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Club Championship 2015-16


  1. Our club championship this year has a change of format to something a little more structured than in previous years.

  2. The competition will consist of two stages.

    a. In phase one players will be divided into two groups. In each group everybody will play each twice (once as white, once as black). This phase will finish by the end of September 2015. This gives everybody 2½ months to play 6 games.

    b. In the second phase the top two from each group will go through to a final four, who will play each other twice (as white and black) for the Championship. The other players will play each other in a group for the Plate in the same way. In this way everybody will have something to play for. This phase will finish by the end of May 2016.

  3. At both stages of the competition game points will be as follows:
    - 4 points for a win.
    - 2 points for a draw.
    - 1 point for a defeat.
    - 0 points for games left unplayed.

    This should incentivise people to play. If you're challenged to a game, please make the effort to play it. If a player refuses repeated challenges we might look at awarding points to the challenging player.

  4. Each player will have 1½ hours on the clock with a flat time limit.

  5. Games will count towards gradings.

  6. We've used seeding for phase one, based on grades from January 2015. The top two seeds (Ken, Graham) are kept in different groups. Seeds 3 and 4 (Martin, Simon) have been drawn at random into the two different groups. All other players have then been drawn at random into the two groups.

  7. Initially 8 players have said they're interested in playing.

  8. Additional players joining in later will be assigned to a group at random if they join in before the end of September. Anybody wishing to join in after that time will join the Plate competition.

  9. We will announce evenings where the club will be dedicated to championship games. However, players can play championship games whenever they can arrange it.

  10. Standings will be posted regularly on the club noticeboard and, hopefully, on the club website.

  11. We hope you all enjoy the competition.


Group A

Kershaw, Graham Moth, Simon C Jones, Barry Smith, Mick
Kershaw, Graham* *L DW DW W17
Moth, Simon CD W* *D DD D14
Jones, BarryD LD D* *W W15
Smith, MickL LD DL L* *  8

Wed 29th July
Simon (w) played out a cautious draw with Graham (b)

Wed 5th Aug
Graham (b) beat Mick (w). Mick put up strong resistance in this game, but Graham eventually got his rooks down an open file and Mick's pawns collapsed.

Wed 12th Aug
Mick (w) drew with Simon (b). A fine result for Mick, in a game with a blocked pawn structure and Simon unable to achieve a breakthrough. Mick may even have been slightly better off at the end.

Wed 19th Aug
Barry (w) drew with Graham (b).

Wed 2nd Sep
Barry (w) beat Mick (b).

Wed 9th Sep
Barry (b) beat Mick (w).
Mick has played some fine games and been a tough opponent, but with most of his games played it's now looking tough for him to take one of the top two places in the group. Barry now has his nose in front, but there are four more games to come between the top three.

Wed 16nd Sep
Simon (b) beat Graham (w).
The game was finally balanced until the late middlegame where Graham started to gain a small edge. Graham pushed for the win, but eventually blundered in the endgame that allowed Simon to win a piece and eventually the game.

Wed 30th Sep
Graham (w) beat Mick (b).
A complicated middlegame position arose from which Graham won a piece. Graham then closed out the game without any problems.
Barry (w) drew with Simon (b).
Simon's solid Nimzo-Indian defence led to a dead level queen and pawn endgame.

Wed 11th Nov
Graham (w) beat Barry (b) in a close game.

This left the final table looking like this ...

Graham 17 points(4)
Barry 15 points(3.5)
Simon 14 points(3.5)
Mick 8 points(1)


Simon did not actually lose a game in the first round. He is actually the only unbeaten player, but still does not qualify.

Group B

Groce, Ken Van Tol, Martin Newby, Jonathan Clarke, Gordon
Groce, Ken* *W LD LW W16
Van Tol, MartinW L* *L WW W18
Newby, JonathanW DL W* *W W19
Clarke, GordonL LL LL L* *  6

Wed 29th July
Gordon-Martin 0-1: Gordon went a little wrong in a French Defence, went two pawns down quite quickly and never recovered.
Jonathan-Ken 1-0: The shock of the championship so far, as Jonathan launched his queen into a hole in Ken's defence, threatening a rook and mate. Ken never recovered from losing the rook.
Jonathan-Gordon 1-0: Jonathan continued his run with a tight win in a king, rook and pawns ending.
Gordon-Ken 0-1: Gordon's tough start continues as he was overpowered.
Jonathan-Martin 0-1: A thrilling game in which Martin kept up the pressure, although Jonathan went a pawn up. In the end Martin got a rook and queen behind Jonathan's defences to force a mate. However, with both players running short of time and having threats, this was a very close game.

Wed 5th Aug
Ken (w) beat Martin (b). A Dutch Defence, in which black dissolved the centre too early, hoping to open up white's king. He was unable to do this and Ken established a dominance over the centre.
Jonathan (b) beat Gordon (w).

Wed 12th Aug
Martin (w) beat Gordon (b). Gordon went a bit astray in the opening and things fell apart surprisingly quickly.
Ken (w) drew with Jonathan (b). Jonathan achieved double passed pawns and doubled rooks down a central file. He was badly short of time, however, (6 mins left against Ken's hour) and so, perhaps wisely, took the draw.

Wed 19th Aug
Martin (white) beat Ken (black). A King's Indian Attack against French Defence. Ken build up an strong attack and had an advantage that lasted most of the game. However, untypically, he overpressed and messed up an endgame and lost. The game lasted a mammoth 96 moves.

Wed 26th Aug
Martin had already ensured his place in the championship section for the second phase. To stop Jonathan joining him Ken needed to beat Gordon in the final round, and needed Martin to beat Jonathan. Ken did his bit by beating Gordon. However, he made hard work of it, as Gordon at one stage had two rooks and an advanced passed pawn to Ken's bishop and rook. Being the accomplished player of end-games that he is, Ken eventually managed somehow to grind a win out of this game.
In the other game Martin pushed hard on the attack, but that ground to a halt and Jonathan grabbed a pawn and a more active rook in a rook and pawns ending. At this point the game became more difficult for him as Martin produced an advantage and got a pawn to the 7th rank. Jonathan swapped rook for pawn, to leave him with three pawns against a rook. He then managed to queen one of those to win with 35 seconds left on the clock and win the game. Both players had turned down several draw offers.

This left the final table looking like this ...

Jonathan 19 points(4.5)
Martin 18 points(4)
Ken 16 points(3.5)
Gordon 6 points(0)

This group was a very close fight between Jonathan, Martin and Ken ... with small margins in games proving decisive. Surprisingly, only one game out of the 12 was drawn. Jonathan and Martin both go on to the 4-player championship group, which starts in October. An excellent performance by Jonathan, who has newly arrived at the club.

Round two

Both round one groups were fantastically close. Surprisingly, two seeded players have failed to qualify for the championship group.

Championship group

Kershaw, Graham Newby, Jonathan Van Tol, Martin
Kershaw, Graham* *D DD W10
Newby, JonathanD D* *D L7
Van Tol, MartinL DW D* *9

Barry is currently recovering from illness and is unlikely to play.

Wed 20th Apr
Jonathan (white) drew with Martin (black). The game was a Sicilian where Jonathan played the Grand Prix Attack and conducted a very effective terrorist attack on Martin's position. It should have been all over quickly, but Jonathan might have missed the win a couple of times over. Martin eventually mobilised his rooks and clawed his way back into it. In the end game Jonathan was on his way to queening a passed pawn, and seeing Jonathan's knight and bishop over on the queen's side, Martin launched a pawn, king and rook attack on Jonathan's king on the king's side. At the end Martin claimed a draw by perpetual check. There might just have been a win in there for him, but after this escape he didn't want to risk it.

Wed 18th May
In the final game Graham (white) drew against Martin (black) to clinch the Championship. Martin was second and Jonathan third.

Plate group

Moth, Simon C Smith, Mick Groce, Ken Clarke, Gordon
Moth, Simon C* *. .. .. .0
Smith, Mick. .* *. .D L3
Groce, Ken. .. .* *. .0
Clarke, Gordon. .W D. .* *6

Due to work commitments and illness, there are unlikely to be any more games played, leaving Gordon as the winner.