Lincolnshire Chess Association

Minor Counties Competition Open Team (2010-11)

Lincolnshire have won the MCCU minor championship for the second year running and progress to the ECF minor quarter final stage.

MCCU Minor Counties Championship Open
Position Teams Pl W D L GPD Pts
1 Lincs 4 4 0 0 45 8
2 Leics 3 3 0 1 28 4
=3 Derbys 3 1 0 2 20 2
=3 Shrops 3 1 0 2 16 2
5 Worcs 3 0 0 3 19 0

MCCU Minor Counties Championship Match Results
Date Match Result
16 Oct Lincs - Leics 8½-7½
13 Nov Shrops - Lincs 0-16
11 Dec Derbys - Lincs 6-10
29 Jan Lincs - Worcs 10½-5½

Lincolnshire v Leicestershire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

Lincolnshire hosted Leicestershire in their opening fixture of the 2010/11 season on 16th October 2010. It was a welcome change to have our first fixture on home soil for almost three years. In general most of our matches have been played at neutral venues such as Syston due to the large travelling distances involved. But for this match, against our near neighbours, the venue was the excellent Atrium building at the Lindum Business Park in North Hykeham which was also the venue for this years Lincolnshire County Championship in June. Thanks are due once again to Herman Kok for organising the excellent facilities which were both spacious and comfortable. The professional look was completed by the use of digital clocks, loaned by Louth Chess Club and Robert Dale, with the match result sheet displayed on a projector screen. Kevin McCarthy kept the match results updated via his laptop and even managed to find time to display the latest football scores as well!

The match started promisingly for Lincolnshire. Chris Dorrington, making his debut on top board, launched a sacrifical attack on the Queenside and looked a different class as he brushed aside his opponent with ease. Then veteran Alistair Summers showed good technique in a rook and pawn endgame to put us 2-0 up. Further wins from Grimsby’s Stuart Macdonald, also on debut, and myself put Lincolnshire in a strong position. Samuel Milson rubbed salt in to the Leicestershire wounds by turning round what appeared to be a worse position with a few tactical shots to chalk up another win for the home side. Four more draws were added, so we had a 7-2 lead with just over half the match gone .Only one and a half points to get for victory!

At this stage a quick look at the other boards,told me that we were not really worse in any of the remaining games and a big winning margin was on the cards. But Leicestershire, who started the match as slight underdogs, showed their fighting spirit and began to claw back the points. Two more drawn games got us to eight points, ensuring that we would at least draw the match. It was left to Keith Palmer to show his experience by making a safe draw from a much better position with two boards left in play to secure Lincolnshire victory by an eventual score of 8.5 –7.5.

Although it looked like we might run away with the match at one stage this was an excellent victory for Lincolnshire. The brilliant team spirit that we had in last seasons competition was once again to the fore. We must not forget that Leicestershire were, like ourselves last season, losing semi-finalists in the Minor Counties Competition. Being only slightly weaker on paper they were never going to be a pushover.

The next fixture is against Shropshire at Syston on Saturday November 13th.

Date: 16/1010
Venue: North Hykeham, Lincoln
Lincolnshire (Home team) Leicestershire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 W Chris Dorrington Grantham 222 1-0 Martin Burrows Wigston 190
2 B Paul Cumbers Lincoln 199 0-1 Ilyan Mladenov   FIDE 2210
3 W Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 194 1-0 Graham Sharpe Heathcote Arms 192
4 B Harry Russell Louth 185 0-1 John Denton Melton Mowbray 177
5 W Nick Payne Grantham 183 ½-½ Sean Sheahan Loughborough 172
6 B Joe Kilshaw Grimsby 183 0-1 Ray Burgess Scraptoft Valley WMC 173
7 W Claudio Mangione Lincoln FIDE 2087 ½-½ John Robinson Braunstone 170
8 B Daniel Wells Newark 176 ½-½ Peter Gibbs Hinckley 168
9 W Samuel Milson Louth 176 1-0 Paul Colburn Braunstone 167
10 B Kevin McCarthy Lincoln 171 ½-½ John Mitchell Loughborough 162
11 W Keith Palmer Louth 170 ½-½ David Farrall Shepshed Rooks 165
12 B Ivan David Grantham 165 ½-½ Patrick McDermott Shepshed Rooks 165
13 W Geoff Collyer Spalding 162 ½-½ Richard Vann   165
14 B Stuart MacDonald Grimsby 155 1-0 Jim Bingham Braunstone 157
15 W Alastair Summers Peterborough 151 1-0 John Pattison Scraptoft Valley WMC 155
16 B Ben Mason Grantham 143 0-1 Ben Booley Heathcote Arms 153

Shropshire v Lincolnshire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

I was disappointed to hear from the acting Shropshire captain on the day before the match that they were unable to raise a team and would therefore be conceding the match. I was looking forward to the fixture as we had a strong team ready and waiting for them after having defeated Leicestershire in our first match. It appears that the Shropshire captain resigned two weeks before they were due to play us and that they had appointed a temporary captain in his absence but the next fixture for Shropshire is in February so hopefully they will have something sorted out by then. Thanks to all of the Lincolnshire players for continuing to support the county team. Our next match is away to Derbyshire on Saturday December 11th 2010.

Derbyshire v Lincolnshire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

Lincolnshire made it three wins out of three in this seasons MCCU Minor Counties Competition when they travelled to Spondon to play Derbyshire on 11th December, running out comfortable winners by a 10-6 margin. The recent spell of bad weather had put the fixture in doubt a week earlier, but we were eventually able to travel as conditions improved. Not so fortunate were Harry Russell and Eric Gibbon who were very late withdrawals due to plumbing problems at home caused by the thaw. One of the true strengths of the Lincolnshire county team showed itself again as I was able to call up both Alastair Summers and Peter Sherlock, who were both willing to play at very short notice, even though they were not selected in the original team of 16 players. Thanks to these two players we went into the match with a full side, which is great for team spirit when we do not have to gift any defaulted boards to our opponents.

Samuel Milson was the first to notch up the full point for Lincolnshire when he battered his opponent into submission with a furry of tactical blows. Francis Bowers increased the lead when he carefully defended a kingside attack before decisively striking against his opponent's king on the queenside. Alastair Summers then worked up a tremendous kingside attack from a Ruy Lopez to put us firmly in the driving seat. Although Derbyshire pulled back a point, nice victories from Daniel Wells and Nick Payne both with the black pieces in the Sicilian Defence kept us in control of the match. The home side pulled a couple of wins back but Denis Georgiou steadily outplayed his opponent to grind out a win before top board Paul Cumbers sealed the match for Lincolnshire with a solid display. Ivan David was the last to finish when he showed good technique to win a king, knight and pawn versus king and bishop endgame.

This was another fine display by the county team and we could have won by a wider margin had some of the winning positions that we had in the other games, including my own, been converted. This victory should mean that Lincolnshrie have qualified for the knockout stages of the Minor Counties Competition with a game to spare.

Our final match of the group stages is on Saturday 29th January 2011 when we will play Worcestershire at a neutral venue, which will be at Syston, Leicestershire.

Date: 11/12/10
Venue: Spondon, Derbyshire
Derbyshire (Home team) Lincolnshire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 B Raymond Evans Long Eaton 192 0-1 Paul Cumbers Lincoln 199
2 W Michael Alcock Chesterfield 190 1-0 Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 194
3 B Simon Gilmore Belper 183 ½-½ David Coates Lincoln 189
4 W David Gothard Belper 167 0-1 Nick Payne Grantham 183
5 B Trevor Bould Burton 172 ½-½ Claudio Mangione Lincoln FIDE 2099
6 W Raymond Forey Derby 173 0-1 Daniel Wells Newark 176
7 B Raymond Gamble Derby 162 0-1 Samuel Milson Louth 176
8 W Derek Jarvis Breadsall 163 0-1 Francis Bowers New England 173
9 B John Hoddy Tamworth 166 ½-½ Kevin McCarthy Lincoln 171
10 W Paul Moore Burton 153 1-0 Keith Palmer Louth 170
11 B Roy Hedges Burton 152 0-1 Ivan David Grantham 165
12 W Kevin Dalley Derbyshire CA 140 1-0 Geoff Collyer Lincoln 162
13 B Maurice Hill Derbyshire CA 148 0-1 Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 161
14 W David Hoddy Burton 140 ½-½ Ian McDonald Lincoln 161
15 B David Pickering Burton 139 0-1 Alastair Summers Peterborough 151
16 W Luke Alldread Belper 153 1-0 Peter Sherlock Lincoln 145

Lincolnshire v Worcestershire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

With three wins from our first 3 matches Lincolnshire started the match as favourites against a Worcestershire side still looking for their first win of the season. Unfortunately Worcestershire had to default the bottom two boards on Friday evening, so we started the match 2-0 up. Harry Russell and Peter Sherlock graciously agreed to stand down when it became clear that our opponents were not going to be able to field a full team. Thanks to these two players it made my job a little easier on the day of the match. Or so I thought anyway! I was horrified to find that I had seven players missing at the start of play! I had left my mobile phone in my car and when I eventually found it I realised that an accident on the A46 near Lincoln had delayed them significantly. Thankfully none of the Lincolnshire players were involved but it meant that most of them started at least half an hour down on the clock. My own concentration was affected by all of this and I blundered early on in my game but struggled on, only to lose on move 38. It just goes to show my belief that captaincy is not good for your own chess. At least that's my story and I am sticking with it! Maybe I am at the age when I am starting to look for excuses...

In the match itself Stuart Macdonald made it 3-0 to Lincolnshire when he saw more of the complications than his young opponent and netted material. Paul Cumbers showed some nice touches in his favourite MacCutcheon variation of the French to make it 4-0. It has to be said that Worcestershire fought really hard despite being two down at the start and out graded and they pulled back their first win at this stage. But Lincolnshire were not to be denied and further wins from Denis Georgiou, Geoff Collyer and Nick Payne effectively sealed the match. Lincolnshire had been boosted by the return of top board Chris Dorrington for this match and he showed his class by refuting his opponent's gambit play before netting the full point. Chris is now living and working in Swindon so it was good to see him back in action and hopefully he will continue to make himself available as we enter the knockout stages of the minor counties competition. Worcestershire pulled back three wins in the closing stages of the match, including my own demise and surprisingly there were only three drawn games in the whole match. Keith Palmer was the last to finish, but it was worth the wait as he ground down his opponent in an endgame, which saw his opponent's bishop unable to cope with Keith's active knight and outside passed pawns. This win made the final score 10½-5½ in favour of Lincolnshire who are MCCU minor counties champions for the second year running, this time with a 100% record of four wins for four matches.

Lincolnshire now advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday 21st May 2011. Hopefully the squad will continue to show the same commitment and enthusiasm as they have done in every match that I have captained them in so far. With the team working for one another and a bit of luck we may be able to go even further.

Date: 29/01/11
Venue: Syston, Leicestershire
Lincolnshire (Home team) Worcestershire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 W Chris Dorrington Grantham 222 1-0 Brian Turner Malvern 185
2 B Paul Cumbers Lincoln 199 1-0 Steve Mellor Worcester 181
3 W Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 194 0-1 Peter Kitson Greenlands 171
4 B David Coates Lincoln 189 ½-½ Kevin Hurney Greenlands 176
5 W Nick Payne Grantham 183 1-0 John Edge Halesowen 174
6 B Daniel Wells Newark 176 ½-½ John Wrench Kidderminster 169
7 W Samuel Milson Louth 176 ½-½ Nigel Towers Redditch 163
8 B Francis Bowers Peterborough 173 0-1 Ed Osbourn Worcester 157
9 W Kevin McCarthy Lincoln 171 0-1 Ray Collett Worcester 153
10 B Keith Palmer Louth 170 1-0 Mike Hadley Halesowen 153
11 W Ivan David Grantham 165 0-1 Andrew Moore Worcester 148
12 B Geoff Collyer Lincoln 162 1-0 Mark Riley Kidderminster 145
13 W Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 161 1-0 Rob Sutton UG
14 B Stuart MacDonald Grimsby 156 1-0 Jason Periera E105
15 W Harry Russell Louth 185 1-0 Default
16 B Peter Sherlock Lincoln 145 1-0 Default

ECF Quarter Final - Lincolnshire v Norfolk

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

After being confirmed as M.C.C.U Minor Counties champions back in January, Lincolnshire were finally back in action when they met Norfolk in the E.C.F Minor Counties quarter final at Yaxley, near Peterborough on 21st May. Once again I had to thank Francis Bowers for finding me another excellent venue in the Peterborough area. Lincolnshire were able to field their strongest side of the season so far with the team average grade being 178.87 and were slight favourites at the start of the match. As it turned out the team put in a tremendous performance and were never in any danger of losing the match. Everybody played solidly and then suddenly a flurry of wins came in from Claudio Mangione, Francis Bowers, Samuel Milson and Harry Russell to put Lincolnshire four wins to the good after about two and a half hours of play. Several more draws followed as we edged closer to the winning line. Norfolk then scored their one and only win of the match after an outright blunder, but we never relaxed our grip on the match and further wins from David Coates and Stuart Macdonald saw us home. The final score of 10.5 – 5.5 was a fair reflection of the play and was the fifth straight win of the season for Lincolnshire. The result was also a little bit of revenge. Lincolnshire have met Norfolk three times in the Minor Counties competition in recent years and have been well beaten each time. The one result that will haunt me forever was the 15-1 massacre we suffered in 2002! This result should hopefully redress the balance somewhat.

The next match is in three weeks time on Saturday June 11th when we will face a very difficult match against Hertfordshire who have won the Minor Counties trophy for the past two seasons. Hopefully we will be able to field another strong line up and go one better than last season by making it to the final.

Date: 21/05/11
Venue: Yaxley, Cambridgeshire
Lincolnshire (Home team) Norfolk (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 W Chris Dorrington Grantham 222 ½-½ Michael Harris Diss 211
2 B Paul Cumbers Lincoln 199 ½-½ Michael Gough Norfolk & Norwich 214
3 W Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 194 ½-½ Terry Turner Diss 189
4 B David Coates Lincoln 189 1-0 Steve Pullinger Yarmouth 178
5 W Harry Russell Louth 185 1-0 Geoff Moore Norfolk & Norwich 177
6 B Claudio Mangione Lincoln E183 1-0 Mervyn Hughes Norwich Dons 159
7 W Nick Payne Grantham 183 ½-½ Jonathan Burrows Norwich Dons 171
8 B Nick Stead Grimsby 177 ½-½ David Twitchell Yarmouth 168
9 W Daniel Wells Newark 176 ½-½ Antony Hall Diss 165
10 B Samuel Milson Louth 176 1-0 Robert Wood Diss 164
11 W Francis Bowers Peterborough 173 1-0 John Allison Norwich Dons 162
12 B Ivan David Grantham 165 0-1 Steve Moore Norwich Dons 160
13 W Geoff Collyer Lincoln 162 ½-½ Graham Blowers Yarmouth 157
14 B Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 161 ½-½ Trevor Ansell Fakenham 153
15 W Ian McDonald Lincoln 161 ½-½ Robert Rickard Wymondham 153
16 B Stuart MacDonald Grimsby 156 1-0 Paul Badger Broadland Club 152

ECF Semi Final - Lincolnshire v Hertfordshire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

There were problems with the original venue that I had intended to use for our Minor Counties semi final against defending champions Hertfordshire, so I was once again indebted to Francis Bowers who found a venue in Market Deeping at very short notice which meant that we actually found ourselves playing on home ground which is unusual in the knockout stages of this competition. Thanks must go to our opponents from Hertfordshire who very graciously agreed to the switch even though it meant extra travelling for their team. A close match was in prospect with the average grade of the Lincolnshire team being 176.93 and Hertfordshire weighing in at an average of 179.5. My plans were thrown into chaos when Daniel Wells had to withdraw literally minutes before the match was due to start and he was replaced by Des Lane, who plays with Francis Bowers at the New England Club, but as a resident of Market Deeping was qualified to play. So having originally come along as a spectator he found himself thrown in at the deep end on board 9 against the Hertfordshire captain!

The match itself was as close as most people had predicted. We held the advantage for most of the way as we kept a narrow one-point lead going into the final few games. Then disaster struck. My game which looked to be heading for a draw, suddenly turned nasty due to a miscalculation on my part, and I had to concede defeat. Then another board on which we looked to be winning abruptly ended when a piece was left en prise and was taken by his opponent. So we needed to win the last game but the symmetrical nature of the position meant that this was nigh on impossible and eventually a draw was agreed. This left us on the wrong side of a 8.5 – 7.5 defeat which was hard to take because we were leading for most of the match and an extra half point would have seen us draw the match and progress to the final on board count. There were some very good performances in the match especially from our four winners on the day. Also it has to be said that our last minute reserve almost caused an upset when he missed a win despite being heavily out rated by his opponent.

So as was the case last year we once again came unstuck at the semi final stage in the Minor Counties Competition. Some players came to me after the game and offered their apologies for their performances on the day but that was not really necessary. County chess is a team game played over 16 boards and when the team wins we all enjoy the moment of victory and when we lose we all have to swallow the bitter pill of defeat. I would never point the finger at anybody who is willing to give up his or her own time and make the effort to play for the county team. I would like to thank everybody who has supported both myself as captain, and the county team this season. I feel very fortunate to have been able to lead such an enthusiastic and committed group of players for the past two seasons and I am willing to continue in the role of captain next season if I am asked to do so.

Date: 11/06/11
Venue: Market Deeping
Lincolnshire (Home team) Hertfordshire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 W Chris Dorrington Grantham 222 ½-½ Simon Knott Hertford 214
2 B Paul Cumbers Lincoln 199 1-0 Steve Swanson Hertford 204
3 W Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 194 0-1 Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell St Albans 192
4 B David Coates Lincoln 189 ½-½ Simon Roe St Albans 189
5 W Harry Russell Louth 185 ½-½ Jerry Rudge Watford 188
6 B Claudio Mangione Lincoln E183 0-1 Paul Byway Hertford 187
7 W Nick Payne Grantham 183 ½-½ Steve Law Leighton Buzzard 184
8 B Nick Stead Grimsby 177 1-0 Mike Boyce Watford 178
9 W Des Lane (reserve) Peterborough 131 0-1 Peter Rice Royston 178
10 B Samuel Milson Louth 176 1-0 Tarisai Savanhu Hoddesdon 176
11 W Francis Bowers Peterborough 173 1-0 Tim Thurstan Letchworth & Hitchin 176
12 B Keith Palmer Louth 170 0-1 Barry Morris Watford 170
13 W Ivan David Grantham 165 ½-½ Andy Tinker Hemel Hempstead 165
14 B Geoff Collyer Lincoln 162 ½-½ David Bower St Albans 164
15 W Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 161 0-1 Mace Carnochan Watford 159
16 B Ian McDonald Lincoln 161 ½-½ Paul Kenning Bishops Stortford 150