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

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Grantham 1 Overplayed Gambit 1

The Grantham 1 team has started new season of NCA in division 1 last Wednesday in the match against Gambit 1. For team captain Nigel Birtwistle it was not easy task to put up strong team. On two top boards Gambit put two players 200+, Peter Mercs and Michael Barns, so it was easy to expect that match will be decided on the bottom boards.
It was Nigel himself who grabbed first point for Grantham. Playing with Black pieces he went wild and all of sudden Michael Barn's Queen landed on a8 (!) taking the rook. But White King was everything but safe and both opponents agreed draw rather quickly afterwards. 
Another rather "quick" draw was agreed on the board no 4. Nick Payne, who hasn't played single game of competitive chess since April when the NCA league had finished, played with Black pieces a solid kingside fianchetto setup and neither him nor John Swain wanted to take the risk.
Paul Cumbers who travelled from Sheffield to beef up the team outplayed Steve Hunter and gained for team very important point.
Two games to go, Claudio Mangione against Peter Mercs and me against Bryan Hayward. Claudio's position with White pieces was drawish looking, however, Claudio somehow managed to get some advantage and patiently kept playing.
Bryan Hayward did not enjoy the game for sure. He was under constant positional pressure and he was not able generate any counterplay. He decided to go desperados creating some activity on the Kingside which look dangerous but it was not.
The only problem was to win the won position and manage the time constraint.
Having had 5 minutes to go I did not want to take the risk and went for draw by repetition because I had overlooked the winning pin leading to material imbalance - two rooks and passed pawn for queen. Really pity but it was very important half point which would have sealed the draw in match if Claudio drew on the top board.
But Claudio raised himself up to the challenge and turned the advantage of two light pieces against rook and won the game and match.

Gambit 1
Grantham 1
Mercs P
Mangione C
Barnes M
Birtwistle N
Hunter S
Cumbers P
Swain J
Payne N
Hayward B
David I

Definitely a very solid start in new season.

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