Friday, 31 October 2008

Scraptoft Valley 1 2½-2½ Littlethorpe 1

The team was picked well in advance for the match against Scrappy Valley but my only concern was Brandon. He had returned from America only the day before and would play if he wasn't jet lagged. I texted and emailed mum but no reply, so I lined up Pete Harrison as deputy Wunderkid! As it was, contact was re-established with the Clarke household and Pete was off the hook. So off to Netherhall for another tight (on paper) encounter.

Brandon was late, but he always seems to be! But where's Graham Sharpe? He's nowhere to be seen, and I don't have a phone number for him with me! The of course (and all captains will know what I mean) those thoughts run through my head - I did email him, didn't I? He did reply, didn't he?? I even rang Graham Booley and got GS's home number but no reply - he must be on his way. Fingers crossed anyway!

So onto the match. Graham didn't arrive, so we were 1-0 down at the start (later, I received an email apologising as something had come up at school at the very last minute – these things happen). My game lasted barely 45 minutes. I'd like to tell you that it was a brilliancy of such magnitude that I must post it here for all to see, enjoy and learn from. I'd like to say that, but sadly the truth is that my opponent simply put a piece en prise! Not 15 minutes after I had finished than so too had Brandon. Poor Ray Burgess had been well and truly put to the sword. The following position occurred after only 15 moves and Ray (white, to move) is completely busted.

In desperation he played Bxg4 and after the natural ..hxg4 Ray played Qxg4 no doubt hoping for some counter-play against Brandon's king. So, can you see what happened next? (answer at the bottom).

Dave Bray against Roland Graf was an interesting battle which ended up K+R+2P v K+R+2P with the pawns on opposite wings. Roland had to give up his rook for one of Dave's pawns as both sides queened. Dave tried to keep his rook with tempo by giving a check but ended up losing it to a fork, and the resultant Q and Pawn ending was tricky but ultimately lost. Fritz later pointed out that the draw is achieved trivially by simply moving the rook to safety first, then sacrificing the rook for the remaining pawn at the earliest opportunity to leave K+Q v K+Q. A good lesson to learn!

So, it all rested on Mike Cowley v Mick Tate. Mike looked to have the better of things but then Mick got some activity. Suddenly Mikes king was chased to b4 and a mating net looked like it was closing in. Mike was able to punch a couple of holes in that but the game was certainly double edged. With little time remaining a draw was agreed in an interesting position.

A drawn match in a good, close competitive affair. Let's hope they're all like that!

Scraptoft Valley 1

Littlethorpe 1


Alan Edwards

1-0 d

Graham Sharpe


Ray Burgess


Brandon Clarke


Bob Collins


Sean Hewitt


Roland Graf


Dave Bray


Mick Tate


Mike Cowley


The answer in the Burgess-Clarke game is that black played the devastating ...Nde2+ when, after Kh1 the simple ...e5!! white's queen has lots of space around her, but no safe square to move to. Oh dear.

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