ N Martin 190
163 S Potter  ½  ½ N Wall 169
171 T Dugdale  ½  ½ B Ewart 159
150 M Connor  ½  ½ J Lambert 154
150 P Coughlin  1  0 D Rooney 135
     4  4    

In a less-than-critical variation of the Ruy Lopez, Dominic mixed it up and a cute tactic forced Marek to capitulate early. Dave James faced a kingside pawn storm from Mark Ellis but Mark's King became very exposed as a result - Dave won some pawns and methodically exploited the space around Mark's King. Nick Martin got a space advantage as Black v Damian's English. However a series of piece-trades took all of the momentum out of Nick's position. Nick Wall won a pawn against Steve Potter's favourite b6 set-up and appeared to be winning but Steve got his usual unclear counterplay and this was enough to secure an early draw. Brian and Tom Dugdale had a fierce tussle where Brian was well on top but then sacced the exchange for Bishop and far-advanced a-pawn. An exciting finale in a time-scramble saw the pawn queen but the position ended up as 2 Bishops v Bishop and pawn and a draw was agreed with both players in their last minute. John Lambert struggled to contain Mick Connor's Grunfeld structure but he held the pressure well with another valiant time-scramble draw. Derek unfortunately allowed Phil free rein against his Kingside and the attack proved too much to defend. I developed a good position with attacking possibilities, but allowed my opponent a bit too much of a time-edge. In a hectic time-scramble I got flagged - my opponent having 4 seconds remaining. All in all it was a hard-fought drawn match against the strongest side Widnes have put out this season.

Atticus 1 scrape through

Atticus 1  4½-3½  Aigburth 1, MCA League Division One Monday March 6 2017

203 J Redmond ½ ½ R Williamson 209
197 D Foord 1 0 G Cohen 171
188 D James 1 0 B Kane 171
190 N Martin ½ ½ S Lee 163
169 N Wall 1 0 J Faulkner 160
159 B Ewart 0 1 R Frith 150
154 J Lambert 0 1 D Eisen 143
135 D Rooney ½ ½ A Bond 117
       

Something of a fortunate victory for the home side - Aigburth were entitled to feel that they had this match in the bag, but let it slip right at the end. Dominic, who seems to specialise in wild-looking games had another one on Board 2, where his knowledge of Benko theory gave him an edge out of the opening. Dave craftily sidestepped Brendan's Morra Gambit and went into a Maroczy where his long experience brought him through to win. Derek got down to a Rook ending and had an early draw, while Nick Martin was unable to improve on his plus score against Steve Lee. I got a fractional edge against Roger in a Hecht-Reefschlager but a locked-up centre meant I couldn't do much with my two Bishops. Brian went for a big centre against Rob Frith, but ended up in a Bishop ending two pawns down. John Lambert was also in a Bishop ending but only one pawn down - and a doubled pawn at that. With best play John might have been holding, but time-pressure told against him. So the scores were level with one game to play. Nick Wall was well worse - his opponent had an extra piece in a middlegame and, although Nick had three pawns for it they were not contributing much to the action. With his opponent's pieces buzzing around his King, Nick should have gone down to a mating attack - and Atticus 1 should have gone down with him - but, as ever, the clock had its say. Nick's opponent sacced a piece, then swapped off queens, and - with all advantage suddenly gone, resigned with only a few seconds left on his clock. So Atticus 1 succeeded in keeping the League 'interesting' - at least for a little while. There may yet be some twists and turns before the title is decided.

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