Rock Cup Round 1:
Steve Heath (117) vs Dave Wightman (165)
Dave Wightman travelled to Rugeley with some trepidation, to open this year's assault on the Rock Cup, having gone out of the competition at the same stage last year. As a result, he was probably unnecessarily cautious in the opening, which led to a modest space and development advantage as white, but nothing concrete. As the middle game developed, black enjoyed attacking chances against the advanced white centre and sacrificed a pawn in order to build up a dangerous attack. With the white king still trapped in the centre, black centralised his rooks and then sacrificed a piece in order to break the position open. In the ensuing carnage, white was fortunate to emerge unmated and with a rook for bishop material advantage. The position remained complicated but, with time running out, black misplaced a rook and resigned immediately. However, the narrowness of the winning margin belied the theoretical grading differential in what was in reality a very closely fought game. Thanks to Steve for an excellent game and good luck in the Bidgood Cup.
By Dave Wightman