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Tamworth Twice Tamed

posted 10 Mar 2013, 07:21 by knight moves   [ updated 10 Mar 2013, 10:16 ]
Stafford played host this week to a strong Tamworth team, who were clearly seeking revenge for their 2.5 - 1.5 home defeat to Stafford earlier in the Cannock league season.  Although the overall grade advantage was in Tamworth's favour, each team had 2 boards from which they would hope to gain full points.

As is often the case, the board with the largest grade difference was the first to provide a result, but not the one that may have been expected.  David Barker, playing white on board 4, faired better out of an early exchange and played well to build pressure on the kingside.  His opponent found some counter-play with a dangerous bishop pair, but had neglected to retreat the farthest advanced one when the opportunity presented itself and David's queen soon moved to the only available square on the board where it attacked both Bishops at once.  It was impossible to defend both at the same time, but black was clearly feeling the pressure, as he apparently spotted the attack on only one of the bishops and in a short exchange proceeded to blunder his queen, whereupon he immediately resigned.

Ken McNulty had an altogether uneventful game with black on board 3.  Going into an endgame, where his rook pair occupying the open c-file were matched by white's rook pair occupying the open f-file, the game really came down to knight versus bishop with 6 pawns each still on the board.  With one eye on proceedings on the other boards, Ken agreed a draw shortly after the first time control.

Stephane Pedder finished shortly after, but not with the result he had hoped for in his favoured French defence.  In an advance variation, white had replied to black's usual c5 not with the common move c3, but with a knight which very quickly ended up on d4.  White continued to play aggressively in the opening and moving into the middlegame had his queen on h6, with a rook manoeuvring round to take up position on h3.  With a pair of actively placed bishops both eyeing Stephane's king along with advancing f & g pawns, it was only a matter of time before white's aggressive play would produce a result.  In the end, there were just too many threats for Stephane to contend with and the Tamworth player pulled his team level at 1.5 - 1.5.

Kazik Wozniak had a rather quiet opening and middlegame.  The Bishops were exchanged at an early stage, followed by a tussle for control of open and half-open c and f files, which concluded in the exchanging of knights and queens, but all with little progress from either side.  With only Kings and pawns left on the board, Kazik considered his opponents draw offer for a long time until he spotted the best continuation and soon walked his king into the enemy camp to raise the victory flag.

With this repeat of the 2.5 - 1.5 win over Tamworth earlier in the season, Stafford keep up the chase near the top of the Cannock league division 2 table.