Friday, 11 April 2014

WDCL Rock Cup Final 10/04/2014: Dave Wightman prevails and retains Silverware.

Rock Cup Final – Dave Wightman (165) vs Peter Banks (135)

Dave Wightman met Peter Banks in the final of the Rock Cup at Walsall Kipping.  Dave Wightman won the toss and chose the white pieces.  No clear advantage came of the opening and the game developed into a tense, tactical struggle. Black conceded doubled pawns in the centre in order to open up the f file against white’s castled king and this became the main feature of the game.  Black eventually trebled his major pieces on the half open file and exerted extreme pressure on the white position.  Eventually, though, while manoeuvring his pawns forward to completely break open the position, black made the smallest of positional mistakes and a pawn was lost.  This halted the black pawn advance and allowed white to play f3 in return, relieving much of the pressure, but the game was far from won.  The first time control was reached easily by both sides, but white could only slowly take advantage of a superior pawn structure, inching inexorably forwards.  With the pressure on the black position growing, a second pawn was obtained and this was to prove crucial as white was then able to simply exchange off the remaining pieces until the pawn majority became conclusive.

So Dave Wightman wins the Rock Cup, but thanks are due to Peter Banks for a well executed game that completely belied the theoretical grading difference between the two sides.  Thanks are also due to Frank Wood for his extremely efficient organisation of the competition and to Walsall Kipping for generously hosting the event.

By Dave Wightman

Thank you Dave and very well done indeed on retaining the Rock Cup at Wolverhampton for the 3rd consecutive year.

Friday, 4 April 2014

WDCL Div 1 Wolverhampton A v Walsall Kipping A

WDCL Div 1 Match 154

Thurs 03/04/2014
Wolverhampton A Walsall Kipping A
1 189 Townsend Michael P 0.5 0.5 Anderton David CM 194
2 e189 Sanghera Parminder 1 0 Bellin Jana WGM 188
3 165 Wightman Dave R 0.5 0.5 Roberts Nick 175
4 153 Bull Phil 1 0 Bellin Christopher 157
5 146 Wood Frank (Cap) 0 1 Pritchard Dave 155
6 146 Jones Peter Pearson 1 0 Friend Dave 138
Totals 4 2

Fresh from the dramatic events of the Pittaway Cup Final on Tuesday, Wolverhampton faced Walsall Kipping in the final match of the Wolverhampton League season.  Needing to win to remain in Division 1, both sides were close to full strength leading to no significant grading advantage for either side.  For the first hour, there was nothing between the sides, but Parminder Sanghera gradually developed a space advantage on the kingside which opened up into a sharp attack.  Peter Pearson-Jones went an exchange up on Board 6, but Phil Bull’s opponent sacrificed a knight for an attack against the white king.  Dave Wightman agreed a draw on Board 3 and, shortly afterwards, Phil Bull won when black’s attack subsided.  On Board 1, there were protected passed pawns for both sides, in an otherwise congested position, and a draw was agreed.  Parminder Sanghera sacrificed a rook to open up the black king and the attack was ultimately successful, leading to a match score of 3 – 1 to the home side.  Frank Wood was unable to protect all of his pawns in a rook ending, eventually losing on Board 5, but Peter Pearson-Jones closed out the win when his opponent ran into time trouble and was unable to sustain the defence, leading to a match score of 4 – 2 on the night.

Subject to confirmation by more gifted mathematicians, it is believed that this result is sufficient to secure Wolverhampton’s survival in the top flight for another season, albeit by the narrowest of margins.  Two great results in three days have put a very different complexion on what had been a difficult season for the club.  Thanks are due to Walsall Kipping for an exciting match.

By Dave Wightman 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

WDCL Pittaway Cup Final 01/04/2014: Wolverhampton Triumph!

WDCL Pittaway Cup Final at Mercia  Chess Club (neutral venue)

Pittaway Cup Final

Date: Mon 01/04/2014
Wolverhampton Kidderminster
1 187 Townsend Michael P 1.0 0.0 Wrench John P 166
2 Sanghera Parminder 1.0 0.0 Friar Joseph 161J
3 165 Wightman Dave 0.5 0.5 Maurice Bissell 167
4 154 Bull Phil 0.5 0.5 Friar Jim 168
5 153 Hunt Jonathan B 0.5 0.5 Friar James
6 151 Wood Frank 0.5 0.5 Varilone John 144
7 140 Jones Peter Pearson (Cap) 1.0 0.0 Close David 142
8 136 Porter Phil D 0.5 0.5 Riley Mark 142

Handicap 0.0 2.25

1086 5.50 4.75 including 2.25 handicap 929

Games like this one are the reason why I love cup competitions so much.  It was a night full of high drama, played out at Mercia, who were kind enough to host the event.  The two teams were very evenly matched on grade, giving Kidderminster a theoretical advantage by virtue of the 2.25 point lead as a result of their Division 2 status, but it was always going to be close.  Kidderminster won the toss and had white on the odd numbered boards.  No clear advantage was gained from the early exchanges, although Peter Pearson-Jones and Phil Porter both briefly went a pawn ahead.  Phil Bull was the first to finish, agreeing a draw.  As the first time control approached, Peter Pearson-Jones had better pawn structure in an end game featuring passed pawns for both sides, while Parminder Sanghera went a pawn ahead and had exposed the black king.  However Jonathan Hunt, already a pawn behind, now went two pawns down on the queenside and was forced to launch an all out attack against the white king.  Sacrificing a rook and then a knight, the white kingside pawn structure was torn open, but the mating combination was just not there.  In the end, a draw was achieved by virtue of a perpetual check.

Dave Wightman agreed a draw and Frank Wood secured a passed pawn on d6, which forced black into a largely passive role in order to blockade it.  Phil Porter drew on Board 8, making the score on the night 2 – 2 and inching Kidderminster ever closer to the winning post.  Wolverhampton now needed to win three of the remaining four games and draw the fourth in order to win the trophy.  Peter Pearson-Jones was now a pawn ahead, and was able to give it back in order to shepherd his passed pawns through to win, and Parminder Sanghera was now two pawns ahead with his opponent in terrible time trouble.  Shortly afterwards, still valiantly defending a difficult position, black’s flag fell.  This made the score 4 – 2 to Wolverhampton, but both of the remaining games were looking drawn.  Frank Wood was unable to push the passed pawn onwards and reluctantly agreed a draw, leaving the match to be decided on Board 1, where an incredibly complicated position had developed.  The white king had been forced into the centre of the board and the black queen, rook and bishop were circling around it, trying to find an opening.

Mike Townsend knew that a win was required, and so the match continued right to the death.  White managed to build counter-play by releasing the queen from the defence of the king and slowly the pieces were exchanged.  With no time on either clock, just the kings and three pawns were left.  Black had two connected, passed pawns on the kingside, but had to keep his king on the queenside to cover white’s own protected passed pawn.  Technically, it was a draw but, in the flurry of final moves which reached this position, white’s flag had fallen and the game was won for black.

So, the score was 5.5 – 2.5 on the night and a win for Wolverhampton, who retain the Pittaway Cup, by the narrowest possible margin.  Thanks are due to Kidderminster for a fine match, played in the best possible spirit.  Good luck for next season in Division 1. 

By Dave Wightman