Atticus Open: 2nd Round Report

The 2nd round of our Open, as Tennessee Williams might have described it, was hotting up in every sense: .. why the night was just too bloody humid. Quickly it became clear that the so-called underdogs were not there just to make up the numbers. For instance, it would be unwise to underestimate Brian Ewart`s opening theory, just as it would be to think Mark Wadsworth couldn`t hack his tactics. Well, both managed to gain an edge, just as Chris Wentworth did with his e6 pawn thrust against Greg Hughes. It didn`t stop there as the fever seemed to spread over almost every board. Derek Rooney was frustrated with his opportunities against Phil Taylor, Bob Greaves was working hard at trying to wear down Brian Caulfield (although Brian seemed better until his pawns started to fall). Steve Winstanley and Ben Ellington looked about equal but about to enter a tactical foray... the room was heating up by the second I`m telling you.

So, you`re curious about the various outcomes? Well, first I should mention Mike Coffey`s game against Dave Lawson played ahead of schedule last Monday, in which Mike, gaining a positional advantage, was looking to upset the formbook, and he may well have had the possibility to do just that. Notwithstanding (just thought I`d throw that one in) Fide Masters just don`t go under so easily, and an oversight by Mike gave David the win.

Steve Carr, a creditable dark horse in this years Open, soon exploited the dark-squared weaknesses in Neil Tabor`s position – a difficult first round for Neil.. blame Sevilla. Derek Rooney found it frustrating to earn the win against Phil Taylor but did it he eventually did (sort the grammar out in that). Steve Philp`s nebulosity was for some time matched by Josh Gibbs, though nebulosity anywhere near his own king turned out to be not so great for Josh.

Meanwhile, Ben Ellington was building on his good showing in the 1st round by taking his first scalp, Steve Winstanley casually dropping a rook when things looked even. Then Chris` game petered out to a draw especially after the queens were exchanged. On the top boards, crucially David was firmly penned in by Brian Ewart`s positive play early doors and, in spite of an almost miraculous clock-based escape act, David went down with about 2 seconds left. I had that game down as a blood-bath and probable game of the week but on the next board Mark had likewise let the referees watch go into Fergie-time. When it did, Mark, by his well-controlled play in quite a ballistic setting, clinched a well deserved victory against Luke, and to which accordingly I would like to award the `Game of the Day`.

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