York vs Holmfirth 10th December 2022 Match Report
(Steve Westmoreland has supplied the following write-up of the recent Silver Rook match York D v Holmfirth.)
It was a cold December day, when Holmfirth arrived in York. The decision to take public transport rather than the car, turned out to be a poor idea. The train there and back was massively overcrowded, late and quite expensive. We all learn! However, the match demonstrated something that is happening within Yorkshire and that is the explosion of quality junior play. Only one player out of the 12 present was over the age of 20, which was our very own Rob Mitchell.
From left: Rob, Jacob, Awen, Harley, Alex and Sean
First to finish was ‘Slogger’ Harley against Bertie. Slogger is Harley’s nickname at cricket, as an attacking wicketkeeper batter. Back over the board, Bertie completely destroying Harley but terrible blunder and queen loss put the game back to near even. Slogger needed no other chance as his aggressive response tore into Bertie’s pieces leading to a resignation before an inevitable checkmate.
Harley vs Bertie front with Jacob and Daniel at the back
Awen ‘the Technician’ was the next to finish, outmatched 200 grading points by Daniel Meredith, Awen was unable to repeat the heroics he has performed this season against much higher-rated opponents. Daniel was afire, forcing Awen’s King up the board for a pretty mate. Awen has done amazing this year, with his grading firmly consolidating in the 1400s. He is a highly dangerous and technical player, that can only get better.
Now if we are going to call Harley ‘Slogger’ and Awen ‘The Technician’ then Jacob has to be the ‘Wizard’ of Holmfirth Chess. Able to conjure either rabbits to save a position or vipers to bite himself, this consistently inconsistent junior is presently on a superb run of form in standard play. With four straight victories in a row and a 79-point grading increase from September, Jacob is definitely on the up.
Typical carelessness led to a loss of a piece but some good positional play kept chances alive. Our wizard is proving a whiz at the endgame and was able to magic up a passed pawn, which promoted at the same time his castle removed Daniel Geng’s own passer. In a display of chilling efficiency Jacob then removed all of his opponents’ pieces, even sacrificing his queen for a knight, before blocking off the opposing king and promoting his final pawn.
Holmfirth’s two victories were as a result of good endgame technique, despite early middle-game errors. The player that wins is the one that does not make the last mistake – take note all!
Alex was next, with a draw against Bedat Lee. This kid has come out of nowhere this season and proved an excellent study of the game and is fast learner of the principles of chess. ‘The Professor’ had a slight advantage playing a Queen’s Gambit minority attack in reverse, leaving Bedat with a backward pawn. An attempt to break through on the kingside almost led to a selfmate but a draw was eventually agreed in a blocked position. 15 minutes later, after studying the game, a cry came up ‘that is what I should have done’.
Alex vs Bedata with Awen and Daniel at the back
The results now took a turn for the worse, with Rob ‘the Lion’ Mitchell and Sean ‘the Scholar’ Keddie hopelessly outgraded. Sean and Adrian Lee played in typically slow fashion in a game that looked completely even. This was until a horrible miscalculation occurred that led to Sean losing a piece without realising. There was no way back.
Sean and Rob from Holmfirth against Aaron and Adrian
Our Club ‘Lion’ (aggressive and attacking player), Rob found himself in a Sicilian Dragon against Aaron Rich. Rob has the far better position at one point but a mix of time trouble and a huge queenside attack on the king, made Rob crack in the end. 3.5 – 2.5 to York.
We are back on the 28th January at home to Ilkley Knights.