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Heavy defeat at hands of West Brom

posted 30 Sep 2010, 14:59 by knight moves   [ updated 30 Sep 2010, 15:08 ]

Stafford suffered a big defeat in their first match of the Wolverhampton League Division 1 season, going down 5.5-0.5 to a West Brom side who might be considered as the Manchester City of West Midlands chess and will surely be a contender for the league title.

 

Missing 3 of the regular first team players and having to concede one board by default, Stafford were even more up against it than might have been expected.    At least Club Secretary Andrew Leadbetter secured an early draw to avoid a whitewash.

 

The remaining players all fought well but first to lose was Stephane Pedder on Board 2.    Saddled with weak Queenside pawns at an early stage, he did well to reach a Rook ending with 4 pawns on the e to h files opponent’s 5 on d to h.   However, with the agreed time control meaning that the potential salvations of adjournment or adjudication were unavailable, this was very unpleasant to defend and he eventually went down.   Ken Wozniak was also a pawn down for much of the game and was next to lose.

 

On top board, Malcolm Armstrong was outplayed in the early middlegame but sacrificed a pawn for what at first appeared strong attacking compensation.  However, his highly rated opponent always had things under control and steered a safe path to victory through the complications. 

 

The last game to finish saw Ken McNulty also valiantly defending an endgame with a pawn deficit, but with a similar outcome.

 

Stafford should not be discouraged by this defeat; West Brom will overwhelm several other sides this season and, with the return of the missing players, a mid-table position should be within range.

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