Tuesday, 4 August 2015

British Championship Update - Day Ten

Today was not the most successful day for Kenilworth in the championship. Paul, after his victory yesterday, was once gain back amongst the higher boards and hence due a difficult opponent, FM Peter Batchelor. Paul's brand of offbeat openings with black has been serving him well against weaker players in this tournament but, for the second time, when up against a stronger opponent it has backfired. That is not to say his position was terrible, but it was cramped and lacking any real active plans he could pursue. Without Paul making any obvious mistakes, he was slowly pushed back into a worse and worse position, until finally a transition was made into a queen endgame which, despite starting with the same number of pawns for each side, was completely lost due to the holes in the black structure. I may not be the appropriate person to give this idea, but perhaps some more work on main line openings for black is in order.

Despite the final result, the fact it was up against a strong player means it can hardly be regarded as a disaster. Mark's, on the other hand, was a whole lot more depressing simply because of how good his position appeared to be for most of the game. It looked to me that his opponent made a horrible mess of the opening, ending up with a knight on e7 pinned to his king on e8, a bishop trapped behind the knight on f8 and, to make matters worse, another bishop stuck on g6 meaning he couldn't even fianchetto to develop the bishop that way. It is, of course, entirely possible I was misreading the position and it wasn't as good as it appeared, but I kept coming over and expecting Mark to be up a piece, as it just looked like there was no way black could escape from the tangle he had made for himself. Sadly, though, Mark's perennially issues with time trouble resurfaced, and in a scramble before the time control not only did black manage to liberate his position, but also grabbed a pawn which ultimately proved to be enough to decide the game in his favour.

With two defeats on the board and the over 65s event now finished, this left me in the unenviable position of being the club's only hope for a win. Fortunately, I was able to mange not one, but two, after both of my opponents managed to get themselves in horrible time control, which they could not cope with. The pattern of both games was remarkably similar, with long, slow, maneuvering middlegames where for a long time nothing appeared t be happening. These are usually the type of games in which I horribly blunder due to there being too many pieces to think about, but thanks to my opponent's poor time handling I was actually able to obtain an extra pawn in both games. Despite both endgames (one a rook, one a rook and bishop) almost certainly being drawn with best play, no such play was forthcoming, and so I managed to rescue Kenilworth back to a 50% score for the day.

Mike has sent me some annotations for one of the games he was played, so I will leave the last words on this report to him.

"Attached is a game-not the best or worst etc but simply a reasonable one to address the situation when a lower rated player with White plays ultra solidly to try and draw. So a game where Black tries to make something out of not a lot. Notes have been much reduced from my more detailed ones."

Summary thus far:
Total score by Kenilworth players: 47.5/105

My personal performance:
Played: 35
Wins: 16
Losses: 13
Draws: 6
Well played endgames: 11
Atrocious blunders: 8
Games won through opponent's illegal moves: 1

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