Cumbernauld make all the right moves

LAST Monday evening saw Cumbernauld Chess Club take on the mighty Shettleston in the Dunbartonshire Chess League division one.

Cumbernauld started the match without key players and were not realistically expecting to rock the Shettleston boat. However, one of the unique features of chess is its unpredictability and capacity to throw up surprises. All four Cumbernauld players were trying to overcome grading differences of at least 200 points.

On board one Stephen Kelly had the most difficult task of all. He was facing FIDE International Master Douglas Bryson, a player who is currently ranked 12th in Scotland and was graded 600 points higher. Kelly showed no fear as he pursued the full point. His aggressive approach and desire to win caused his IM opponent all sorts of positional problems. In the end Bryson opted to accept a draw, something which players of this calibre seldom do unless they feel that they have no prospect of success. In the final position Kelly may well have had a slight advantage but wisely chose to accept the draw.

Shettleston had one win on board four through Anthony Gallagher when he went one pawn ahead and nervously clung on to his advantage. Jack Parkes then dragged Cumbernauld back into the match with another magnificent win on board two after overcoming another much stronger player.

With around two minutes remaining David Johnstone and William Toland battled furiously with both players going for the throat in a particularly aggressive finish which required nerves of steel. Johnstone emerged victorious after his opponent crumbled under the pressure. This fine win handed Cumbernauld a 2½-1½ win in the match, a result which was viewed in disbelief by both teams of players involved.

On Tuesday evening Cumbernauld travelled to Bearsden in order to play a Dunbartonshire Chess League division two match. The board one clash saw George Thomson and Piotre Fiertek share the spoils when a pawn locked position offered no prospect for either player. Robert Kelso provided a fine win on board two after emerging from an extremely complicated position with a winning edge.

Sadly Bearsden won both games on boards three and four, results which saw them secure a 2½-1½ victory over the local side.