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Valuable Win Against Cheddleton

posted 24 Feb 2013, 05:32 by knight moves   [ updated 24 Feb 2013, 05:32 ]
The third 'A' team match of the season against Cheddleton produced the third different result, as Stafford improved their prospects in Stoke League Division One with a 3.5 - 1.5 win.

With Cheddleton missing several of their top players, Stafford were clear favourites but it proved to be a tense match with the result only confirmed in the final few minutes of the session.  Gerald Acey had a rather uneventful draw, at which point Lawrence Cooper was looking good on board one with an extra pawn but the other three games were all unclear. 

Pavel Nefyodov's opponent had rather optimistically advanced his h-pawn in the early middlegame to a point where it could not be defended. However, Pavel judged that it would be a risky pawn to capture and instead sought to bring his pieces to the kingside and focus on attacking the weakened king.  As his opponent also transferred his pieces to the kingside with parallel aims of defence and counter-attack, a rather unusual type of position arose with both players attacking on the same side of the board when discretion prevailed and a draw was agreed.

Kazik Wozniak had a very interesting game against young Jacob Boswell on board five.  At first he looked to be doing well when he established a strong bind on the black squares, but once all of the minor pieces were exchanged he was clearly in trouble with the weaker king and also a vulnerable d-pawn.  However, Kazik defended very well to secure a valuable half-point.

Malcolm Armstrong surprised his opponent with an unusual opening which helped him to gain an early 20-minute advantage on the clock even if the position was fairly level for a long time.  With queen and knight against queen and bishop, his opponent played an enterprising pawn sacrifice which enabled him to get his c-pawn to the seventh rank, albeit that it was securely blockaded by Malcolm's knight.  Recognising that the match was slipping away from Cheddleton, and with both players down to their last few minutes, his opponent declined a draw offer and went for broke with a piece sacrifice.  Unfortunately for him this was not sound and Malcolm was able to queen a pawn whilst keeping his king out of trouble to put Stafford into the lead.

In the final game to finish, Lawrence Cooper had been a pawn up for a long time and as the game reached a knight ending with the extra pawn being a very useful outside passed pawn, it seemed as if the win would be just a matter of time. However, his opponent defended extremely resourcefully and came close to securing a draw before the combination of practical problems and time pressure proved too much and Lawrence secured the win.

Stafford now lie just one point behind leaders Holmes Chapel but with a match in hand and there will be plenty to play for in the remaining matches.