MCA Div 2



Aigburth 2




Atticus 3

Dave Pearcey (B)




Dave Stuttard (W)

Tony McNamara (W)




Brian Ewart (B)

Tony Pimblett (B)




Ben Ellington (W)

Alex Rawlings (W)




Martin Blasczyk (B)

Steven Gerrard (B)




Jim Wiseman (W)

Tony Blades (W)




Tom Webb (B)

“Through portico of my elegant house you stalk
With your wild furies, disturbing garlands of fruit
And the fabulous lutes and peacocks, rending the net
Of all decorum which holds the whirlwind back."

Our match at Aigburth yesterday evening (Wednesday 4th March) was one of the most entertaining I have ever witnessed.  We learned at lunchtime on match day that our line-up would be bolstered by Brian’s availability.  He had originally been planning to travel to Prague on Wednesday to take his place in the World Seniors, but due to the complication around COVID-19 he was available to play.  Since I did not want to upset the line-up further, it allowed me to graciously step aside and take the role of non-playing captain, and I was rewarded by being able to watch some amazing games as they unfolded.

First to finish was Tom.  In a solid structure that resembled the black side of a Caro-Kann, he broke out to win a pawn, but in doing so surrendered the d-file which allowed white some counter-play.  A draw was agreed, at an early stage in proceedings, albeit one that always looked likely to be useful in the final accounting.

Next to finish was top board.  Every player has their own chess DNA, yet Dave plays like a man on permanent tilt.  Pawns are thrust forward to destabilise; pieces rush out to the most aggressive squares.  At one point he had three pieces hanging, presumably on the principle that his opponent can only take one of them at a time.  An engine would probably raise all kinds of objections yet once the smoke cleared it suddenly became apparent that Dave Pearcey’s position was totally lost.

Jim was next to finish.  Out of the opening he looked to have promising potential for a kingside attack, but Steven was able to keep him occupied on the queenside, and neutralise the attack when it came.  The loss of queenside pawns becoming the decisive factor, and Aigburth levelled the match.  Martin looked solid, if slightly cramped in his game and lashed out with h5, looking for active play but creating potential holes.  Once the bishop landed on c4, the thematic pin of the f7 pawn drew the game to a swift conclusion.

A point down, with two boards left to play, the writing looked on the wall.  Ben had misplayed the white side of a Najdorf and not wishing to suffer slowly had played a positional knight sacrifice to neutralise black’s queenside play, but with questionable compensation.  Perhaps still annoyed at himself for his defeat at Brendan’s hands the previous week, he spent time deliberating to such an extent that by the time he had ten minutes left, Tony still had a full hour to play with.  Yet Ben’s great strengths are his tactical play and his coolness under pressure.  With a succession of moves that saw clean through the clouds, and were totally missed by both his opponent and myself, he embarked on a king hunt that ended with a draw by repetition with only 20 seconds remaining on his clock.

Last to finish was Brian, who has been a star turn for the team all season.  Playing the black side of a Sicilian Taimanov, he looked to be doing well, with a pawn menacingly landing on g3 and a knight looking to play the octopus on d3.  Yet Tony, to his credit found some telling counterplay and looked to have the game in his pocket when he walked into a knight fork that led to a better endgame for Brian, which he duly converted with aplomb.

A highly competitive match that finished in a tie that seems a fair result.  The second half to our season seems to be mirroring the first half.  Defeats to Liverpool and Wallasey, followed by a draw against Aigburth.  We will need to match our wins at Southport and Skelmersdale in the next two fixtures to banish any thoughts of the drop.

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