The Club

Atticus Open: Report on Round 7

Atticus Open: start of Round 7

  Round 7 of the Atticus Open kicked  off    in sweltering conditions one might expect   of the World Cup when it eventually reaches Qatar. No fatalities yet, and even after 90 minutes of play there was just a few games where a solitary pawn separated the players.



Tom Bimpson`s opening took perhaps an unexpected turn when, under attack from David Lawson, his king fled to f7, but as the position became more unbalanced who actually stood better? Steve Carr set about attacking Mark Wadsworth`s kingside but breeching Helms Deep (see Lord of the Rings) looked easier.

One also had the feeling that some games were simply destined to be draws, perhaps betrayed by a frown or a shrug of the shoulders or a look of puzzlement from the players. Brian Ewart versus John Lambert and Steve Winstanley versus Phil Taylor had the bet-in-play chap from the advert suspending all bets on draws..

There were however, boards in which players took it upon themselves to try to forge their own destiny. Mike Coffey sacced a pawn for some space, but would it be the final frontier? Jeremy crashed through on Rob Greaves` queenside to gain a pawn as the queens were exchanged to quickly reach endgame territory. Nigel Hobro also snatched a pawn and created pawn structural weaknesses in Neil Tabor`s position for future mining.

Chris Wentworth looked to have steered his game against Josh to gain an advantage in tempo and pawn structure but the latter kept things solid and protected his weaknesses to gain a good draw and a feature in our Game of the Day.


Another fine performance saw Natasha establish a commanding position against Steve Philp, as one pawn up became two and then three (but this last one was poisoned by the wicked witch) and tragically Natasha`s knight fell to a pin to save the day for Steve.



Brian Caulfield lost his bishop to a fork against Ben Ellington but he did have two pawns for it and the potential to get his queenside pawns rolling for counterplay, but not castling didn`t help matters. Ben eventually winning out with a massive 20 seconds left – or one would have thought so by the deliberately casual way he went about delivering checkmate!


The mist on Board 1 then cleared and we saw Tom, an exchange down holding on to the cliffs edge by his fingernails, David returning the exchange to send Tom plumetting to defeat. `Who can stop Mr Lawson now?` we all pondered.



David Odunaiya considered that he had gained an edge against Mike Coffey, and as great minds think alike, also thought he had an edge. What became clear though was that an attempted zwischenzug (I`m going to ask you to spell that next week for homework) – Mike threatening mate before recapturing went horribly wrong as David gleefully did a zwischenzug of his own to emerge a clear piece up for the win.

Steve Carr basically gave up trying to breech Mark`s kingside and had laid plans for a draw by perpetual when suddenly the opportunity to sac a rook for a mating attack unexpectedly arrived and Helms Deep finally fell.

Jeremy and Nigel both saw their positional and material advantages through to win, whilst the games between Brian Ewart v John Lambert and Steve Winstanley v Phil Taylor finished the draws they always seemed destined to be.

Next week is `catch up week`, an opportunity to play the adjourned matches while some players are away playing in the British Seniors. Well good luck to them and see some of you next week.

Atticus Open: Round 6 report

Nearly a full house settled down to play as the mellifluous sounds of soul music from the bar crept through to the playing area. Not that anyone`s concentration seemed to be affected however as some great battles began to take shape. Dave Lawson was intent on keeping Luke guessing as to when he was eventually going to castle. Mike Coffey`s central pawn thrust led to the win of an exchange against John Lambert., but the latters` bishops looked a bit handy David Odunaiya played an adventurous g4 in an attempt to unsettle Steven Carr, but what next?. Tom Bimpson looked to have taken a grip on Nigel Hobro`s queenside pawn structure, but the latter was wearing a rather impressive Stiga table-tennis top, but would this be enough? Greg Hughes boldly sacced two pawns for some open channels to Brian Ewart`s king. Chris Wentworth`s game looked dead even against Mark Wadsworth. Steve Philp gained a pawn and space against Jeremy. Natasha likewise had some space against Rob Greaves but her c5 pawn push seemed good for Rob. Steve Winstanley pushed Josh right back and he was eagerly looking for the finish. Ben was waiting for Phil to show for their match but alas this didn`t happen.

Then, as Mary Wells` `My Guy` seeped through to our ears, Tom Bimpson clinched his game against Nigel. David Odunaiya carelessly dropped his knight and the game against Steven Carr, and Rob was intent on collecting a significant pawn advantage against Natasha, which then became a piece for the win. The Jackson Five`s `I want you back` saw Steve Winstanley drop one of his winning central pawns and thereafter capitulate against Josh, who did find some good defensive moves. Mike Coffey couldn`t find the right square for his queen as John Lambert crashed through on his dark squares to win. With accurate and subtle play Dave Lawson undermined Luke`s attacking chances and his positional advantage grew smoothly for the win: and the first of David`s games to be featured on Game of the Week (although in truth I might have chosen any of his games so far).

Finally there were the endgames. Greg won the exchange against Brian and that was enough. Mark won a pawn against Chris and this became two for the win. Steve Philp versus Jeremy was a battle of the serene countenances, with Jeremy`s faint smile managing to hold his position against Steve`s more philosophical gait for the draw.

...And now we move on to Round 7. See you all next week!

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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