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

Friday, 11 January 2013

Grantham-1 vs West Bridgford-1 4:1

Wednesday night, 9th January 2013, the NCA league has re-started after Christmas break.
West Bridgford came to Grantham Chess Club to fight another league match. Not in the strongest line-up, West Bridgford players were grossly outgraded on most of boards but top. Visitors definitely did not come as defeatists and some of games were pretty tough. Grantham beat his opponent 4:1.

West Bridgford-1
Mangione C
Richmond R
Birtwistle N
Truman R
Payne N
Nabbs T
Prior S
Budd C
David I
Crosdale H

Claudio Mangione playing Black had difficult task to cope with the strongest player of Bridgford.
Robert J Richmond, well-known as an organiser of Nottingham Chess Congress and other events, is strong player. In King's Indian Defence Claudio had to be very careful and the final draw was perhaps a fair result.

Nigel Birtwistle played against Richard Truman. Playing White, Nigel chose 1.e4 which was met by 1...c5. It was not big surprise for me that Nigel went for Alapin variation.
It is my understanding that in this line White is always tad better, so if nothing exciting happens then Black is fighting only for two results - draw or nothing. But Richard's defensive strategy was a bit passive which allowed Nigel two strategical achievements: First, he cramped Black on the king-side; second, he created stunning forepost for his Knight on d6. Finally White Queen penetrated up on h7-square and game was over.

Steve Prior played with White and the opening played by Chris Budd was very refreshing. Sicilian Dragon - Yugoslav variation was really surprised. Nowadays majority of White players tries to avoid the Open Sicilian, so the credit goes to Steve, and the fact that Chris was not afraid of plethora of theory in Dragon deserves also recognition.
Both players followed the theory till move 10 and then Chris came up with some kind of novelty. Move later he played move which not only doesn't look pretty but it seems to me that such a move is completely against the spirit of this line - 11...e5. Perhaps he should have tried to start some action on Queen-side like 11...b5, or should have stopped the White activity on King-side by 11...h5. Difficult to judge because I am definitely not an expert on this particular line, but definitely 11...e5 was not brilliant move.
Steve cramped Black position on the King-side, then stopped completely any activity on the Queen-side and forced Black to play "freeing" f5. Rest was just a matter of technique.

The fate put me against young Harry J Croasdale graded some 40 ECF points lower than me. You know this scenario. He has nothing to lose and I am just an old man who deserves to be beat. On the top of that, he came to surprise me with Dunst opening 1.Nc3.
Well, by move transposition the game went into Two Knights Caro-Kann and my young opponent surprised me again with rather bizarre-looking move 3.Qf3.... I had not idea that time that this had been already played in several rather serious games on the higher level than ours! I wish to know if it were a part of his home prep or just sheer stroke of genius in over-the-board game!
Nevertheless, the game was rather equal for long time and we both were running short of time. Game reached the breaking point - rather complex ending - and with not too much time left on the clock my younger opponent made under pressure a final mistake. I have to congratulate him because he played truly great game.

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