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8-Board Cup Result v Holmes Chapel

posted 30 Nov 2010, 12:32 by knight moves   [ updated 30 Nov 2010, 13:35 ]
For a small club like Stafford, the 'Open' cup matches represent a particluar challenge.  The need to put out 8 players in a single team means that, even at the best of times we must deep into our resources; and a couple of regulars being unavailable can leave us desperately scrabbling for players.
 
This year, these concerns were increased when we found ourselves drawn to host Holmes Chapel - the strongest in the league - in the first round on Nov 17th.  Fortunately, a virtually full complement of regulars was strengthened by a couple of players whose appearances are usually restricted by other commitments.  The result was that although we were theoretically the weaker side, the difference was not excessive.

 

The majority of the early results were draws (Lawrence Cooper on board 1, Roger Butters on board 5, Ken McNulty on Board 6 and Andrew Leadbetter on Board 7 were all drawn), although even these were not without excitement.  Lawrence's game in particular being very interesting, as at one point he was forced to give up his queen for a rook and a minor piece. However, he retained the initiative and his opponent was forced to give up his material advantage and a draw was agreed.  In amongst these, Ken Wozniaik won on board 8, giving Stafford the edge 3-2 at this point.

 

Playing in the unaccustomed lowly position of Board 3, Gerald Acey had secured a slight material advantage (two minor pieces or a rook an two pawns). More crucially these pawns were passed and well supported so were able to advance. Eventually, faced with the choice of allowing one to queen or losing decisive material, Gerald's opponent resigned, leaving Stafford 4-2 up. However, Stafford could still lose as Holmes Chapel would win on "board count" if the final game went their way.

 

Victory was assured by Lee Grinsell on Board 2 - after a long but even game, a draw was agreed.

 

In the meantime, following his Queens Gambit Declined  Stephane Pedder had obtained a positional advantage on the queenside.  In attempting to rectify this his opponent left the kingside weakened and after the exchange of virtually all the pieces, Stephane was left with passed pawns on both flanks.  Unable stop them both, his opponent resigned leaving Stafford the eventual 5.5 - 2.5 winners.

 

 

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