Sunday, 4 May 2014

Dave Wightman wins 2nd league trophy and retains Cannock League Cup:

Thurs 01 May 2014

Robert Ward Memorial Trophy – Dave Wightman vs Frank Wood

Dave Wightman met Frank Wood in the Final of the Robert Ward Memorial Trophy.  It was the second time in three years that the final has been an all-Wolverhampton contest.  Dave Wightman won the toss and chose the white pieces.  The opening was a Queen’s Gambit Accepted, which led to advanced but scattered black pawns on the queenside.  White benefited from the early developmental advantage of the gambit, but this was soon traded back to equalise the material by recapturing the extra black pawn that had made it all the way to c2.  No clear advantage went to either side once the material had been recovered, although black’s castled king was more secure than white’s exposed king.

Both players moved quickly and so time was never going to be a factor.  As the middle game developed, white tried to apply pressure to black’s inferior pawn structure, while black tried to break into the white position in order to take advantage of the open king.  The pressure built on the centre until a crucial pawn pair was exchanged and both queens took the opportunity to move forwards.  White’s king was sent scurrying for the corner, while black’s a and f pawns came under pressure from the opposing queen on the seventh rank.  In the end, white had sufficient time to take the f and e pawns before black’s mating attack could come to fruition.  Once the queens were forced off, black’s attack could not succeed and the two pawn advantage was sufficient to win the game for white.

Thanks are due to Frank Wood, for an exciting game featuring chances on both sides, and to Roy Smith for organising the competition.

Courtesy Dave Wightman

Friday, 11 April 2014

WDCL Rock Cup Final 10/04/2014: Dave Wightman prevails and retains Silverware.

Rock Cup Final – Dave Wightman (165) vs Peter Banks (135)

Dave Wightman met Peter Banks in the final of the Rock Cup at Walsall Kipping.  Dave Wightman won the toss and chose the white pieces.  No clear advantage came of the opening and the game developed into a tense, tactical struggle. Black conceded doubled pawns in the centre in order to open up the f file against white’s castled king and this became the main feature of the game.  Black eventually trebled his major pieces on the half open file and exerted extreme pressure on the white position.  Eventually, though, while manoeuvring his pawns forward to completely break open the position, black made the smallest of positional mistakes and a pawn was lost.  This halted the black pawn advance and allowed white to play f3 in return, relieving much of the pressure, but the game was far from won.  The first time control was reached easily by both sides, but white could only slowly take advantage of a superior pawn structure, inching inexorably forwards.  With the pressure on the black position growing, a second pawn was obtained and this was to prove crucial as white was then able to simply exchange off the remaining pieces until the pawn majority became conclusive.

So Dave Wightman wins the Rock Cup, but thanks are due to Peter Banks for a well executed game that completely belied the theoretical grading difference between the two sides.  Thanks are also due to Frank Wood for his extremely efficient organisation of the competition and to Walsall Kipping for generously hosting the event.

By Dave Wightman

Thank you Dave and very well done indeed on retaining the Rock Cup at Wolverhampton for the 3rd consecutive year.

Friday, 4 April 2014

WDCL Div 1 Wolverhampton A v Walsall Kipping A

WDCL Div 1 Match 154

Thurs 03/04/2014
Wolverhampton A Walsall Kipping A
1 189 Townsend Michael P 0.5 0.5 Anderton David CM 194
2 e189 Sanghera Parminder 1 0 Bellin Jana WGM 188
3 165 Wightman Dave R 0.5 0.5 Roberts Nick 175
4 153 Bull Phil 1 0 Bellin Christopher 157
5 146 Wood Frank (Cap) 0 1 Pritchard Dave 155
6 146 Jones Peter Pearson 1 0 Friend Dave 138
Totals 4 2

Fresh from the dramatic events of the Pittaway Cup Final on Tuesday, Wolverhampton faced Walsall Kipping in the final match of the Wolverhampton League season.  Needing to win to remain in Division 1, both sides were close to full strength leading to no significant grading advantage for either side.  For the first hour, there was nothing between the sides, but Parminder Sanghera gradually developed a space advantage on the kingside which opened up into a sharp attack.  Peter Pearson-Jones went an exchange up on Board 6, but Phil Bull’s opponent sacrificed a knight for an attack against the white king.  Dave Wightman agreed a draw on Board 3 and, shortly afterwards, Phil Bull won when black’s attack subsided.  On Board 1, there were protected passed pawns for both sides, in an otherwise congested position, and a draw was agreed.  Parminder Sanghera sacrificed a rook to open up the black king and the attack was ultimately successful, leading to a match score of 3 – 1 to the home side.  Frank Wood was unable to protect all of his pawns in a rook ending, eventually losing on Board 5, but Peter Pearson-Jones closed out the win when his opponent ran into time trouble and was unable to sustain the defence, leading to a match score of 4 – 2 on the night.

Subject to confirmation by more gifted mathematicians, it is believed that this result is sufficient to secure Wolverhampton’s survival in the top flight for another season, albeit by the narrowest of margins.  Two great results in three days have put a very different complexion on what had been a difficult season for the club.  Thanks are due to Walsall Kipping for an exciting match.

By Dave Wightman 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

WDCL Pittaway Cup Final 01/04/2014: Wolverhampton Triumph!

WDCL Pittaway Cup Final at Mercia  Chess Club (neutral venue)

Pittaway Cup Final

Date: Mon 01/04/2014
Wolverhampton Kidderminster
1 187 Townsend Michael P 1.0 0.0 Wrench John P 166
2 Sanghera Parminder 1.0 0.0 Friar Joseph 161J
3 165 Wightman Dave 0.5 0.5 Maurice Bissell 167
4 154 Bull Phil 0.5 0.5 Friar Jim 168
5 153 Hunt Jonathan B 0.5 0.5 Friar James
6 151 Wood Frank 0.5 0.5 Varilone John 144
7 140 Jones Peter Pearson (Cap) 1.0 0.0 Close David 142
8 136 Porter Phil D 0.5 0.5 Riley Mark 142

Handicap 0.0 2.25

1086 5.50 4.75 including 2.25 handicap 929

Games like this one are the reason why I love cup competitions so much.  It was a night full of high drama, played out at Mercia, who were kind enough to host the event.  The two teams were very evenly matched on grade, giving Kidderminster a theoretical advantage by virtue of the 2.25 point lead as a result of their Division 2 status, but it was always going to be close.  Kidderminster won the toss and had white on the odd numbered boards.  No clear advantage was gained from the early exchanges, although Peter Pearson-Jones and Phil Porter both briefly went a pawn ahead.  Phil Bull was the first to finish, agreeing a draw.  As the first time control approached, Peter Pearson-Jones had better pawn structure in an end game featuring passed pawns for both sides, while Parminder Sanghera went a pawn ahead and had exposed the black king.  However Jonathan Hunt, already a pawn behind, now went two pawns down on the queenside and was forced to launch an all out attack against the white king.  Sacrificing a rook and then a knight, the white kingside pawn structure was torn open, but the mating combination was just not there.  In the end, a draw was achieved by virtue of a perpetual check.

Dave Wightman agreed a draw and Frank Wood secured a passed pawn on d6, which forced black into a largely passive role in order to blockade it.  Phil Porter drew on Board 8, making the score on the night 2 – 2 and inching Kidderminster ever closer to the winning post.  Wolverhampton now needed to win three of the remaining four games and draw the fourth in order to win the trophy.  Peter Pearson-Jones was now a pawn ahead, and was able to give it back in order to shepherd his passed pawns through to win, and Parminder Sanghera was now two pawns ahead with his opponent in terrible time trouble.  Shortly afterwards, still valiantly defending a difficult position, black’s flag fell.  This made the score 4 – 2 to Wolverhampton, but both of the remaining games were looking drawn.  Frank Wood was unable to push the passed pawn onwards and reluctantly agreed a draw, leaving the match to be decided on Board 1, where an incredibly complicated position had developed.  The white king had been forced into the centre of the board and the black queen, rook and bishop were circling around it, trying to find an opening.

Mike Townsend knew that a win was required, and so the match continued right to the death.  White managed to build counter-play by releasing the queen from the defence of the king and slowly the pieces were exchanged.  With no time on either clock, just the kings and three pawns were left.  Black had two connected, passed pawns on the kingside, but had to keep his king on the queenside to cover white’s own protected passed pawn.  Technically, it was a draw but, in the flurry of final moves which reached this position, white’s flag had fallen and the game was won for black.

So, the score was 5.5 – 2.5 on the night and a win for Wolverhampton, who retain the Pittaway Cup, by the narrowest possible margin.  Thanks are due to Kidderminster for a fine match, played in the best possible spirit.  Good luck for next season in Division 1. 

By Dave Wightman

Friday, 28 March 2014

BDCL Dív 2 individual Final : Dave Gardiner v Dave Wightman

BDCL Div 2  Individual Final – Dave Wightman (165) vs David Gardiner (155)

Dave Wightman met David Gardiner in the final of the Birmingham League Division 2 Individual competition at South Birmingham.  Winning the toss, Dave Wightman chose the white pieces, but was unable to gain any advantage out of the opening.  A tactical game led to few openings, but black slowly gained a space advantage by virtue of incremental pawn advances.  When the break came, with the opening of the d and then h files, black was able to make a well timed queenside castle to get the king to safety, while white was left with a king trapped in a rapidly opening centre.  Black sacrificed a knight to pull the white king forwards and into a mating net from which there was no escape.  So, congratulations to David Gardiner for a well executed game, well played.

By Dave Wightman

Friday, 21 March 2014

Wolverhampton Chess Club Championship final (the rematch) 20/03/2014

20/03/2014 Club Championship Final Replay: Phil Bull vs Dave Wightman

We have a winner and new Club Champion.  Phil Bull met Dave Wightman in the replay of the Club Championship Final.  Playing white, Phil Bull gained an early space advantage, as a result of an advanced f pawn.  Dave Wightman, normally accurate in defence of a cramped position as black, unadvisedly tried to open up the board in front of the castled white king, playing an unsound g5, which removed a vital defence from the crucial f6 square and stranded the f pawn on f7.  This was to prove to be the key feature of the game, as white eventually trebled his major pieces on the half open f file, placing overwhelming pressure on the weakness in the black pawn structure.  Unable to castle to safety, the black position disintegrated quickly and it was all over well before the first time control was due.  Congratulations are due to the newly crowned Club Champion: Phil Bull.  Well played.

By Dave Wightman

Friday, 14 March 2014

Club Championship Final: Dave Wightman vs Phil Bull

Club Championship Final: 

Dave Wightman vs Phil Bull

The seedings worked out and the two strongest contenders met in the Final of the 2014 Club Championship.  Dave Wightman won the toss and chose the white pieces, developing an early king side attack against the castled black king.  Although no material advantage came of it, white gained a protected, passed pawn on f6 which posed a perpetual threat for the rest of the game.  With the king side now blockaded, attention turned to the queen side, as both sides probed for an advantage.  The game was played at a healthy pace, so the clocks were never going to play a part in deciding the result.

In the end, after much manoeuvring from both sides, the major pieces were traded and there was no way for either side to break through with the material left on the board and a draw was agreed.  The re-match is scheduled for Thursday 20th March.

By  Dave Wightman

Friday, 7 March 2014

Stalemate and Astounding Probabilities


I recently played John Fenby of Brewood in the Robert Ward Plate competition.

The first game was drawn, and since neither of us knew that we should then have played a RP game as a decider, the intention being to finish all ties on the night, we agreed a date for a replay.

This was also drawn, so then we played blitz games at 15 min, 10 mins and 5 mins, the first two were wins for me on the board but I couldn’t mate in the time so accepted draws. In the third he announced to my horror that my flag had dropped, but I noticed his had dropped too so that was agreed drawn. Then we tossed a coin and he won!!

5 draws in a row in a KO! Is that a record?

Courtesy of Geoff Rosser

Saturday, 1 March 2014

WDCL Rock Cup Semi Final Thurs 27/02/2014

Rock Cup Semi-Final Philip Burgess (118) vs Dave Wightman (165)

Dave Wightman met Philip Burgess on home ground, but as black, in the contest to fill the last place in the Rock Cup Final.  The game was played at a good pace, with the first 10 moves taking just a few minutes.  The opening yielded no clear advantage for either side, but then black unwisely chose to castle queenside and ran into an almost immediate attack.  White surged forwards, giving up a pawn to open up the board and swarm the black king.  A period of frantic defence followed, with pieces hanging all over the board, concluding with an extensive exchange.  Thanks to a back rank mating threat, white was forced spend a move playing h3 at a crucial moment, and this allowed black to emerge from the exchange with a rook for knight and pawn advantage.  With passed pawns on both sides of the board, the game became a race.  White, however, was tied to the defence of an isolated central pawn and this slowed the progress.  Black was able to run the b pawn and this proved to be crucial.  Tied to holding up this pawn, white allowed sufficient space for black to break into the position and force off the queens and the game was won.  Thanks are due to Philip Burgess for a fascinating game, full of excitement, played in the best of spirits.

By Dave Wightman

Friday, 21 February 2014

WDCL Div 1 20/02/2014: Wolverhampton A v Halesowen A

      Thurs 20/01/2014  
    Wolverhampton A     Halesowen A  
1 189 Townsend Michael P 0.5 0.5 Fishburne Stewart K 190
2 165 Wightman Dave R 0 1 Hunt Malcolm A 178
3 153 Bull Phil 0.5 0.5 Hadley Mike 154
4 146 Wood Frank (Cap) 0.5 0.5 Ambrose Andy 148
5 135 Porter Phil D 0 1 Peck Windsor WA 135
6 131 Rosser Geoff C 1 0 Evans Paul J 116
Totals     2.5 3.5    

They say that it isn’t over until the fa…what is that noise?  It sounds like singing.  Wolverhampton and Halesowen met in what could only be described as a straight relegation decider.  On the night, the two teams were very evenly matched and so a close game was in prospect.  This was exactly how it turned out, with no player gaining a significant advantage for most of the evening.  Phil Bull was the first to finish, agreeing a draw on Board 3.  Shortly afterwards, Geoff Rosser won suddenly, thanks to a blunder, and Frank Wood then went a passed pawn up.  This gave the home side real hope of survival, but it was not to last.  Frank Wood was pulled back to a materially level position, albeit still with a connected, protected passed pawn.  Phil Porter ran into severe time trouble, needing to make more than a dozen moves with just a few seconds remaining, and his position worsened steadily with the loss of a piece and then a pawn.  Dave Wightman then blundered in an already inferior ending to lose immediately and Phil Porter finally ran out of time in spite of valiant attempts to generate counter play against the white king.  Mike Townsend agreed a draw, leaving Frank Wood the task of trying to convert his slender positional advantage to save the match.  Unfortunately, with only a bishop pair left on the board, there was no way to displace the black king from the crucial square and the pawn could not be advanced.  A draw was agreed and the match was lost.

So, Wolverhampton are all but relegated for the second time in three seasons.  They stand on the brink, needing an unlikely win against title challengers Walsall Kipping in their final match to stand even a mathematical chance of staying in Division 1.  Thanks are due to Halesowen for an exciting match, played in a tremendous spirit, and good luck in Division 1 next year.

By Dave Wightman

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

BDCL Div 2 06/02/2014: Wolverhampton v Mutual Circle

BDCL Div 2

      Thurs 06/02/2014  
    Wolverhampton     Mutual Circle  
1 189 Michael P Townsend 1 0 Mark Tallis 145
2 165 Dave Wightman 1 0 Mike Hollier 147
3 153 Phil Bull 1 0 Chris Evans 143
4 148 Jonathan B Hunt 1 0 Robert Hollows 131
5 146 Frank Wood 1 0 Mike Walker 114
6 146 Peter Pearson-Jones  1 0 Medhi Al Samir 113
Totals 947 6 0   793

Mutual Circle were without a number of regular players for this Birmingham League clash.  As a result, they faced an uphill task, facing a grading deficit of just under 26 points per board.  Jonathan Hunt was the first to break ranks, sacrificing a rook for bishop in order to generate an attack.  Frank Wood also offered a gambit pawn in the opening, but Peter Pearson-Jones went an early pawn ahead.  In the early middle game, Dave Wightman gained a piece, due to a decisive check in the middle of a minor piece exchange, and Mike Townsend gained a pawn which soon became passed.

With the time control approaching, Dave Wightman was able to exchange off the last of the major pieces to win, while Frank Wood executed an exchange sacrifice to break through against his opponent.  Jonathan Hunt managed to conclude his attack, for three wins in quick succession.  Phil Bull’s opponent managed to reach the first time control, but with just a few seconds left on the clock, while Mike Townsend gained a second pawn, also passed, and won shortly afterwards.  Phil Bull went a pawn ahead in the endgame and, with passed pawns on either wing, was able to close out the match.  Finally, Peter Pearson-Jones went two pawns up, winning on time shortly afterwards at the second time control.

So, a resounding win for Wolverhampton, which keeps alive their slender hopes of promotion to Division 1.  Thanks are due to Mutual Circle for putting up strong resistance in a difficult situation, and good luck for the rest of the season.

By Dave Wightman

Saturday, 1 February 2014

WDCL Rock Cup Quarter Final 30/01/2014

Rock Cup Quarter Final – Lee Collier vs Dave Wightman

It was another action packed game as Dave Wightman took on Lee Collier for a place in the Semi Finals of this year’s Rock Cup.  Playing black but with home advantage, Dave Wightman got off to the traditional slow start, allowing white to develop a strong centre and superior development.  Both sides played relatively experimental openings, but it is probably safe to say that any time black plays both Nb8 and Ng8 in the first ten moves, it isn’t going well.  With white having a firm control over the centre and threats on the kingside, the black king castled long to the relative safety of the queenside.  Behind interlocked pawns, but facing massing white pieces, the peace didn’t last long.  White sacrificed a knight for two pawns to break open the position and there followed an extended period of scrambling defence as white tried to pour through the breech.  Black’s queen and a rook were tied down to holding back the white pawn advance, while minor pieces circled the fray probing for weaknesses.  As the tension built, white sacrificed a pawn, and then another pawn, to progressively dismantle the black defences.  However, when the attack finally subsided, the black king emerged unscathed from the wreckage of the queenside and with a piece advantage.

The game was far from over, however, as black pressed forwards for a further 20 moves with a material advantage and white defended resolutely.  Eventually, the mounting pressure of an advancing passed pawn told and black gained the opportunity to win a piece.  However, this opportunity was missed and black’s ineffectual attempts to try to break through were eventually halted by white’s flag falling.  So, Dave Wightman advances once again thanks to a large slice of luck.  Thanks are due to Lee Collier for a tremendously exciting game, played in a great spirit of sportsmanship.  Good luck for the rest of the season.

By Dave Wightman

Monday, 27 January 2014

BDCL Div 2 individual Championship QF and SF

BDCL Division 2 Individual – Round 2 – John Fahy vs Dave Wightman

Dave Wightman gave up home advantage in the second round of this year’s Birmingham League Division 2 Individual competition, travelling to Warley Quinborne in order to play John Fahy.  The season has been beset by chronic fixture congestion, and this was the last available date before the deadline for matches to be played.  White gained the better of the opening, gaining a strong centre which allowed freer piece development than black.  Pressure built on the cramped black centre until the pivotal moment when white began to advance the central pawns.  As it turned out, black had a defence which allowed the immediate capture of one of the central pawns.  Post match analysis indicated that neither side had fully realised the implications of the saving move at the time, which lead to a pawn capture and then a subsequent piece.  In the ensuing exchanges, the piece was recovered by white to just a rook for knight advantage for black.  However, black was then able to stabilise the position and force the exchange of the major pieces, starting with a rook pair and ending with the queens, which left a sufficient material advantage in the end game to carry black through.  So, Dave Wightman progresses into the semi-finals, thanks to a large slice of luck.  Thanks are due to John Fahy for an interesting match and for being so accommodating over the repeated rearrangement of the fixture.

BDCL Division 2 Individual – Semi Final – Arthur Kent vs Dave Wightman 23/01/2014

The semi-final saw a repeat of the pairing from the 2013 Division 3 final.  However, this match was entirely different.  Instead of a short but lively game, this was a much more tactical encounter.  White gained a modest space advantage out of the opening, comprising a strong centre.  Black was able to hold the defence until, as the first time control approached, a series of exchanges gave black the opportunity to win a pawn as white was forced to maintain the back rank against a residual mating threat.  With a rook plus a and g pawns against a rook and a pawn, black inched inexorably forwards until white finally ran out of space and a second pawn was won.  White eventually resigned on move 70 after nearly 30 moves of resolute defensive play.  So, Dave Wightman reaches the final with some relief after a very tough game.  Thanks are due to Arthur Kent for a keenly contested and interesting game which belied the theoretical grading difference between the players.

By Dave Wightman

Friday, 10 January 2014

WDCL Div 1 09/01/2014 Wolverhampton v Warley Quinborne

Match 129

WDCL 1: Wolverhampton vs Warley Quinborne
Dave Wightman (165)             0.5 – 0.5    Simon Smith (174)
Phil Bull (154)                         0.5 – 0.5    Ian Emery (157)
Jonathan Hunt (153)               Adj – Adj   John Fahy (151)
Frank Wood (151)                 Adj – Adj   Alex Holowczak (139)
Peter Pearson-Jones (140)     0 –      1      Alan Burnet (132)
Peter Griffith (Ung)                Adj – Adj    David Jeffs (132)
                                             1 – 2 (+ 3 Adj)

Warley Quinborne came to Wolverhampton in the first game of the new year, for what could well turn out to be a relegation decider.  Both teams have faced difficulties fielding their first choice teams regularly and are precariously placed towards the foot of the table.  As it turned out, the two teams were evenly matched on the night, and some close encounters ensued.  Frank Wood went an early pawn down.  Although Peter Pearson-Jones went a pawn up, the position quickly became very complex, with multiple threats on the black king, and a queen for rook and bishop exchange was forced by white.  Phil Bull and then Peter Griffith both went a pawn up in good positions, giving hope that Wolverhampton might just take the points.  Playing the longer time control, Dave Wightman escaped with a draw when he was able to successfully blockade a protected, connected passed pawn in an otherwise level position.  Shortly afterwards, Peter Pearson-Jones was unable to hold the position and lost.

The remaining positions held all the way to the adjournment, with Wolverhampton a pawn ahead in three games and a pawn behind in one game.  Unusually, each of the four games featured a pair of opposite coloured bishops.  Phil Bull agreed a draw on Board 2, putting the match position on the night at 2 – 1 in favour of the visitors, but the remaining three games were adjourned.  Thanks are due to Warley Quinborne for some interesting and tightly contested matches, and good luck for the remaining games.

By Dave Wightman