"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Grantham-2 - West Bridgford 4 : 1

The Nottinghamshire Chess League, Division 2, has started immediately after the New Year and Grantham-2 was straight out of the blocks on Wednesday at home. 
Our first opponent was West Bridgford which this time did not come with the strongest possible team. What made the matters worse for West Bridgford was the fact that they, short of players, had to default games on two boards!
The results were as follows:
Grantham 2
West Bridgford
David I
Brown A
Palmer T
Budd C
Mason B
Hill F
Holt C

Cumbers C

A special recognition goes to my opponent on the top board, Allan Brown, rated some 50 E.C.F. points lower than me, who played with White pieces an excellent game. He gave me really a hard time in the Grünfeld Indian Defence keeping me cramped all the time. Finally, when he wanted to get as much as possible out of the position, he made a mistake and the game was transposed into the rook ending with 4:3 pawns, and where Black had a distant passed pawn on the a-file. He finally resigned, however, I am not sure that his decision was correct and I suspect that he would have been able, playing correctly, to have kept a draw. 
Let's have a look at this position.

Brown A. - David I, 2012
Black played his last move 42...Ra1 and much to my surprise Allan resigned. 
The problem is that I am not sure that Black can win this ending. 
The plan of defensive strategy could be as follows:

1. White rook will be placed behind the Black passed pawn.
2. White King will stay protected from checks by f-pawn on the f-file.
3. Once the Black King will engage into the game Black rook will remain on the 7th rank and will keep checking Black King from behind.
4. If Black King tries to find out a sanctuary on king-side then the White Rook will stay on a-file.

The practical realization of this plan may lead to following continuation:
43.Kf4 Kf6 (43...Kf8)  
44.Rb6+ Ke7 45.Ra6 a2 46.h4 Kd7 47.g4 Kc7 48.g5 hxg5+ 49.hxg5 Kb7 50.Ra4 Kb6 51.Kf3 Kb5 52.Ra7 Kc4 53.Ke2 Kd4 54.Kf3 Kd3 55.Kf4 Kd2 56.f3 Kc2 57.Rc7+ Kb3 58.Rb7+ Ka3 59.Ra7+ Kb2  

and it is not quite clear how Black can turn his advantage into the victory. 
I welcome any suggestions, recommendation or any burst of inspiration what to do for both sides. 

There were two other draws.  
Trevor Palmer was played against Chris Budd. Trevor was tempted to employ his favourite  opening - The Stonewall Attack and if you really want to get more about this opening than please visit his website DforChess. You can read a lot about this opening and you can see some of games played by author himself.

As for the game itself, let speak Trevor himself. I have received his game and some comments by e-mail recently:  

"I set out to do so (to play the Stonewall Attack - RR) and even played the essential f4 but Black's response with 4..Bf5 and later with ...g6 virtually stops it in its tracks. There are 2 ways in which I deal with ...Bf5. One is to make a direct challenge with Bd3. (Black then has several options: an exchange of bishops on d3, a retreat to g6, or support by playing e6). The other option for me is to play Ne2 then to g3. My ideal objective here is to 'encourage' Black to play Bxb1 when I can then go ahead with the Stonewall. Or, Black can again retreat to g6. In this game - see following - Black chooses another plan and, at first I was quite happy with it as it frees the d3/h7 diagonal. However, after much manoeuvring, not only did pieces get exchanged but I had to change my game plan to a Q-side attack."

Let's have look at the game in full.

Ben Mason playing with Black pieces against Frank Hill defended himself by his favourite French Defence and the game finished draw.

Grantham-2 made first good step in New Year.

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