The Club

Atticus Open: Report on Round 4

The humid evening of Round 4 began with cautious play on most of the boards. Steve Winstanley was having none of that however, as he boldly sacced a bishop on f7 just in the opening. A well-known line apparently but I thought both sides were losing! Board 1 saw the only players with 100% records so far clash. Mark has taken some notable scalps so far but facing David Lawson would be a stern test. Material became liquidated fairly quickly but David manoeuvred his knight into a dominant square. John Lambert and Steven Carr`s game reminded me of one of those World Cup knockout rounds where neither team has a shot until extra-time. David Odunaiya was pressing Steve Philp`s position and Steve responded with some `clever` moves which led his minor pieces away to the edges of the board: but were they sound? Luke, playing black, had his theory ready for Brian Ewart it seemed and black seemed to be posing tiny problems which gave Luke a comfortable game. Tom Bimpson sacced a pawn for a lead in development and more space. The other games seemed too close to call, however..

In his game with Josh, Ben left his king-side somewhat unmanned and Josh took advantage with a bishop sac on h3, leading to the first result of the evening. Brian Caulfield`s position didn`t seem too bad against Phil, but a pin led to a fork and worse was to follow. David Lawson`s knight proved to be most restricting for Mark and further weakening of his kingside pawn structure led to a decisive f4 pawn push from David, who now stands on the 100% summit unchallenged.

(I should also mention Nigel`s excellent draw against Mike Coffey, a match played earlier in the week, illustrating how tough the overall field in this tournament is.)

Luke continued to pose Brian problems and an error from the latter saw Luke pick up a three pawn haul, enough to settle the matter, and a very well-played game by Luke which I have chosen for this weeks Game of the day (Alan Hansen may well cover this weekly item upon retiring from Match of the Day, `terr-ible defending..` etc).

Around the same time, Tom`s investment (pawn sac) started to pay dividends and his space advantage became an attack, which became a win shortly thereafter. Steve Philp`s minor pieces had by now started to seek their fortunes in a different hemisphere to their parent and David Odunaiya could a smell mating net in the air, and duly executed it.

By now, Steve Winstanley`s investment (piece sac) was looking a little reminiscent of a Nick Leeson portfolio, and a blunder saw a Jeremy win, who had maintained his king on e6 throughout with balls of steel (let`s not mince words..)

The last game to finish had of course the most dramatic finish. John Lambert and Steven Carr both down to non-recording of moves time in extra-time. In fact penalties. But John had Tim Howard in goal and that was that.

Atticus Open: Report on the 3rd Round

Round 3 of the Atticus Open saw the pairings starting to settle down and the prospect of some tough drawn-out encounters ahead. Dicing with an early bath, Derek Rooney delayed castling in his game against Luke and mounting threats from the latter meant that when Derek did eventually castle decisive material had been won. David Odunaiya, with his eyes fixed hypnotically on Rob Greaves` king, likewise had the game wrapped up fairly early as he went two pieces up, and although Rob spun it out the outcome was never in doubt. Sometimes just hanging in there can pay dividends however. Neil Tabor skilfully prevented his opponent from castling, and then managed to gain a significant material advantage, but with almost his dying breath Steve Winstanley gleefully pounced on an oversight to snatch a draw by a perpetual.

Josh must have been somewhat taken aback by Brian Caulfield`s unusual queenside pawn Great Wall of China opening system, but Josh kept his eye on the ball and he ensured that the victory party was on Brian`s kingside instead. Meanwhile Natasha was ably holding her own against Mike Coffey in a very close position, but a tactic from Mike saw him gain a piece and with it the game.

Leaving it almost to the last 10 minutes, the position in Ben`s game against Steve Philp still resembled an opening, without a piece taken nor headway from either side in sight. The clock was against Ben however, and he resigned as his time was about to run out – a bit more experience needed in that department. The slayer from the last round, Mark Wadsworth cunningly surveyed Tom`s king from their opposite-sides castling habitats, and he put Tom under pressure, the latter perhaps ought to have sought a perpetual but Tom blundered letting Mark in for a snap mate, and another great win and scalp.

The most arduous game of the evening, and my pick for `Game of the Day` was the battle between Greg Hughes and Steven Carr. A difficult-looking game to work out at times with unusual piece-placements, much deep thought and a late finish. Steven eventually won a tough encounter. This game will follow here shortly.

 

The adjourned game between Nigel Hobro and John Lambert was played last night. It went down to an ending with a rook and knight each side but with John having a 5 to 4 pawn majority on the kingside but in a fairly locked position which may well have ended a draw. However, as his time became short, John managed to convert the win. 

In his other match against Tom Bimpson, John Lambert won a pawn early on and gained a winning position, missing several mating chances (including mate in one!) under severe time pressure. In Tom`s words `John's flag was trembling and I had a huge 3mins left to make my best move of the game and offer a draw. This was immediately accepted!`

 

As results from adjourned games come in (with David Lawson v Brian Ewart`s result still to come) note how the draw for the 4th round is altered slightly.

 

Atticus Open: revised draw for round 3

Following on from tonights excellent win by Natasha against Jeremy, we now have a revised draw for round 3. Players affected are from boards 7-9.

brd

white

black

1

David Lawson

Brian Ewart

2

Mark Wadsworth

Tom Bimpson

3

Greg Hughes

Steven Carr

4

Nigel Hobro

John Lambert

5

Bob Greaves

David Odunaiya

6

Derek Rooney

Luke Boumphrey

7

Natasha May

Mike Coffey

8

Ben Ellington

Steven Philp

9

Neil Tabor

Jeremy Hawthorn

10

Phil Taylor

Steve Winstanley

11

Joshua Gibbs

Brian Caulfield

Matches to be played on Monday 9th June

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