First match report for the inaugural game at Kidsgrove's new premises on 22nd June 2011. Thanks to Matthew for submitting this.
The South Cheshire Shield
Set up by Alsager’s Alan Thomason this league was set up in memory of Dave Ross, a prominent Alsager player who sadly passed away three years ago. The shield is dedicated to his memory.
The league is in its first season and being played by three clubs, Alsager, Kidsgrove and Holmes Chapel all well known and respected teams in the North Staffs and District Chess League.
The first game of the new league took place on Wednesday 22nd June 2011 between Kidsgrove and Alsager.
The match was one to behold with both teams fielding very strong players.
As the home team Kidsgrove had black on the odd boards. On board one kidsgrove’s Chris Ford decided to use a Sicilian dragon opening. From my own experience a very nasty weapon of blacks, watch out white. Board two decided to play a queens pawn game. Board three Alsager’s John Smith decided on a Kings Gambit and his opponent went into an accepted variation. Finally on board four a Scandinavian opening came out to play.
After only twenty minutes the action was already flying. On board four blacks king was exposed along the h file with only a pawn on g7 to watch him. To make matters worse white’s queen was just sitting on g6 ready to pounce when the opportunity came. Black’s saving grace is that he was a bishop up. That bishop will do you no good if you’re checkmated. Good luck to you friend.
On board three both players had passed pawns. Whites on d6 and blacks on e3. Both pawns were defended and then the defenders themselves were threatened. The king’s gambit was certainly living up to its reputation of being an aggressive game.
On board two, Alan was in a spot of bother. White was building up the pressure against blacks castled king and with an open d file just waiting for a rook to move onto it. It seemed like Kidsgrove had the advantage. But this is Alan Thomason. He wasn’t the U160 team captain for nothing, let’s see what fight is in there.
Then I looked over at board one and thought “is St George playing with the white pieces?” the Dragon was in trouble. Again whites pieces are all aimed at the black king and the h file is open. There may be a lot of pieces defending the black king but this is chess where anything can happen. And it did. A rook sacrifice by white came. A few moves went by and sure enough checkmate. What should I call this one, a discovered checkmate? Very impressive, Alsager one up.
On board two Alan was defending very well, plenty of pressure coming at him with queen, bishop and knight aimed at the king. If Alan can just swap a few pieces off then he stands a good chance here. He chose to do just that and after counter threat after counter threat both players agreed on a draw.
On board three black looked to be going well now. He had his passed pawn and every major piece was defending it. White however had lost his passed pawn and was in an all out war to win blacks pawn. The battle of e3 was about ready to begin.
On four at this point things were getting interesting. Most of the pieces were off and black had a Rook, knight and three pawns vs. Rook and five pawns. One of those was a passed pawn ready to race for the queening square. This battle is only just getting started. And it was, Black managed to get his king advanced up the board and was threatening white with all sorts of traps. A fork of king and rook being the most prominent. Unfortunately one of them hit home. White was forked and the rook left the board and white resigned. To be fair to white he avoided five threats of forks. Well done for the amazing fight you put up.
Down to board three and now Alsager can’t lose. Can Kidsgrove get something? Very nearly it seemed. White almost lost a rook for nothing but then allowed it to be pinned to the queen. I thought what is white doing here? Then I got my answer, the rook moved, checking the king. Sacrificing the rook but winning the queen whom we all thought was safe.
Tonight was a magnificent night for me to come and view. I would like to offer my thanks to Alan Thomason for inviting me, writing this report and being able to view history in the making. The beginnings of a new tournament and the start of many matches to come. Kidsgrove have a wonderful venue and I’m sure others will share my sentiments when they come to visit.
Here is the final match card of the event
1 Chris Ford 0-1 Doug Bernett
2 Julian Cook ½-½ Alan Thomason
3 Steve Nixon 0-1 John Smith
4 Dave Johnson 0-1 Steve Brown
Good luck to all the teams in their future matches and I look forward to hearing the results of the league. Until next time