Mon, 31 Jan
Castlehill F 2½-1½ Dundee B
1. 1350e Saranraj Gurura 1-0 Alan Borwell 1883
2. 1327 Subhayu Banerjee ½–½ Sir Philip Cohen 1784
3. 1318 Gordon J Thomas 0-1 Alastair Dawson 1734
4. 1300e Adam Crocker 1-0 James Anderson 1577
A very disappointing result in view of the grading difference, and the team’s fourth 2½-1½ loss this season. Not something you want as a ‘lucky’ scoreline.
Alan went astray after a sharp opening skirmish and Saranraj’s central pawn mass provided the basis for an irresistible attack and a nice finish.
Subhayu gained an early piece after an elementary error by Phil, but then rather carelessly let the material advantage slip. Phil even seemed to gain a slight edge, but the advantage swung back and forth as the time slipped away. Two pawns up, Subhayu really should have converted in the end, but time trouble saw him take the repetition.
Alastair gained an edge against Gordon early on, and a pawn advantage to boot, but his main trump was a gradual build up on the kingside that finally overwhelmed black, and led to a nice mating attack finish.
Jim’s fondness for cramped positions looked like it may prove his undoing, but an error by his opponent won Jim a piece and a clearly winning advantage. Unfortunately, an unwise queen excursion left his king shorn of protection and he too succumbed to a mating attack.
Not looking good for the side, with no points from five matches, and a big uphill task ahead.
Wed, 2 Feb
Dundee A 3-1 Perth
1. 2257 Jacques Ophoff ½–½ Martin Gourlay 1877
2. 2150 David Findlay ½–½ James Graham 1500E
3. 2016 Ed Spencer 1-0 Ian Washington 1423
4. 1734 Alastair Dawson 1-0 Aaron Gourlay 1396
Again looked a relatively straightforward task for the champions given the grading difference, and though a comfortable victory, certainly not as emphatic as might be expected. Ed’s new favourite Modern defence has been producing some weird and wonderful positions, and seemed to have bamboozled Ian sufficiently to gain a winning material advantage. But Ed went astray against a surprisingly potent counter-attack, made possible by the not-so-gay abandonment of his kingside defences. At one point, a knight capture on e5 would surely have won the game for Ian, but happily from a Dundee viewpoint, he missed it, and it was Ed who crashed through to his opponent’s defenceless king. Not one for the fainthearted.
Alastair had a rather more sedate procession to victory, establishing a positional plus early on, and despite a couple of slight misteps, converted it to a piece advantage which won the endgame handily.
If you’re a fan of sedate, you could do no better than Jacque’s game, which followed a peaceful path from beginning to the shared end. David’s game though, was nothing like so straightforward. A surprise and unwise piece sacrifice by his opponent left David with a clearly winning advantage which he would convert 99 times out of 100. He will be kicking himself for allowing the advanced queenside bind of his opponent, that forced him to not only relinquish his material edge, but actually left him a pawn down. Fortunately the ending was a clear draw at that level of play, but a rare slip for the Dundee legend.
So an adventurous two points for the title holders, setting them firmly on course for retention.
Wed, 2 Feb
Dundee C 4-0 Castlehill G
1. 1565 Ross Bremner 1-0 Norman Waugh 1132
2. 1561 John Robertson 1-0 Judith Firth u/g
3. 1411 Ray Flood 1-0 Noah Dickson 637
4. 1352 Bruce Wallace 1-0 Josh Dickson 880
Ross had the only real prospective banana skin in his path against the experienced Norman, but he dealt with it handily. The exchange and piece sacrifices may not have been entirely sound, but neither were some of Tal’s! Norman was unable to find a way to rebut the attack, and a neat finish won the day. The rest of us carried the points comfortably enough against a young and inexperienced side, which nevertheless shows great promise.
Our fourth consecutive 4-0 win sets us up nicely for a Fife-based finish to the season against the two Kirkcaldy sides, who both look rather different propositions.