The 2013 Club Championship is the 48th since the Clubs’ revival in the mid-1960’s, and has an excellent turnout of 19 entries. The Championship proper, for the Andy Miitel shield,is a round robin event with a full list of 12 players, while the Reserves, for the John Baynham shield, has 7 entries and is also a round robin.
The championship list is headed by Rob Loveband, twice champion in recent years. He has a flexible style with no obvious weaknesses, and has maintained the top rating at the club for several years now. He finished outright 2nd last year and is one of the favourites to win this years’ title.
2nd. seed is the defending champion Patrick Cook. Holder of 8 Championship titles, the all-time record, he has an unpretentious positional style and is tough to beat. He showed his strength with 1st. or 2nd. placings in all four grand prix events in 2012.
3rd. seed is Robert Bailey, whose rating has risen dramatically over the past year after excellent results in the second half of 2012. A professional chess coach, his knowledge and all-round style makes him a formidable opponent.
4th. seed is Rod Jacobs, back at the club after a long hiatus. He has a very aggressive style and is quite willing to sacrifice material for the attack. He poses a danger to every player in the field. Jamie Brotheridge is 5th. seed. He finished =3rd. in 2012, and is always a title contender. He will probe for an advantage in every game and every phase, and cannot be treated lightly.
Peter Miitel was champion in 1990 and 1991, and possesses high quality chess technique. =3rd last year, if he gains an advantage, he is quite ruthless in converting to the full point.
Kevin Perrin is making his 48th. appearance in the 48th. championship!! Holder of 7 championship titles, his vast experience and dedication to the game make him very difficult to overcome.
James Watson, still a junior, is ambitious and improving fast. Quite capable of beating anyone in the field, he may well be a “dark horse” contender for this years’ title.
Chris Segrave is a solid positional player, hampered by occasional tactical oversights. If he can iron out that problem he could prove a handful for the rest of the field.
Jonathon Yates has stepped up to the big league after winning last year’s Reserve title. The youngest player in the tournament and still learning, his courage cannot be doubted.
Vamsimohan Rani has just joined the Club and is something of an unknown quantity. Patrick Cook struggled to draw against him in this years’ Begonia Open and suggested that “he’s a natural”.
Daniel Healey is also new to the Club and it was assumed that he would play in the Reserves. He preferred to play in the Championship and clearly is not lacking in confidence.
It has been a while since we had a full entry in the championship, and this years’ tournament promises to be a very interesting event. The Reserves tournament has 7 players, with Tom Oppenheim and Michael Schreenan the obvious favourites. Ian Boyle has returned to chess after nearly 30 years!; if he can scrape off the rust, he could well be a contender as well.
List of Players
Rob Loveband met newcomer Vamsimohan Rani in a King’s Indian Defence. Black misplayed the opening and found himself in a cramped position, struggling to find some play. White was relentless in ratcheting up the pressure and Black collapsed, blundering away a rook. Patrick Cook faced the other newcomer, Daniel Healey in a Semi-Slav Defence. White gained nothing from the opening, and was wondering how to gain an edge when Black “gifted” him a pawn. White was ruthless in converting to a win, displaying fine endgame technique. Jamie Brotheridge versus Peter Miitel was a “sort-of” Benoni Defence. Accurate play by both players and rapid piece trading resulted in a draw. Peter confessed later that he “saw ghosts” , and offered the draw. He felt that he may have had the better chances. Robert Bailey met Jonathon Yates in a master versus pupil affair. A Caro-Kann Defence, Black sacrificed a piece in an imaginative attempt to “beat the teacher”. Calm and accurate defence by White saw him eventually claim the full point. Rod Jacobs faced James Watson in an uncompromising open Sicilian. White immediately sacrificed material for active piece play around the Black King, and invested more material for an attack. Black held fast, trading to an endgame with 2 Bishop’s versus rook, before going astray and handing White the win. Kevin Perrin met Chris Segrave in another Caro-Kann. Black missed the simple win of a piece as early as move 5!, and thereafter White gained a firm grip on the position and made no further mistake in breaking through for the full point.
Vamsimohan Rani met Peter Miitel and Black offered a strange attempt at the Benoni Defence. White was rather passive and Black picked up a pawn in the early middle game. Thereafter Black showed his class with a flawless technical win.
The big showdown between the top two seeds, Rob Loveband and Patrick Cook, proved to be a “fizzer”. A French Winawer, the two potagonists agreed a draw on move 13, just when the game was getting interesting .
Jonathon Yates faced Jamie Brotheridge who surprised everyone with a Scandinavian Defence, usually the exclusive province of Kevin Perrin. Black achieved nothing and soon found himself in a somewhat passive position. White carefully traded everything he could and a draw was agreed in the endgame. An excellent result for White.
James Watson versus Robert Bailey was an English. In a sharp fight, Black fell into a nasty trap, dropping his Queen for a rook and then came under a direct mating attack which could not be held at bay.
Chris Segrave took on Rod Jacobs with his usual Zukertort Attack and was soon under pressure. He lashed out with a sacrifice but his ttack quickly failed and Black had no trouble in cleaning up.
Daniel Healey faced Kevin Perrin in a mainline Spanish. White had a slight edge throughout and eventually succeeded in winning a couple of pawns. This should have been enough for the point, but Black kept resisting, and was rewarded with a draw deep in the endgame.
Rod Jacobs faced Daniel Healey in a Caro-Kann Defence. White launched a King-side pawn storm early, soon won a piece and then broke through for mate, all in his typical slashing style. An impressive game by the rampant Mr. Jacobs.
Robert Bailey versus Chris Segrave began as a Bird’s Opening (1.f4) but quickly morphed into an odd looking Sicilian. After castling on opposite wings, Black dropped a pawn in the middle game and White successfully converted to the full point.
Jamie Brotheridge met James Watson and showed his versatility by adopting a Reti Opening. He gifted Black a pawn early and he struggled to find compensation. Black achieved a technically winning position but then went badly astray and quickly found himself Bishop for pawn down in an end game where he had just a sniff of a draw. A further mistake put paid to such dreams, and his third straight loss resulted.
Peter Miitel versus Jonathon Yates was, unsurprisingly, a London System. Black adopted a Queen’s Indian set-up. In a complex positional game, White built up dangerous threats against the Black King and Black shed a couple of pawns in saving the position, but not, in the end, the game.
Patrick Cook took on his torturer from the Begonia Open, Vamsimohan Rani. A quiet Queen’s Gambit Declined, White won a pawn in a brief tactical skirmish in the early middle game and carefully converted to a win, dodging some inventive traps along the way.
Kevin Perrin versus Rob Loveband was postponed.
The luckless James Watson took on Peter Miitel with a English Opening which quickly transposed to a Dutch Leningrad. Black found himself in a slightly uncomfortable position, but by the early middle game had solved his problems and offered a draw. White wanted more and declined, soon slipped up, and was punished.
Chris Segrave versus Jamie Brotheridge was Whites usual Zukertort structure. Black played a Grunfeld against it and a tight positional battle ensued. White missed the opportunity of a perpetual check, and soon after succumbed to a tactical oversight.
Daniel Healey faced joint leader Robert Bailey in a Sicilian Scheveningen. A tough theoretical struggle, White dropped a pawn in the middle game and was relentlessly ground down.
The big clash of the night was top seed Rob Loveband versus the other joint leader Rod Jacobs. The opening was something like a Catalan, and in the resulting positional battle, White needlessly shed several pawns, missing some drawing chances along the way. In a lengthy game, Black kept a firm grip on the position, showing another side to his play, and reaped the reward.
Patrick Cook versus Kevin Perrin, and Vamsimohan Rani versus Jonathon Yates were postponed.
Only three games were actually played on the night, but two of them involved the runaway leaders, Robert Bailey and Rod Jacobs.
Robert Bailey faced Rob Loveband. What began as a Caro-Kann, somehow morphed into a Pirc Defence. A maneuvering battle with blocked pawn structures resulted, prompting Rob Bailey to comment “ I’m not sure if we’re playing chess or creating an Escher painting”. The players soon after agreed a draw.
Rod Jacobs took on defending champion Patrick Cook in a French Winawer. White came well armed and an interesting, feisty game was the result. Neither player could grab a decisive edge, and the game petered out to a draw. The only surprise was that it took Black, the draw meister, so long to offer one!
Jamie Brotheridge versus Daniel Healey was an Italian Game, 2 Knights Defence. In an even struggle, most of the pieces were exchanged and a drawn Rook and pawns ending was reached. White kept pressing as always, and the game sprang back to life, with both players promoting a pawn to Queen. White eventually prevailed in an exciting game.
Kevin Perrin versus Vamsimohan Rani, Peter Miitel versus Chris Segrave, and Jonathon Yates versus James Watson were all postponed.
Vamsimohan Rani took on the hapless James Watson who ventured an Alekhine Defence. In a messy game, White won a piece for a couple of pawns in a middle game melee and showed cool technique in reeling in the full point from there.
Chris Segrave faced junior Jonathon Yates and wheeled out his standard Zuckertort Attack.White was rather passive and Black took the opportunity to seize the initiative and achieved a winning bind. He made no mistake and finished the game with a crisp mate.
Daniel Healey met the in-form Peter Miitel. In a French Defence, Advanced variation, Black gained just the sort of technical edge he thrives on, with White having doubled, isolated b pawns. Black was ruthless in making his advantage count.
Rob Loveband versus Jamie Brotheridge was a rarely seen Sicilian, Wing Gambit, resulting in an interesting battle with lively play. White gained 2 Bishops versus 2 Knights, but not much else before Black dropped his guard and was poleaxed by a one move mate.
Patrick Cook versus Robert Bailey, and Kevin Perrin versus Rod Jacobs were postponed.
Tournament leader Rod Jacobs faced Vamsimohan Rani and launched the aggressive Morra Gambit. Black grabbed the pawn and held on to it in a sharp struggle, before White regained it in the end game, creating a dangerous passed pawn in the process. Black then blundered a pawn, but showed high class resilience in drawing the game anyway.
Peter Miitel met Rob Loveband with an English Opening. Nothing much happened in the game before a draw was agreed in 17 moves.
Jonathon Yates versus Daniel Healey was a Sicilian, Najdorf. In a dour positional battle Black gained 2 Bishops for 2 Knights, and eventually won a piece with clever play, and that was sufficient for the full point.
Jamie Brotheridge met his old customer Patrick Cook in a Tarrasch Defence. Black’s isolated Queen pawn gave White a target, and he set about trying to win it. Black held firm, and quietly improved his position, offering one of his infamous “psychological” draw offers along the way. White declined, but soon after offered a draw himself, at precisely the wrong moment, since his offer was accompanied by a blunder and Black quickly swept him off the board to claim another victim of “Patrick’s curse”.
Vamsimohan Rani met Chris Segrave who adopted a Queen’s Indian Defence. Black misplayed it and immediately found himself under pressure. He was unable to solve his problems and crumbled to defeat.
Daniel Healey faced James Watson in an Accelerated Dragon Sicilian. The game had all the characteristics of a Reversed English and remained sharp but even, into the late middle game, prompting White to offer a draw. Black declined, but then dropped an important pawn and White happily cleaned up the full point.
Top seed Rob Loveband took on the 2012 Reserves Champion Jonathon Yates. A Caro-Kann Defence, Black held his own in a lengthy positional battle. White missed a good chance to gain an edge, whereupon Black seized the initiative and won a pawn. The game continued until after midnight with Black missing a winning continuation, allowing White to escape with a draw.
Patrick Cook met Peter Miitel who played a Benoni Defence via an unusual move order. This seemed to throw White out of his comfort zone and he offered a draw after 16 moves which Black accepted after some thought.
Rod Jacobs versus Robert Bailey was a theoretical battle in a Sicilian Taimanov. Black neglected to castle and grabbed a hot pawn instead. He came under sustained pressure for his trouble and later collapsed in time trouble, handing the full point to the tournament leader.
Kevin Perrin versus Jamie Brotheridge was postponed.
Round Eight Results
Robert Bailey versus Vamsimohan Rani was a Classical King’s Indian Defence. White was better armed and Black had difficulty achieving a decent position. His situation continued to deteriorate and White eventually profited from a blunder to score the full point.
Jamie Brotheridge took on the tournament leader Rod Jacobs with a Torre Attack. A complicated middle game with Queens still on the board was reached, but neither player was able to gain an advantage and a draw was eventually agreed.
Peter Miitel faced Kevin Perrin, back from his European holiday. A Symetrical English, White had some positional pressure, but Black kept within range of a draw which was eventually agreed.
James Watson met Rob Loveband who surprised everyone with a Two Knights Tango (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6!?) but the game soon resembled a Nimzo-Indian. White launched an aggressive Queen-side pawn attack and Black found himself under pressure.He managed to solve his problems and won a pawn in the process, showing fine endgame technique in pushing on for the win.
Chris Segrave versus Daniel Healey was White’s usual Zuckertort Attack. By the middle game it resembled a Tarrasch Defence with interesting positional play. White eventually gained a decisive advantage with 2 advanced connected passed pawns, only to blunder one away and Black was able to snatch a draw.
Jonathon Yates met defending Champion Patrick Cook in a French, Advanced variation. Black’s experience gained him some promising positional pluses, but he was unable to make much of them. In looking for more, he neglected his King safety and White pounced, sweeping Black aside with a crushing mating attack. So the previous Reserves Champion defeated the previous Club Champion, possibly the first time this has ever happened!
One postponed game, from round 6, was played prior to the evening. Kevin Perrin faced tournament leader Rod Jacobs. A mainline Sicilian Najdorf, Black made some positional errors and was overrun in fine style by the 7-time Club Champion. A serious set back for Rod Jacobs.
Vamsimohan Rani met Daniel Healey in an open Sicilian. An interesting middle game arose, with Black having rook and pawn for 2 pieces. The game reached a more or less equal endgame, when White simply blundered a piece to hand Black the full point.
Rob Loveband, still with championship ambitions, faced Chris Segrave in an English. A quiet positional battle ensued, with Black keeping the game very even. Black eventually dropped a rook late in the game, and White was able to take the whole point in what was until then a drawn position.
Kevin Perrin versus giant-killer Jonathon Yates was a Caro-Kann. Black played well to keep things even, but ultimately collapsed under sustained pressure, and White kept his title hopes alive.
Patrick Cook met the luckless James Watson in a Benoni. White played carefully to reach a promising middle game, but then went badly astray, miscalculating a tactical exchange, and found himself in a lost end game. Black showed what he is really capable of and this time made no mistake in hauling in the full point to inflict the defending Champion’s second successive defeat.
Rod Jacobs versus Peter Miitel was a French Exchange. In a tough encounter, the game never strayed much from equality and Black duly offered a draw. White wanted more, and gave up a rook and 2 pieces for Queen to really liven up the game. The fire on the board quickly subsided however, and a draw was agreed anyway.
Robert Bailey met Jamie Brotheridge in a French Advance and a battle of the pawn structures resulted. White eventually won a pawn late in the middle game, and Black then broke down completely, blundering away a rook.
A number of postponed games were cleared away during the week.
From round 8, Kevin Perrin versus Jamie Brotheridge was a Caro-Kann. A lengthy struggle was eventually agreed a draw after 49 moves.
From round 5, Kevin Perrin versus Vamsimohan Rani was a Scotch Opening. Black dropped a piece in the middle game. He didn’t panic, however, and managed to create enough problems for White to regain the piece in the endgame and reach a drawn rook and pawn ending.
Also from round 5, Jonathon Yates met James Watson in a Scandinavian Defence. Black gifted White a pawn early on, but managed to reach an equal endgame, whereupon White missed a tactic to allow Black to snatch the full point.
From round 4, Patrick Cook versus Kevin Perrin was a “Battle of the Titans”. These two players have 15 championship titles between them. The game was a Ragozin Defence in which Black inexplicably blundered a piece in the early middle game. White carefully avoided a number of pitfalls to inflict Black’s 1st defeat of the event.
Nominally the last round of the tournament, but many games were still to be played, and it seemed unlikely that the title would be decided on the night. Rod Jacobs and Peter Miitel were the front runners, with Rob Loveband, Robert Bailey, Kevin Perrin and even the defending Champion Patrick Cook still in the running.
Jamie Brotheridge took on Vamsimohan Rani in a Catalan and quickly lumbered Black with triple isolated pawns. Black kept his poise and somehow recovered, even winning a pawn in the process. Black then went onto the attack, winning 2 rooks for his Queen and White crumbled, dropping a piece and the game.
Peter Miitel faced Robert Bailey. What began as an English quickly transposed into a King’s Indian, Fianchetto variation, and was a tough positional battle between two high quality players. Neither side could gain a decisive edge and White offered a draw several times before Black finally accepted.
Jonathon Yates met frontrunner Rod Jacobs in a Scandinavian. Black looked to be “sweating blood” in an attempt to overcome White’s stubborn resistance and lay a claim to the title in his last game. White kept his cool in a messy position and profited when Black fell apart. So the young 2012 Reserves Champion took another high profile scalp.
James Watson versus Kevin Perrin was a Semi-Slav. White picked up a pawn early, and Black was soon in real trouble, 3 pawns down, still in the opening! White, however, neglected to develop, and incredibly, Black recovered and punished White for shilly-shallying.
Daniel Healey faced Rob Loveband in a Sicilian. In a dour positional struggle, things were very even until, in a moment of incaution, White shed a pawn. This was all Black needed, and he went on to win, keeping his chances in the tournament alive.
Chris Segrave took on Patrick Cook with his usual Zuckertort Attack. Black struggled to gain any advantage, and only his experience and good technique won through in a very close endgame.
So, with 11 rounds played, the title race was definitely not decided, and only Rod Jacobs had reason to be disappointed. After leading throughout, he suffered 2 galling losses near the end, and others were certain to pass him.
11 rounds of this great Championship have been played, but with 6 postponed games to be played, the title remained undecided! No less than 5 players were still, theoretically, in the race, and the extra week for catch-up games would be crucial.
From Round 3, Kevin Perrin versus Rob Loveband was an Italian. With aggressive play, White won the exchange in the early middle game and never let go of his grip to score an important point and keep his title hopes alive.
From Round 4, Vamsimohan Rani met Jonathon Yates who played his usual Caro-Kann. Excellent positional technique proved too strong for youthful enthusiasm, and White claimed the point.
From Round 5, Peter Miitel, still unbeaten, faced Chris Segrave in an English. White gained a promising position from the opening, with a protected passed pawn, and looked to be making a serious bid for the title, but Black managed to create a murky position that prompted White, in a moment of panic, into offering a draw. Black accepted and did some damage to White’s hopes .
From Round 6, Patrick Cook versus Rob Bailey was important to both players. A Benoni , White carefully manoeuvred to a promising position, and then sacrificed a pawn to trap the Black Queen. He then discovered that he could only harass the Queen, and, true to form, preferred safety to risk. The game ended in a draw after repetition.
From Round 7, James Watson versus Chris Segrave was not played due to White’s departure to Northern climes. A sad loss to the Club. We wish him well.
This left one remaining game, also from Round 7, Kevin Perrin versus Rob Bailey. And this last game would decide the Championship! A win for Kevin would earn him his 8th title (his last one was in 1989!!) and enable him to catch up with Patrick Cook as the Club record holder. A win (or draw) for Rob would earn him his 1st Club Championship title.
Fittingly, the game was played with local media attention in the Library. A main line Open Sicilian, the game was tough and lengthy, with Black gradually gaining an edge going into the endgame. This prompted White to abandon hopes of victory and offer a draw which Black happily accepted.
So congratulations go to Rob Bailey as our new Club Champion after one of the great championship tournaments of recent years.
Bjorn Lategan is the Reserves Champion for 2013 - congratulations!
The A grade plays for the Andy Miitel Championship trophy, and the B grade for John Baynham Reserves title. Andy Miitel was a former club president who was instrumental in revitalising and reconstituting the club in the mid nineteen sixties after the club had become somewhat moribund in the early sixties. John Baynham was an important club administrator in the late sixties and early seventies.