Atticus Open: Round 5 Report

Round 5 of the Atticus Open saw early gains made in some of the games. Luke was possibly somewhat surprised by David Odunaiya`s 1....b6, but not as surprised as David was when his king`s bishop was lost in a pawn cul-de-sac! Mark skilfully manoeuvred his way to a pawn up against Mike Coffey. Neil Tabor, on the attack, forgot that his piece was en prise against Natasha. Jeremy, also on the attack, found he had little to show for it after a pawn-hungry Ben Ellington galloped into a lead of three clear pawns. Steve Philp dropped a piece against Greg Hughes but there was a sort of nebulous central rolling pawn thingy in his mind (?)

Brian suffered the most dramatic oversight as, after a decent if unorthodox opening, his mind was elsewhere as Steve Winstanley threatened his queen. It looked a long way back..

Steve Carr and Tom Bimpson was a case of Steve carefully gauging Tom`s characteristically offbeat opening system, and he seemed to manage this as a tense central struggle ensued. Meanwhile, Nigel Hobro was gradually gaining a space advantage against Josh, but there was still much to do.

Then Board 1 suddenly saw a turnaround when Luke, sensing a mating net, allowed David to regain material via a tactic – and now David seemed to have the upper hand. At this point Mark, who looked set to capture yet another scalp, dropped a rook and Mike was relieved to be given the victory. Natasha then won another piece from Neil with good play and that clinched the win. Ben, meanwhile, solidly kept his three pawn advantage against Jeremy, but the clock was ticking on as he pondered how to proceed? Steve Philp did indeed get a pawn thingy going, in fact the nebulous started to become tangible as we pondered `who was winning this game?`

Brian fought hard but the material deficit was too much to overcome. Not to worry Brian, a Grandmaster is someone who has lost at least 1,000 games so they say..

Steve and Tom had had enough of their tense struggle and duly agreed a draw. I have made this my Game of the Week as it was probably the most consistent of the games as far as no mistakes were concerned – although it is admittedly quite short. At this point Josh made a fatal error against Nigel, who continues his good run of form. Ben was still struggling to get his winning plan in motion and a surreal sequence ensued where Ben left his queen en prise only for Jeremy to miss it and then Ben obliged by doing it again – which Jeremy snapped up. Time pressure generally I think.

The ding-dong which was on Board 1 took a final dramatic turn as Luke found a nice winning tactic to clinch victory by a ko. The final game saw totally puzzled spectators (of which I was one) try to figure out who was actually winning out of Steve Philp and Greg. Well it turned out to be Greg, and I guess he knew it all along – we certainly didn`t!

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