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Stafford Win Cannock Div 1 Title

posted 28 Apr 2011, 05:02 by knight moves   [ updated 3 Feb 2012, 13:37 ]
Stafford won the Cannock Division 1 title last night with a 3-1 win over Sutton Coldfield.
 
Sutton Coldfield's visit to Stafford for a C&DCL Division 1 match on Wednesday 27th April was the very last match of the season in that division.  This gave the invaluable advantage that Stafford knew that we had only to draw the match to remain C&DCL Champions.  Even before the match started, one large step had been taken towards the goal as we had been informed that Sutton would be turning up one player short due to the fixture clashing with an important Birmingham League playoff.
 
So, as the remaining 3 games started, Stafford only needed to gain only 1 point from them.  This was no means a certainty as , despite Stafford fielding our strongest team of the season, we had a grade advantage of between 1 and 6 points on each board - in practice no difference at all.
 

The first result was on top board where, as befits a competitive match between strong players, neither Gerald Acey nor his opponent was able to secure a decisive advantage so an amicable draw was agreed.  On Board 3, the game had swung to and fro more significantly but eventually Pavel Nefyodov found himself slightly worse off.  He found a response that effectively forced perpetual repetition and so the draw was agreed - giving Stafford the title.

 

This left the captain, Stephane Pedder as the last game to finish.  He had opened with his normal Queens Gambit to which his opponent responded with the Semi Slav.  As commonly occurs blacks queen moved to a5 but, unusually, when forced from there moved right across the board to h5.  Here it became the focus for the game with white attempting to force the queen away or (better still) trap it, and black attempting to bring up supporting pieces to generate a checkmate.  Eventually the area became too hot for black's queen and she was forced right the way back to d8.  This passage of play had allowed white's pieces advantageous positions in the middle of the board and Stephane was able to apply mating pressure that eventually forced a resignation.  Post match analysis by Fritz indicated a forced mate in 12 moves at that point.  Not being quite as strong, Stephane had seen only the prospect of his attack gaining decisive material advantage!

 

So, Stafford won the match 3-1 and so retained their Cannock & District Chess League title.  The Division had been very competitive throughout - shown by the fact if Stafford had lost a single one of their 5 wins then any one of 3 other clubs would have been champions (depending on which match result was different).

 

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