Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Somerset Division 2: Frome vs Norton Radstock

Exactly one year ago I participated in the season's opening Division 2 match featuring Frome at home facing a weaker Norton Radstock team. To shamelessly plagiarise from an esteemed co-author it was déjà vu all over again. Needless to say the outcome was much the same as before. It seems quite clear that it's all just a little bit of history repeating.

The Frome team have swapped their boards 1 and 2 this year, owing to Chris's remarkable 18 point grading drop. The other big news is my shocking defection to the Trowbridge team. I'm sure Dave Weston is breathing a sigh of relief. Time will tell if this results in the Somerset trophy spending more time in sunny Wiltshire. Anyway, as a consequence Kevin and John moved up to boards 3 and 4 this time around.

For the visiting team boards 2 and 3 swapped places and their boards 4 and 5 swapped with entirely different people. Thus the scene was set for another unpredictable chess league offering. Norton Radstock are known for playing above expectations on occasion. They only narrowly lost the fixture last year and that was against a stronger Frome side.

Board 6 was first to finish. John Nicholls won against a Scandinavian Defence with an early outing for Black's queen. John decided to swap this off causing some damage to his own pawn formation. However the decision turned out to be a wise one, with White gaining a nice lead in development as compensation.

Chris was next to taste victory, winning a piece and the game. You can review this for yourself using the PGN viewer below. Note that Chris is an exponent of the Petroff Defence and is obviously comfortable taking either side.

Paul Humphreys proved that his defeat of Chris Purry last year was no fluke with an impressive attacking display, causing Gerry Jepps to think so hard that he forgot his queen was attacked. This was duly captured by a bemused Mr Humphreys thus causing immediate resignation. So Frome's lead was cut from 2-0 to 2-1.

Kevin had an interesting game, playing aggressively with Black against White's solid set-up. The opening and middlegame passed by without incident and the game turned into a battle of White's queen and pawn versus Black's rook, knight and bishop. Both players seemed to be uncomfortable with the unusual material imbalance. Kevin eventually broke his opponent and converted to a winning B+2P vs. 3P ending. He then proceeded to snatch a half-point from the jaws of victory having completely forgotten about the "wrong-coloured bishop" drawing idea. Kevin took this change in fortunes graciously, remarking that earlier in the game he had offered to split the point. When queried about this refusal of a draw, it transpired that Geoff Cooper had actually failed to hear the offer!

John Fisher, who had somehow gained a bishop early on, finished his game around this time to win Frome the match. Finally Geoff Berryman converted an opposite coloured bishop ending with apparent ease to wrap things up.

Frome4½-1½Norton Radstock
Jepps, Gerry0-1Humphreys, Paul
Purry, Chris1-0Cook, Stephen G
Paine, Kevin½-½Cooper, Geoff G
Fisher, John1-0Carrick, Peter
Berryman, Geoff1-0Grist, Ivor
Nicholls, John1-0Cooper, Catherine

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