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Playing our first ever matches as Longbridge saw both WMA Division 1 and Division 2 teams get off to an excellent start. In spite of playing tough opposition in Division 1 – Redditch had GM Bogdan Lalic on Board 1 and we were in theory outgraded; thus the result is all the more pleasing. Losing the first half of the double-header 3-1, we bounced back in the second part of the match to secure 2 points. Captain Stephen Woodhouse managed a win and draw. I did not disgrace myself on Board 4 but resigned a split-second too early in my first game, my opponent missing checkmate. I may have avoided defeat. A win with colours reversed was pleasing for me.
I lost both my games against a Spaniard Rated 2013 (175). My opponent was mostly on the back foot after I sacrificed a Knight, but then I left a fork of my Rook and resigned a game I should have lost on move 6. My second game went to 70 moves before my lonesome King was overwhelmed by two Queens, a Rook and two pawns. My opponent in Time Trouble for 25 moves toyed with me. Stephen Woodhouse scored 1½ and Marcus Walsh had the best of the night with two wins.
Kevin Hurney returned to Board 1 to register two resounding victories when facing Brian Turner, while Robert Stern showed his class in both of his wins. Edward Small and Marcus Walsh scored a respectable 1½ each, on what was an excellent night against newcomers Hereford. The 5 match points puts Longbridge back in contention, chasing Solihull with their 12 points haul from 6 matches.
With Kevin working, the joke is; I let the side down. Unaware Robert Stern was about to pull out at the last minute, frantic attempts to contact me, our reserve, were fruitless. I had risked switching my phone and computer off so that I could sleep, believing the team had a full complement of players. It was the wrong decision. Would the result have been any different if I’d beaten a willing Bertie Worcester twice? We conceded Board 4 and will never know…
Longbridge 5½ – 2½ Redditch – played Thursday December 17th 2020
Kevin once again faced GM Bogdan Lalic and came away with a credible draw in the second game. Robert secured a couple of wins, as did Marcus on Board 4 – and Edward squeezed one win from two in between. 5 match points were most welcome, but Worcester are setting the pace with 21 points, 4 points clear of Redditch, 8 points clear of Longbridge. chess.com match links no longer function properly.
With Kevin unavailable, Robert Stern played out a couple of draws on Board 1 with Edward Small, Marcus Walsh and Stephen Woodhouse all notching a couple of wins each to record an excellent victory. It leaves Hereford firmly rooted to the bottom while Longbridge are incorrectly reported to have moved into 2nd spot, three points off next opponent’s Worcester, who supposedly lead the way on 21 points. Solihull and Redditch remain in the hunt to finish top.
However, due to Sutton Coldfield having withdrawn, the results of matches involving Sutton Coldfield, should in reality be removed, painting an entirely different picture with Longbridge out in front on 18 points with two matches to play, Worcester on 16 points with three matches left, while Solihull on 12 points and Redditch on 10 points have 4 matches remaining. The current standing with Clubs having to play each other, looks somewhat unclear.
Last I looked, Longbridge were being quoted on the LMS Autumn League table as leading the pack on 22 points – although to my mind, this was a physical impossibility if I have the rules straight. Three Quarters of the match is shown in the match link above. The other individual challenge was between our Marcus Walsh scoring 1½ while facing Arnold Kirkland, who somehow remained resilient in obtaining a stubborn draw, no doubt, despite the huge grading difference.
A reasonable result tto end the Autumn League season. Kevin Hurney shared one win each with his opponent on Board 1. Edward Small had the best of the evening with 1½ points from the possible two. Marcus Walsh managed to draw his first game but lost his second. Stephen Woodhouse won his first but lost his other game. The League table should regard Longbridge as leaders by some margin, but is still to receive the corrections which would confirm Longbridge should be champions. The squad of players have performed magnificently.
Sutton Coldfield 1 withdrawn.
As a result of Sutton Coldfield’s withdrawal from the League; it was agreed that Longbridge and Hereford would play for a third time so that every club would then have played 18 matches. It was not an ideal solution but Redditch were unlikely to be toppled from finishing as Champions, regardless.
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Spike’s Division 2 team did even better than the 1st team, amassing 4 points in total to go second in the table. Richard Collett was the pick of our players with two wins. Together with the 1st team performance – this goes down as an excellent night’s work on our first outing as Longbridge Chess Club – a great start to the next chapter in our history.
Steve Shaw took 1½ from his 2 games while Ian Ellis enjoyed himself on Board 4 with two wins. Andrew Whitten managed a draw in his first ever match online but sadly, Matt Rowe drew a blank. With honours even, Spike’s team have amassed a credible 6 points from the first two matches, hot on the heels of Stourbridge who have the maximum 10 points. South Birmingham and Mutual Circle have 9 points leaving Longbridge in 4th place.
Matt Rowe justified his inclusion by getting back to winning ways with his wins. Meanwhile, Steve Shaw managed a draw in his first game against the much higher Rated Captain of the Isle of White Wood Pushers. Ian Ellis won one, lost one. Andrew Whitten bore the brunt of a bad night with two losses.
Kidderminster 5½ – 2½ Longbridge – played Thursday December 17th 2020
Matt Rowe showed his class with yet another two wins on a bad night for the rest of the team. Andrew Whitten found the only other half point. Steve Shaw and Ian Ellis faced tough opposition. Our Division 2 side is languishing in the bottom half of the table. Thankfully, there’s no relegation, but with three teams below Longbridge, two of which have played a match more; we would hope to avoid finishing bottom!
PaulthePlug, alias Steve Shaw, was the only bright spark, on a less than illuminating performance. Captain, Spike Bignall felt under the current circumstances, that our significantly outgraded players would be outshone by the alumni of Warwick. Steve’s win in his 2nd game came from a more than fortunate fork, his opponent losing his Rook. Neither Matt Rowe, Ian Truscott, nor Richard Collett lit the match alight.
Another bad night against quality opposition. Ian Truscott took 1½ from his opponent while Steve Shaw and Matthew Rowe managed a half point apiece. Richard Collett could not have wished for a worse evening. The League table does not read too well with Longbridge languishing above the drop zone. A good job is being achieved by Spike under the circumstances, but it’s a good job there’s no relegation.
Steve Shaw and Ian Truscott won their first games, while Matthew Rowe offered the prepubescent Elis Dicen a draw at the right moment, which the classy Elis accepted, showing excellent maturity. Richard blew a win, but somehow we’d won that first part of the match. Steve, Matt and Ian all lost, leaving it up to Richard to avoid the whitewash when finding a surprising checkmate. The team played well considering our players were massively outgraded.
Spassky36, otherwise known as Ian Truscott, rose to the occasion unblemished with two wins. Matthew Rowe found a win in the first game but relinquished the second. With Steve Shaw securing a draw in the first part of the fixture, two match points were guaranteed. Richard Collett lost both of his games which resulted in no additional points. Worcester still remain firmly attached to the bottom of the table and looking likely to receive the wooden spoon.
In this the penultimate match of the Autumn campaign, Steve Shaw put up a brave fight on Board 1 once more, gaining a half point as White, while Joe Dance watched his opponent’s Clock tick down to gain a lucky win to add to his first game success. Matthew Rowe exceeded himself once again with two excellent victories, and Ian Truscott took up the rear, sharing the spoils. The three match points should be sufficient to avoid propping the rest of the field up.
Solihull v Longbridge – Thursday February 11th 2021
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Stephen’s team found Redditch in good form. Robert had two wins, Ian Ellis one victory, and Kevin managed a solitary draw.
The team took a battering – and is not really strong enough for Division 1.
An administrative juggling act this one! The link only revealing the result of three boards. What a fantastic night it was with GM Keith Arkell representing Greenlands for the first time in nearly two decades; turning an almost certain capitulation into a brilliant and pleasing victory. Board 2 was contested as an individual challenge due to Kevin Hurney being a member of both clubs on chess.com! The actual result can be found here.
The curiosity in this match for me was seeing Worcester’s Peter Kitson playing Rapid Play and only relinquishing a half point from two. Whatever else this match proved; the 92 move game between Worcester’s Stephen Mellor and Kevin Hurney, truly confirmed that any argument endgames aren’t reached anymore, is nonsense…
The LMS Match Card can be found here!
Kevin Hurney won one, then lost one to a player not in the same league. It must have been the dark of the moon that night with Robert Stern and Stephen Woodhouse both giving up a half point each against the lowly graded opposition of the alumni, while Ian Ellis could only manage one draw in two efforts. We must regard this as two points dropped from the five that would have seen us go top had we not slipped up. We put this one to bed and say no more.
We managed a fine result against top of the table opposition. Kevin pulled off an excellent draw but will be disappointed with how his first game unravelled. Stephen performed very well; as did our friend from Pimlico Robert, who once again showed his class with a win and a draw. Sutton had much too strong an opponent for Ian, but we remain in contention for top spot with a result that does us credit.
We were outgunned and despite a fine effort on the night; outplayed. The actual match score can be found here. Although we secured a 2-2 draw in the second of the match-ups; garnering one point; it seems the season fizzled to a close. We’d started the campaign looking like one of the weaker teams, but had made a fist of it in competing for top spot. We can only look to be better prepared for the Autumn, Winter and Spring.
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Joe’s team start the season with a whitewash of Solihull.
Stephen, Spike and Joe all recorded 2 wins each, while Ian Truscott’s opponent didn’t turn up. With the bonus point, Greenlands go top of the table with 5 points.
Apart from five losses, Ian managed a draw and Joe graded 97 had a win against a player graded 132. Matt graded 94 had a good win against a player graded 156. A steward’s enquiry occurred but Matt’s result stood.
An astonishing 6-2 victory versus a Kidderminster team with two players graded in a stratosphere way above our players. Nonetheless, Joe managed two draws versus a 138 player, but star of the show Matt managed a draw, then victory against a player graded 141. Spike had two fine wins. Ian Truscott trounced a defiant player graded 19, but was never troubled.
A defeat against rank outsiders Isle of White, guests at the West Midlands Area league it’s safe to say; if you’re wondering. They came and they conquered 4.5 to 3.5 with a team that outgraded us considerably. There was no shame with this result, but which suggests we could do better! Matt Rowe was once again outstanding!
Matt Rowe excelled; while Spike sat sidelined from a Lichfield absentee. Ian Ellis bounced back from a piece down to deliver checkmate in his second game, ensuring Greenlands came out on top with three match points after a drawn first match. The curiosity of Joe’s 173 graded opponent resigning a winning position has the ring of a match fixing allegation aimed at an illegal betting syndicate. Allegedly; that passes for humour, the result of which can be found here.
Steve Crees returned to competitive chess with a deliriously satisfying first win, but blundered twice during the second coming in an overeager display of incompetence. Despite being a piece down, attacking with verve; this was a win sacrificed like a virgin on the altar of darkness; eyes upon an inaccurate promotion which promptly lost! Joe’s two wins took the biscuit, countering Matt Rowe’s bewitching ducking. Spike won in 7 moves, only to follow-up by losing on time also in a winning position. Honours even on a curious night across the virtual reality of mutual destruction.
Spike ripped his opponent apart in his first game but almost fluffed his lines before coming out on top in the second of his two wins. Joe had a lucky win on time but lost the second on time while in a winning position. Ian and Matt failed against tough opposition as Stourbridge turned out a very strong outfit. Greenlands go forward with the eyes of the world upon us! We must learn from our mistakes if we are ever to improve.
With one match to play; this was a disappointing result against a club known for strong players. There was some surprise at the Sutton Coldfield line-up but it made little difference to our abject performance. We can only hope to field stronger teams in future. Matt and Spike managing our two wins on a night to forget.
Stephen Woodhouse and Steve Crees joined Joe Dance and Spike Bignall for the last ever match in the history of Greenlands Chess Club. Stephen performed with 2 wins and Joe managed a draw before losing on time. Spike lost both his games. Yours truly stunned Dave Cleak with a 17 move capitulation before Dave blundered in the second game, as I chased his King into an unusual foxhole. Pursuing an awkward King placement left me in Time Trouble with 14 seconds on my clock! Whereupon; having added two minutes in increments – I resigned!
“And so, the end is near, and so we face the final curtain…”