Hi all. As usual I will give my report in reverse game order.

Board 10

John Lawton vs Robert Owens

This game was an illustration of the importance of structure. Robert had the better structure in the early stages of the game and some initiative. The next time I saw it Robert had made the anti positional move f5 which left e6 a chronic weakness. However you normally need more than one weakness in the opponents camp to win and although John had all the pressure on e6 Robert was able to defend it. Seeing no way forward for either side the game was agreed drawn.

Board 9

James Rigby vs Rob Greaves

Rob played the Slav against James d4 and reached a satisfactory position. He asked me after the game whether his a5 was a mistake but I don't believe it was. In fact from what I saw of the game it looked like Rob was winning an important pawn. James managed to defend well though and Rob walked into a fork losing a pawn. James structure was good and all the pawns bar one were on the same side which favoured James's Knight over Rob's Bishop. I did not see the end but James went on to convert his advantage to a point.

Board 8

Steve Winstanley vs Sanjoy Bannerjee

In a delayed Morra Gambit Sanjoy declined the offer and Steve continued in an unusual way his queen headed for g4 . This caused Sanjoy some development difficulties eventually solved by castling queenside. There was still a lot of chess to be played but Sanjoy skilfully won a piece. Steve's attempt to mix things up from here backfired and he dropped another piece forcing resignation. Sanjoy gained the point.

Board 7

Steve Burge vs Sean Kane.

Sean was not prepared for Steve's rarely seen treatment against the French defence and ended up with weak dark squares on the queenside and more importantly he faced an attack on the king side. Sean was unable to find a solution and it was an early bath for him as Steve completed his mating attack. A very well played game by Steve. I hope Sean will be better prepared next time.

Board 6

Phil Brine vs Jim Wiseman.

Fearful of Jim's opening gambit Phil conceded a rather stale equality to Jim . An ending with 2 rooks each resulted and peace could have been agreed early but both players were in the mood for a tussle. It could be argued that Jim made a mistake allowing one of Phil's Rooks on the eighth rank but Jim's structure was good and he held parity. It could also be argued that allowing Jim's rook activity on the a file was a mistake and the initiative had swayed in Jim's favour . Phil lashed out  with e4. A weaker player would not have found Jim's cute move re8 forcing a trade, a stronger player would have realised it was tactically flawed. This resulted in Jim losing a rook and the game was instantly over. Phil notched up the point.

Board 5

Mike Coffey  vs Ben Ellington

In a symmetrical Queen's Gambit Accepted Ben was a couple of tempo down and misplaced his Queen's bishop. This resulted in a lasting initiative for Mike. For most of the game it looked like Mike would deliver a knock out punch but Ben defended very accurately leading to a queen exchange and approximate equality . However after such an arduous defence Ben was short of time and this eventually decided the game. Mike won on time.

Board 4

Tom Webb vs Alastair Bond

This entertaining game was a battle involving opposite side castling. It looked to me that Alastair was close to driving his attack through . Close but not fatal as Tom skilfully mixed prophylaxis with a kingside attack. It was proving that Toms attack was the most potent and when the queens came off Tom had a winning endgame. Alastair defended with sang froid and in the heat of battle Tom said that if Alastair escaped with a draw he would murder him. This was taken as it was meant in good spirit and Tom won fortunately for him as he would have had a homicide on his hands.

Board 3

Daniel Rowlandson vs Nick Martin

I don't know how to discuss this encounter diplomatically. Nick was not at his best and Daniel had a winning attack. I did not see the end of the game but Nick resigned. Unless you were on another planet you would have noticed the heated exchange between these two. Suffice it to say both sides regretted aspects of the incident and I hope it is forgotten and forgiven.

Board 2

Mike Clarke vs Steve Kee

Mike started off quite well against Steve's Stonewall Dutch but lost the thread of the tactical battle with Steve winning an exchange fairly early on. As some sort of compensation Mike had an attack on the Dark Squares. Steve skilfully neutralised Mikes initiative . I forget exactly how the game finished but Steve's advantage told and he notched up the point.

Board 1

Phil Davies vs Roger Williamson

In what looked like a highly theoretical Tarrasch Roger had the practical advantage. He had beaten Mark Hebden with this opening before. What I think is one of Roger's greatest strengths is not the fact that he can remember theory (though this helps) it is that he understands the resulting positions. Without accurate play by Phil Roger looked to have a winning kingside attack and so it proved. Roger notched up the point.

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