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Tight at Tamworth

posted 26 Oct 2012, 13:45 by knight moves   [ updated 26 Oct 2012, 13:47 ]
Stafford travelled to unfamiliar territory on Thursday for an away match in Cannock Division 2 at Tamworth.  

Denis Nesbitt was first to finish with the white pieces on board 3.  Denis took the opportunity to pressurise his opponents queen side in a position where opposite side castling had left the position unbalanced and slightly open.  However, he left himself with an under-developed king side and a king that was vulnerable to back rank threats.  In an attempt to correct one of those weaknesses, Denis started to mobilise his king side pieces, but overlooked a subtle bishop move out to h6 with check, which immediately left him in an unexpectedly lost position from which he resigned immediately.

Pavel Nefyodov was next to finish on board 1 with the white pieces.  Black had pressed with minor pieces on the king side and was threatening to win an undefended bishop.  Having secured some space on the queen side, Pavel countered this by pressing forward to pressurise a weakly positioned black queen, and looked certain to come out of it with a superior queen side.  However, a short series of exchanges that was led by black with a knight sacrifice to relieve pressure on his queen, actually left black a pawn to the good.  Pavel then found some accurate play to equalise the position, and a draw was finally agreed with Pavel having some time advantage.

David Barker, with his familiar black pieces once again, levelled the match on board 4.  After a couple of early minor exchanges, David quickly spotted a structural weakness in the king side pawns and pressed to take advantage of it, winning a critical pawn and weakening the white defences whilst leaving himself with a protected passed a-pawn.  David proceeded to take advantage of any opportunity to simplify the position, and his opponent seemed happy to oblige, playing into exchanges of all the pieces, bar one rook each.  The fight for promotion of the a-pawn was only going to have one winner but in defending against it, the rest of white's position crumbled and he quickly resigned.

With it now being effectively a one board match, Ken McNulty on board 2 with black had barely gotten out of the opening while everyone else had finished.  The opening itself was unclear, with both sides castling king side and developing slowly.  The first sign of any potential breakthrough came just after the first time control when white, having slightly weakened his own pawn structure a couple of moves earlier, found himself with a weak pawn on c3 and a weak looking backwards pawn at h3.    After an 8 capture exchange on c3, Ken captured the h3 pawn with a rook, which but for an error from white, was then in danger of being shut out of the game.  With a sigh of relief and the rook re-mobilised, the extra pawn was telling, and white eventually ran out of time.

So a final score of 2.5 - 1.5 gives Stafford their first win of the Cannock Div 2 season.  Lost one, Drawn one, Won one (in that order).  Things are picking up!