Case of fatigue in the Summer League?

Darnall Away

Steve 1/2 D.Dawson
Brendan 1/2 C.Chatterton
Dave M 0-1 R.Black
Stevie D 0-1 H.Feather

Maybe it was the heat, but this felt like a real end-of-season match, with no real urgency from either side. Nevertheless, and despite the stifling weather, we turned up to fulfill our fixture. My thanks to all those who played last night, and indeed to all those who appear in this table:

So, here’s the final table!

If it can happen to him, it can happen to Woodseats

Considering we were a newly promoted team, we were never disgraced or embarrassed, and served Camelot proudly!

I hope everyone who took part in the campaign has got something out of it, and has hopefully taken something which they can learn from as we look ahead to the Winter League. Thanks Guys. It’s been fun!

Bill Ward

Spreading the Word

Poster now on display in Woodseats New Library:

Copies available for posting in other venues that you might know about:

Plans are afoot for starting a chess group in the library, to meet during the day, probably on a Monday or Tuesday:

T. W. Crabb Shield Tournament – Saturday 21st July 2018

at the Red Lion, 653 Chesterfield Road, Sheffield, S2 4HT

(Woodseats league match venue) Doors Open: 11.00 a.m.

Format: 6 rounds each of 50 minutes, with players having a straight 25 minutes each for all moves.

Round 1: 11.20a.m. Round 2: 12.20p.m. Lunch (available at the bar): 1.20-2.00 Round 3: 2.00p.m.
Round 4: 3.00p.m. Round 5: 4.00p.m. Round 6: 5.00p.m. followed by prizegiving.

Entry fee: £4 waged, £2 unwaged. All money will be returned as prizes.
The T.W. Crabb Shield will go to the overall winner, provided they are resident in the Sheffield & District region (or if not then the highest placed player who is.)

Entries will be taken on the day, but early notification of entries will save time and help with preparations. All entries please to

All’s well that ends well


So it finally came down to this, Woodseats D away to Nomads E at The Harlequin, Promotion already assured, “Enjoy yourself” I told my players.  And I still thought of them as ‘my players’, even though I had passed their stewardship over to Shane shortly after New Year’s Day. we had had so many memorable matches and results together, it was hard not to feel a bond.  We gathered in the bar first, then moved uptairs to meet our opponents. There was another match playing, involving the D team, which looked to have weakened our opponents, however this was a dangerous assumption on my part.  I lost the toss, but as I had intended to take black on top this didn’t really matter.

Bill (B) – C.Hodkinson

Steve – H. Withington

Dan – J.Williams

Andy – R.Shaw

David – P.Morrison

Bob – G.Shaw

First game to develop was on board two, next t me. Henry is a talented player, maybe I should have warned Steve of this, as he soon got into difficulties and had to resig. Not too  big a worry though, as Bob finally found the form of early season and crashed through to level the tie. A win too for Andy and good positions all round so I was still confident.  But maybe I had underestimated Nomads wrongly? Certainly my own opponent played better than I expected, and looking again at my position, I realised suddenly I was in big trouble(!)

and would have to play a bishop ending very carefully and accurately to escape.  Meanwhile, while all this was going on, both Dan and David were also entering endings, and both looked safe for a draw at least. As I managed to extricate myself from the tricky situation I should never have let myself get in, Dan agred a draw on his board, and it was all down to board 5.  We were 3-2 up, so a draw assured, and a draw from David to edge home for the win. But then tragedy struck. In offering an exchange of pieces, David inadverently left a second piece unguarded. Once he realised , David resigned immediately.  3-3, and perhaps we were unlucky, but hey, let’s look at the BIG picture! 

In their first ever season in the league, ‘my players’ had finished a comfortable second and gained an incredible and unexpected promotion. Not to mention ‘that’ glorious cup run!  It has been my pleasure and my privilege to have shared  in their journey. Hope to see all of you down at the Shapla at the Moorfoot next Monday, 7.30pm  for our well deserved celebration curry!  (Anybody need more details, contact me or Shane)


Time for a change…

I’ve always thought the new Barrack Tavern would have been the haunt of highwaymen in ye olden days.  You expect Dick Turpin to come through the door at any minute!  He didn’t tonight though.  Ryan Burgin swooped on me instead! He has got long dark hair and he is quite intense while he’s playing, so possibly there’s a resemblance.highwayman

The room was full of other ‘highwaymen’, both Stannington teams were playing both Woodseats teams and it was a night on which old orders gave way (gracefully, I hope) to new and our energetic (and young!) C team took over from our B team who are definitely in need of recuperation in Division Three.  It’s been an unlucky season full of missed opportunities (we should have done better against…etc, etc ) but some glorious moments (don’t ever forget, fellow team members that we wreaked savage work on Nomads C (a wonderful evening!).
My own game continued this tale of missed opportunies.

  It was very theoretical.  We played the Keres variation of the Ruy Lopez which I’d been looking at the evening before.  Keres invented it for a candidates’ tournament in the 1960’s and beat both Fischer and Tal with it, so it’s got quality.  I should have kept reading the black repertoire book that I found it in!  Anyway, we banged out a lot of moves fairly quickly and I think the main difference between us was that Ryan understood them better than me.  However I had my chances as the game shows.  End of term report: ‘Peter needs to concentrate harder…and do his openings homework properly’.

Peter Cannell against Keir Morton played a good game.  He fancied a sacrifice that gave him some play but it wasn’t quite enough.

The rest of the team, Andy Lee, Steve Moon, Dave Cook and late substitution Shane Frith all played much better than us and all scored draws.  So the prospects in Division Three are good.  I must tell you Dave has been playing a lot of ICCF web server correspondence chess and is currently taking part in a whole string of tournaments: Avison team tournament, Kitchin Memorial, Sheffield Correspondence Championship…I think his opponents next season can look forward to some sharp opening preparation. It’s a good way to try out new ideas.  Here’s a glimpse at what he’s been up to.

bronze medal

Shane’s not a regular member of the team but at the rate that’s he’s winning grading prizes, he’ll soon be able to retire and play chess for all the Woodseats teams! 

It’s wonderful that Andy has started playing much more frequently.  He’s a very strong player and had the better of a draw against Alan Sutton, who is also a highly rated correspondence player.  I was very lucky to get a draw against Andy in this ‘master-piece’ from the archives of long ago…

when he was probably aged about twelve! So, in conclusion, we may be down but we’re not disheartened and I think the omens are very good for a more successful season next year. 

Old News…but nonetheless Welcome

Old news

The beginning of October 2011 saw me a month into semi-retirement and free to play in my first weekend congress for a while. Well, over 27 years actually, Harrogate 1984 being the last. My family and I were regular visitors to the Isle of Man for many years after my parents went to live there, but work and other commitments always prevented me from getting across to the big international tournament held there, or to the British championships on the island in 2005.

iomNow, though, the opportunity presented itself. The international has now been replaced by a much less ambitious Major and Minor tournament of six rounds, restricted in 2011 to players graded below 180 and 145 respectively. I went without any great hope of glory, not being “match fit” or used to pacing myself, in recent years, for a six round weekender. As the third highest graded player, though, I should be in with a chance of something…

I started with a steady win with white from an English opening in the Friday afternoon opening round, then a sketchy draw with black in the only evening round of the event. On the Saturday morning I again won with white with the English – of this game, more later. Saturday afternoon saw me win again with black in a Giuoco Piano, which rather unexpectedly gave me the sole lead in the tournament.

So we came to Sunday morning, round 5, when I was paired with white against John Cawston of the Lady Anne Middleton club, York.

[pgn autoplayMode=none][Event “IOM Open November 2011”][Date “2011.11.??”][White “John Trafford”][Black “John Cawston”][Result “1-0”][ECO “A34”]

1. c4 c5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nc7 {One of my own favourite lines against the English. As Black I’ve usually found it very solid. With e5,Nc6 and Be7, Black can build quite a fortress, especially if White’s play is too routine} 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. d3 e5 8. O-O Be7 9. Be3 Bd7 10. Nd2 {To try to undermine the black centre with f4. The black c pawn can also be tricky to defend in this variation.} O-O 11. f4 exf4 12. Bxf4 Rc8 13. Nf3 b6 14. Ne5 {Exchanging pieces a little early for no clear gain? A draw would have been OK for me, but I thought my opponent would feel he needed a win.} Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Be6 {Logical enough – the bishop’s  position can be improved now that it’s no longer defending the c6 knight.} 16. Qd2 Bd6 17. Bxd6 Qxd6 18. Ne4 {This knight has an interesting role in the game in both defence and attack, as will be seen.} Qd4+ 19. e3 {This leads to an interesting situation, in which the resulting isolated queen’s pawn for White could turn out to be weak, but isalso partly responsible for leaving the black queen surprisingly short ofsquares.} Qe5 20. d4 cxd4 21. exd4 {So now the queen must go to a5 or h5,since Qd5 falls into Nf6+, and Qb5 into Nd6. To offer the exchange of queens with 21Qa5 is counterintuitive, leaving the a pawns doubled, therefore…} Qh5 22. Rf4 {Looking at doubling rooks on the f file, maybe, and Rh4 could be uncomfortable for Black.} f6 {Giving the queen a retreat if necessary.} 23. Nc3{Defence and attack. The knight covers the a pawn, releasing the queen’s rook to enter the game.} Rfd8 {“The wrong rook”, my opponent quickly concluded after the game. It looks logical enough, though the reason for his post mortem thought will become clear.} 24. Re1 Rd6 {It looks useful to defend the bishop,but this also presents White with an opportunity.} 25. Rxf6 $1 {My affable opponent demonstrated at this point that his greatest chess strength may not be a poker face. In fact I thought he was going to fall off his chair. I went for a walk, trying to look cool and hoping the idea was sound. If 25 g x f6,26.Ne4 (back from defence to attack!), hitting the rook and threatening anasty fork on f6. My opponent thought for a while, then, without making a move,got up and came round the table, heading for the door. As he passed me he said quietly, “That move calls for a cup of tea”.} gxf6 26. Ne4 Rxd4 {Trying to retain a material balance.} 27. Qxd4 Nd5 {This had looked a good prospective square for the knight, given a calm sea. But here, in effect, Black is falling into the same trap twice.} 28. Qxd5 $1 {…and the subsequent capture of thef6 pawn by the white knight will again fork the king and queen, whether the black queen stays on h5 or captures on d5. Black comes out a piece down without counterplay, so therefore, Black resigns.} 1-0[/pgn]

My generous opponent pronounced “That combination deserves a pint”, so we repaired to the bar. When we returned, the only other player who could draw level with me had lost his game from two pawns up, leaving me a point clear of the field, and needing only half a point in the final round for outright first. I managed this by offering a draw after 16 moves of a Petroff in which my opponent had overpressed and blundered, handing me at least a pawn.

For full details (and all the games!) go to . Returning to my round three game, would you resign as Black in Trafford v Ormsby? Other Sheffield players taking part were John Eddershaw and Peter Willoughby in the Minor, where Peter won a grading prize.

For future reference, the Isle of Man congress is taking place again in October 2012. One round fewer, prize money reduced, but still generous enough. It’s a friendly event, and given good weather (i.e. not as in October 2011!) a beautiful place to visit too.

John Trafford

A memorable beginning

This report is going to end with probably with three authors: Bill, Shane and Peter, as we were all pretty busy on Monday, playing in the two inaugural matches at Laycock’s Sports Club, the new centre for serious chess players in Sheffield.  The personal good news is that it took me ten minutes to get there, rolling down hill from my house.  By the time I arrived there were eager members, master-minded by Mr. Frith setting up the boards ready to receive Worksop B and the kindergarten from SASCA.  There was also a youth football team having a post-training coaching talk. They were very civilised and quickly realised that there was something strange going on and cleared off pretty quickly.  Worksop finally made it, due to the highly-developed sense of direction of certain members of their team.  They know where the beer’s good (and it is to be recommended. I had some on Monday for a change because Phill Beckett kindly bought me a drink, after I had offered to buy him one but then realised-in true Yorkshire fashion-that I hadn’t brought any money!).  Anyway to the B team chess.  Andy Lee is playing like a GM and really ought to be playing board one instead of me.  He dispatched his opponent very quickly.  I looked across at Steve’s game and he had just played RxN and his opponent couldn’t retake because it would have cost him a piece.  He whispered something about his blood pressure when we had a talk between moves.  Dave was winning and so was Mr. ‘JCB’ on board 6.  The ‘heavy-weight’ (self – reference) encounters on Boards 1 and 2 took slightly calmer courses.  I played 1. d4 against Phill because in the last correspondence game we played I managed to beat him with the exchange variation.  He found a good way of avoiding it but some exchanges did take place, maybe too many, because at a certain stage I was able to play Bxh7+ and win a pawn.  It turned out to be a bit of a weakling but mindful of what’s recently been said on the Yorkshire Chess Website about draws and the early offering thereof, we played on, not wishing to offend the great and the good.  We got to thirty, though, and I accepted a draw Possibly I should have played on but when somebody who is graded higher than me offers me a draw I tend to take it.  Also Phill had a 2 v.1 majority on the queen’s side and that always presses my panic buttons.

 Peter v. Michael Clark was a hard fought encounter.  Peter defended with the Grunfeld and, although his opponent had some pressure, I think, by the end he had fully equalised (maybe had a slight plus) but the clock was ticking.

Meanwhile the D team had settled own to play the SASCA nursery and some close games were in progress.  I’ll leave the D team captain to tell you about that, suffice it to say that LM (laycocks master- a new title recently created by the FIDE for serves to Woodseats Chess and other things) Bill Ward played the endgame against Cobbold Jnr. just like Capablanca and we don’t want to hear ‘ I can’t play endgames’ from him ever again.


The new venue is super!  There was plenty of room for two matches.  It was warm.  The regulars were very polite and welcoming, even when they realised that something weird was going on.  John Trafford and Andrew Ledger came to spectate, as did one prospective new member.  Total success+ the fact that the hits on our website have just go over 5,000 which is a 100000000000000% increase in just over a month.  It must be the Nectar points.

Bill writes:

Played at Woodseats on Monday, 27/02/2012..  Woodseats had White on the odd numbered boards
Woodseats B Worksop B
Peter .5-.5 P.J.Beckett-1109
Pete .5-.5 M.Clark – 4226
Steve   1-0 R.Porter – 5260
Andy       1-0 A.J.Smith – 1617
Dave    1-0 T.England – 3257
Martyn 1-0 A.Storey – 2438

Bottom of Division
 P   W   D   L   Pts
7. Woodseats B  13   2   3   8   7
8. Clay Cross A  12   2   2   8   6
9. Worksop B     9    2   2   5   6

There now! Doesn’t that look better!!  Can’t say much about the match on Monday, precocious young whippersnapper Cobbold got in the way, but the scorecard doesn’t lie! Pretty darn comprehensive !  So, cue ‘The Great Escape’ theme music, and let’s have a look at the fixtures remaining:  Monday 26/03 Wombwell Home, Monday 02/04 Worksop B Away, Monday 30/04 Stannington A Away.  Three games to go, three eminently winnable, (or at least drawable) games and three games which will shape our future for next season at least.  Meanwhile, what did you all make of Laycock’s then? Pretty promising I think?!  Another date for your diary.   The Richardson Cup Final has been confirmed to taqke place on Monday, 12/03 at the magnificent Laycock’s. I’ll see if they can put on a buffet on the evening. It’s quite important for Woodseats, the protagonists will be:
Nomads I vs. …….WOODSEATS I !!!!
Hope to see you on 12/03, and then on 26/03


Sheffield Chess Club on tour-Part 1!

This weekend the A team went on tour!  First stop was Rotherham (more particularly Rotherham Juniors).  We avoided Rotherham’s opening gambits.  The team was practically up to full strength, bearing in mind it was a Friday night, and we managed to get everybody there more or less on time.  Nobody got lost.  
John Fletcher was the first out of the blocks, with a very quick win with his beloved Backmar-Diemer Gambit.  How many games has he won with it?  Alan Coupe, his victim, obviously doesn’t frequent Youtube enough: see this  Shane soon followed with a good win against a young dangerous opponent.  He told me that the opening played was the result of deep, Bulgarian analysis!  Paul Blackman brought out the antique and raely seen Evans’ Gambit against John Trafford.  John remained calm as always, worked it out over the board and a draw was agreed when the play was balanced.
I was playing an opponent who had a cold and who, as far as I could see, wanted a draw.  I got to a position in which he had an isolated Queen’s pawn but I didn’t have enough pieces left to exploit it.  At least that’s my story!
Everything seemed very comfortable at this stage.  George Harriott, playing very well against Claes Hackner had an overwhelming position and seemed to be winning comfortably.  However it was here that the Friday Night Gambit finally kicked in.  George was obviously tired, made a mistake and his Queen was gone.  George resigned soon after in his usual gentlemanly fashion.  I think if he had played on, he would have still given his opponent a scare!
Roundabout this time, Chern won a fine attacking game.  He had played aggressively, in something that ressembled the anti-Moscow Gambit.   Eventually he won on time in a good position and there were a lot of Woodseats thought waves floating around the room, willing him to look at his opponent’s clock!  
So it was down to Paul and Andrew on boards 1 and 2.  Paul was playing one of the raising stars of Sheffield Chess, Oskar Hackner.  See Oskar’s recent, spectacular win on the Sheffield Asssociation website:   Much to his credit, Paul attacked vigorously.  However in the process, he dropped a pawn and then the exchange.  Oskar didn’t let him off the hook.  On Board One, Andrew was playing Peter Shaw.  The opening was a semi-slav and according to Andrew in the car on the way back home, he didn’t play it quite right.  Well, it looked OK from where we were standing and towards the end of the game his opponent seemed a bit like a rabbit in the headlights.  I think a lot of Andrew’s opponents have that feeling.  
Then it was on to Worksop on Monday.  The team was different but still strong.  Allan was on board one against Jonathan Tait and Mark Allison and Bill were welcome additions.  Cunningly, Worksop had changed venue but we found them in the end and play eventually commenced.  My opponent was very worried that the lighting on our board wasn’t good enough.  Was he pretending to be Bobby Fischer?

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