2014-15 NCCU U160 County Championships

To use that old cliche …’the War of Two Halves!’

There I was, on arrival, feeling a little smug as I handed my team sheet over to Bill O’Rourke. I knew I had as good a team as I have put out in ages (though there was a need for youngsters); a few of the rating quirks were in my favour which gave me a strong top 6. The biggest quirk involved John Gallagher whose July 2014 grade was 146 (we all know what his active Yorkshire grade is!). There is also Brian Coop playing nearer 180 then 160 etc.. Dave Patrick and Rob Dean have also come back within this category and there was also Jonathan Round, my old board 1 when I first started playing for Alwoodley in 1997. He always seemed to me to be nearer 170 then 150 and finally we welcomed the ‘youngster’ Chris Bak! This left the dangerous Gabor on board 7 and some of my regulars on the bottom boards plus debutant Dave Grobler.

John Gallagher made his debut for the Yorkshire U160s, I imagine this will be the only season he'll play for them for a while!

John Gallagher made his debut for the Yorkshire U160s, I imagine this will be the only season he’ll play for them for a while!

Also if you look at our results from last season you will see we didn’t win many on the top boards but cleaned up in the middle and down the bottom. You can see why I was confident. This was aided by the first result as Dave Patrick held the dangerous Armand Catz to a draw on board 3. Gabor’s attack then crashed through putting us 1 up.

Then it was time for another walk around after a comfort break! Shock, horror!; the bottom 4 boards were all going down in flames; only board 10 looked ok! But Gunnar was the first to burn as he fell for a fork. Dave (on debut) had fought back then with drawing chances went astray in the endgame and we were now one down. Paul Clarke who had maybe the toughest task of the afternoon against England’s Durban world junior rep Nugith Jayawana, made it 3-1 down. By now John Gallagher had shown why he is playing at a different level bringing the score to 2-3 before Pete Mason’s position collapsed;. 2-4 down with not many obvious chances. Only Chris Bak was better, a pawn up, but after the simplification into a rook and pawn endgame, it didn’t look so obvious. Rob Dean’s position looked promising though I have learnt not to make any judgements about his positions until after the time control. Then there was Jonathan Round who was a pawn down and Peter Braham’s game on board 8 looked like it could go any way..

Peter Braham, Gabor Batonyi and Jonathan Round

Peter Braham, Gabor Batonyi and Jonathan Round

Much to my surprise the rooks had come off in Chris’ game leaving him a pawn up which he converted. Brian Coop emerged out of middle game complications a piece up! But that was the end of good news as Peter Braham’s position turned sour and soon he had resigned. Rob had to make the time control and Jonathan was still a pawn down. 3-5 down with 3 to play (taking the draw out!).

Phew Rob Dean made the time control. Even better he was winning easily so 4-5! Brian eventually converted against the ever regular Rob Tokeley (my opponent in the 2003 final) to make it 5-5! It had (as it always was!) come down to board 6; Phil Raynor v Jonathan Round on debut! Jonathan was still a pawn down but his experience had managed to fashion a passed pawn. Soon it became clear that this pawn held the destiny of the match. It was getting ever closer and Phil eventually had no choice but to eliminate it. Jonathan was a piece for 2 pawns. A big crowd had gathered; Jim Burnett said that Phil had missed some chances and that Jonathan was in control . I was worried that it would end up knight and rook v rook; just offer the draw; as Jonathan was down to 3 minutes on the clock. Then Jonathan’s class (that ex 170 player he most certainly is…) started to show itself; Phil panicked dropped his last 2 pawns and the miracle of Clifton Villas Road was complete.


Rob Dean scored a crucial late win with an accurate tactical sequence.


A big thanks to everyone for playing and to Bill and his lads from the red rose county for scaring the living daylights out of us! Also thanks to Ihor for arranging the venue. Now onwards to Cumbria and then fingers crossed the National stages.

Report by Rupert Jones

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Yorkshire U160 6½ – 5½ Lancashire U160
John Gallagher (145) 1 – 0 Carl Tillotson (156)
Brian Coop (154) 1 – 0 Rob Tokeley (155)
Dave Patrick (159) ½ – ½ Armand Catz (154)
Chris Bak (154) 1 – 0 Colin Liddle (154)
Robert Dean (158) 1 – 0 Phil Taylor (152)
Jonathan Round (152) 1 – 0 Phil Raynor (150)
Gabor Batonyi (151) 1 – 0 John Whitfield (150)
Peter Braham (145) 0 – 1 Stephen Murray (139)
Paul Clarke (153) 0 – 1 Nugith Jawawarna (148)
Gunnar Mallon (154) 0 – 1 Tom Leah (148)
Dave Grobler (145) 0 – 1 James Carrington (146)
Peter Mason (141) 0 – 1 Stephen Ward (141)

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