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All Drawn Against Cheddleton

posted 14 Jan 2011, 04:21 by knight moves   [ updated 14 Jan 2011, 04:24 ]
The Stoke league division 1 match against Cheddleton produced the rare outcome of draws on all five boards, which maintained Stafford's unbeaten start to the season in this league.  Both sides were close to full strength, with Cheddleton's average edge of 7 points per board setting the scene for a tough match.
The only relatively short game was on board 5, where Roger Butters equalised comfortably with black and a series of exchanges led to an ending with knight, bishop and seven pawns each in which there was only ever going to be one result.    The other games all went down to the last few minutes of play and the match could easily have gone either way.
Lee Grinsell did well to draw on board 1, appearing to stand slightly worse and also behind on the clock as the game approached its conclusion.    However, his opponent could not find a way to progress and, with his time advantage also having been used up, a draw was agreed with both players down to their last few minutes.
On board 2, Gerald Acey nurtured a small advantage throughout the middlegame but his opponent played well to neutralise into a bishop v knight ending in which neither side could make progress.
On board 3, Malcolm Armstrong played the opening rather too ambitiously and was suffering when his opponent secured a knight on c6.   An accurate sequence of exchanges just held the position together and, although still worse and having to shed a pawn, Malcolm was able to reach an opposite-coloured bishop ending which was easily drawn.
The game which looked like deciding the match was on board 4, where Stephane Pedder's opening did not go well and he found himself facing a big kingside attack.    However, his opponent appeared to over-estimate his position and Stephane established a good defensive setup whilst also making significant progress on the queenside.   Having first won the exchange and then gone a whole rook up, only the clock could prevent Stephane clinching the match.    However, his opponent played well to generate some threats and, with only 5 seconds left on his clock, Stephane had no alternative but to claim a draw which his opponent equally had no alternative but to accept.  
So, at least nobody went home unhappy, with the added bonus being that at least it was not a cup match.