The Tans welcomed league newbies Durham City on a snowy Tuesday night in January. Precise details of the match itself have been lost to the mists of time – all that remains are the result:
Tynedale Tans 1½-3½ Durham City
David Wrigley ½-½ Graeme Oswald (192)
Dave Weldon 0-1 Dave Renton (166)
Jeremy Handley 0-1 Paul Robson (162)
Tim Wrigley 0-1 George Gazis (154)
Derek Blair 1-0 Geoff Knapton (136)
and the memory that 2 hours into the match we were on top:
Tim Wrigley had a level position with George Gazis, Jeremy Handley seemed to be holding Paul Robson’s tactical arsenal at bay, David Wrigley was a clean passed pawn up, Dave Weldon was a pawn up, and Derek Blair was (approximately) a rook up.
David Wr‘s opponent sacrificed a piece for the passed pawn (and another pawn) and left David with too little time to play a difficult RBp v Rpp ending, so a draw was agreed.
Dave We let the exchange slip, but obtained a healthy passed pawn in return – a brutal time scramble decided the point would not be Dave’s.
Derek managed to eliminate all Geoff’s pieces, saving himself about thirty seconds to finish things off.
Tim gradually came under pressure and fell foul of a tactical shot which lost a rook and liquidated all the other heavy pieces.
And Jeremy also came a cropper, Paul managed to find a destabilising pawn break at the right time and Jeremy’s King’s position collapsed.
On to the next match, and a visit to fellow strugglers Gateshead A.
Gateshead, like the Tans, had a single point to their names prior to the match – like a Tans, they’d taken a point off Newcastle – so this was a real relegation six(two?!)-pointer.
Jeremy Handley had a tough time with Kevin Cox – a pawn deficit turned into a loss fairly quickly.
Phil Taylor‘s earned himself a draw offer from Alex Johnson, having battled hard on the worse side of a pawn ending. Phil took the half point, and remains unbeaten in 1st division chess since records began!
Dave Weldon had a bit of an off day – he entered a series of exchanges to win a pawn, but missed a sting in the tail which lost a rook. Peter Wells ruthlessly finished Dave off with a cute knight sac, leading to a quick mate.
Tim Wrigley‘s enterprising opening play was met by a copycat strategy from Bill Noble, which meant the centre was quickly blocked- neither player could make any meaningful progress, and behind on the clock, Tim took a draw when it was offered.
David Wrigley seemed to have a big development advantage in the opening, but failed to make use of it and found himself pushed back by Robin Horner. They found themselves in a double-edged ending with a rook and connected passed pawns each. David had no better option than to offer a perpetual, which Robin accepted.
Gateshead A 3½-1½ Tynedale Tans
Robin Horner (169) ½-½ David Wrigley
Peter Wells (133) 1-0 Dave Weldon
Kevin Cox (131) 1-0 Jeremy Handley
Bill Noble (136) ½-½Tim Wrigley
Alex Johnson (116) ½-½ Phil Taylor
Defeat leaves the Tans needing at least three match points from four tough remaining matches.
The first of these was against Jesmond Rookies. Jesmond captain Chris Wardle phoned up early on the evening of the match to say one of his players was ill and as such they’d be playing with four. As it turned out, another of their players thought the match was the following week and so the Tans started with a two point advantage. Peter Crichton had warning his match would be off (but still came down to wave the Tynedale flag and to witness the 18-game, four-match spectacle that is Jesmond Chess club’s home night) and Tim Wrigley missed out too, but as he said, at least there was plenty of chess to watch!
The match was decided fairly quickly, as David Wrigley managed to outlast Chris Wardle. Chris, captain of a team two points down at the outset, stated his intentions early, sacrificing a pawn for activity. Opposite sided castling meant attacks on opposing wings, but David’s queen took the up a post in the centre and controlled both sides of the board, accelerating his attack whilst inhibiting Chris’s.
Dave Weldon played a careful game against Peter Jorgensen, gaining a positional advantage before springing a nice knight fork, winning the exchange. His advantage thereafter was never in doubt and he returned the exchange, only to win a queen and another valuable game point.
Jeremy Handley was surprised by by an unusual move in a Benoni. Dave Walshaw gave up his fiancettoed bishop for knight to double Jeremy’s pawns in the style of The Sniper. Jeremy felt he should have some advantage on the dark squares around Dave’s king, Dave’s central pawn chain and Jeremy’s own pawn on c3 meant Jeremy’s dark squared bishop couldn’t really find a good way in. Meanwhile, Dave had a passed a pawn with a rook behind it which was accelerating towards the danger zone. Jeremy was able to block the pawn and exchange most of the remaining pieces, but he wasn’t able to conjour up enough initiative to put Dave in serious trouble. Opposite coloured bishops and two rooks glaring at each other meant a statesmanlike draw was agreed.
So the Tans have their first win of the season.
Jesmond Rookies ½-4½Tynedale Tans
Chris Wardle (158) 0-1 David Wrigley
Peter Jorgensen (153) 0-1 Dave Weldon
Dave Walshaw (155) ½-½ Jeremy Handley
default 0-1 Tim Wrigley
default 0-1 Peter Crichton
David and David record their first league wins of the season! Can the Tans follow this good (if fortuitous) result and beat the drop?!