The Club Championship was contested through the last season by 20 of our members in a World Cup Format .
Paul Bielby finally won out after a couple of close calls on the way . The finalists kindly gave us permission to review their game and also gave us some insights into their thoughts at the time .
White : Dave Patterson Black : Paul Bielby
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3
(PB)An oddly defensive move for an attacking player like Dave. The N on c3 blocks the pawn move c3 which assists White control ihe centre.
(DP) Agreed, I was a little intimidated by Paul, knowing how strong and attacking he is. I would have preferred the Kings Gambit but he knows it inside out. I chose a waiting/watching game early on.
3. … Nf6 4. Bc4 Be7 5. d3 O-O 6. h3 d6 7. Bd2 Na5
(PB)Nothing very much has happened so far, both sides have developed most of their pieces. Black is safely castled and White is preparing to do so. With this move Black wants to break the equilibrium by exchanging N for B. White allows him to gain space on the Q-side, but there is no escape for the B.
(DP) d3 was careless allowing Bishop to be trapped and exchanged
8. Bb5 c6 9. Ba4 b5 10. Bb3 Nxb3 11. axb3 Bb7
(PB)Black has fully equalised and now threatens the advance d5 to take control in the centre.
(DP) at this stage my doubled pawns and poor Queens Knight left me in a weaker position than I would have hoped. I perhaps should have tried Ne2 instead of Be3 (releasing c pawn and allowing Ba5 to harass the black Queen.
12. Be3 a6 13. O-O Qc7
(PB)Again preparation for … d5 – but now White blunders
(DP) I’d prefer to see it as a black sacrifice from an attacking player😀 as Nxe4 wasn’t forced. The aim was simply to try to exchange my knight for the stronger black bishop by moving on to Nf5, but it was a sloppy move.
14. Nh4?? Nxe4 15. Nxe4
(PB) His best try, giving him some attacking chances. Otherwise he is simply a pawn down.
(DP) agreed, I felt a pawn down to Paul, plus doubled pawns would have left an uphill struggle.
15. … Bxh4 16. Qg4 Be7??
(DP) Qg4 seemed a natural attacking move at this stage with the intention of following up with a mate threat on g7. (Ever the optimist. At least now I was attacking and felt more comfortable😀)
(PB)Black blunders in turn. 16. … Bd8 is much safer, so that 17. Bh6 is met by … f5.
(DP) If 16…Bd8. Then probably try Ng3 but not sure if it would lead to a strong attack.
17. Bh6 g6 18. Qe2??
(PB)White is frightened of the line 18. Bxf8 f5 19.Qe2 Rxf8 where Black has an extra pawn and a hugely active pawn centre to compensate for the loss of the exchange. None the less it is his best chance.
(DP). Frightened is too strong a word😀 I was too optimistic in thinking that the attack was going to give me better winning chances. I much preferred that than meeting such a strong pawn structure with Paul at the helm.
18. … Re8 19. f4 f5 20. fxe5
(PB)White sacrifices a piece for a strong passed pawn and control of the open f-file. Unfortunately it’s not quite good enough.
(DP). At this stage 19…f5 was coming no matter what and was a strong defensive move, so I decided that the sacrifice (fxe5) was the only way I could keep some winning chances.
20. … fxe4 21. e6!
(PB) With the threat of Rf7 this requires very careful defence.
(DP) onward ever onward, by now there was no going back.
21. … Bf8 22. Rf7 Qb6+ 23. Be3 c5 24. Qg4 Bg7
(DP) If only I still had my knight, how things would have been different😅
(DP) At this point I had to hold onto my pawn at e6 (h4, h5. Looked to slow)
The final and decisive mistake. The line 25. Raf1 Rf8 26. Rxf8+ Rxf8 27. e7 Re8 28. Qe6+ Kh8 29. Rf8+ Rxf8 30. e8=Q! Bd5! 31 Qxf8+ Bxf8 32 Qxd5 (as suggested by Houdini , the chess engine in my computer) still leaves Black a pawn up. (neither Dave nor I saw this deep and desperately exciting line in our post match analysis)
(DP) wow, wish I’d seen that as it would have felt great even if not winning😀
(DP). Even now, Winning chances if Paul made a mistake, but not to be.
25. …. Bc8 26. Bg5 d5 27. Rf1 Bxd7 28. exd7 Rf8 29. Rxf8+ Rxf8 30. d8=Q Rxd8 31. Bxd8 Qxd8 32. White resigns.
(PB)The ending is easy for Black, a clear piece up.
(DP). Agreed, that’s why I resigned.