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Winning End to Summer Campaign

posted 20 Jul 2012, 08:10 by knight moves   [ updated 17 Aug 2012, 08:37 ]
Stafford concluded the Wolverhampton Summer League Division One season with a 3-1 away win against West Bromwich.

Stephane Pedder opened the scoring with a win on board 2.  His opponent invited a strong attack by exchanging on g6, allowing Stephane to open the h-file and then castle queenside, and it always looked likely that Stephane's attack would arrive first.  The attack became so strong that Stephane could afford to miss a couple of knockout blows before finally forcing his opponent to resign.

West Brom levelled the match with a win on board one.  After an early exchange of queens threatened to produce a very sterile position, Malcolm Armstrong managed to advance his central pawns and develop a pleasant initiative.  Having won a pawn he looked to be on the way to a win but allowed his opponent to develop some annoying activity, and the prospects were fairly level when Malcolm blundered to allow a neat mating combination.

On board 4, Ray Hyde's opponent built up a dangerous-looking initiative with his kingside pawn advances.  However, a timely ....h5 from Ray forced his opponent to block the kingside pawns, after which Ray had a free hand to advance his queenside pawns and open lines for his rooks.  Ray had a commanding position when his opponent allowed a knight fork of his two rooks and decided that he had seen enough.

In the final game to finish, Pavel Nefyodov appeared to miscalculate an exchange of knights and allowed his opponent to play the intermediate move ....Bxh2+, winning an important pawn.  The position was complex and Pavel sacrificed the exchange in order to trap this bishop and, when the dust settled, he had two bishops against a rook and two pawns.  He then played very well to demonstrate the power of the bishop pair, both attacking against a weakened pawn structure and defending by covering potential entry points for his opponent's rooks.  Shortly after the time control, he wrapped the game up with a knight sacrifice that left his opponent's king completely exposed to a mating attack. 

So, with a final haul of 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss from the 4 matches, Stafford finish runner-up to Walsall Kipping's impressive 100% score with Ray Hyde (3/4) and Pavel Nefyodov (2.5/3) the leading contributors.