Devon met a strong Warwickshire team at Frampton-on-Severn on Saturday in the quarter-final of the U-180 championship. As teams were very evenly matched, it was clearly going to be a tight match – and so it proved.
It started with draws for B. Hewson, I. Annetts, J. Duckham, D. Regis and P. Brooks. Later, a win by A. Kinder left Warwickshire 7-5 up with 4 games still in progress. D. Toms and R. Thompson then won to level the scores and P. Kennedy drew after stout defence against a strong attack.
This left Brian Gosling vs Fahy as the last men standing, locked in a tense struggle and a fast finish. Both had chances and all 3 results were possible. At the critical point both players had a pawn on the 7th rank waiting to queen.
White: B. Gosling (159) J. Fahy (156)
Dutch Defence [A90]
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 d5 5.0–0 Bd6 6.c4 c6 7.b3 0–0 8.Ba3 Ne4 9.Bxd6 Qxd6 10.Qc2 Nd7 11.Qb2 Ndf6N 12.Ne5 Qe7 13.f3 Ng5 14.Nd2 Nf7 15.Nxf7 Rxf7 White now decides to open up the centre before Black’s queenside pieces get out. 16.e4 Qc7 17.cxd5 exd5 18.e5 creating a supported passed pawn – small advantages are accruing to White. 18…Ne8 19.f4 Qb6 20.Rfc1 Nc7 21.a4 Ne6 22.Nf3 a5 23.h3 Bd7 24.Rab1 h6 25.b4 axb4 26.Qxb4 Qxb4 27.Rxb4 g5 28.fxg5 hxg5 29.Ra1 b5 30.a5 …and a second passed pawn eyes up the finishing line. 30…Be8 31.Nd2 Kg7 32.Nb3 f4 33.g4 f3 34.Bf1 Rf4 35.Rb1 Bg6 Black threatens to win material. 36.Rb2 Be4 37.Kf2 c5?? releasing the pressure and enabling White to open the position up. 38.Nxc5+- Nxc5 39.dxc5 a third pawn makes a charge for the line. 39…Rxa5 40.Rxb5 Rxb5? 41.Rxb5 With most of the heavy armour now gone, the Kings must play their part. 41…Kf7 42.Rb6 Ke7 43.Rd6 Rf8 44.c6 Ra8 45.Ke3 Ra1 46.Bb5 Ra3+?? another step towards the grave. 47.Kd4 f2 48.c7 Ra4+ 49.Kc5 Ra5 See the position below. Imagine there are just minutes left on the clock, a breathless crowd gathered around your board and both sides about to queen a pawn. What should you do? White found an ingenious solution to the problem, but there is an even quicker resolution if you can spot it. 50.c8=N+ An amusing under-promotion – good enough to win, but not the very best (see below). 50…Kf7 51.Rf6+ Kg7 52.Rxf2 Bd3 53.Nd6 Bxb5 54.Nxb5 d4 Now 2 more pawns try their luck. 55.e6 d3 56.e7 Ra8 57.Rf3 57…Re8 58.Re3 58…d2 59.Nc3 Kf7 And Black’s flag fell, but he is a piece and a pawn down with no compensation.
In last week’s position, Black can quickly wrap up the game with 1.Bg3+ forcing the King away from f1 so Black can follow up with 2.Rf1 mate.
From the game above, Can you spot a decisive move for White, other than under-promoting his pawn?