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

Thursday, 21 February 2013

NCA League: Grantham-1 Beat Mansfield-1

Last night, Grantham-1 hosted Mansfield-1. The match was tight nearly down to the wire. The games on top boards were very tough, and the game on the board two became a little drama in time trouble where both players, Nigel Birtwistle and Jim Burnett, played "to the Kings". Technical draw was claimed when only 2 seconds left on Nigel's clock!!!

Mangione C
Tait JA
Birtwistle N
Burnett J
Payne N
Morrison KGE
Prior S
Cantrill CS
David I
Wagenbach JJ

Claudio Mangione, playing with Black against Jonathan Tait, suffered a bit in the Modern Defence. In the Queenless middlegame White was definitely better. Then he came up with excellent move 34. Nd6! Three moves later Jonathan failed to find the best continuation and Claudio equalised. Then probably both players run short of time and the game looked like a roller coaster ride. Jonathan made a serious mistake an his position was very likely lost. Several moves later Claudio returned the favour and his position became lost. Finally, Claudio miraculously escaped from defeat. By the whisker but very intersting game!

Grantham got the edge when Nick Payne overplayed Kenneth Morrison. Nick, playing Black, had face up to Alapin Variation of Sicilian, he chose for aggressive set up with 2...d5 followed by 5...e5?!. The game took 18 moves only, because in worse position Kenneth blundered Bishop.

Chris Canthrill played against Steve Prior very good chess and in French Defence he obtained a promising position, however, he missed his chance to play for more around the move 23. And then it was Steve's turn to fight for an advantage. And he did so and achieved massive positional advantage if not even winning position. Alas, he did not find the strongest possible continuation and the game eventually ended up draw in opposite coloured Bishops and Rooks ending.

I played against Janos Wagenbach who played with White pieces a very solid opening. Fianchettoing his light-squared Bishop he played for a solid position. Both player then complicated the game. In move 14, Janos chose for queenside expansion overlooking much better option which would have led to destruction of Black's position.
Then, to eliminate Black's pressure along c-file, Janos decided to exchange all heavy pieces and on the board an interesting ending appeared. Having had Bishop pair and Knight Black played against two Knights and Bishop. However, because of closed character of the position it is very difficult to claim any substantial advantage for Black. From the move 50 on, both player were short of time. Under time pressure Janos made several weak moves and finally he blundered a Knight and eventually lost the game.

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