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Close Match at Sutton Coldfield

posted 1 Nov 2011, 15:26 by knight moves   [ updated 1 Nov 2011, 15:28 ]
Stafford B travelled south to meet the late entrants to Cannock Div 2, Sutton Coldfield on Monday.  Both teams were high on grade count within the 550 limit, so a close match was to be expected.
Stephane Pedder finished first (and quickly) with the white pieces on board 1.  Stephane appeared to have slightly more active pieces coming out of
 a Classical Nimzo Indian, but the game was more or less even with white having just played 13.Ng5 in the position shown. 
Despite his own defensive knight on f6, the menacing looking combination of white's g5-knight and c2-queen may have had black a little uneasy, as he played 13...h6 to force the knight away, rather than the more secure 13...g6.
Black clearly wasn't expecting the follow up of 14.Nd5!, attacking the queen and overloading the f6-knight in a single move.  Stuck between a rock and a hard place, black had no option but to capture the f5 knight and watch his queen fall.
A few more moves were played before the inevitable result.  1-0 to Stafford.
The full game can be viewed by clicking on the board to the left (opens in new window).
Ken McNulty finished next on board 2.  Seeming to have some good attacking chances with a 4 pawn push on the queenside, while several of his opponents minor pieces were still parked on their home squares, there was never really any clear chance of a breakthrough.  The Sutton player found time to mobilise his forces and found some counter play in the centre, which eventually led to an agreed draw just ahead of an inevitable 3-fold repetition.
James Topp found himself in a cramped, defensive position with black on board 4; his minor piece mobility severely hampered by his own pawn structure.  Once the removal of a couple of pawns had opened the centre though, James spotted what he thought was a winning piece sacrifice.  Unfortunately, it was only after playing the sac (as is usually the case) that James was left with the realisation that his opponent had a couple of defensive options and was left wishing that the sacrifice had not been the expensive queen.  Match even!
Andrew Leadbetter was last to finish.  He had built up a strong attack, amassing his forces against an under-protected g7 square, and short-castled king.   Needing just one more piece to join in on the attack, which would then have led to a significant win of material, Andrew just couldn't quite find the required piece and the attack faltered.  He did go on to win a minor piece, but at the expense of a passed pawn on the 6th rank supported by a pair of rooks.  Running low on time and unable to find an easy way of removing the threatening pawn whilst leaving enough time to find the win, Andrew agreed a draw.  Of course, post match analysis revealed the extra piece (a rook) that Andrew needed for the earlier g7 attack!
Final result 2-2.  As close as expected.