Thursday, 21 June 2012

From our Nottingham correspondent (2)

The Nottinghamshire County Championships were held last weekend at the Bramcote Memorial Hall, and I promised a blog "whatever rubbish I play". Fortunately, for me at least, there was rather little in the way of rubbish. After deciding against entering the U160 section I was in the eight man (well, six man, one woman, one junior) U135 section.

The first round went well, as I went a piece up as white before sacrificing a bishop and knight to win black's queen, at which point my opponent resigned. A good start. The second round did not go quite as swimmingly, as I went a pawn down as black in a Caro-Kann. Some weak moves from white, however, allowed me to win eventually win back the pawn, before a discovered check meant white would lose a rook. Two from two.

Round three saw me with white against the other 134 graded player in the section, at that point on 1.5/2. Against the Pirc I won a pawn just out of the opening, before defending against some black threats down the open h-file. After establishing a passed pawn and forcing the queens off, I saw off a final attack before black resigned. A very successful first day.

Sunday morning saw me drawn, as expected, with black against 2nd place. As no-one other than the two of us had more than 1.5/3, a win for me would mean I couldn't be caught. Another Caro-Kann and we approached the middle game fairly equal, only for a couple of passive moves from white allowing me a quick attack. Though this was repelled, it would cause problems for white later on.

Having castled long, white was able to launch his kingside pawns in a counter-attack against my castled king. I was able to stop this, only for white to play a combination I thought I'd calculated as losing him the exchange...

Luckily (for me), I'd calculated correctly. My opponent knew his queen was defending against a potential back-rank mate on d1, only to have overlooked a second threat from my queen, positioned on a5. With his remaining rook leaving his first rank, ...Qe1 won me the game and the title.

Of course, being on 4/4 meant I had to take the final game seriously. Instead I played too quickly, and it was more luck than judgement that saw me reach the endgame a pawn up. Then, strangely, my opponent offered to swap the remaining rooks off, leaving me a simple win. 5/5 and a TPR of nearly 180 means it's unlikely I'll be eligible to defend the U135 title next year!

1 comment:

John Manger said...

Well done Rob very impressive!