| ||Manningtree C ||06/03/19||Woodbridge B |
|1||Phillips, Carl ||117 ||½ - ½||Gaffney, Samuel ||134|
|2||Kerr, Rowland ||112 ||1 - 0||Lewis, Alan J ||121|
|3||Welsh, David ||117 ||0 - 1||Skirrow, Chris ||106|
|4||Price, John ||106 ||½ - ½||Pepper, Michael ||89|
| || || ||2 - 2|
Manningtree C came out tonight with their strongest squad determined to return to the top of the table, and this result virtually
confirms they will finish in the top two, with a good chance of being top. The games all had a similar look about them - all were
QP openings, except Roland's, which was an English, and all involved a lot of strategic manoeuvring. A long haul was in the offing,
especially as after an hour of play only two pairs of pawns had been exchanged across all four boards. |
David was the first to finish and he began with some early queen side activity before either side had castled. His opponent defended
well and switched wings, and after all the minor pieces were exchanged his opponent won a pawn right in front of David's king. David
was now on the defensive, but in spite of stubborn resistance his opponent managed to exchange both pairs of rooks, gain another pawn,
and create a passed central pawn. It was clear the queen and pawn ending would only end one way, and when his opponent forced the
exchange of the queens, David resigned.
It wasn't long before Rowland levelled the score. His English was met with a Dutch variety, and once the pieces started to come off,
Rowland had a slight edge with an active knight against his opponent's somewhat hindered bishop. I wasn't an easy task to capitalise
on, but Rowland managed to keep the threats coming, and once his opponent probably missed his best drawing chance, a knight sacrifice
netted Rowland his opponent's queen for a rook. The queen v rook and bishop ending however, was far from easy to convert, but having
hoovered up all of his opponent's pawns he managed it well, even finishing half an hour ahead on the clock.
Carl kept the score level after a cautious game of positional play in which both players played at a rate almost half that of the rest
of the team. It was a difficult position for either player to open up, and although Carl spotted a couple of potential sacrifices,
he couldn't quite work out all the ramifications, although the post mortem suggested that one of them would have worked.
So after three hours of play, with 24 moves played, and just one minor piece and two pawns exchanged, a draw was agreed.
This just left John, whose game was also one of a patient positional struggle. Both players were finding it difficult to find a line
to open up the game, such that at move 21, with just a knight and bishop off the board, John was offered a draw. He declined and pressed on,
and not unusually, found himself behind on time. He did however manage to create chances, but his opponent hung on until the rook and pawn
ending, and even though John was down to his last minute plus increments, he declined a second draw offer hoping to convert one of his
c-pawns. It was not to be however, and in the end he had to settle for the half point.
As an aside, it was noticed that two of the Woodbridge players were still using descriptive notation, which is against the rules and
hardly ever seen these days. Mind you, the penalty for such an infringement is only that the score sheet may not be used in evidence.