National : County Championship Quarter Final

Sat 18 May 2013

ECF County Championship Quarter Finals
Kent 1 vs Staffordshire 1
Board 16 - Reenen Du Toit (150) vs Dave Wightman (155)
Staffordshire travelled to the Open University campus in Milton Keynes for the quarter final stages of the ECF County Championship.  Out-graded by an average of 12 points per board, Dave Wightman was the only player of the 16 to enjoy a grading advantage.  Playing black, Dave got off to the worst possible start, blundering a piece on move 7.  It might have been worse, however, as white chose not to win the bishop for rook exchange but to take the knight for two pawns in order to minimise the counter-play that taking the rook would have allowed.  Black was then forced to spend the next three hours holding on to the position as pieces were exchanged and the centre opened up.  Both players moved reasonably quickly and so the generous time control was reached with no problems.  In the end game, white held a knight and three pawns to black's five pawns, two of which were now passed.  This forced white to make a decision, whether to commit the knight to the queenside to take black's pawns and break through, or to maintain the defence of the passed pawns.  White wisely chose the latter and the game was drawn.
Overall, Kent managed 6 wins to Staffordshire's 2, taking the match 10 - 6 and proceeding to the semi final stage.  Staffordshire's winners were Ian Jamieson on Board 14 and a fine performance on Board 1 where Lawrence Cooper overcame Grand Master Neil McDonald.  Well done to Kent and good luck in the semi final.  Thanks are due to captain David Anderton and to the Open University for hosting the event.

Writeup courtesy of Dave Wightman: