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Heavyweight Draw at Cheddleton

posted 10 Oct 2012, 10:38 by knight moves   [ updated 10 Oct 2012, 10:38 ]
Cheddleton away was a far from gentle start to the season in Stoke League Division 1 but it was a strong Stafford side that headed to Leek and returned with a draw, having enjoyed the better of the match but been unable to get across the winning line.

It was something of a heavyweight clash with both sides' grades averaging well over 180, but Cheddleton's cause was not helped by their scheduled board 3 failing to arrive and Roger Edwards had to step off the bench to face Gerald Acey on board 3.  Gerald secured the bishop pair out of the opening and patiently improved his position until he was able to advance his central pawns and open up the game for his bishops.  Having dragged Roger's king into the open it looked as if checkmate would soon follow, but instead Gerald chose to win a piece and head for an easily winning endgame.

Lawrence Cooper soon had an extra pawn on top board and, although there were no real prospects of holding onto it in the long term, it took his opponent a while to round it up and in the meantime Lawrence obtained good activity for his pieces.  He may feel that he missed some opportunities to obtain an endgame advantage, but in the event agreed to a draw as a series of exchanges was about to result in a level double-rook ending.

Malcolm Armstrong missed a simple tactic in the opening that would have given him a clear advantage, and instead was soon forced into a rather desperate piece sacrifice which never looked likely to be sufficient. This left the match level with two games remaining.

Ray Hyde had an interesting game on board 5, starting with an ambitious central pawn advance against the Benko Gambit.  The game revolved around whether these pawns would be strong or weak, and as the dust settled Ray looked to be struggling.  However, an enterprising exchange sacrifice left him with a well-placed knight supporting two passed queenside pawns.  Unfortunately, Ray had run very short of time by this stage and blundered his knight to lose the game.

Lee Grinsell had won an early pawn and enjoyed the better of an unusual middlegame in which both players attacked with queen and two bishops, but Lee maintained control well to secure a valuable win.

A draw at Cheddleton is never a result to be sneered at, although there were definite opportunities to have secured an even rarer victory.