Lincolnshire Chess Association

Minor Counties Competition (2014-15)

MCCU Minor Counties Championship - East Zone
Position Teams Pl W D L Pts
1 Lincolnshire 3 2 1 0 5
2 Leicestershire 3 2 0 1 4
3 Nottinghamshire 3 1 0 2 2
4 Derbyshire 3 0 1 2 1

MCCU Minor Counties Championship Match Results - East Zonal
Date Match Result
18 Oct Lincolnshire v Nottinghamshire 9-7
8 Nov Lincolnshire v Leicestershire 9½-6½
6 Dec Derbyshire v Lincolnshire 8-8

MCCU Minor Counties Championship Match Results - Interzonal
Date Match Result
24 Jan Lincolnshire v Greater Manchester 9½-6½
21 Feb Lincolnshire v Worcestershire 8½-7½

ECF Minor Counties Championship Match Results
Date Match Result
16 May Lincolnshire v Essex 5½-10½

Lincolnshire v Nottinghamshire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

Lincolnshire hosted Nottinghamshire in their first match of the season at the Lindum Atrium at North Hykeham looking to avenge the defeat that they suffered against the same opposition last year. Lincolnshire fielded a strong looking line up, but by contrast Nottinghamshire had some players missing from last year’s victorious campaign in the MCCU so I was optimistic before the start of the match. However this optimism was soon tempered by the fact that we lost the services of our newest recruit John Naylor due to unforeseen circumstances only an hour before play was due to start. Fortunately I had the luxury of four reserve players on standby for this match. The only problem was being able to contact one of them at short notice and get one of them to the venue on time. It was Grimsby’s Steve Allott who became the hero of the hour by racing to the venue and eventually making a valuable draw for the team despite arriving late and incurring a considerable disadvantage on the clock. Safe in the knowledge that we would not have to default a board Lincolnshire set about the task of winning the match. Lincolnshire took an early lead when I managed to break through surprisingly quickly on the queenside and pressed home the initiative to secure the full point. Steve Prior increased the Lincolnshire lead by sacrificing a rook to break down his opponent’s resistance and then Alastair Summers put us firmly in the driving seat with a controlled performance. After that Lincolnshire never looked back and although Nottinghamshire battled hard to get themselves back in to the match we eventually prevailed by a 9-7 score line. Chris Dorrington, Joe Kilshaw and Graham Ladds were the other winners on the day for Lincolnshire. It must be said that I was particularly impressed by the response that I had from my players for this first match. It is very rare to be able to have players available on standby as reserves for these county matches and on this occasion I had four players who were willing to do this. It makes my task as captain considerably easier and win or lose it makes the whole experience considerably more enjoyable. Our next match is at home to Leicestershire on Saturday November 8th and as in recent years this promises to be a closely fought encounter.

Date: 18/10/14
Venue: North Hykeham
Lincolnshire (Home team) Nottinghamshire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 B Chris Dorrington Grantham 228 1-0 Peter Mercs Gambit 193
2 W Claudio Mangione Lincoln 208 ½-½ Pablo Padilla Cabero Ashfield 191
3 B Paul Cumbers Lincolnshire 200 0-1 Alexander Combie Newark 189
4 W Stephen Prior Grantham 188 1-0 Robert Richmond West Bridgford 186
5 B Joe Kilshaw Grimsby 186 1-0 Richard Truman West Bridgford 182
6 W Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 186 1-0 Andy George Newark 180
7 B Nick Stead Grimsby 180 0-1 Kieran Child Notts University 178
8 W Harry Russell Louth 176 ½-½ Andy Walker Notts University 173
9 B Kevin McCarthy Grantham 174 ½-½ Brian Thompson West Bridgford 171
10 W Keith Palmer Louth 167 0-1 Jonah Willow West Notts 166
11 B Andrew Hebert Grantham 166 ½-½ Harry Croasdale West Bridgford 165
12 W Ian McDonald Lincoln 159 ½-½ Brian Hayward Gambit 160
13 B Alastair Summers Peterborough 156 1-0 Drag Sudar Gambit 151
14 W Ivan David Grantham 154 0-1 Mark Radford Nottingham Central 153
15 B Graham Ladds Newark 154 1-0 Bob Taylor Ashfield 149
16 W Steve Allott Grimsby 150 ½-½ Neil Graham Ashfield 144

Lincolnshire v Leicestershire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

The fixtures against Leicestershire are always hard fought matches and this one proved to be just as tough. Lincolnshire eventually won the match by a 9½ - 6½ score line but the match was much closer than the score suggests. Lincolnshire were always ahead in the match but some of the games in the closing stages were difficult to judge and it took grit and determination by several Lincolnshire players to get us over the finishing line. Lincolnshire scored their first win of the match when debutant Russell Ludlow broke through his opponents’ defences to force resignation. Claudio Mangione was the next to win when he outplayed his opponent in the middle game and denied him any hint of counter play before administering the decisive blow. Leicestershire fought back to eventually score wins on three boards but Lincolnshire always led by a two or three point margin and some fighting draws aided by wins for myself, Harry Russell, Alastair Summers and Stuart Macdonald saw the team home. With this win Lincolnshire made sure that they qualified for the knockout stages of the Minor Counties in the New Year. They also maintained their unbeaten home record at the Lindum Atrium which stretches back to October 2010. The next match for Lincolnshire is on Saturday December 6th away to Derbyshire.

Date: 8/11/14
Venue: North Hykeham
Lincolnshire (Home team) Leicestershire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 W Claudio Mangione Lincoln 208 1-0 Martin Burrows Wigston 206
2 Paul Cumbers Lincolnshire 200 ½-½ Florian Hahn Leicestershire 195
3 W Stephen Prior Grantham 188 0-1 Graham Sharpe Blaby District 186
4 B Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 186 1-0 Andy Morley Wigston 189
5 W Nick Stead Grimsby 180 ½-½ Brian Galligan Syston 179
6 B John Naylor Louth 177 ½-½ Ray Burgess Thurnby 178
7 W Harry Russell Louth 176 1-0 Sean Sheahan Shepshed 173
8 B Kevin McCarthy Grantham 174 0-1 Shabir Okhai Syston 172
9 W Keith Palmer Louth 167 ½-½ John Mitchell Loughborough 166
10 B Andrew Hebert Grantham 166 ½-½ Sean Hewitt Blaby District 166
11 W Russell Ludlow Lincoln 165 1-0 Richard Handscombe Leicestershire 165
12 B Ian McDonald Lincoln 159 ½-½ Karl Potter Latimer 160
13 W Alastair Summers Peterborough 156 1-0 Mike Cowley Blaby District 160
14 B Graham Ladds Newark 154 ½-½ Grahm Booley Blaby District 160
15 W Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 151 0-1 Jim Bingham Braunstone 155
16 B Stuart MacDonald Grimsby 147 1-0 Glyn Ward Loughborough 152

Derbyshire v Lincolnshire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

Lincolnshire travelled to Derby safe in the knowledge that their qualification to the next phase of the MCCU Competition was already secure. However it was important to keep the momentum going from our two previous victories in the Eastern Zone. Derbyshire on the other hand had lost their opening two matches so they only had pride to play for. Lincolnshire out graded their opponents on every board despite fielding a weakened side. Things looked promising for the visitors when Ivan David scored a quick win but after that the tables quickly turned and from thereon in the Lincolnshire team were always trailing. Chris Dorrington and Nick Stead scored wins late on to level the match and it was left to me to see if we could snatch the victory in the one remaining game. I was an exchange up but found it difficult to make progress and eventually agreed to the draw which meant that the match finished all square at 8 – 8. This result meant that Lincolnshire finished top of the Eastern Zone and will now advance to the MCCU open semi-final on January 24th 2015. Here they will face Greater Manchester who finished as runners up in the Western Zone. Lincolnshire will probably start as underdogs in this match because our opponents have experienced a revival under their new captain and will be able to call upon the services of several strong players.

Date: 6/12/14
Venue: Derby
Derbyshire (Home team) Lincolnshire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 W Paul Madden Breadsall 203 0-1 Chris Dorrington Grantham 228
2 Ray Forey Derby 177 ½-½ Claudio Mangione Lincoln 208
3 W Martin Cobham Derby 163 ½-½ Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 186
4 B Raymond Gamble Spondon 161 0-1 Nick Stead Grimsby 180
5 W Mike Alderson Belper 161 ½-½ Harry Russell Louth 176
6 B David Pickering Burton 161 ½-½ Keith Palmer Louth 167
7 W John Hoddy Burton 161 1-0 Andy Hebert Grantham 166
8 B Anthony Natt Clay Cross 159 1-0 Russell Ludlow Lincoln 165
9 W Alan Downham Belper 158 ½-½ Ian McDonald Lincoln 159
10 B Kevin Dalley Derby 150 ½-½ Alastair Summers Peterborough 156
11 W John Shaw Belper 147 0-1 Ivan David Grantham 154
12 B Maurice Hill Rolls Royce Derby 145 ½-½ Graham Ladds Newark 154
13 W Mark Carter Spondon 138 0-1 Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 151
14 B Paul Moore Burton 135 1-0 Steve Allott Grimsby 150
15 W David Hoddy Burton 134 ½-½ Chris Holt Grantham 148
16 B Dylan Meyer Derby 123 1-0 Stuart MacDonald Grimsby 147

SF Lincolnshire v Greater Manchester

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

Lincolnshire travelled to Handsworth in Sheffield to play in the semi-final of the MCCU Open championship against Greater Manchester knowing that a victory would put them in to the Open final for the first time ever and secure a place in the national quarter finals of the Minor Counties Championship later in the year. Before the match I was anticipating that our opponents would be able to field a strong side and that we would start the match as underdogs but fortunately Greater Manchester had some players unavailable. This meant that on paper the match looked like it could be a close one. The match started with a few drawn games before Graham Ladds opened the scoring for Lincolnshire when he held off a dangerous looking kingside attack and pressed home his advantage on the queenside. Denis Georgiou then cunningly trapped his opponents rook in an endgame in which he was already better to put us two points to the good. Joe Kilshaw played a very interesting piece sacrifice which kept his opponents king trapped in the centre and despite there being no immediate win he was able to bring all of his pieces in to the attack and score a decisive victory. John Naylor then put Lincolnshire four points clear with a controlled performance. At this stage it looked like Lincolnshire could run away with the match but things were far from over and Greater Manchester slowly started to chip away at the Lincolnshire lead. With three games left Lincolnshire held a 7-6 lead but I had already worked out that a tied match would not be favourable for us if Stephen Prior managed to lose his game on board three. However Ian McDonald showed grit and determination despite being a pawn down in a rook and pawn endgame to confidently hold on for a crucial draw. Ivan David then secured the match win for Lincolnshire with a fine display of technique in a knight and pawn endgame to mark his return to form. Stephen Prior then put the icing on the cake when he took advantage of his opponents time trouble and trapped his queen to force resignation leaving the final match score 9½ - 6½ in favour of Lincolnshire. Our opponents in the MCCU final will be Worcestershire who narrowly defeated Leicestershire in the other semi-final. This will promise to be another difficult match for Lincolnshire as Worcestershire are an improving team who have gained several strong players this season. They also boosted their team in the semi-final against Leicestershire by fielding Grandmaster Keith Arkell on board 1. The final will take place on Saturday 21st February.

Date: 24/1/15
Venue: Handsworth, Sheffield
Lincolnshire (Home team) Greater Manchester (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 W Paul Cumbers Lincolnshire 200 0-1 Andrew Horton 3Cs 214
2 Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 186 ½-½ Alan Smith Stockport 200
3 W Stephen Prior Grantham 188 1-0 Andy Reeve Stockport 186
4 B Joe Kilshaw Grimsby 186 1-0 Philip Olbison Chorlton-cum-Hardy 181
5 W Nick Stead Grimsby 180 ½-½ Daniel Pousada Greater Manchester 173e
6 B John Naylor Louth 177 1-0 Laszlo Antal Denton 170
7 W Harry Russell Louth 176 ½-½ Adam Tyton Bolton 177
8 B Kevin McCarthy Grantham 174 ½-½ Peter Mulleady Atherton 174
9 W Andy Hebert Grantham 166 ½-½ Graham Burton 4NCL 3Cs 174
10 B Ian McDonald Lincoln 159 ½-½ John Reed East Cheshire 174
11 W Alastair Summers Peterborough 156 0-1 Pablo Lopez Denton 172
12 B Ivan David Grantham 154 1-0 Glenn Trueman Marple 163
13 W Graham Ladds Newark 154 1-0 Tim Hilton Denton 158
14 B Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 151 1-0 Alan Beresford Chorlton-cum-Hardy 156
15 W Steve Allott Grimsby 150 ½-½ Jon Lonsdale Great Lever 144
16 B Stuart MacDonald Grimsby 147 0-1 Ian Lamb Bolton 141

F Lincolnshire v Worcestershire

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

Lincolnshire travelled to Sharnford in Leicestershire to play Worcestershire on what was to prove to be an historic day for the county team. Two titles were to be decided on the day as this match was the final of both the MCCU Open championship as well as the MCCU Minor Counties championship. This was the first time ever that Lincolnshire had reached the final of the MCCU Open event, which has been in existence since 1898. And the players who were selected did not disappoint and rose to the occasion, winning the contest by an 8½-7½ margin. I had anticipated that Worcestershire would field Grandmaster Keith Arkell on board 1 as they had done against Leicestershire in the semi-final of this event. So I had a plan in place to counter the possibility of this happening again and drafted in a home grown Grandmaster of our own, Matthew Turner, in readiness to face Arkell. Matthew was playing his first game for Lincolnshire in over twenty years after moving away from the area. Unfortunately the expected all Grandmaster clash failed to materialise as Keith Arkell was playing in a tournament in Dresden. However Matthew’s presence gave the rest of our team a huge lift and undoubtedly put a dent in our opponent’s hopes of winning the trophy.

Lincolnshire started the match superbly and were three points ahead after one and a half hours play. Stephen Prior’s opponent unwisely grabbed a pawn in the opening and was mercilessly punished. John Naylor was the next to win when his opponent made a bad mistake in a sharp position and was forced to resign almost immediately. Then our expected win on board one came when Matthew Turner gave his opponent no chance whatsoever. After about another hour Worcestershire scored their first win of the match and with several other games looking slightly better for them the match was far from over. But the Lincolnshire team showed great resilience and dug deep to edge towards victory. The bottom two boards were crucial. Denis Georgiou gradually outplayed his young opponent and then Ivan David once again ground out a trademark endgame to secure the full point. I had been much better in the early stages of my own game but allowed my opponent too much counter play and so I agreed a draw to take the team points tally to seven. Harry Russell showed great tenacity to hold an inferior endgame to edge us even closer to the title. Another draw followed before Keith Palmer secured the match for Lincolnshire. Keith’s opponent had a queen against rook and bishop in the endgame but the pawns were all on the same side of the board. With no pawn breaks available Keith was able to set up a fortress which his opponent was unable to breach. This left Lincolnshire three points up with two games to play. Worcestershire did manage to win the remaining two games but one of these was somewhat fortuitous as Jason Dilley slipped in time trouble when in a winning position.

So history was made by the Lincolnshire team and every player who has played for the team can be extremely proud of themselves, not just the sixteen players who were selected to play in the final. I had three players available as reserves if required. This has been almost always the case during my tenure as captain. My job is made easier by having an enthusiastic bunch of committed players to pick from and whilst this is the case it will be a pleasure to lead the team.

However the season is not yet over for the county team. This latest victory means that Lincolnshire advance to the quarter final stage of the national Minor Counties Competition. At the time of writing our opponents are unknown. What we do know is that we will face one of the teams from the Southern Counties Chess Union. This match will take place on Saturday 16th May.

Date: 21/2/15
Venue: Sharnford, Leicestershire
Lincolnshire (Home team) Worcestershire (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 B Matthew Turner Lincolnshire 239 1-0 Stephen Mellor Worcester 185
2 W Jason Dilley Grantham 203 0-1 John Edge Halesowen 184
3 B Paul Cumbers Lincolnshire 199 ½-½ Daniel Lambourne Redditch 183
4 W Stephen Prior Grantham 186 1-0 Peter Kitson Worcester 177
5 B Joe Kilshaw Grimsby 185 ½-½ Nicholas Arkell Stourbridge 175
6 W Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 183 ½-½ Charles Lowick Higgie Malpas & Whitchurch 174
7 B Nick Stead Grimsby 183 0-1 Nigel Towers Redditch 172
8 W John Naylor Louth 180 1-0 Kevin Hurney Worcestershire 172
9 B Harry Russell Louth 180 ½-½ James P Friar Hagley 168
10 W Nick Payne Grantham 176 ½-½ Brian Turner Malvern 167
11 B Kevin McCarthy Grantham 171 0-1 Greg Dyett Stourbridge 167
12 W Andrew Hebert Grantham 165 ½-½ Jim A Friar Kidderminster 167
13 B Keith Palmer Louth 163 ½-½ Gary Jackson Banbury 163
14 W Ian McDonald Lincoln 161 0-1 John Wrench Kidderminster 159
15 B Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 156 1-0 Joseph Friar Hagley 157
16 W Ivan David Grantham 153 1-0 John Knee Malvern 148

Here are some pics from the MCCU Open/Minor Final (click on a pic to view it in full size):

MCCU Open/Minor Final 2014-15
Boards 1-4
MCCU Open/Minor Final 2014-15
Boards 1-4
MCCU Open/Minor Final 2014-15
Boards 6-19
MCCU Open/Minor Final 2014-15
Boards 3-15








MCCU Open/Minor Final 2014-15
Boards 6-8
MCCU Open/Minor Final 2014-15
Board 6

ECF Quarter Final Lincolnshire v Essex

Report from Nigel Birtwistle

Lincolnshire faced a tough task when they travelled to Brampton in Cambridgeshire to play Essex in the Minor Counties Quarter Final. Things were not made any easier when three of the usual middle order had to withdraw for various reasons in the week leading up to the match. So were missing what would have been our boards 7, 8 and 9. As usual Lincolnshire had reserves on standby that were ready and willing to play so there was no need to default any boards. The final result looked a little one sided. The margin of defeat, 10½-5½, did not reflect the tenacity of the Lincolnshire performance. At one stage the match was finely balanced at 4-4. As our opponents began to pull away several of the team realised that a few risks had to be taken. Unfortunately several of these individual gambles failed to pay off and we slipped to a heavy defeat. Essex thoroughly deserved their victory on the day but I thought that a 9-7 victory for our opponents would have been a fair result. So once again Lincolnshire came unstuck against opposition from the SCCU. It should not be forgotten however that the 2014-15 season has been an historic one for Lincolnshire Chess. The whole team can be extremely proud of their victory in the MCCU Open Championship. It was the first time ever that Lincolnshire has won this competition. So the task for the county team is clear. We must strive to achieve success in the national stages.

I would like to thank all of the team members for their efforts this season. Once again everybody contributed to the team ethic. I am lucky to have such committed individuals who are willing to play for the county. Lincolnshire do not have masses of players to call upon for selection unlike some of the other county teams that we compete against. So the results that we get mean that we are already over achieving as a county. I do not know how much more we can progress as a team, but I am willing to carry on in my role as captain next season if asked to do so.

Date: 16/5/15
Venue: Brampton, Cambridgeshire
Lincolnshire (Home team) Essex (Away team)
Board Colour Name Club Grade Score Name Club Grade
1 B Paul Cumbers Lincolnshire 199 0-1 Jonathan Rogers Ilford 216
2 W Nigel Birtwistle Grantham 183 0-1 Andrw Lewis Manningtree 207
3 B Stephen Prior Grantham 186 ½-½ David Sands Barking 205
4 W Joe Kilshaw Grimsby 185 1-0 Tim Hebbes Essex 193
5 B Daniel Wells Newark 185 ½-½ Ian Reynolds Billericay 186
6 W Nick Stead Grimsby 183 1-0 Ivan Myall Writtle 185
7 B Harry Russell Louth 180 ½-½ Jeff Goldberg Barking 185
8 W Keith Palmer Louth 163 ½-½ Kevin White Ilford 181
9 B Andrew Hebert Grantham 165 0-1 John Moore Writtle 179
10 W Ian McDonald Lincoln 161 ½-½ Jim Howson Upminster 169
11 B Alastair Summers Lincolnshire 168 0-1 David Millward Writtle 165
12 W Ivan David Grantham 153 0-1 Nomai Wei Wanstead 162
13 B Denis Georgiou Scunthorpe 156 0-1 Neville Twitchell Ilford 161
14 W Graham Ladds Newark 150 ½-½ Paul Barclay Wanstead 149
15 B Steve Allott Grimsby 151 ½-½ David Smith Wanstead 148
16 W Ben Mason Grantham 145 0-1 Elliott Cocks Chelmsford 144