Manningtree Chess Club Match Results.

A-Team B-Team C-Team Suffolk Cup Suffolk Plate U145

SUFFOLK LEAGUE CUP

Tables

 Ipswich D 09/05/19Manningtree A
1Alex Sheerin 177 0 - 1Andrew P Lewis 216
2Stephen J Gregory 183 1 - 0Leon P Burnett 168
3Edward Matthewson 179 ½ - ½Philip J Hutchings 153
4Alonso Paez 135 0 - 1John WF McAllister 138
   1½ - 2½
Manningtree A travelled to the neutral venue of Bury St Edmunds for the Suffolk Cup final aware that on ratings alone they were marginally the underdogs, but with the knowledge that they had beaten Ipswich D twice in the league this season. It was by no means obvious which of these indicators offered the better guide to the evening's outcome, but once the games got under way the first signs were that Manningtree had made a good start, material up on boards three and four, stable on board one and unbalanced on board two. As the evening wore on, the narrow advantage that Manningtree had appeared to secure early on persisted. Victory on board four, with the concession of a draw on board three being counterbalanced by a breakthrough on board one, meant that the match had been won before capitulation on board two.
  The first game to finish was John's on board four, which saw the Ipswich player advancing his c-pawn to c5 in a QGD. White proceeded to line up his queen and all his minor pieces on black's king's position, leaving the defending side somewhat cramped. Whether it was from impatience or from the realisation that black's defences were quite sound, he then decided to sacrifice a piece for two pawns. This might have worked better had he not exchanged queens and his remaining minor pieces in the hope of trapping black's light-squared bishop behind the locked pawns on the queen's side. As it turned out, John carefully monitored his opponent's 5-2 pawn majority on the king's side and was able to break through on the other wing to allow his d-pawn to reach home.
  Next to finish was board three. In a well-known line in the Caro-Kann from way back when, Phil's opponent, as black, sprang an early gambit, inspired by some computer analysis, obtaining active chances and the advantage of the two bishops for the pawn, with opposite-side castling adding to the tension. White grabbed a second pawn, countering Black's king-side attack with central play. Multiple exchanges led eventually to a double rook ending, where black regained his pawns with some advantage. Sensing difficulties, but seeing black well behind on the clock, Phil offered a draw and was pleasantly surprised and somewhat relieved by its rapid acceptance.
  On board one, against his opponent's King's Indian Defence, Andy closed the centre early on and set up a threatening, advanced pawn-chain on the king's side. His opponent avoided weakening his king-side defences and counter-attacked on the queen's side. This lead to multiple piece exchanges that completely neutralised Andy's king-side initiative. Andy was offered a draw on move 28, but with the match outcome still uncertain, decided to play on. However, on move 33, he could find nothing better than to offer the exchange of queens. Surprisingly, his opponent avoided the exchange, and this proved the fatal mistake. Andy forced the exchange of black's key defensive piece (his king's bishop) and his queen strolled into black's weakened king's side. Black's misplaced pieces could offer no defence, and his position rapidly collapsed. This result was the one that guaranteed the Cup would return to Manningtree.
  Meanwhile, on board two, Leon had chosen to play a risky line in the Sicilian Dragon. The sharp variation he decided upon was quite tenable, but in weighing up the tactical hazards of leaving his king in the centre, he started to play too slowly. The combination of risk and slow play in the opening proved to be a lethal cocktail as the sense of danger deserted our captain when he was obliged to speed up. The failure to castle on move 20 or 21, when he still had the chance, was Leon's downfall as the position opened up and his king was caught in cross-fire.
  Despite the result in the final game, Manningtree A completed a hat-trick of wins over Ipswich D in the current season and, more significantly, ensured that for the fourth year in succession they had some silverware to show for all their efforts.

 Manningtree A 27/03/19Sudbury
1Andrew P Lewis 216 1 - 0Robert R Sanders 165
2Leon P Burnett 168 0 - 1Andrew J Donnelly 144
3Philip J Hutchings 153 1 - 0Cameron J Little 137
4Rowland Kerr 112 0 - 1Harold Thomas 128
   2 - 2
The semi-final encounter with Division 2 title contenders Sudbury ended in a drawn match in which the home team proceeds to the final by virtue of the elimination rule which subtracts the result on the bottom board in the event of a tie. It all seemed to be plain sailing towards a comfortable win for Manningtree A until board two went badly astray in time trouble, squandering a winning advantage. It is unusual for all the games to be won by the players with the black pieces, but this is exactly what happened in the Suffolk Cup match, although white began promisingly enough on every board.
  On board one, Andy's opponent obtained an opening advantage from a c3 Sicilian, but spoiled a favourable position by pushing his central pawns too quickly. Andy missed a simple tactic to net a pawn, instead sacrificing a piece for three pawns. The latter, however, proved equally effective when the Sudbury player, missing a combination in a difficult position, soon surrendered material and shortly afterwards the game.
  On board two, Leon built up a dominating position, imprisoned his opponent's fianchettoed bishop on h8 and won a pawn, but in seeking to avoid perpetual check, he back-pedalled instead of pressing home his attack and played a series of weak moves that allowed the hitherto incarcerated ecclesiastic back into the game with a vengeance.
  On board three, white obtained the customary spatial plus against the Caro-Kann Defence, but missed the chance to inflict serious damage on black's pawn structure at move 18, after which Phil took control with a plan based on dark-square domination. Faced with the threat of a deadly knight sacrifice on g2, the Sudbury player, very short of time, walked into a mating attack.
  On board four, young Rowland's debut for the Manningtree A team was a sobering one. He was unable to reproduce the spectacular form he had demonstrated throughout the season in Division 3 and, although his English Opening commenced smoothly enough, his more experienced opponent gradually wrested the initiative and went on to win material and ultimately the game.

 Bury St Edmunds D 20/09/18 Manningtree A
1Jan Balogh e165 ½ - ½Leon P Burnett 165
2Robert L Jones 144 ½ - ½Philip J Hutchings 158
3Stephen C Pride 138 0 - 1Robert W Stephens 135
4Terry Beard e86 1 - 0Carl Phillips 127
   2 - 2
The weakened team that travelled to Bury St Edmunds for the initial round of the Suffolk Cup was more or less matched in grading performance by the home team and a tight encounter was expected. That is indeed how it turned out, with the distinct possibility at one stage in the evening that Manningtree A, former winners on two occasions, would make a sensational exit from the competition at the first hurdle. Phil and Carl, with the black pieces, both managed to lose a pawn early on for no compensation, but Leon and Bob, playing white, had useful initiatives. If they could be converted, Manningtree A would win the match on board count.
  Carl did indeed lose and Bob won, but Leon went astray in a tactical sequence that should have seen him net two pieces for a rook and he found himself instead in a position in which he had lost any advantage. Discouraged, he accepted a draw, as it became apparent that a simple ending was about to ensue. Phil in the last game to finish, however, rallied to save the day, salvaging a draw a pawn down in a rook ending as white faced mounting time pressure. Thus Manningtree A live to fight another day but only just.

 Ipswich D 11/09/18Manningtree B
1Alex Sheerin 177 ½ - ½Jim Buis 153
2Stephen J Gregory 179 1 - 0John WF McAllister 137
3Edward Matthewson 174 1 - 0Robert W Stephens 135
4Alonso Paez 145 1 - 0Carl Phillips 127
   3½ - ½
The long hot summer was becoming a distant memory as Manningtree set off for their first match of the new season in typical chess playing weather - wet, cold and dark!. Well not exactly cold, but certainly wet. This wasn't a match we particularly wanted to win, but naturally enough, no one wanted to lose their board either. And it gave Manningtree B the opportunity for a pop at the big guns, but unfortunately it proved not to be a giant killing night for us again this year.
  Bob finished first, but he didn't really get off the starting blocks. The trouble started at the beginning, and then things went downhill. Facing the certain loss of the exchange Bob had several options to try and limit the damage, none very appealing, but Bob chose the very worst of them. Mind you he didn't lose the exchange, just his queen, following which he resigned immediately.
  John followed next, and in more ways than one. By move 23 he was definitely on the back foot, but still had a few options to make his opponent work for it. Unfortunately, a knight fork of king and queen that he had been aware of for several moves suddenly hit a blind spot, and his opponent's immediate execution of it led to another immediate resignation. It was now confirmed, Manningtree B were in the Plate.
  Jim salvaged a little pride with one of his typically complicated games where he gave up the exchange for a couple of pawns. Also included was a temporary rook sacrifice, and Jim thought long and hard before deciding against making it permanent. And after recapturing the rook Jim was three pawns up, but with a slightly misplaced queen. His opponent could easily regain a pawn or two, and if Jim wasn't careful, a lot more besides. But then again, if his opponent wasn't careful he too could lose a lot as well. Jim offered a draw but his opponent played on only to repeat moves and settle for a draw anyway.
  Carl was now bringing up the rear, and by this time his position was hopeless. It didn't start that way of course, but having given up a pawn in the opening, Carl never really got sufficient compensation, and a long struggle ensued and another couple of pawns were shed. The game eventually resulted in a rook and pawn ending, but his opponent was making heavy weather of it. We should qualify the phrase "rook and pawn" however, because Carl didn't have any pawns while his opponent had three, and he wasn't minded to share them. Anyway, Carl persevered in the hope of a stalemate, but it wasn't to be and we ended the night with a 3- defeat.
  Not entirely unexpected, but we are not downhearted, one day we'll surprise everyone and make it to the second round.