NCCU Club Championships

Bradford Chess Club have entered two teams in this season NCCU Club Championships, one each in the Open and Major Sections.

Open

Rochdale 1 – 3 Bradford
Bob Newton 0 – 1 Alan Walton
Mark Whitehead ½ – ½ Andrew Bak
Mark Taylor 0 – 1 Ihor Lewyk
Emlyn Dobson ½ – ½ Mitchell Burke

On Sunday 15th April, we travelled across the border to take on Rochdale in the semi-final of the Open competition. Only four teams entered the Open this year, ensuring that the winners of this contest progress to the final.

The match started very promisingly for us – Alan seemed to be confidently blitzing out his moves on Board 1 following on from his victory against Richard Palliser the previous day, Ihor and myself had slight opening advantages and Mitchell was also doing fine on Board 4. In fact, our positions looked so promising that Mitchell decided to offer a quick draw to his opponent, which was accepted. Mitchell’s decision was justified when Alan had managed to take advantage of his opponent’s unfortunately placed pieces and exposed king to gain a decisive advantage. The end was hastened when his opponent blundered his queen, which gave Bradford a quick 1½-½ advantage.

Drawn matches are settled by board count, so Alan’s win meant that we only needed half a point to progress to the finals with both Ihor and myself having slight advantages. However, Rochdale weren’t about to give up easily. Mark Whitehead took advantage of a couple of sloppy errors on my part to reach a favourable endgame which he was content in torturing me with. Ihor’s opponent was also offering stiff resistance.

So time trouble was approaching and Ihor’s game suddenly became very complicated. Ihor saw his way through the tactics better than his opponent and duly secured the decisive victory for Bradford, giving us a 2½-½ lead. My oppenent then generously offered me a draw knowing that the match was over to leave the final score at 3-1 to Bradford.

Bradford will face Preston in the final after they defeated a Heywood side that included Keith Arkell!

We would like to thank Rochdale for the excellent hospitality that they provided us with and I can highly recommend the Taddy Lager that was on offer!

Major

Bradford 1- 3 Middlesbrough
Chris Wright 0 – 1 John Boyers
Mike Bramson 0 – 1 Stephen Cole
Andrew Bak 0 – 1 Ian Elcoate
Simon Watson 1 – 0 Ron Stather

On Monday 22nd April, Bradford’s Major team hosted Middlesbrough. Bradford had been the fortunate recipient of a bye allowing them to progress through to the semi-finals while the remaining teams had to come through a preliminary round.

Bradford’s night was characterised by blunders of varying degrees on the top three boards. My game was first to finish despite lasting nearly 80 moves; my opponent was the first to blunder, giving me an exchange but managed to muster enough counterplay to earn a perpetual check. I decided to reject the perpetual and blunder into a lost rook and pawn ending and despite my stubborn defence, my opponent played well and brought home the full point. Simon Watson failed to blunder and played very convincingly all the way through to defeat his opponent and level the scores at 1-1.

Chris had unfortunately blundered a piece early on in his game and despite trying to create counterplay, a piece was too much of a handicap to overcome and the defeat ensured that Middlesbrough would progress to the final. Mike Bramson was involved in a complicated struggle but could not defend his opponent’s ferocious attack to leave the final score at 3-1 to Middlesbrough.

Congratulations to Middlesbrough, who despite the travel and being the lower graded team managed to completely outplay us and we wish them all the best in the final!


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!

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