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Newcastle Match Sees Stafford B Top Table

posted 12 Nov 2010, 13:38 by knight moves   [ updated 12 Nov 2010, 15:56 ]
Stafford B hosted Newcastle D in a North Staffs Div 3 match on Thursday 11 Nov.  Stafford fielded the overall stronger team, being outgraded only on board 1.
Guy de Visme got Stafford off to a flying start with an early win on board 4.  In an unusual opening ("Hungarian Defence and Giuoco Pianissimo" *) Guy pounced upon a mistake from his opponent on move 13.  With all 32 pieces still remaining on the board, Guy had his opponents queen completely trapped by a g-pawn advance on move 15, and with no potential for significant compensation, it was game over, and 1-0 to Stafford.  Guy's game can be viewed in full here.
Ken Wosniak had a relatively quiet game on board 3 with steady development on both sides.  For much of the game neither player looked to have any significant advantage, but moving towards the endgame things became rather more interesting, with Ken having a central pawn majority, including an unsupported 'passer', and his opponent having an outside supported passed pawn.  However, Ken had his opponents passed pawn well blocked, and his own central pawn majority was the deciding factor in another win for the home team.
On board 1, Ken McNulty playing a French defence seen his opponent force a couple of early exchanges to rid the board of bishops.  White then launched a kingside assault with the pair of knights and queen, but with the white pieces to some extent getting in each others way, Ken felt comfortable enough to develop some counter attacking chances, albeit going down by 2 pawns in the process.  As such, moving towards the endgame both players were pursuing valid mating chances, but in an exciting finish the critical move, as is often the case, came down to a mistake under time pressure.  Missing a neat combination from white, which forced the queens off the board, Kens mating chances accompanied the dissappearance of the queens, and he eventually succumbed to his opponents pawn majority.
So, the final result rested on the captain, Andrew Leadbetter, playing white on board 2.  Andrew had secured a very favourable endgame with a protected passed e-pawn and an isolated  passed a-pawn.  With the pawn majority in combination with bishop v knight, his opponent could not stop the swap of the minor pieces and Andrew advanced both a & e pawns simultaneously, leaving his opponent unable to stop both, and with no option but to resign.
With this 3-1 win, Stafford B remain unbeaten and secure top spot in the North Staffs Div 3 table. 
*  [km] well that's what Fritz calls it on my pc!