Tuesday, 25 February 2020

24 February 2020 - Central League Division 2

Stirling C   v   Grangemouth B
Craig Manson

Kris Dimitrov

Tony Pitson

Kenny MacPherson

Gordon Allcock
1448

 

1413

1326

1284
0 - 1

½ - ½

½ - ½

½ - ½

1 - 0
1572

 

1319

1289

1035
Ian Mason

Bill Gray

Hugh Hanlon

Crawford Welsh

Scott Dickson
2½ - 2½

24 February 2020 - Central League Division 2

Stirling Juniors(D)   v   Badgers Brook B
Glen Wilson

Ross Warcup

Alex Brimlow

Gordon Bowie

Nadzieja Lu-Czartoryjska
 

592

406

 

 
0 - 1

0 - 1

0 - 1

0 - 1

0 - 1
1644

 

1445

1267

877
John Smith

Graham Kerr

Kenny Aiston

Gordon Walker

Peter Woollven
0 - 5

Sunday, 23 February 2020

19 February 2020 - Central Allegro League

Grangemouth Tiger 9-7 Stirling Bruce
Round 1
Alan Bell 1 - 0 Brad Duthie
Dougie Will 1 - 0 John Blake
Ian Mason 1 - 0 Dave Hewitt
Alasdair Sandham ½ - ½ Graham Anderson
Round 2
Alan Bell 1 - 0 John Blake
Dougie Will 0 - 1 Bill Cook
Ian Mason 0 - 1 Graham Anderson
Alasdair Sandham ½ - ½ Brad Duthie
Round 3
Alan Bell 1 - 0 Bill Cook
Dougie Will 1 - 0 Graham Anderson
Ian Mason 1 - 0 Brad Duthie
Alasdair Sandham 0 - 1 John Blake
Round 4
Alan Bell 0 - 1 Graham Anderson
Dougie Will 1 - 0 Brad Duthie
Ian Mason 0 - 1 John Blake
Alasdair Sandham 0 - 1 Bill Cook

Monday, 17 February 2020

17 February 2020 - Lindsay Cup

Thanks to Glen for providing the game below, where he had Black against Richard in a Lindsay Cup group game.

Games
[Event "Lindsay Cup"] [Site "Stirling CC"] [Date "2020.02.17"] [Round "-"] [White "Warcup, Richard"] [Black "Wilson, G"] [Result "0-1"] 1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. d4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Bg4 6. Be3 Nf6 7. h3 Bh5 8. g4 Bg6 9. Bg5 e6 10. a3 Be7 11. Qd2 Qb6 12. O-O-O Qa5 13. Nb1 Ne4 14. Qxa5 Nxa5 15. Bd3 Rc8 16. Be3 O-O 17. Ne5 Nb3# 0-1

Nice mate!

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

10 February 2020 - Central League Division 2

Stirling C   v   Stirling B
Craig Manson

Kris Dimitrov

Tony Pitson

Gordon Allcock

Craig Thomson
1448

 

1413

1284

824
0 - 1

0 - 1

½ - ½

½ - ½

0 - 1
1494

1567

1547

1531

1463
Brad Duthie

David McAlister

Dave Hewitt

John Blake

Richard Warcup
1 - 4

10 February 2020 - Central League Division 2

Stirling E   v   Stirling Juniors (D)
Tom Wallace

Kenny MacPherson

Mick Bloor

Martin Pringle

Tom McKay
1389

1376

1158

990

770
1 - 0

1 - 0

1 - 0

1 - 0

1 - 0
 

592

406

 

 
Glen Wilson

Ross Warcup

Alex Brimlow

Gordon Bowie

Douglas Pringle
5 - 0

Game of this match was definitely the bottom board clash between Tom and Douglas. It turned into a slug-fest, lasting well over two hours. Douglas missed an opportunity when the Queen exchange was offered to win Tom's Queen for a Rook, and finally resigned when Tom threatened an indefensible mate. Alex did well to force his way back into the game against Mick, before falling to a back rank mate. Thanks to Tom for providing the game below from board 1.

Games
[Event "Stirling E v Stirling Juniors(D)"] [Site "Stirling CC"] [Date "2020.02.10"] [Round ""] [White "Wallace, T"] [Black "Wilson, G"] [Result "1-0"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Bd3 Bxd3 5. Qxd3 Nd7 6. Nf3 e6 7. O-O g6 8. Bg5 Be7 9. Bxe7 Nxe7 10. Nbd2 O-O 11. g4 Qb6 12. Qe3 Rfc8 13. Qh6 c5 14. Ng5 Nf8 15. Kh1 cxd4 16. Rg1 Rxc2 17. Rg3 Rac8 18. Rf3 { After 17 Rg3, Stockfish started shouting that 17 ... Qxb2 was the move, giving it +2. 17 ... Qxb2 18 Rb1 Rc1+ 19 Rxc1 Qxc1+ 20 Kg2 Qxd2. As soon as the Knight on g5 moves, the Queens can be exchanged and White's mate threat is pretty much gone. Given some more time, though, it settled on 17 ... Nc6 as the best move, presumably going next to e5 to protect f7. Either way, Stockfish is happy with Black's position after either of these options. Unfortunately, Rac8 doesn't really help Black. } 18... Nf5 19. gxf5 exf5 20. Nb3 Qb4 21. Nxh7 d3 22. Nf6# 1-0

Friday, 7 February 2020

Robert Togneri

Stirling chess club – and the Central Scotland Chess League – lost its longest-serving member with the death on 25 January 2020 of Robert Togneri, aged 81. Both club and league have many pleasant people among their memberships, but no one was more liked, over the half-century-plus of his involvement, than Robert. He was the most thoughtful, committed and diligent member any club could wish to have – and it helped that he was a very handy player, too.

His first appearance in a league match for Stirling appears to have been a draw against J M Allan of Dunfermline on 1 April 1964, and his first win – likewise against Dunfermline, R Roxburgh this time – came on 18 November that same year. Robert also played (and won) for Stirling C earlier this season, so he appeared in 57 of the league’s 62 seasons to date, an unrivalled achievement.

During his time at the Stirling club, Robert served in a variety of roles: secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer, league secretary, first-team regular and then long-time captain of the Stirling B team. He also captained the under-1500 team during the early years of the period when it won that particular trophy nine times in 11 seasons, and was a member of the Stirling team that won the Spens Cup in 1967-68, recording a draw on board seven in the 5-2 final win against Benarty.

Robert was never club champion, as his best playing years coincided with the club having greater top-end strength than it does today, but he was runner-up at least twice, in 1967-68 and 1968-69 (behind Rainer Bartsch and Maxwell Thornton respectively), and he won the Lindsay Cup – the reserve section of the championship – three times, in 1964-65, 1983-84 and 1993-94. Robert also won the Keddie Cup – when it was played as a traditional knockout rather than the handicap tournament of modern times – in 1970-71, and he was runner-up in the club lightning tournament (what would now be called blitz) in 1970-71 and 1971-72. The club used to have something called a matchplay champion – which appears to have been determined by a season-long cumulative tally of overall results – and Robert was runner-up in this three times in a row: 1965-66, 1966-67 and 1967-68. His prowess at fast chess remained into his senior years, and as late as November 2007 he was joint-winner of the twice-yearly club allegro tournament – the five-round Swiss which from 2015 was happily played for the Robert Togneri Trophy, instituted to mark his half-century of involvement with the club.

Almost certainly, however, Robert’s finest tournament achievement was winning the Scottish Open, with a score of 5½/7 (and an extraordinary final-round stalemate to clinch the title – see below) in Dundee in 1967, and he went on to play in the main Scottish championship in the summers of 1968 (Ayr) and 1969 (Glasgow). In those days the Scottish was a closed event, and this gives some indication of Robert’s strength during that time. Grading lists dating back to 1981 show a highest grade of 1715 in 1989-90, and a steady presence in the 1600s during the earlier years of that decade. This in itself represents a very respectable standard of play, but it’s reasonable to assume Robert was quite a bit stronger than that in the pre-grading days, particularly from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.

He had a sound and quietly effective technique, with a notable ability in the endgame – for many years he was regarded as the best endgame player at the club, and stories abound of his turning lost endgames into draws and drawn ones into wins. The present writer can recall embarking on a double-knights with pawns endgame against Robert that initially seemed a near-trivial win but gradually became a desperate struggle for survival, with considerable relief when a draw was eventually achieved. Dougie Will of Grangemouth similarly notes that “sometime, possibly in the late 1990s, I went into a rook and pawns endgame against Robert two pawns up, and despite being 400 points higher graded lost dismally…”. There were countless such pieces of endgame magic, and Robert retained this ability well into old age. He was often to be seen studying endgame positions alone in a corner of the club room (or demonstrating some subtlety to other club members), in much the same way that many players opt to study opening theory.

Robert appeared to have a natural aptitude in endgames, but it’s worth remembering that he grew up in the days when games were regularly adjourned – rather than thrashed out in quickplay finishes – and players would take the unfinished scoresheet home with them, study it over the course of several evenings (no computers in those days), before returning to bring the game to a conclusion a week or so later. It was in adjournment analysis that strong endgame players such as Robert honed their ability, and this was something he brought with him into the more frantic modern era.

Another notable feature of Robert’s play was how rarely he found himself in time trouble. Some people – John Blake is another with this ability at the Stirling club – seem able to play simple but strong chess at a steady rate that sees them keep comfortably on the right side of the clock. Robert for many years was Stirling’s prime exponent of this, as his various fast-chess tournament wins demonstrate. At some point in his final year or so he did actually lose a game on time – and he believed that this was the first time it had ever happened to him.

All this tournament and league detail provides only part of the picture of Robert, however. He would play friendlies with anyone, regardless of strength or age – indeed he was a great encourager of junior chess, and the recent upturn in junior enthusiasm at the club, along with the increase in membership generally, is part of his legacy. He was also a notable welcomer of new people: since his death, several of the current club members have commented that Robert was the first person they played at the Stirling club – but there is nothing surprising about this, because that kind of meet-and-greet, fancy a game? thing was what he did, year after year.

Above all, he was almost always there, a near-permanent benevolent presence at the club. There were occasional absences due to ill-health – a heart bypass at one stage and a partial withdrawal from playing, in league matches at least, for a while after his beloved Marie died in 2012 – but he would be back as soon as he was able, as the chess club, and the game itself, meant so much to him. In terms of his chess longevity – and the Stirling club’s habit of producing such people – it’s worth noting that on his 1964 league debut, Robert played on board four (of five), and sitting alongside him on board three was James Keddie – who became club champion for the sixth and final time that same 1963-64 season, having first won it in 1924-25, so the overlap with Robert covers pretty much 100 years of the club.

There is so much more that could be said about Robert – for instance his unwillingness to raise his voice even when he had a strong opinion, and his being the most neatly turned-out person at the club, with his cardigans, his old-fashioned hat and his umbrella. In his final few months he even started sporting a rather natty beard. He had exemplary manners, would always find time for a chat, and numerous of his friends from this club and beyond have described him as “a gentleman” – which is exactly what he was.

Others, elsewhere, will be able to tell of his family life, his work as a teacher, his religious faith; but in chess terms he was an absolute stalwart who gave hugely to the chess scene in central Scotland over half a century, and he will be missed greatly. Condolences to his family, and to his friends elsewhere.

Games
[Event "Scottish Open"] [Site "Dundee"] [Date "1967"] [Round "7"] [White "Wilkie, H"] [Black "Togneri, R"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 g6 7. e4 Bg7 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Re8 10. Qc2 a6 11. a4 Nbd7 12. Bf4 Nb6 13. Nd2 Bg4 14. Bd3 Nh5 15. Be3 Qe7 16. h3 Bd7 17. a5 Nc8 18. Nc4 Rb8 19. Qd2 Nf6 20. Bf4 Nh5 21. Bh2 Qf8 22. Rfe1 Bh6 23. Qc2 Nf4 24. Bf1 f5 25. e5 dxe5 26. Nxe5 Qd6 27. Nd3 Ne7 28. Kh1 Nexd5 29. Nxd5 g5 30. N5xf4 gxf4 31. Qc4+ Be6 32. Bxf4 Qc6 33. Rxe6 Qxe6 34. Qxe6+ Rxe6 35. Bxb8 c4 36. Nc5 Re8 37. Bxc4+ Kg7 38. Ne6+ Kf6 39. Bf4 Bxf4 40. Nxf4 Re4 41. Nd5+ Ke5 42. Ne3 h5 43. Re1 f4 44. Nc2 Rxe1+ 45. Nxe1 Kd4 46. Be2 h4 47. Nf3+ Kc5 48. Nxh4 Kb4 49. Bf3 Kxa5 50. Bxb7 Kb6 51. Be4 a5 52. Bc2 Kb5 53. Nf3 a4 54. h4 Kb4 55. h5 a3 56. bxa3+ Kxa3 57. h6 Kb2 58. Bf5 Kc3 59. h7 Kc4 60. h8=Q Kd5 61. Qe5+ Kc6 62. Qxf4 Kd5 63. g4 Kc6 64. g5 Kd5 65. g6 Kc6 66. g7 Kc5 67. Qe4 Kd6 68. Nd4 Kc5 69. Be6 Kd6 70. f4 Kc5 71. f5 Kd6 72. f6 Kc5 73. f7 Kd6 74. f8=Q+ Kc7 75. Qc8+ Kd6 76. Qd7+ Kc5 77. g8=Q Kb4 78. Qec6 Ka3 79. Qdb7 1/2-1/2

Robert's last win for the club is presented below.

Games
[Event "Stirling C v Badgers Brook B"] [Site "Stirling CC"] [Date "2019.10.14"] [Round ""] [White "Togneri, R"] [Black "van der Heever, C"] [Result "1-0"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Bd2 g6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Bd3 Bg7 7. Nc3 O-O 8. O-O b5 9. c5 a5 10. b3 Qc7 11. a3 Na6 12. Re1 b4 13. axb4 Nxb4 14. Bf1 Ba6 15. Bxa6 Rxa6 16. Ne5 Ne4 17. Nxe4 dxe4 18. Bxb4 Bxe5 19. dxe5 Qxe5 20. Qd4 Qb8 21. Rxa5 e5 22. Qc3 Rxa5 23. Bxa5 f5 24. Qb4 Rc8 25. Qc4+ Kg7 26. Bc3 Re8 27. Rd1 h5 28. h4 Kh6 29. Rd6 f4 30. Qf7 Rg8 31. Bxe5 f3 32. Bf4# 1-0