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Unfinished Business Against Walsall Kipping

posted 25 Oct 2013, 11:56 by knight moves   [ updated 25 Oct 2013, 11:56 ]
"How did you get on tonight?" asked a chap at the Amasal club bar as a few of us hurried in to make last orders.  A perfectly reasonable question, but one that was not so straightforward to answer with a very competitive Wolverhampton League Division One match currently standing at 2.5-1.5 in Stafford's favour but with Walsall Kipping firmly in the driving seat in the two adjourned games.

The visitors drew first blood on board six when Pavel Nefyodov went "all-in" with a major piece attack against his opponent's king.  This looked very dangerous but his opponent defended well and, as the dust settled, had a decisive material advantage when Pavel resigned.

Stephane Pedder played a nice game on board four and looked to be on the way to victory when he won a pawn on the queenside.  However, his opponent managed to complicate matters and Stephane had to shed an exchange in return for a further pawn.  The resulting position was imbalanced but both players were probably quite happy not to lose and a draw was agreed.

Lawrence Cooper levelled the match with, remarkably, his first ever win with the black pieces against David Anderton, at around the thirtieth attempt!  He obtained good outposts for his knights and won a pawn with a neat tactic.  Although the extra pawn was doubled, Lawrence nurtured it through into a rook ending where his central pawns advanced decisively.

Malcolm Armstrong soon had a very nice position with a large space advantage courtesy of pawns on d5, e4 and f5 against c5, d6 and e5.  His opponent sacrificed a pawn in search of some play but it never looked sufficient and Malcolm was able to steer the game into a winning rook ending to put Stafford into the lead. 

Ray Hyde looked to have secured an early edge as he established a knight on e4 supported by pawns on f5 and d5.  However, his opponent played patiently and managed to exchange this knight and then plant his own on the weakened e5 square.  Queenside pressure cost Ray a pawn and the ensuing bishop ending will be difficult for him on resumption. 

On board three, Matthew Harborne was under immense pressure throughout as his opponent sacrificed a pawn to trap his king in the centre. He did well to survive to the end of the session but had to give up his queen for a rook and piece, and he too will be in for a tough time when the game is resumed.

So any of the three match results is still possible, although a 3.5-2.5 win for Walsall Kipping is probably the most likely outcome. Watch this space.....