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

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Grantham 1 vs Newark 1: 2½:2½

Grantham 1 hosted last night Newark 1 and despite that on the paper the odds looked more favourable for Grantham the away team from Newark was ready for tough fight.
Have a look at result sheet and judge for yourself.

Grantham 1
Newark 1
Birtwistle N
Combie A
Payne N
George A
Prior S
Myers R
Hebert A
Aiton K
David I
Ladds G

The match kicked off with quick victory for Grantham when Andy Hebert, whose season has been very impressive so far, beat Keith Aiton. Playing White pieces Andy stuck to his aggressive play and went for tactical scramble and outplayed his opponent who lost a piece and decided to call it a day.
Steven Prior had no mercy with Richard Myers who launched with White pieces very nice king-side attack where all three results were possible. Then he overextended himself when he sacrificed the piece for two passed, advanced and gory looking f6 and h7-pawns (See diagram No.1). 

No.1: Myers-Prior, after 26.Qg7?

This plan was very likely a losing mistake.
Steve simplified position and a rising position was materially unbalanced leaving White with 2 Rooks, Knight and 3 Pawns against Black Queen, Bishop pair and 2 Pawns. On the top of that both player were running short of time. 

No.2: Myers-Prior, after 69...Qd2

In the diagram (No.2) position, after Black's move 69 Richard thought for a while and flagged.
The situation on the remaining three boards was not so clear. Being pressed by Graham Ladds I did not have too much time to follow my colleagues on the top board, but quick look at their positions was not that bad.
Graham played with White pieces and played very solidly. He put me into a bit cramped position where his passed d-pawn looked rather ominously.
However, one thing is to achieve a winning position and second thing is to win a won position. I manage somehow to create some counterplay on the Queen-side of the board, then trade the Queens and went into lost ending. Having put up stubborn resistance Graham lost the control and in my opinion blundered pawn.

No.3: Ladds-David, after 26..Nf8

In the diagram position No.3 White should have perhaps played 27.Rc6 with very good prospect for win. He played surprisingly 27.d7 and after exchange of loads of material we ended up in the Knight and Pawns ending.This position was perhaps won for me but under time constraints I missed my chance and let Graham off hook in following position.

No.4: Ladds-David, after 44.Ng1?

The obvious move is 45...g4 46.Kc4 f3 47.Nxf3 gxf3–+ and White is lost. However, from some strange reason I was convinced that 45...Nd2+ was better. Sadly it was not. Game followed like this: 

45...Nd2+? 46.Kc2= f3 47.Nh3 
[47.Kxd2?? f2 48.Nf3 f1Q 49.Nxg5+ Kg6–+]
47...Ne4 48.Kd3 f2 49.Ke2 Kf6 
[49...Nc3+ 50.Kf1=]
50.Nxf2 Nc3 51.Kf3 

The time was running short for both of us. Graham offered draw and nothing else left than to shake his hand.

Two games on the top board had finished very unlucky for Grantham team. 
I am convinced that Nigel had material advantage and I am not sure what had happened. The same can be said about Nick's game. Never mind, it was very interesting match.

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