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Captain's Report

Thames Valley Division 1
9 May 2011

Wimbledon B 1.5 – 6.5 Surbiton A



Wimbledon B


Surbiton A




Philip Gregory


Mark Josse




Martin Smith


Nick Pelling




Stephen Macdonald - Ross


Edgar Flacker




David Foster


Stefano Bruzzi




Ivan Ivanischak


Angus James




Paul Archer


Michael Nightingale




Tony Hughes


Paul Durrant




Stephen Carpenter


Martin Durrant


Australians describe a cricket match that hasn’t got anything riding on it as a “dead rubber”. For Surbiton A, already safe from relegation but with too few points to threaten the top two in the league, that might have been the case. Not so, however, for Wimbledon B who were fighting to avoid joining Staines in relegation from Division 1. Out of respect for the other teams in the league I therefore fielded a strong team. I also had the pleasure of fielding Michael and Martin, our promising youngsters, as well as Paul Durrant, ex-captain and currently on fire! Having just returned from Malaysia two days prior this meant I had the luxury of being non-playing captain which was handy as the jet lag was suggesting to my body that I should be asleep at the time the match started!

Gratifyingly this result in the final match of the season finally put us into the black with 7.5 out of 14 match points. We had played catch up all season after losing our first two matches and it is great to end up on the plus side!

First to finish was Edgar on Board 3. After a solid, classical, opening by both players the queens came off and it looked like we were in for a long technical battle. However Stephen made an error in capturing a pawn that was seriously poisoned and immediately lost the exchange. Edgar seamlessly exploited his advantage and liquidated down to a rook vs knight ending which ended quickly after a further inaccuracy by Stephen. Well played Edgar!

Next was Board 4. Stef came up against an unusual move out of the opening and the game became very sharp. It looked like Stef had the edge but David seemed to have the potential for active counterplay. At the critical moment David made an error that resulted in a queen trade and Stef penetrating to the seventh rank with his rook. Black’s pawns all looked very vulnerable and David resigned after losing quite a bit of material. Well played Stef!

Shortly after Stef’s win Angus and Ivan agreed a draw. After an interesting opening which I assessed wrongly (I thought Angus was worse but his machine later showed that he was fine all the way through) Angus started taking control in the middle-game with a strong dark-squared bishop against an offside knight on a4 and active rooks. However the position was closed and, despite being a bit better, Angus decided to take the half point rather than spinning a coin by playing to a quickplay finish. I think that was probably a good call. Well played Angus!

We were now approaching the first time control after about two hours play and Nick, who had been playing very patiently and steadily against Martin’s resolute defence, went into speed chess mode. Nick admitted that this resulted in some inaccurate play on his part but it unsettled Martin sufficiently for him to lose his queen in trying to reach move 30. Possibly a bit hard on Martin but well played Nick!

The rest of the games went deep into the last half-hour and it was Michael who finished next on Board 6. This was a really, really interesting game. After an unconventional opening by both players that you will not find in any book, Michael had a number of pieces taking aim at Paul’s king. Crucially Paul had played c7-c6, c6xd5 and d5xe4 which, while netting a pawn, seriously weakened his light squares. Michael responded with a double knight sacrifice to rip open a route to Paul’s king. One piece was quickly recovered and Michael remained with the initiative albeit Paul managed to stave off immediate mate. After some move repetitions Michael found a further exchange sac, that could not be accepted due to mate, that left him only the exchange down but with the potential to win a third pawn and have two passers on the Kingside. This was too simple however! Michael continued to pursue Paul’s king which had by now danced all the way from g8 to b8 and finally found a rather nice move to finish him off. A very nice game. Well played Michael! I hope we can get the game onto the website soon.

Board 1 saw a very tough battle between Mark and Philip. After a book opening a very sharp queen-less position arose featuring pawn majorities on opposite sides of the board. Although Mark was the possessor of the only passed pawn out of the opening he had to play very carefully as Philip had good piece activity in the centre. Gradually Mark found a way to squeeze a small advantage out of the ending and initiated a sequence that left him with a bishop vs knight and two pawns vs one on the queenside. A furious time scramble ensued in which two pawns were exchanged and Mark’s last pawn got to a2, supported by his King on b2, and his bishop waiting in the wings on e5. Philip’s knight was desperately hanging on at c2 defended by his king on d1. After quite a bit of manoeuvring, with Mark’s flag hanging, he found the right way to win after Philip desperately sacked his knight on a1. Well played Mark!

On Board 8 Martin played his first game for the first team this season. He started off in typical fashion, gambiting a pawn in the opening in return for good piece play and a lead in development. As play progressed Martin seemed to be getting the upper hand as Stephen’s king was disturbed and had to shelter in a very weak looking kingside. Somewhere along the way Martin lost the initiative and found himself having to hang on. He sacked the exchange and entered the time scramble with lots of pieces for both sides en prise. Just as Martin was getting to grips with Stephen’s king, which should have led to decisive material gain……his flag fell. Unlucky, Martin, you fought well.

For some reason I did not look at Paul’s game on Board 7 quite as much as the others. This may have been because he seemed to have adopted a rather interesting new policy of developing his pieces before launching his characteristic attacks. This led to the game having a rather quieter feel to it than I am used to with Paul. In any case his strategy paid off as he came out of the early middle-game a pawn to the good and eventually, deep into time pressure, Tony embarked on a desperate sack that just left him a rook down. Thus the ex-captain ends the season on 100% for his old team. The new captain is looking at that record with a lot of envy I can assure you! Well played Paul!

I shall publish a separate review of the season once our final position in the league is known. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has played for me this season!


Paul Shepherd 12 May 2011


2014-2015 Season's review for 4NCL Team

2013-2014 Season's review for Thames Valley 1st Team

2012-2013 Season's review for Surrey Ellam Trophy 2nd Team

2012-2013 Season's review for Thames Valley 1st Team

2011-2012 Season's review for Thames Valley 1st Team

2010-2011 Season's review for Thames Valley 1st Team

Into the Black!
Wimbledon B 1.5-6.5 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 9 May 2011

Captains' delight!
Richmond A 4-4 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 14 Apr 2011

Slipping on our own Banana Skins!
Staines 4-2 Surbiton, Thames Valley Knock-out 11 Apr 2011

Perfect Symmetry.
Surbiton A 6-2 Wimbledon A, Thames Valley Division 1 30 Mar 2011

The Origami Game of Doom!
Staines A 1-7 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 21 Mar 2011

Away Day Blues.
Maidenhead A 5.5-2.5 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 14 Mar 2011

Where are you?
Surbiton A 8-0 Staines A, Thames Valley Division 1 9 Mar 2011

We're in the Final
Surbiton 7-3 South Norwood, Alexander Cup Semi-Final 3 March 2011

Tragedy at the end.
Wimbledon A 6-2 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 14 Feb 2011

Staring at the Brake Lights.
Harrow A 4.5-3.5 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 10 Feb 2011

The Champions are Beaten!
Surbiton A 5-3 Ealing A, Thames Valley Division 1 26 Jan 2011

Richmond wheel in the Big Guns.
Surbiton A 2.5-5.5 Richmond A, Thames Valley Division 1 12 Jan 2011

Thanks be to Mark Hogarth!
Surbiton 5.5-4.5 Wallington, Alexander Cup 17 Nov 2010

Running naked down the street?
Surbiton A 5.5-2.5 Maidenhead A, Thames Valley Division 1 3 Nov 2010

It was written in the Bird Excrement!
Surbiton A 2-6 Harrow A, Thames Valley Division 1 27 Oct 2010

Pushing the Champions close.
Ealing A 4.5-3.5 Surbiton A, Thames Valley Division 1 5 Oct 2010

Beating the Pink Doll Gambit.
Surbiton 5.5-0.5 Richmond, Thames Valley Knock-out 22 Sept 2010

Surbiton Chess Club End of Season Report May 2010

Surbiton Chess Club Newsletter Sept / Oct 2009