2010 John Holmes Memorial

Tournament winners: Rob Loveband & Patrick Cook

Thirteen players lined up for the John Holmes Memorial 2010. This 7 round Swiss is named in memory of a young player tragically killed in a car accident in 1970. Results will be submitted to the ACF for rating and a book prize is awaiting the winner(s).

Round One

Round 1 saw John Abson face Rob Loveband who surprised us all by playing Alekhine’s Defence. Black won a pawn in the opening, another in a complex middle game, and then set about stripping White of more pawns in the end game to win comfortably.
Kevin Perrin played his traditional English against Peter McGrath who managed to keep things even into the middle game, but conceded too many positional weaknesses and paid the price.
Ryan Logan tried Bird’s Opening against Peter Miitel. Black eventually picked up a pawn in a complicated middle game before building up a strong attack against Whites King and making it count.
Jamie Brotheridge met Ben Barclay in a Slav. Black was solid early, but went astray in the middle game and dropped a bishop. White built up a powerful position before blundering horribly, and accepted perpetual check rather than risk further embarrassment.
Michael Schreenan faced his old foe Patrick Cook in a Pirc Defence. White blundered a piece early and was never allowed into the game thereafter.
Joel Beggs met Chris Segrave’s Caro-Kann Defence with a blizzard of sacrifices, giving up 2 pawns and offering a 3rd for an attack. Black cracked under the pressure and White crashed through for the full point.
Jackson Tardrew had the bye.

Round Two

The big clash from Round 2 was Rob Loveband versus Kevin Perrin. A Ruy Lopez, the game was an intense struggle that went late into the night. White was able to win a piece for 2 pawns, but was unable to convert this advantage to the full point, and a draw was agreed after 69 moves.
Peter Miitel took on Club Champion Joel Beggs and came prepared for Black’s Albin Counter-Gambit, leading Black to offer a draw after just 6 moves! White initially declined, but soon after accepted.
Patrick Cook faced young Jackson Tardrew who cleverly turned an English into a Slav, but he conceded too many positional errors and was soon shedding decisive material and was mated in the endgame.
Chris Segrave took on Jamie Brotheridge who adopted a Queen’s Indian set-up against White’s Colle. A long, slow positional battle, Black eventually prevailed after fending off a misguided White attack.
Peter McGrath versus veteran John Abson was a sharp Italian Game. Evenly balanced in the middle game, White emerged the victor from an exceptionally complex tactical melee.
Angus Blenkiron, one of 2 late entries, faced Michael Schreenan. Black proved to be too strong in a game played so quickly, that it was over before anyone saw what happened.
The other late entry, James Watson, met Ryan Logan. In a Queen pawn Opening, Black dropped a piece in a promising position, and then made matters worse by losing his Queen as well.
Ben Barclay, unable to attend on the night, was given the bye.

Round Three

Club Champion Joel Beggs took on 7 times Champion Patrick Cook in the first of two heavyweight clashes of the night. What began as an Alekhine Defence quickly became a Pirc Defence before morphing into a Closed Sicilian. Sharp play early in the middle game resulted in mass exchanges and a rooks and pawns end game was agreed a draw.
The other big showdown saw Jamie Brotheridge face 2009 Champion Rob Loveband in a Slav. White dropped a pawn early for nothing much except the Bishop pair and then hunkered down to try to save the game. Black eventually agreed a draw in a slightly winning position, as pointed out by White after the game! (See game in Database)
Ben Barclay took on Peter Miitel who adopted the Petroff Defence. Black won a pawn early and then set about increasing the pressure, breaking through in a crowded position with an elegant Knight sacrifice to gain a winning position. Black made no mistake in hauling in the full point.
Kevin Perrin was paired against James Watson who generously waited for over an hour before claiming the forfeit.
Jackson Tardrew met Peter McGrath in a Queen Pawn Opening and proceeded to gain an overwhelming position after winning Black’s Queen! A parade of errors and oversights by White resulted in his advantage vanishing and Black took full advantage of his good fortune. A tragedy for young Jackson who deserved more than a loss.
Michael Schreenan faced another late entry in Yu Liu who adopted the Scandinavian. A lively game with equal chances ensued, but White was first to land a decisive blow.
In a battle of the generations, the tournaments oldest player, John Abson, took on the youngest, Angus Blenkiron in a Sicilian. The game was equal going into the middle game, but the Black blundered a piece. White obligingly returned the favour soon after, whereupon Black outplayed his venerable opponent to score an excellent win.
Ryan Logan met Chris Segrave’s usual Caro-Kann and slowly drifted into a lost position 2 pawns down. Black took his time making it count, prompting a cheeky draw offer from his young opponent. Black declined, and eventually took the full point.

Round Four

Chris Segrave faced young Jackson Tardrew with something resembling a delayed Larsen! Black played carefully to reach a very drawish looking middlegame with just Bishops and pawns left on the board. Inexperience cost Black dearly in the endgame and White pocketed the full point.
Peter McGrath met Jamie Brotheridge in a Sicilian. White blundered a piece in the opening and Black showed no mercy in cleaning up from there.
Yu Liu played John Abson in an even game before Black fell apart in the endgame, allowing White to win. Kevin Perrin versus Ben Barclay was a Philidor Defence. White won a piece somewhere and checkmated his opponent on move 48. Angus Blenkiron, fresh from his triumph over John Abson the previous round, took on Ryan Logan in a King Pawn Opening, but was unable to repeat his earlier success against his tricky opponent. Patrick Cook met Peter Miitel a few days earlier at the Public Library. A Benko Gambit via an unusual move order, White found himself in slight discomfort and was happy to accept Peter’s meek 7th move draw offer!
Joel Beggs met James Watson in a Caro-Kann. White typically launched a fearsome sacrificial attack and rapidly overwhelmed his opponent.
Rob Loveband took on Michael Schreenan in a Queens Gambit and picked up a pawn early. He efficiently won 2 more in the course of the game to reach a winning endgame and picked up the full point.

Round Five

Peter Miitel versus Kevin Perrin was a Queens Gambit Declined in which White succeeded in picking up a pawn in the opening and set about consolidating his advantage. Black, seeing the writing on the wall, launched a desperate sacrificial attack in the middlegame that livened things up. The attack failed in the face of White’s excellent defence and Peter went on to collect the full point.
Michael Schreenan met Chris Segrave in a Caro-Kann but succumbed to Black’s careful play.
Ben Barclay took on young Angus Blenkiron in a Closed Sicilian. The youngster showed that his recent coaching sessions with Rob Bailey have been well worthwhile and scored an excellent upset victory.
The luckless Jackson Tardrew faced veteran John Abson in a coplex Queen Pawn Game characterized by much manoevering in the middlegame. Once again White’s inexperience cost him dearly in the endgame.
Rob Loveband versus Patrick Cook was postponed and played later at the Public Library. An unusual French Defence, reminiscent of the violent Alekhine-Chatard Attack, Black played carefully and managed to survive White’s persistent initiative to reach the safety of a pawn ending with Bishops of opposite colour.
Sadly, three games were claimed as forfeits : James Watson over Peter McGrath, Ryan Logan over Yu Liu, and Jamie Brotheridge took the forfeit against Joel Beggs who later advised that he must withdraw from the tournament.

Round Six

Tournament co-leader Peter Miitel took on the other leader Jamie Brotheridge in a Larsen! White adopted a manoevering game against his opponents Kings Indian set-up. Neither player was able to gain an advantage and a draw was agreed.
Rob Loveband versus Chris Segrave was a Slav and a long, slow positional battle ensued. Black obtained a solid position, but a grave tactical error on a full board gave White the upper hand and he soon had an overwhelming position.
James Watson faced Patrick Cook in a Nimzo-Indian. White played the opening well to gain an advantage, but was overanxious in trying to increase it and the advantage suddenly changed hands. Black smoothly made the most of his good fortune.
Kevin Perrin versus Michael Schreenan was a Chigorin variation of the Queens Gambit. Whites experience and technical expertise proved too much for Black.
John Abson met Ben Barclay in a Ruy Lopez. The game was an absorbing, see-sawing battle, but White managed to win a rook in the middle game complications and held off Blacks inventive attacking efforts to score the full point.
Yu Liu versus Jackson Tardrew was a Queens Gambit Accepted. White quickly gained a big material advantage and soon checkmated his luckless young opponent.
Ryan Logan again profited from a forfeit when his opponent, Peter McGrath failed to show.
Angus Blenkiron had the bye.

Round Seven

Going into the last round, no less than four players were leading, and happily for the tournament, they were paired against each other.
Rob Loveband faced Peter Miitel in a Sicilian Dragon, and an intense theoretical battle ensued. The game was very even until Black grabbed a hot pawn in the middle game and grimly held on to it, then blundered it back later on. The game was heading for a draw until both players made incomprehensible blunders, White dropped a piece, then Black dropped a rook shortly after. Rob made the most of his chance in a very technical end game.
Jamie Brotheridge met his old rival Patrick Cook and both players made their fighting intentions clear in an Alekhine Defence. White misplayed the opening to give Black the initiative and soon after a decisive material advantage. Imaginative play in the end game gave White a glimmer of hope, but Black carefully snuffed this out to win an excellent game.
Ryan Logan versus Kevin Perrin was a French Defence. White mishandled the opening and quickly found himself 2 pawns down before fighting back to trap Black’s Queen! Sadly he couldn’t find his way through the complications and was soon swept away.
Chris Segrave played veteran John Abson in what eventually became a Chigorin variation of the Queen’s Gambit. In a lengthy and slow positional struggle White gained the upper hand with a dangerous advanced passed pawn. Black held on grimly and was able to turn the tables late in the game to reach a winning Bishops and pawns endgame which he succeeded in winning in grand style.
Angus Blenkiron met Yu Liu in a Scandinavian. After lively tactical skirmishes, Black emerged a piece up and proceeded to pick up more material before White resigned in the face of inevitable defeat.
Ben Barclay versus Michael Schreenan was a Four Knights Game! White won the exchange early and held on to his advantage throughout a sharp game. This proved sufficient for the full point.
Three players failed to show, James Watson, Peter McGrath, and Jackson Tardrew, and each was deleted from the round.
So, after an interesting tournament, the “old guard” of Rob Loveband and Patrick Cook share the book prize and the title of John Holmes Memorial champion for 2010.

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This 7 round Swiss is named in memory of a young local chess player tragically killed in a car accident in 1970.