A quieter night at the club, aside from our ever enthusiastic juniors! Unfortunately our E Team’s match with St Andrews was cancelled at 45 minutes notice due to exams(?)
E Spencer (2025) 1-0 S Mackenzie (530)
With the draw just made, only one 4th Round game was played, but it was the Board 1 encounter (honestly) between Ed and Scott, which Ed finished with a pretty mate.
Otherwise we were visited by another very strong player who will hopefully become a regular member to join our other 2000+ rated players. Along with Jacques, our recruitment policy is proving almost as good as United’s.
Dundee A faced league leaders Perth A in a match that would go some way to decide the TAFCA league title for 2019-20 season. As expected it was a tense affair but with some unusual twists of fortune. David Findlay was white versus Martin Gourlay, Ed Spencer black against Gwenole Le Feuvre, Alastair was up against David Hall and Frank on Board 4 facing Andrew Sutherland,
First to finish was Ed. There was some ringing sound in the room. People were trying to figure out what it was but then it transpired it was the clock of Gwenole who had run out of time trying to unlock the secrets of Ed’s favorite Sicilian Kan. Next to finish was Frank who agreed a completely equal middle game position against Andrew Sutherland. The other two matches went the full distance. In the end David converted an extra pawn in a R and P endgame to a win. Shortly afterwards, Alastair who had quite a poor position throughout the game, managed to extricate a draw from the resulting R and P ending.
So in the end it was a convincing 3-1 win and a small step closer to the league title.
Dundee City prepared for play in Rounds 5 and 6 knowing that the outcomes of the various matches would go a long way to determine promotions, relegations and, of course, the national championship itself. The A team faced Stepps in the morning. It proved to be successful with a hard-fought drawn match. Jacques Ophoff drew with IM Doug Bryson on top board. There followed draws for Andrew Wright and Andre Babin and a win for Ed Spencer. In Division 2 a big setback took place an hour prior to the match with the late call-off by Gary Weir as a result of sickness. With the adjustment of board order Euan Dawson assumed the role of being top board. It worked – with him gaining a nice win over John Smith, On Board 2 Alastair secured a second game point but losses on Boards 3 and 4 resulted in a 2-2 draw but a 2-3 match loss owing to a default on Board 5. In the 3rd division, our C team was up against it. With losses on the top three boards, two wins from Ed Walton and Cameron Wilson were insufficient overall, the team losing 2-3. In Division 5, Dundee City D team gained the result of the morning. On Board 1, Max Whisson notched up a nice win and Rishabh Akula did likewise on Board 3. Krish Akula gained a comfortable draw – and this time, it was their opponents who were a player short and had to default on Board 5. The net effect was a 3.5 – 1.5 win.
In the afternoon Dundee City A faced a strong Hamilton team led by IM Andrew Muir. Once again, Jacque Ophoff excelled and gained a draw through a perpetual check sequence. There were draws also from Stephen Hogg and Andrew Wright. But the match was won on Boards 4 and 5 through victories from both Ed Spencer and Andre Babin. There was drama for our B team who faced a very strong Giffnock team led by FM Phil Giulian. Having lost in the morning, it was going to be a very tough task to get anything from this match. But then on Board 1, Euan’s game was first to finish with a remarkable win, his first against a Fide Master. Alastair drew with Neil Thomson on Board 2 and there were losses on Boards 3 and 4. On Board 5, Ray Noble arrived to replace Gary Weir for the afternoon match. Not only did he win well, but his win brought the match to a draw. So one point gained against such a strong team – an amazing result! The same was not true for our C team in Division 3 – they crashed horribly to a much stronger Wandering Dragons team – enough said! And the same was the case for Dundee City D team who also had an afternoon nightmare – a whitewash loss 0-5.
So at the end of Round 6 and with just the final round left, Dundee City A team is tied in 3rd place with 4 game pts and 17 match pts and 8 match pts. Above them are Bon Accord A on 17.5 pts also on 8 match points and Stepps in 1st place with the same 8 match points and 18.5 game pts. In the last round they face Edinburgh 1 – the final round will be a very tense affair! In Division 2, our B team sit in 4th place on 4 match pts and 14 game pts. Beneath them lie Giffnock also on 4 match pts but with 12 game pts, Further below are Edinburgh 2 also on 4 match points and 12 game pts. Dumfries and District A then sit 2nd bottom on 3 match points and 10 game pts. At the bottom Forth Valley A prop up the division with 2 match pts and 10.5 game points. Any permutation is possible from Round 7 – when the team faces Thistles led by IM Roddy Mackay – hopefully safety and steering clear of relagation can be managed – we shall see. For Dundee C there is certain relegation to Division 4 – not good but I am sure the players will live to fight another day. Lastly, in Division 5, our D team are safe on 6 match points – all our young players have performed well and have gained a lot of valuable playing experience over the course of the season – well done to you all.
For performances of the day there are two. One would be that of Ed Spencer on 2/2 who was in overdrive in Division 1 crushing opponents with apparent ease. The second was from Euan Dawson who not only scored 2/2 on top Board in Division 2 but beat an Fide Master in the process – well done Euan!
This round featured no surprises, but plenty of hard work for some of the more established players. Jim had to fight back from a piece down to overcome Norrie, and David, though nominally two pawns up, found it very tough to break down the fortress of the fast-moving Z. In the ensuing endgame, David was down to a couple of minutes, about an hour behind on the clock!
Kirkcaldy B 0-4 Dundee B (4/3/20)
S Subramanian 0-1 F Stevenson (1647)
P Selbie (1241) 0-1 J Anderson (1611)
P Anderson 0-1 G Robertson (1554)
A Owens (1149) 0-1 R Flood (1509)
A very good and very important win for the B Team, but the scoreline was very hard on Kirkcaldy. Gordon won handily with a strong attack, but for the others it was a case of a tough struggle right into difficult and unclear endings. Things could have been very different, but an excellent board score for the B Team which gives them a chance of avoiding the drop.
Next crunch is on Monday night when the A Team travel to Perth to face Perth A who are level on points at the top. Arabest guys.
A good if expected win for the A Team in the defence of their title, putting them back on top on board count. The league is very tight and shaping up to be a very close finish. As close as last season when we won by the slimmest of tie-breaks? Maybe!
An important TAFCA match and the start of the 3rd Round of the Club Championship were just part of the fare on the menu at the club last night.
We also had a visit from a gentleman bearing a historic trophy. The Scotsman Scottish Schools Chess Championship trophy dating back to the 1960s was presented to us from its hibernation at St Saviours, the last winners of the trophy in the late 70s. This (the latter years!) is where I grew up in chess, though we have a few members who can remember the older era! It’s such a shame that the infrastructure no longer exists in schools chess – it’s where Dundee produced Grandmasters like Paul Motwani and Colin McNab. We are always trying to get something similar back on track, and meanwhile Ed is going to attempt to bring the old trophy back to something of its former glory.
TAFCA Division 2
Dundee D 0-4 Castlehill D
N Carroll (948) 0-1 G Thomas (1331)
M Whisson (948) 0-1 C Wilson (1323)
H Meadows (840) 0-1 G Atkins (1279)
P Gibson (815) 0-1 I Ford (1164)
Norrie’s heavily outrated D Team went down as would have been anticipated to Cameron’s side which have been very impressive this season, and are on course for promotion at least, with this win taking them back into 1st place with games in hand.
A Woodcock (1383) 0-1 A Borwell (1836)
C Sim 0-1 L Archip (1529)
Time a big factor in both these games. Christine was holding her own but running desperately short of time as ever, and made a fatal slip in the final throes. She sportingly resigned her lost position before her flag fell.
The two Alans served up a heavy positional struggle, with Alan W giving his illustrious opponent a lot of food for thought, but taking a long time to do it! Alan B takes up the story, with thanks.
“Quick look at game – early part was quite good by both players but end was poor with time being determining factor – Alan”
The B Team scored their first win of the season to give themselves a chance in Division 1. Henri was up against it as a last minute replacement, but Jim Anderson survived a hair-raising ending to level the scores. Frank was the recipient of a last gasp slip from Roy to put us in the driving seat, but Gordon almost blew it, despite holding the advantage. The standard mistake of playing too quickly in your opponent’s time trouble. Thankfully Colin was just too short of time and a draw emerged from the fog. A good win, but still a fair bit of work to do to survive.
Castlehill D 1.5-2.5 Dundee C
G Thomas (1331) 0-1 L Archip (1529)
C Wilson (1323) 1-0 R Flood (1509)
G Atkins (1279) 0.5 A Woodcock (1383)
I Ford (1164) 0-1 R Burnett (1374)
My teammates carried me over the threshold again in another important win for the club. Robert is on a fine run and continued with his win over Innes. Alan played out a solid draw with Graham, while Cameron simply outplayed me in what is likely to be my team-chess swansong. There comes a point when letting people down kinda gets to you. Fortunately, Laurenziu held his nerve in a precision ending to pull us through. It gives us a chance of promotion, though others may have too many games in hand.