Lincolnshire Chess Association

Minor Counties Competition Open Team (2011-12)

MCCU Minor Counties Championship Open
Position Teams Pl W D L GPD Pts
1 Leicestershire 5 4 0 1 44½ 8
2 Lincolnshire 5 4 0 1 52½ 8
3 Derbyshire 5 2 1 2 45½ 5
4 Worcestershire 5 2 1 2 37½ 5
5 Shropshire 5 2 0 3 35½ 4
6 Greater Manchester 5 0 0 5 24½ 0

MCCU Minor Counties Championship Match Results
Date Match Result
15 Oct Lincolnshire vs Derbyshire 10½-5½
29 Oct Greater Manchester v Lincolnshire 6-10
3 Dec Leicestershire v Lincolnshire 8½-7½
28 Jan Lincolnshire v Shropshire 14-2
10 Mar Worcestershire v Lincolnshire 5½-10½

ECF Stages Match Results
Date Match Result
19 May QF Essex vs Lincolnshire 8½-7½

Lincolnshire v Derbyshire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

The excellent Atrium building on the Lindum Business Park at North Hykeham was once again the venue for Lincolnshire’s one and only home match of the season when they hosted visitors Derbyshire in their opening fixture. Despite the fact that we were missing several regular players, the depth of the county squad was once again in evidence as I was able to fill the lower boards with some seasoned veterans. We out rated our opponents on every board bar one so the margin of the Lincolnshire victory by 10.5-5.5 was not totally unexpected. However, the match still has to be won, whatever the difference in ratings may be, and Derbyshire fought hard before we pulled away in the closing stages of the match. Lincolnshire raced into an early 3-0 lead with wins from the Louth duo of Harry Russell and Keith Palmer, plus Ian McDonald. After three drawn games Derbyshire hit back with three wins of their own to level the match. Two more games were drawn but the five remaining games were looking good for Lincolnshire. And that proved to be the case as Sam Milson, Nick Stead, Paul Cumbers, Chris Dorrington and Stuart MacDonald all converted their positions into the full point. So it was a good start to this season’s campaign but we will have to be at our best when we travel to Sheffield in fortnight’s time to play Greater Manchester who have stepped down a level this season to play in the Minor Counties Competition. They will have a strong pool of players at their disposal so it will be a tough match for us to win.

Date: 15/10/11
Venue: North Hykeham, Lincoln
Lincolnshire (Home team) Derbyshire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 B Chris Dorrington Grantham 226 1-0 Raymond Evans Long Eaton 200
2 W Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 192 0-1 David Latham Chesterfield 195
3 B Claudio Mangione Lincoln 192 ½-½ Trevor Bould Burton 177
4 W Paul Cumbers Grantham 190 1-0 Derek Jarvis Ashfield 171
5 B Nick Stead Grimsby 187 1-0 Paul Kelman Clay Cross 141
6 W Samuel Milson Louth 186 1-0 Andrew Mort Chesterfield 166
7 B Keith Palmer Louth 177 1-0 Paul Moore Burton 152
8 W Harry Russell Louth 175 1-0 Luke Alldread Belper 153
9 B Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 169 ½-½ John Hoddy Burton 153
10 W Ivan David Grantham 164 ½-½ Roy Hedges Tamworth 152
11 B Alastair Summers Peterborough 159 ½-½ Maurice Hill Rolls Royce Derby 150
12 W Stuart MacDonald Grimsby 158 1-0 David Hoddy Burton 148
13 B Geoff Collyer Spalding 152 ½-½ David Pickering Burton 140
14 W Ian McDonald Lincoln 151 1-0 Philip Sheldon Spondon 141
15 B Graham Ladds Newark 149 0-1 Ross Murphy Long Eaton 131
16 W Ben Mason Grantham 145 0-1 David Dunne Spondon 130

Greater Manchester v Lincolnshire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

Lincolnshire travelled to Sheffield to play Greater Manchester and a great team effort saw us emerge victorious by a 10-6 margin. It was never going to be easy to field a side in this fixture, as our last match had taken place only a fortnight previously, but once again the squad rose to the challenge and we were able to field sixteen players. Our opponents were not so lucky and were forced to default the bottom two boards on Friday evening giving Lincolnshire a 2-0 lead before the start of the match. However the Manchester team arrived in a determined mood, ready to salvage some pride after being mauled 12.5-3.5 by Leicestershire in the first match of the season.

I was very pleased to have recruited the services of Paul Hutchinson to play on top board. Despite having not played for a couple of seasons Paul performed solidly and was one of a number of players who did likewise as Lincolnshire edged towards victory with the first six games to finish resulting in a draw. Nick Stead increased the lead to three points with a nice exploitation of a space advantage but then Manchester received a glimmer of hope when I contrived to lose a level position. Ivan David showed excellent technique to outplay his opponent in a minor piece ending to put us back in the driving seat before draws from Stuart MacDonald and Alistair Summers meant that we had scored eight points and therefore we could not lose the match with three games still remaining. Paul Cumbers had come under intense pressure early in his game and was forced to march his King to the safety of the queenside to escape his opponent’s sacrificial attack. But once the monarch had found sanctuary on a7 Paul was able to respond with a mating attack of his own to seal victory in the match. This left the Louth pair of Samuel Milson and Keith Palmer to slug it out with their opponents in difficult endgames. Sam eventually converted his extra pawn to continue his excellent run of form for the county team, but Keith was not so fortunate and was defeated in a knight and pawn endgame in which his young opponent played very well under time pressure.

So a solid team performance once again resulted in a hard fought win. Two wins from two matches is a terrific start to the season but our next match is away to Leicestershire who are always difficult to get a result against. The last two matches against them have resulted in a drawn match and an 8.5-7.5 victory for Lincolnshire and it promises to be every bit as tight this time around.

Date: 29/10/11
Venue: Handsworth, Sheffield
Greater Manchester (Home team) Lincolnshire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 B David Hulmes Stockport 210 ½-½ Paul Hutchinson Scunthorpe FIDE 2214
2 W Ali Jaunooby Denton 193 1-0 Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 192
3 B Richard Beach Stockport 184 ½-½ Claudio Mangione Lincoln 192
4 W David Toole Denton 171 0-1 Paul Cumbers Grantham 190
5 B Philip Olbison Chorlton-cum-Hardy 162 0-1 Nick Stead Grimsby 187
6 W Varoslav Kobidv   178 0-1 Samuel Milson Louth 186
7 B Jamie Horton Didsbury 174 ½-½ Daniel Wells Newark 183
8 W Andrew Horton Didsbury 156 1-0 Keith Palmer Louth 177
9 B Alan Beresford Chorlton-cum-Hardy 150 ½-½ Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 169
10 W Kamran Ahmed   155 0-1 Ivan David Grantham 164
11 B Adam Tyton Bolton 157 ½-½ Alastair Summers Peterborough 159
12 W Jon Lonsdale Great Lever 154 ½-½ Stuart MacDonald Grimsby 158
13 B David Holt Denton 139 ½-½ Geoff Collyer Lincoln 152
14 W Jim Nicolson Greater Manchester 142 ½-½ Ian McDonald Lincoln 151
15 B Default     0-1 Ben Mason Grantham 145
16 W Default     0-1 Steve Allott Grimsby UG

Leicestershire v Lincolnshire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

Our matches against Leicestershire have always been close, hard fought encounters and this match was no exception as it once again went right down to the wire. Unfortunately this time we were on the wrong end of an 8.5-7.5 score line but the team, as always, fought right to the end before having to concede defeat. I was pleased to eventually be able to field the full complement of sixteen players as I was one player short on Friday afternoon but Grimsby’s Steve Allott stepped in as a late substitute to make sure we did not default a board. The match itself saw both sides’ trade blows fighting tooth and nail to gain the upper hand, but with three games still going fate dealt Lincolnshire a cruel blow when Nick Stead went down in frantic time scramble in a game that he had looked to be winning. Another Leicestershire win meant that they had reached eight points and could not lose, so it was left to Keith Palmer to try and extract something from a drawish looking position to save the match. However Keith’s valiant efforts were in vain and he reluctantly had to concede the draw which saw Leicestershire over the finish line. So our unbeaten run in the MCCU group stages has finally come to an end after ten matches and we must now pick ourselves up and turn our attention to our next fixture which is in the New Year on 28th January against Shropshire.

Date: 3/12/11
Venue: Thurmaston
Leicestershire (Home team) Lincolnshire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 B Ilyan Mladenov Loughborough 207 ½-½ Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 192
2 W Martin Burrows Wigston 200 1-0 Claudio Mangione Lincoln 192
3 B Ray Burgess Swallow Inn 182 0-1 Paul Cumbers Grantham 190
4 W John Denton Melton Mowbray 174 1-0 Nick Stead Grimsby 187
5 B John Robinson Braunstone 169 ½-½ Nick Payne Grantham 184
6 W Brian Galligan   173 ½-½ Daniel Wells Newark 183
7 B John Mitchell Loughborough 173 ½-½ Keith Palmer Louth 177
8 W Mike Salisbury Braunstone 167 0-1 Harry Russell Louth 175
9 B Tom Reynolds Melton Mowbray 165 0-1 Joe Kilshaw Grimsby 171
10 W Richard Vann Ashby 163 1-0 Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 169
11 B David Farrall Shepshed Rocks 168 0-1 Stephen Prior Spalding 169
12 W Greg Eagleton Loughborough 167 1-0 Ivan David Grantham 164
13 B Alfonso Jimenez Loughborough 164 1-0 Alastair Summers Peterborough 158
14 W Patrick McDermott Shepshed Rocks 159 ½-½ Geoff Collyer Lincoln 152
15 B Jim Bingham Baunstone 161 ½-½ Graham Ladds Newark 149
16 W Sean Hewitt Leicestershire 157 ½-½ Steve Allott Grimsby UG

Lincolnshire v Shropshire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

After suffering a defeat against Leicestershire before Christmas it was important for the team to bounce back with a win. So I was very pleased with the margin of victory, the 14-2 score line being the best result achieved under my captaincy thus far. Shropshire had unfortunately conceded the bottom two boards before the start of play and had fielded a weaker side than I had anticipated but the match still had to be won. We out rated our opponents on all of the boards apart from one and I was very pleased with the way we set about the task of winning the match. Nobody lost a game and only four draws were conceded in a powerful team performance. With so many winners in what was an unexpectedly one sided match it would be hard to mention everybody in this report. But I can say that the team spirit and willingness to play at short notice was typified by Ian McDonald. Ian was not originally selected to play in this match but then was called up as a replacement. When I found out that Shropshire had defaulted two boards he was again told that he was not required, only to receive a telephone call at 8am on the morning of the match due to a player withdrawing through illness! This sort of attitude is very important to a match captain and makes the team much easier to run. The next match for Lincolnshire is on Saturday 10th March when we face Worcestershire at Syston in a winner takes all encounter. Whoever wins this match will progress to the national stages of the Minor Counties Competition whilst for the loser the season will end. We will once again need to be at our best against a team who have shown considerable improvement this season. It promises to be an interesting match.

Date: 28/1/12
Venue: Syston
Lincolnshire (Home team) Shropshire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 B Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 192 ½-½ Nick Rutter Newport 205
2 W Claudio Mangione Lincoln 192 ½-½ Nigel Ferrington Telepost 190
3 B Paul Cumbers Grantham 190 1-0 Gavin Cooper Newport 188
4 W Nick Stead Grimsby 187 ½-½ Francis Best Shrewsbury 170
5 B Samuel Milson Louth 186 1-0 Toby Neal Wellington 168
6 W David Coates Lincoln 183 1-0 Glyn Pugh Shifnal & Telford 159
7 B Keith Palmer Louth 177 1-0 John Bashall Telepost 159
8 W Harry Russell Louth 175 1-0 John Whittaker Ludlow 146
9 B Joe Kilshaw Grimsby 171 1-0 Richard Gillespie Shifnal & Telford 143
10 W Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 169 ½-½ Graham Shepherd Church Stretton 136
11 B Stephen Prior Spalding 169 1-0 Marvin Carbin Priorslee Lions 134
12 W Ivan David Grantham 164 1-0 Steve Tarr Shifnal & Telford 134
13 B Geoff Collyer Spalding 152 1-0 Windsor Peck Shifnal & Telford 130
14 W Ian McDonald Lincoln 151 1-0 John Westhead Telepost 120
15 B Stuart MacDonald Grimsby 158 1-0 Default    
16 W Graham Ladds Newark 149 1-0 Default    

Worcestershire v Lincolnshire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

A drawn match would have been sufficient for Lincolnshire to ensure qualification for the national stages of the Minor Counties Championship when they met Worcestershire in their final group fixture, but matters were also complicated by the fact that Worcestershire could qualify at our expense by inflicting a defeat on us. Lincolnshire were missing several players due to a clash of dates with the Blackpool Congress on the same weekend, but it turned out that our opponents had suffered the same fate and we went in to the match as strong favourites. With an average grading difference of almost eighteen points per board the result should have been more one sided than it eventually turned out, but Worcestershire showed great tenacity and it was only near to the end of the match that Lincolnshire finally pulled clear. One pleasing fact was that nobody lost a game out of the sixteen that were played, with every player playing solid chess. Chris Dorrington returned to action on board one for Lincolnshire and produced a powerful performance to crush his opponent in just less than two hours, whilst on the lower board’s veteran players Alastair Summers and Ian McDonald both showed great endgame technique to grind their opponents in to eventual submission. Keith Palmer gave a nice demonstration of using a space advantage followed by a positional squeeze to bottle up his opponents pieces and take Lincolnshire to the brink of victory, before Paul Cumbers scored the decisive point. Paul was on the defensive for a long time in his favourite MacCutcheon variation of the French Defence but remained calm against a dangerous looking attack and he eventually pushed his opponent back, before striking the fatal blow on the queenside. The final result of 10½ -5½ was convincing enough, but Lincolnshire will have to step up a gear when they play their next match in the quarter final stages of the Minor Counties Competition. Here it is likely that we will meet one of the SCCU teams and we will need to be at our very best if we are to progress any further.

Date: 10/3/12
Venue: Syston
Worcestershire (Home team) Lincolnshire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 B Carl Hibbard Strafford 192 0-1 Chris Dorrington Grantham 225
2 W Pavel Besedin Worcester 191 0-1 Paul Cumbers Grantham 197
3 B Brian Turner Malvern 186 ½-½ Claudio Mangione Lincoln 193
4 W Peter Kitson Greenlands 183 ½-½ Nick Stead Grimsby 193
5 B Kevin Hurney Greenlands 173 ½-½ Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 182
6 W Mark Bethel Halesowen 166 ½-½ Stephen Prior Spalding 186
7 B Ed Osbourn Worcester 166 ½-½ Harry Russell Louth 176
8 W Nigel Towers Redditch 155 ½-½ Joe Kilshaw Grimsby 176
9 B Charles Higgie Kidderminster 156 ½-½ Ivan David Grantham 172
10 W Roy Peters Greenlands 150 0-1 Keith Palmer Louth 171
11 B Mike Hadley Halesowen 150 ½-½ Kevin McCarthy Lincoln 168
12 W John Knee Malvern 147 ½-½ Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 161
13 B Andrew Farthing Worcester 143 ½-½ Stuart MacDonald Grimsby 152
14 W Ray Collett Worcester 140 0-1 Alastair Summers Peterborough 147
15 B Tony Pountney Kidderminster 109 0-1 Ian McDonald Lincoln 147
16 W Richard Collett Greenlands 101 ½-½ Geoff Collyer Lincoln 147

ECF Quarter Final Essex v Lincolnshire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

After finishing as runners up in the MCCU union stages Lincolnshire faced the difficult prospect of a match with Essex in the Quarter Final stage of the ECF Minor Counties Competition. Essex usually qualify for the knockout stages of the open competition so it was expected that they would be hurting a little after not having qualified for the open and they signalled their intent by fielding a side very close to the under 180 average, as required by the rules of the competition. However, another strong turnout for Lincolnshire which has been the case in all of our matches this season meant that the match result would not be a forgone conclusion. Essex edged in front with a couple of wins but these only came after nearly three hours of play. Several of the other games looked favourable for the southerners and it looked like they might run away with the match. But Sam Milson gave us hope by winning a game that he controlled throughout and the fight back was on. A few of the games which had previously looked unfavourable turned in to draws and then Lincolnshire got the break they needed when Joe Kilshaw’s opponent misplayed a dead drawn rook and pawn ending, giving Joe the chance to score an unexpected point. Ivan David calmly converted his advantage in a minor piece endgame and suddenly Lincolnshire was in front for the first time in the match. At this stage the Essex captain was looking more worried about the result than I was with the remaining three games on a knife edge. Tension was in the air as the result could have gone either way. Eventually Essex won two of the remaining games after mistakes by both sides leaving them 8-7 up with one match to play. A win in this last match would see Lincolnshire through to the semi-final on board count. David Coates had been much worse for most of his game but like several of his team mates he had battled back to put the result in doubt. The game could have swung either way, in but in the ensuing time scramble his opponent was able to force a draw and thus clinch the match for Essex. It was disappointing to lose in such a similar fashion to last year’s semi-final against Hertfordshire but I am very proud of the team performance and could not have asked for more from the team. Lincolnshire have had another fine season and hopefully next season we will eventually be able to break the hoodoo against teams from the SCCU ,which has seen us exit the knockout stages for the last three years.

Date: 19/5/12
Venue: Yaxley, Cambridgeshire
Essex (Home team) Lincolnshire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 B Sands, David Barking 213 ½-½ Andrew Dyce Grimsby 197
2 W Jonathan Rogers Ilford 210 1-0 Paul Cumbers Grantham 190
3 B John Hodgson Ilford 200 ½-½ Claudio Mangione Lincoln 192
4 W Tim Hebbes Essex CA 190 ½-½ Nick Stead Grimsby 187
5 B Philip Gregory Wimbledon 182 ½-½ Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 192
6 W Ivan Myall Writtle 188 ½-½ David Coates Lincoln 183
7 B John White Barking 180 0-1 Samuel Milson Louth 186
8 W Larry Marden Wanstead 180 ½-½ Daniel Wells Newark 183
9 B John Moore Writtle 174 ½-½ Steven Prior Spalding 169
10 W Chris Hampton Maldon 172 ½-½ Harry Russell Louth 176
11 B Neville Twitchell Ilford 173 0-1 Joe Kilshaw Grimsby 171
12 W Ian Hunnable Wanstead 170 1-0 Keith Palmer Louth 177
13 B David Millward Writtle 164 0-1 Ivan David Grantham 164
14 W Matthew Shaw Southend 166 1-0 Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 169
15 B Bryan Lee Writtle 147 1-0 Stuart MacDonald Grimsby 158
16 W Philip Staniland Wanstead 161 ½-½ Ian McDonald Lincoln 147