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A Timely Win at Rugeley

posted 24 Nov 2011, 09:32 by knight moves   [ updated 8 Dec 2011, 13:03 ]
Stafford B travelled the short distance to Rugeley hopeful of continuing their, as yet unbeaten run Cannock division 2.  The largest grading difference between the top three boards was only 2 points, so a very close match was anticipated.
David Barker, playing on board 4 with the black pieces (still no opportunity to try out his new opening with white) faced the only real grading difference, with his opponent being a rather significant 23 points higher.   Both player developed with sound looking opening moves, and there appeared to be little to choose between them.  Things looked to be getting more lively as the queens entered the game, but they were soon swapped off along with a couple of minor pieces, leaving a rather stale looking game.  Both players agreed and decided a draw to be the fair result.  A good clutch of points towards David's grading for next year.
Kasik Wosniak was next to finish on board 1.  Coming out of the opening, his opponent had gained a clear space advantage on the kingside and Kasik was coming under significant pressure.  He had spotted a potential combination which could bring him back on terms, but this would rely on a mistake from an experienced opponent.  To Kasik's surprise the mistake came but was greater than expected; a central pawn had been left overloaded defending both knights, and Kasik was able to play his combination, winning a full knight in the process.  His opponent was left with no answer to the full piece advantage, and the game was won shortly after.
Ken McNulty experimented on board 2 with a Dutch defense against the d4 opening and soon found himself struggling for time.  After 25 moves, he only had 10 minutes to make the 30 move limit, while his opponent still had almost 45 minutes.  Ken had eaten up his time, desperately trying to repel a major queenside assault, and only accurate defence had kept him in the game.  Eventually the attack faltered and with the precious little time he had left, Ken was able to press his own counter offensive on the queenside, eventually gaining an unstoppable pawn and with it the game and match.
Andrew Leadbetter had been enjoying a significant time advantage for a long period of the game, until his opponent pointed out that Andrews clock had in fact stopped!  There was some discussion regarding where the clock should be set after it had been wound up, and an agreement was made based on expected time used.  As any chess player will tell you, disruptions of this sort can be very unsettling and Andrew soon lost any advantage he had prior to the interruption.  Noting that the match had already been won, Andrew preferred to get an early night, so resigned what he felt was a lost game anyway.
Other than the unfortunate incident with the clocks (at least digital clocks give a warning when the battery is getting low!), this was a very satisfying 2.5-1.5 win, most especially the result on board 4.