Friday, 21 February 2014

WDCL Div 1 20/02/2014: Wolverhampton A v Halesowen A

      Thurs 20/01/2014  
    Wolverhampton A     Halesowen A  
1 189 Townsend Michael P 0.5 0.5 Fishburne Stewart K 190
2 165 Wightman Dave R 0 1 Hunt Malcolm A 178
3 153 Bull Phil 0.5 0.5 Hadley Mike 154
4 146 Wood Frank (Cap) 0.5 0.5 Ambrose Andy 148
5 135 Porter Phil D 0 1 Peck Windsor WA 135
6 131 Rosser Geoff C 1 0 Evans Paul J 116
Totals     2.5 3.5    

They say that it isn’t over until the fa…what is that noise?  It sounds like singing.  Wolverhampton and Halesowen met in what could only be described as a straight relegation decider.  On the night, the two teams were very evenly matched and so a close game was in prospect.  This was exactly how it turned out, with no player gaining a significant advantage for most of the evening.  Phil Bull was the first to finish, agreeing a draw on Board 3.  Shortly afterwards, Geoff Rosser won suddenly, thanks to a blunder, and Frank Wood then went a passed pawn up.  This gave the home side real hope of survival, but it was not to last.  Frank Wood was pulled back to a materially level position, albeit still with a connected, protected passed pawn.  Phil Porter ran into severe time trouble, needing to make more than a dozen moves with just a few seconds remaining, and his position worsened steadily with the loss of a piece and then a pawn.  Dave Wightman then blundered in an already inferior ending to lose immediately and Phil Porter finally ran out of time in spite of valiant attempts to generate counter play against the white king.  Mike Townsend agreed a draw, leaving Frank Wood the task of trying to convert his slender positional advantage to save the match.  Unfortunately, with only a bishop pair left on the board, there was no way to displace the black king from the crucial square and the pawn could not be advanced.  A draw was agreed and the match was lost.

So, Wolverhampton are all but relegated for the second time in three seasons.  They stand on the brink, needing an unlikely win against title challengers Walsall Kipping in their final match to stand even a mathematical chance of staying in Division 1.  Thanks are due to Halesowen for an exciting match, played in a tremendous spirit, and good luck in Division 1 next year.

By Dave Wightman

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

BDCL Div 2 06/02/2014: Wolverhampton v Mutual Circle

BDCL Div 2

      Thurs 06/02/2014  
    Wolverhampton     Mutual Circle  
1 189 Michael P Townsend 1 0 Mark Tallis 145
2 165 Dave Wightman 1 0 Mike Hollier 147
3 153 Phil Bull 1 0 Chris Evans 143
4 148 Jonathan B Hunt 1 0 Robert Hollows 131
5 146 Frank Wood 1 0 Mike Walker 114
6 146 Peter Pearson-Jones  1 0 Medhi Al Samir 113
Totals 947 6 0   793

Mutual Circle were without a number of regular players for this Birmingham League clash.  As a result, they faced an uphill task, facing a grading deficit of just under 26 points per board.  Jonathan Hunt was the first to break ranks, sacrificing a rook for bishop in order to generate an attack.  Frank Wood also offered a gambit pawn in the opening, but Peter Pearson-Jones went an early pawn ahead.  In the early middle game, Dave Wightman gained a piece, due to a decisive check in the middle of a minor piece exchange, and Mike Townsend gained a pawn which soon became passed.

With the time control approaching, Dave Wightman was able to exchange off the last of the major pieces to win, while Frank Wood executed an exchange sacrifice to break through against his opponent.  Jonathan Hunt managed to conclude his attack, for three wins in quick succession.  Phil Bull’s opponent managed to reach the first time control, but with just a few seconds left on the clock, while Mike Townsend gained a second pawn, also passed, and won shortly afterwards.  Phil Bull went a pawn ahead in the endgame and, with passed pawns on either wing, was able to close out the match.  Finally, Peter Pearson-Jones went two pawns up, winning on time shortly afterwards at the second time control.

So, a resounding win for Wolverhampton, which keeps alive their slender hopes of promotion to Division 1.  Thanks are due to Mutual Circle for putting up strong resistance in a difficult situation, and good luck for the rest of the season.

By Dave Wightman

Saturday, 1 February 2014

WDCL Rock Cup Quarter Final 30/01/2014

Rock Cup Quarter Final – Lee Collier vs Dave Wightman

It was another action packed game as Dave Wightman took on Lee Collier for a place in the Semi Finals of this year’s Rock Cup.  Playing black but with home advantage, Dave Wightman got off to the traditional slow start, allowing white to develop a strong centre and superior development.  Both sides played relatively experimental openings, but it is probably safe to say that any time black plays both Nb8 and Ng8 in the first ten moves, it isn’t going well.  With white having a firm control over the centre and threats on the kingside, the black king castled long to the relative safety of the queenside.  Behind interlocked pawns, but facing massing white pieces, the peace didn’t last long.  White sacrificed a knight for two pawns to break open the position and there followed an extended period of scrambling defence as white tried to pour through the breech.  Black’s queen and a rook were tied down to holding back the white pawn advance, while minor pieces circled the fray probing for weaknesses.  As the tension built, white sacrificed a pawn, and then another pawn, to progressively dismantle the black defences.  However, when the attack finally subsided, the black king emerged unscathed from the wreckage of the queenside and with a piece advantage.

The game was far from over, however, as black pressed forwards for a further 20 moves with a material advantage and white defended resolutely.  Eventually, the mounting pressure of an advancing passed pawn told and black gained the opportunity to win a piece.  However, this opportunity was missed and black’s ineffectual attempts to try to break through were eventually halted by white’s flag falling.  So, Dave Wightman advances once again thanks to a large slice of luck.  Thanks are due to Lee Collier for a tremendously exciting game, played in a great spirit of sportsmanship.  Good luck for the rest of the season.

By Dave Wightman