NCCU 2016 – Yorkshire Open team battle to victory

Lancashire vs Yorkshire – NCCU Open

This year’s annual clash between the old enemies took place in enemy territory in Heywood. The treacherous wind and rain coming across the Pennines made us that little bit more battle-hardened for the tough test to come. As both team sheets were produced, Lancashire seemed to be slight favourites on the grades but there wasn’t much in it.

Sadly for Yorkshire, I put the White Rose outfit on the back foot, overlooking a mate-in-one against David Phillips! Sadly this isn’t the first time I’ve done that this season… Still, at least I was able to keep a close eye on all the other games.

It was clear early on that the match was going to be tight and no more results came in for the best part of another couple of hours. Martin Carpenter seemed to have the initiative before things petered out somewhat while Harry Li found an excellent exchange sacrifice to turn the tables against Marek Mazek before agreeing to a repetition in what the computer found to be a completely winning position, although it wasn’t that obvious to the players or the spectators!

Palliser and McPhillips prepare to do battle

Palliser and McPhillips prepare to do battle

York RI A’s finest then came through to give Yorkshire the lead. Richard Palliser coolly took advantage of Joseph McPhillips’ ambitious and risky play while Dave Adams built up a fantastic attack from the opening that his opponent could not defend against. An interesting draw on board 4 where Phil Watson had to defend accurately made the match score 3.5-2.5 to Yorkshire after the first 6 games had finished, although we weren’t looking in good shape on the remaining boards.

The next couple of games were crucial to Yorkshire’s chances. Oskar Hackner looked to be well on top before Brett Lund muddied the waters and got a seemingly winning Queen and Pawn endgame, but Oskar’s counterplay proved to be enough of a distraction to eventually liquidate into a draw. Meanwhile Peter Shaw showed some excellent positional judgement to swap into a bishop of opposite colour ending that he correctly assessed to be winning. Lancashire 3-5 Yorkshire.

Peter Shaw gives Roy Ellames some problems to think about while Harry Li does battle with Marek Mazek in the background

Peter Shaw gives Roy Ellames some problems to think about while Harry Li does battle with Marek Mazek in the background

Although Yorkshire had a two point lead, it was only a matter of time before Lancashire came back into the match. Jeff Horner had Yorkshire’s Matthias Gantner under an enormous amount of pressure all game and Matthias did very well to grovel into a pawn-down endgame but it was not holdable. After a very interesting opening, Nugith Jayawarna managed to outplay Daniel Sullivan to reach an excellent late middlegame position. Daniel did very well to find some interesting defensive resources but it was not enough as Lancashire levelled things at 5-5.

Fortunately Captain Mark Birkin had an excellent position against Martyn Hamer. However he was making the watching crowd very nervous as he only just made the first time control while keeping his pawn advantage and active pieces. After the time control Mark started to consolidate his advantage into something more tangible and with less than two minutes left, he forced Martyn’s resignation as a new queen was going to be coming by force. We knew this won us the match due to board count, but Jim Burnett’s fine defensive stand made sure we won the match properly!

A very tense match that we were relieved to have won. Thanks to Lancashire for their excellent hospitality and we might yet meet them again. Yorkshire’s next match is a quarter-final match against the 3rd place team from the Southern Counties Championship.

Report by Andy Bak including photos by David Mills


ECF County Championships Website
More photos courtesy of David Mills and Andy Bak

1WR. Palliser218, 2181J,. McPhillips216, 2170
2BM. Gantner212, 2240J. Horner221, 2211
3WO. Hackner204, 2020.5B. Lund213, 2120.5
4BP. Watson195, 2000.5H. Hughes(E200)0.5
5WD. Adams203, 2031M. Peacock195, 1960
6BJ. Burnett196, 1970.5M. Mitchell191, 1920.5
7WP. Shaw200, 1991R. Ellames193, 1950
8BH. Li191, 1930.5M. Mazek199, 1930.5
9WM. Carpenter188, 1900.5P. Jowett189, 1860.5
10BM. Birkin180, 1771M. Hamer183, 1850
11WD. Sullivan176, 1750N. Jayawarna170, 1801
12BA. Bak173, 1770D. Phillips177, 1741
195, 1956.5196, 1965.5

Features editor for the Yorkshire Chess website. I collate and write atricles about all the latest chess activities in Yorkshire and beyond. I've also been known to shove some pieces myself from time to time!


3 Responses to “NCCU 2016 – Yorkshire Open team battle to victory”

  1. Martin Carpenter

    Feb 26. 2016

    Fine report – and some fine games there.

    I basically butchered my ~+/= by swapping into that (very slightly worse) ending without checking first. I do that.

    Suspect Harry didn’t look for wins because of being worried about his position earlier on. He was very worried about his dark squared bishop being shut out in the post mortem.

    Found a brilliantly ingenious way to rescue it of course but always very hard to adjust :)

    Wonder which game would get a best game prize? The top 6 there would all be reasonably worthy.

    Reply to this comment
  2. James Carpenter

    Feb 28. 2016

    Certainly signs of real class on the top boards :). Actually once you start looking at Harry’s position as a Black to play and win problem solutions suggest themselves, but we all know how easy it is just to be looking to escape with a draw.

    Thanks for putting the report up Andy.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Matt Webb

    Feb 29. 2016

    Wow – some really fine games and in such a confined space too. haha

    Andy, great report as always!

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply