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Groomsport head-to-head with Carnegie

"Chess Notes" from County Down Spectator, 5 Feb 2004

With both Bangor senior teams propping up Division 1, this was an important match for Carnegie to retrieve some credibility after their loss earlier in the season. Just in case, Carnegie captain Mark Newman persuaded Arlo White to bolster his team on board 1; personal commitments have prevented Arlo competing this season. Suspecting such a manoeuvre, Groomsport captain Richard Proctor instructed his players to prepare for the change in playing order.

On board 1, Arlo White opened against Steve Scannell. Steve responded with d6 in his Sicilian to head off Arlo's anticipated King's Indian Attack. Arlo countered with a strong Marcozy Bind centre formation; . Steve developed on both flanks against Arlo's pressure down the e-file. In a complex position, with a b5 attack on the centre, Steve capitalised on a strong Queen's side breaking through before Arlo could realise his King's side threats. Disregarding Arlo's activity Steve was able to promote his b-pawn and Arlo was forced to resign with a serious material disadvantage.

Damien Lavery faced Eddie Whiteside on board 2 and evidently was prepared for Eddie's Clarendon Court Benoni defence. Damien continued with a sideline going a pawn up. With the position uncertain and dangerous for both sides, Eddie accepted Damien's proffered draw.

Mark Newman launched a King's Indian Attack against Albert McCarter on board 3 but didn't gain much advantage. Mark had doubled his Rooks but a trapped Bishop looked drawish until Albert missed a pawn capture. Mark capitalised on Albert's mistake descending on an exposed King in the centre.

James O'Fee startled Richard Proctor on board 4 with a ferocious attack. Richard attempted to nullify James' push with complex manoeuvres. Richard was at a material disadvantage; James negotiated Richard's traps and pitfalls to emerge with positional advantage as well. Richard could do little to counter the inevitable and finally lost to the clock.

Another King's Indian Attack from draw-meister, Alan McConnell against Martin Rogers on bottom board. Aggressive play in the middle-game gained Alan a pawn. Then Martin made it easy by blundering a Rook, resigning soon after to give Alan the win.

A convincing 3.5 - 1.5 win for Carnegie demonstrating their potential and gaining their first full bonus points of the season. Groomsport still have a point advantage over them in the league though. Both teams have a difficult task in the remaining 4 matches but with matches against RVH and Civil Service still to come, the fate of both Bangor teams is still in the balance.

Winston

On Monday, Winston travelled to Bambardier, currently a strong second place in the league. Richard Morrow led his best team but Evan Bell, Richard, David Symmington and Gary Johnson were unable to dent Bombardier's superior rating advantage. Only Ken Browne was able to salvage a draw from a very strong opponent. The team lost 0.5 to 4.5

Templar

Templar entertained Randalstown in their first match in the second round of the league. Having suffered a serious defeat in the first round match, Randalstown were determined to reclaim some honour and with their recent improved form, offered serious opposition.

A sloppy opening from both sides on board 3; Philip Todd had a pawn advantage for Black but a poor structure. After some middle-game exchanges, Philip's position looked better but White stonewalled with Nf4 to force a draw. On bottom board, Drew Ferguson responded with an aggressive centre attack on White to gain a superior position. Although White fought back to escape a cramped position, Drew maintained the advantage until a miscalculated exchange blundered a piece. In an end-game with material disadvantage Drew inevitably fell into a mate. The three remaining games were tense, tough battles with neither side looking confident.

Board 4, Kevin Agnew fought against stout defensive play but eventually thought he had found a weakness. After a protracted middle-game, a flurry of exchanges left Kevin a pawn down with a static pawn formation across the board. Eventually, Black forced Kevin back to claim the game. David Grzymek on board 2 played a long, demanding positional game with neither side prepared to concede ground. With no exchanges during the 2 hour middle-game, time-pressure on Steve Eachus eventually forced an error which David as able to capitalise on to win the game. Templar were losing 1.5 to 2, and there were only seconds to go on board 1.

Martin Moorcroft defended an open game not much to his liking, losing a pawn early on. The game continued through the middle-game with neither side gaining any advantage. As he approached the final five minutes, Martin suddenly found a strong attack opening before him. With fast, aggressive moves Martin promoted his g pawn and Richard Gould was in serious trouble with his own time running out. Just as Martin spotted Richard's flag had fallen, his own flag fell too. Disappointingly the game was agreed drawn with both flags down. Templar lose the match 2-3.

Fixtures

This week both senior teams have a free week while Winston and Templar go head-to-head in a Division 2 derby. Next week senior teams are back in action: Groomsport travel to Fisherwick on Wednesday, Carnegie play RVH at home, and Templar entertain CIYMS. Winston take a rest.

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