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Stafford Scrape Victory Over Bridgetown

posted 5 Feb 2011, 13:12 by knight moves   [ updated 5 Feb 2011, 14:27 ]
Stafford B hosted Bridgetown in a Cannock League division 2 match on Thursday 3rd Feb.  With an overall grading advantage of nearly 70 points, one may have expected an easy victory for Stafford, but we all know that things rarely go to plan in chess.
Half way through the session, and things were looking good for Ken McNulty on board 1.  Having won a crucial central pawn, he had the best of the game in the centre, with little in the way of threats coming from his opponent.  However, Ken Wosniak on board 2, seemed to be on the opposite side of a pawn majority, and things were looking 'tricky' for him.  After a central exchange, Andrew Leadbetter was dominating the centre on board 3, with Queen, Rook, 2 Bishops and a Knight working together to deny his opponent any space in the centre.  Things were not looking so good for Geoff Cox on board 4.  Having played the opening moves quickly with a series of minor piece exchanges, Geoff had reached an endgame while most other boards were not far out of the opening.  Unfortunately, he was a pawn down and would have to work hard to gain any points for the home team.  Bridgetown didn't seem to have read the script!
On board 1, Ken went on to develop on the queenside, inexplicably choosing not to press his central pawn advantage, and ignoring his opponents slow but deliberate amassing of kingside forces.  Thinking he had his defences all in place, a Rook sacrifice from his opponent soon dispelled this belief and blew Ken's kingside wide open.  Resignation quickly followed.  Meanwhile on board 2, Ken Wosniak continued with his recent impressive form and despite the pawn deficit, found a very nice combination to win a piece in the middlegame.  A loss that his opponent considered serious enough to prompt him to resign the game.  Andrew's opponent found some counterplay in the centre and made things difficult, but he was never going to recover from the serious weaknesses in the centre, and indeed Andrew pressed his advantage into a win.  Geoff's game continued to look like it was heading for a loss, with his opponent heading for a pawn promotion, but Geoff played cleverly and accurately, allowing the pawn promotion, but immediately winning back the piece with a skewer on the king.  A draw was agreed shortly after.  Final score 2.5 - 1.5 to Stafford.
Stafford can consider themselves fortunate to take the victory in a match which could easily have gone either way, and based on the play, Bridgetown probably deserved a share of the points.