5th March 2016

An Extraordinary Match to have been part of! (Div 1: Sheffield A 2½-5½ York RI A)


Jeremy Hamm: "It was clear when 3 IMs from the York team walked through the door at the Woodseats venue that we might have our work cut out for this match. I wonder when Sheffield last faced such a team – their average grade was 209, only Chris Ross (199) and Detlef Plump (194) below 200. But though we went down 5½-2½, I thought we gave a great account of ourselves. In fact, observers of the match for stretches of the afternoon may well have thought that it was Sheffield with the more likely chances. Dave Latham had concluded a tremendous win against Paul Townsend, Ryan had drawn with Dave Adams, the top two boards (with Andrew and Jon) were very tight, Kieran had a great position against Chris Ross and Mike’s position on 8 also was probably better. More worryingly, Deji on 7 was facing a very strong positional bind: but even here, as non-playing York captain Martin Carpenter pointed out, there might be chances to hold on in a rook ending a pawn down.

At this point, one of the most interesting games was on board 3 between Oskar and Richard Palliser. On the Black side of a Trompowsky, White had more activity – and when Richard sacrificed a piece for two pawns on f7, it looked like he would probably prevail. But it was very complex and he only had something like 10 minutes left for another 15 moves – not at all obvious that he would be able to pick his way through the minefield. (Actually, as analysis of the game shows, Oskar had great chances before the f7 sacrifice with 21…Ba6 – though I’m not sure this was seen by any of the gathering spectators!)

And then it all went wrong! On board 3 (a bit of a pivotal game for those watching from Sheffield), Richard P found his way to a mating attack, Chris Ross’s strong defence against Kieran forced fatal time pressure errors and Mike’s position unfavourably transformed to an ending where he had a rook, passively-placed bishop and pawn against his opponent’s strong queen. And with Deji’s defeat (the pressure had proved too much), the match was by now well and truly lost, in spite of Andrew and Jon very creditably holding on for draws against James Adair and Simon Ansell on 1 and 2. In retrospect, we’ve seen this kind of turn of events many times before in the Woodhouse, when we’ve been on the stronger side against weaker teams. But still, it was fascinating to watch – and felt a genuinely open contest. In spite of the final scoreline, I felt that we were very close to finishing around 4 points, marginal decisions making the difference between winning and losing, drawing and losing. An extraordinary match to be part of.


Sheffield A York A
1.Andrew Ledger ½-½ James Adair
2.Jon Nelson ½-½ Simon Ansell
3.Oskar Hackner 0-1 Richard Palliser
4.Dave Latham 1-0 Paul Towsend
5.Ryan Burgin ½-½ Dave Adams
6.Kieran O’Driscoll 0-1 Chris Ross
7.Deji Jeje 0-1 Detlef Plump
8.Michael Johnson 0-1 Gavyn Cooper
2½-5½


2014-15 Season

Sheffield Wins the Woodhouse Cup (Yorkshire League division 1)


In 2013-14, Sheffield had two teams in the Woodhouse Cup, the A and D teams, and as Sheffield B had finished second in the I.M. Brown Shield (division 2) they secured promotion, thus Sheffield had three teams in the Woodhouse Cup in 2014-15, namely the A, B and D teams. The first three places in the 2013-14 Woodhouse Cup had been taken by York RI A (winners), Bradford A and Sheffield A respectively. The 2014-15 Woodhouse Cup was thus expected to be primarily a race between York, Bradford and Sheffield.

In the second round, on 11/10/2014, York RI A drew with Calderdale, allowing Bradford and Sheffield to edge into the lead, still on 100%. The second team to falter was Sheffield A, who on 17/01/2015 drew with Huddersfield, so leaving Bradford in the sole lead, but only a single match point ahead of York and Sheffield. Then, on 07/02/2015, Bradford managed only a draw with Hull DCA A. Thus the front three runners were once again in the joint lead, each having dropped one match point.

The present YCA Competitions Controller had continued the practice he’d inherited of scheduling “crunch” fixtures towards the end of the season. Thus, on 07/03/2015, York A played Sheffield A and beat them 5-3. Thus Sheffield A slipped into third place, now two match points behind York and Bradford. This set-back was soon partially redressed, however, when on 14/03/2015 Sheffield A beat Bradford A 5½-2½, but York A was still 2 match points clear of both Bradford A and Sheffield A.

Meanwhile, Sheffield D and Sheffield B had been limping along. Sheffield B had beaten Leeds CCC A, and had beaten Sheffield D, but hitherto lost their other matches, while Sheffield D had lost all their matches. Nevertheless, while Sheffield A were beating Bradford A, Sheffield D were taking on York A, and rose splendidly to the occasion. With the rising young Oskar Hackner on board one, and the dogged Deji Jeje on board two, both of whom won, Sheffield D managed to beat York A, 5-3. Thereafter Sheffield D returned to their losing ways and scored no more match points.

Thus York, Bradford and Sheffield were once again in the joint lead. The crucial remaining match was that between York and Bradford. If Sheffield could win their last match, against Rose Forgrove, then a draw between York and Bradford would mean Sheffield won, but if either York of Bradford beat the other, then there’d be a tie to be resolved by total game points.

As York were at this stage nine game points behind Bradford, the best result in that match, from Sheffield’s point of view, would be an eight-nil win to York. In the event, Sheffield beat Rose Forgrove, and York beat Bradford 7-1, meaning that Sheffield A tied with York RI A for first place, each on 19 match points out of 22, but won on tie-break with 61½ game points to York’s 57.

A proposal at the YCA AGM to change the method of tie-breaking was defeated, but the AGM decided to direct the Competition Controller no longer intentionally to engineer fixtures so that “crunch” ones occur at the end of the season.

In the IM Brown (division 2), Sheffield E narrowly avoided relegation, finishing 10th out of 12 teams (2 up, 2 down), but Sheffield F finished bottom, being relegated to the Silver Rook (division 3). There was no Sheffield C team, as such, for historical reasons.

There have been immense problems running the D, E and F teams in 2014-15, so the decision has been made to withdraw the D team. Also, the four remaining teams will be re-lettered A, B, C (former E) and D (former F). A D-team captain is still being sought, otherwise that team may also fold.


Woodhouse

Cup

ShA

YkA

BrA

CaA

Hull

YkB

Hudd

RFA

LeA

HaA

ShB

ShD

P

W

D

L

G's

For

Match

Points

Sheffield A

X

3

5

7

4

6

5

11

9

1

1

61½

19

York RI A

5

X

7

4

6

5

6

3

11

9

1

1

57

19

Bradford A

1

X

4

7

6

6

7

7

8

11

8

1

2

60½

17

Calderdale A

3

4

X

6

5

7

11

7

1

3

51

15

Hull DCA A

1

4

X

4

4

3

 

6

5

10

4

3

3

39½

11

York RI B

1

4

X

4

5

1

11

4

2

5

36

10

Huddersfield

4

4

4

X

11

3

3

5

43

9

Rose Forgrove A

2

2

2

5

3

X

4

5

11

4

1

6

39

9

Leeds CCCC A

3

2

2

 

7

X

5

6

10

4

0

6

38

8

Harrogate A

1

3

2

3

X

11

3

0

8

31½

6

Sheffield B

3

2

1

3

4

X

11

2

1

8

35

5

Sheffield D

5

0

1

3

2

X

11

1

0

10

28

2

The match between Hull DCA and Leeds City Central Chess Club A seems not to have been played.






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