The Reivers played 10 games in division 2 this season, winning two and losing 8. 4 of the losses were by the narrowest of margins, i.e. 3-2. Individual results were
Peter Crichton 3.5/8 on board 1
Alex Ashworth 3/8 on board 2.6
Steve Larkin 4.5/8 on board 4
Derek Blair 2/7 on board 2
Phil Taylor 0.5/6 on board 4.5
Bruce Reed 2.5/4 on board 4
Dave Foster jr 1/4 on board 4.5
David Wrigley 1/1
Jeremy Handley and Tim Wrigley 0.5/1
Peter Booker and Dave Scott 0/1
This match was played at Corbridge on Tuesday April 5th with the following line-up:
- Peter Crichton (141) v Roy Bagnall (163)
- Derek Blair (127) v Geoff Harrison (136)
- Dave Foster jr (74) v John France (137)
- Steve Larkin (109) v Martin Beardsley (121)
- Bruce Reed (110) v Brian Ord (91)
Peter and Derek both had creditable draws, Derek trying hard but in vain for the win which would have levelled the match. Dave, who was a very late replacement for the non-appearing Alex, put up stout resistance against a much stronger player. Steve’s game was a disaster at the outset, followed by prolonged but futile resistance. Bruce had a nice win, with multiple pieces combining neatly to bamboozle Brian.
So overall, yet another 3-2 defeat. And with Forest Hall Chieftains smashing Tynemouth C, the relegation of the Reivers to division 3 is confirmed.
This match was played at Tynemouth on Tuesday March 15th, with the following results:
Tynemouth 3 Reivers 2
- Keith Rockett 0-1 Peter Crichton
- Dave Hair 0.5-o.5 Derek Blair
- Dave Jarema 1-0 Alex Ashworth
- Dave Mear 1-0 Phil Taylor
- Ray Garside 0.5-0.5 Dave Foster jr
This match was played at Corbridge on Tuesday March 1st with the following line-up:
- Peter Crichton (141) v John Wall sr (133)
- Alex Ashworth (114) v Paul Charlton (139)
- Steve Larkin (109) v Jose Grueso (u)
- Peter Booker (86) v John Wall jr (108)
- Dave Foster jr (74) v Mark Broughton (121)
First to finish was Dave, whose relatively early offer of a draw was accepted. Good, solid play by Dave. 0.5-0.5
Next up was Steve, whose mating attack on the kingside Jose was unable to repel. 1.5-0.5
Peter B had been playing a very solid game against young John and was just a pawn down when he blundered a rook for nothing. Game over. 1.5-1.5
Which left the top two boards slugging it out till near the end of the evening. Alex’s opponent offered a draw in quite a complex position. Alex was a pawn down but both players had a rook and several pawns and the outcome was hard to fathom. After checking out the position on top board, Alex accepted the draw. 2-2
So it all came down to Peter C’s game, a rook and pawn ending, but where John had a one pawn advantage. Peter managed to pick off the extra pawn, but was powerless to stop the remaining pawn from queening. 2-3
So the Reivers went down by the narrowest of margins. The last two fixtures are going to be tense affairs, with the Reivers perilously close to the relegation zone.
This match was played at Morpeth on Wednesday Feb 17th, with the following line-up:
- Phil Eastlake (154) v Peter Crichton (141)
- John Horton (148) v Derek Blair (127)
- Robert Mitcheson (140) v Alex Ashworth (114)
- Martin Shaw (133) v Steve Larkin (109)
- David Watson (99) v Phil Taylor (106)
This was always going to be a tough match and so it proved. First to finish was Peter, who was outplayed from the opening, apparently, in a line with which he was unfamiliar. 1-0
Next was Phil, whose game came down to his bishop and pawn versus David’s rook and pawn. Unlike Phil’s pawn, David’s had a clear run and his likely win was sealed when Phil blundered, allowing David to swap rook for bishop, thereby ensuring his pawn would indeed queen. 2-0
Once again, Alex put up the best performance for the Reivers, matching his stronger opponent (graded 154 last year!) all the way and losing out only in the final few moves when he was running out of time. 3-0
Steve made one slip, costing him a knight for two pawns and handing the initiative to Martin. By the end, Martin had rook, bishop and three pawns to Steve’s rook and four, but both players were down to three minutes each, with plenty of play left. So when Martin offered a draw, Steve accepted with alacrity! 3.5-0.5
Derek built a huge defensive wall around his king, involving virtually every available piece. Eventually the pressure he was under told and he dropped queen for rook and then ran out of time. 4.5-0.5
So to all intents and purposes a complete whitewash, leaving the Reivers where they were before the match started, just one place above the relegation zone, with three matches left. It’s going to be an anxious time!
This match was played at Corbridge on Tuesday February 2nd, with the following line-up:
- Peter Crichton (141) v Jeff Bentham (133)
- Jeremy Handley (133) v Steve Black (128)
- Alex Ashworth (114) v Rolf Millar (122)
- Steve Larkin (109) v Steve Bowey (117)
- Phil Taylor (106) v Jose Grueso (u)
(Interesting to note that Grueso, ungraded in July 2015, appears in the January list under a slightly different name graded 151!)
I am afraid I can give no information about the top two boards, both of which ended in draws. Alex was in swashbuckling form and put his opponent to the sword. Phil was outplayed on board 5. So the outcome of the match hinged on the last game to finish, board 4. Here Steve L had taken the fight to his opponent with a fierce kingside attack. When this appeared to have been more or less repelled, Steve B offered a draw. Convinced that he had the upper hand, Steve L declined, only to find a couple of moves later that his rook was trapped. Steve B went on to exploit his advantage and win. So a match which might have been drawn was lost by 3 points to 2. Mea culpa!
This fixture took place at Tynemouth on Tuesday January 19th 2016, with the following line-up:
- Chris Smith (139) v Peter Crichton (141)
- John Marton (145) v Alex Ashworth (114)
- Bill Penny (120) v Bruce Reed (110)
- Lewis Self (119) v Steve Larkin (109)
- Joe Murray (108) v Phil Taylor (106)
A close match was in prospect and it seemed clear that this was a match the Reivers, third from bottom, had to win if they were to preserve their chances of remaining in the second division (the same held true of Tynemouth C, who were second from bottom).
The first game to finish was Phil’s. While he controlled more space on the board, Phil found that his opponent had closed the board down and there was no way through, so a draw was agreed. 0.5-0.5
Next to finish was Steve, who was outplayed by Lewis in the middle game and should have gone a piece down. Instead, Lewis allowed him to emerge from a series of exchanges rook for bishop up, at which point Lewis then dropped a bishop and had a knight pinned on a rook. He looked fed up with himself and resigned. 0.5-1.5
On top board, Peter won Chris’s queen for two minor pieces and was also several pawns up and duly went on to win. 0.5-2.5 and one match point in the bag.
Bruce subjected Bill to a sustained kingside attack which eventually led to his capturing Bill’s queen and going on to win. 0.5-3.5 and two match points in the bag!
And finally Alex had a tight game in which both players were even in material terms throughout, but Alex had all the initiative and John finally buckled and resigned. Another fine win for Alex after his victory over Zheming Zhang last Friday in division one, and a splendid and totally unexpected margin of victory for the Reivers, 0.5-4.5!! Our chances of surviving in division two have improved dramatically!