Monday, 27 January 2014

BDCL Div 2 individual Championship QF and SF

BDCL Division 2 Individual – Round 2 – John Fahy vs Dave Wightman

Dave Wightman gave up home advantage in the second round of this year’s Birmingham League Division 2 Individual competition, travelling to Warley Quinborne in order to play John Fahy.  The season has been beset by chronic fixture congestion, and this was the last available date before the deadline for matches to be played.  White gained the better of the opening, gaining a strong centre which allowed freer piece development than black.  Pressure built on the cramped black centre until the pivotal moment when white began to advance the central pawns.  As it turned out, black had a defence which allowed the immediate capture of one of the central pawns.  Post match analysis indicated that neither side had fully realised the implications of the saving move at the time, which lead to a pawn capture and then a subsequent piece.  In the ensuing exchanges, the piece was recovered by white to just a rook for knight advantage for black.  However, black was then able to stabilise the position and force the exchange of the major pieces, starting with a rook pair and ending with the queens, which left a sufficient material advantage in the end game to carry black through.  So, Dave Wightman progresses into the semi-finals, thanks to a large slice of luck.  Thanks are due to John Fahy for an interesting match and for being so accommodating over the repeated rearrangement of the fixture.

BDCL Division 2 Individual – Semi Final – Arthur Kent vs Dave Wightman 23/01/2014

The semi-final saw a repeat of the pairing from the 2013 Division 3 final.  However, this match was entirely different.  Instead of a short but lively game, this was a much more tactical encounter.  White gained a modest space advantage out of the opening, comprising a strong centre.  Black was able to hold the defence until, as the first time control approached, a series of exchanges gave black the opportunity to win a pawn as white was forced to maintain the back rank against a residual mating threat.  With a rook plus a and g pawns against a rook and a pawn, black inched inexorably forwards until white finally ran out of space and a second pawn was won.  White eventually resigned on move 70 after nearly 30 moves of resolute defensive play.  So, Dave Wightman reaches the final with some relief after a very tough game.  Thanks are due to Arthur Kent for a keenly contested and interesting game which belied the theoretical grading difference between the players.

By Dave Wightman

Friday, 10 January 2014

WDCL Div 1 09/01/2014 Wolverhampton v Warley Quinborne

Match 129

WDCL 1: Wolverhampton vs Warley Quinborne
Dave Wightman (165)             0.5 – 0.5    Simon Smith (174)
Phil Bull (154)                         0.5 – 0.5    Ian Emery (157)
Jonathan Hunt (153)               Adj – Adj   John Fahy (151)
Frank Wood (151)                 Adj – Adj   Alex Holowczak (139)
Peter Pearson-Jones (140)     0 –      1      Alan Burnet (132)
Peter Griffith (Ung)                Adj – Adj    David Jeffs (132)
                                             1 – 2 (+ 3 Adj)

Warley Quinborne came to Wolverhampton in the first game of the new year, for what could well turn out to be a relegation decider.  Both teams have faced difficulties fielding their first choice teams regularly and are precariously placed towards the foot of the table.  As it turned out, the two teams were evenly matched on the night, and some close encounters ensued.  Frank Wood went an early pawn down.  Although Peter Pearson-Jones went a pawn up, the position quickly became very complex, with multiple threats on the black king, and a queen for rook and bishop exchange was forced by white.  Phil Bull and then Peter Griffith both went a pawn up in good positions, giving hope that Wolverhampton might just take the points.  Playing the longer time control, Dave Wightman escaped with a draw when he was able to successfully blockade a protected, connected passed pawn in an otherwise level position.  Shortly afterwards, Peter Pearson-Jones was unable to hold the position and lost.

The remaining positions held all the way to the adjournment, with Wolverhampton a pawn ahead in three games and a pawn behind in one game.  Unusually, each of the four games featured a pair of opposite coloured bishops.  Phil Bull agreed a draw on Board 2, putting the match position on the night at 2 – 1 in favour of the visitors, but the remaining three games were adjourned.  Thanks are due to Warley Quinborne for some interesting and tightly contested matches, and good luck for the remaining games.

By Dave Wightman