Thanks to Mike Richardt for this report on the recent Taunton Club Championships:
Last Tuesday the Taunton Chess Championships finished. There are still two outstanding games but the tournament is decided.
Before the tournament there were a handful of players for winning this tournament: Mike Redman (185), myself (175), Nick Wilson (168) and Chris Price ungraded but clearly a good player.
Unfortunately for Mike Redman and Chris Price both had to withdraw from the tournament due to work commitments or personal reasons. So it was clear that title would be decided between me and Nick Wilson.
In Nick’s case that was clearly true. Nick won his first 4 games with no problem at all. I, on the other hand, lost unexpectedly in the second round to Jorge Pineda-Langford. In a winning position I blundered horribly and had to resign on the spot. Gone was the dream of winning the Club Championships.
In round 4 Nick won against Jorge and I won my game as well. Nick was on 4/4 and three players, Jorge Pineda-Langford, myself and John Wilkinson all on 3/4 chasing him in the last round.
It was clear that Nick had to play me as he had already played Jorge and John in the previous rounds.
So last week me and Nick played our game. Nick needed only a draw to win the Club Championship and I had to win to finish equal first.
I opened the game with 1.d4 and Nick played Albin’s countergambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5). Fortunately for me it is quite difficult to get me out of book in the first 10-12 moves unless my opponent plays something very strange. After 11 moves I had a little advantage and then Nick made a small blunder and the game went down hill from there. I could have won earlier but I wrapped the game up just after the time control.
Due to Jorge's win against John Wilkinson three players finish on 4/5. So all three players decided that there had to be a play-off to decide who will be Champion. It was decided that we would play two 10 minute games against each other, one with white and one with black. Surely that should decide who will be the new Club Champion.
First game was myself against Nick and Nick again played the Albin’s Countergambit. Unfortunately for Nick I was better prepared this time and Nick lost a piece without compensation. Nick resigned straight away.
Next game: Jorge against me: Jorge should have won this game. A nice piece sacrifice on h7 exposed my king and Jorge was clearly in the driving seat. But with time running out Jorge couldn’t always find the best moves. I gave the piece back and won on time in a game which I never should have won.
Jorge – Nick: Nick had some advantage after the opening and first won two pawns and then after a discovered check a whole piece. Jorge was clearly out of the contention for first place now.
Myself – Jorge: A strange opening (1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nf6 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.Nc3 Qa5 5.Bd2 Qb4 6.Nd5 (6.Nf3 is much better)) where white gained some advantage and in a complicated middle game black lost a piece. Jorge resigned.
Nick – Jorge: Nick needed to win this game and win the next game against me to have a chance of the title. A very strong opening from Nick but to find the best plan he ran short of time and in time trouble he couldn’t find the best moves. Jorge, 3 minutes ahead on time, (compare to Nick’s 45 sec.) kept a cool head and started an attack himself. In a tricky position Jorge offered a draw and Nick accepted it with 20 sec. left on the clock.
I won the Club Championships. A little bit of luck in the rapid games, but that is what you need to win tournaments.
3 weeks ago