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Lucky Against Lichfield?

posted 30 Oct 2010, 13:36 by knight moves   [ updated 5 Nov 2010, 11:07 ]
Stafford entertained C&DCL Div 1 newcomers Lichfield on Thursday 28th October.  Despite the visitors' "new boy" tag, Stafford did not expect an easy match as Lichfield are the current W&DCL Div 1 champions and reports from their first match was that they had fielded a team right up on the league's grading limit.  The actual arrival of the visitors showed that they were not at full strength, so Stafford found themselves higher graded on all boards.
First to finish was Stephane Pedder, who secured an early win on board 2, however Ken McNulty soon evened the score by losing on board 3 to an almighty kingside assault which started with a bishop sacrifice on h7.  The game could have been drawn, or even gone in Ken's favour, if he had found 100% accurate defenses to the barrage of white pieces attacking his king.  Alas, 100% accuracy is the preserve of the grandmasters and Ken resigned just prior to the first time control, satisfied that on this occasion he had been outplayed, and there was no point in prolonging his own agony.
Gerald Acey was next to finish.  Neither player ever having secured a decisive advantage, the game was finally agreed as a draw in this final position (with black to play):
So, at 1.5 points each, the match result came down to Ken Wosniak, playing board 4.  It was vey much a double edged game, with both players having attacking potential.  Time was also a critical factor, with both players eventually using up vital portions of their final 5 minutes.  It was the clock that finally decided the game in Ken's (& Stafford's) favour, with the Lichfield players flag falling.  It should however be noted that Ken had already played well enough to secure a significant queenside advantage, and with it the win, as the final position shows (with white to play):
Final result:  Stafford 3.  Mercia 2.