Chestrels Bounce Back to Brush Aside Musselburgh

Feb 20 2020

Three wins and two draws were enough to carry us to a comfortable match victory over Musselburgh 2.

Dragons C 4‑2 Musselburgh 2
Browning, I. (1412) 1‑0 Small, A.(1454)
Falconer, W. (1476) 1‑0 Barron, V. (1299)
Bishop, L. (1384) ½‑½ King, D.(1196)
Forrester, A. (1174) ½‑½ Muneer, A. (1178)
McCosh, E. (1123) 1‑0 Crawford, J. (1078)
Hampton, C. (868) 0‑1 Congalton, J. (UG)

Musselburgh were in fourth place at the start of the evening, having had a good season up to this point.

However, Bill Falconer quickly put us on the right track, using a little over 20 minutes on the clock in a crushing victory that emphasised the value of active pieces when combined with a space advantage. His opponent chose a passive response to Bill's London System, making it particularly tricky to develop his light-squared bishop. Electing to take Bill's strong e5 knight merely gifted Bill a permanent space advantage and an open f-file to work with. Castling queenside, Bill quickly set about rolling his g and h pawns forward to attack blacks cowering king. Bill firstly prised open the h-file, then blockaded black's f-pawn with the suffocating 27.Rf6!, then manoeuvred his knight from d2 to h5. Checkmate was then just a matter of time.

There was more good news from board 5, as Ed McCosh's strong positional play, coupled with tactical alertness, had netted him an extra piece. White resigned after falling into a knight fork, which cost him his queen and the game.

Ally Forrester's game ultimately ended in a draw after simplifying into a king-and-pawn where Ally felt he was better, but was unable to find a way to force victory.

Skipper Chris Hampton was better on board six, but missed a tactic from his opponent, which ruined the pawn structure in front of his king. Taking advantage of this fact gained black the exchange, and the subsequent conversion posed no problems for the second player.

Lee Bishop was slightly better on the black side of a French Defence, but simplifications gave white a roughly even endgame. However, things weren't quite as they seemed. Trading off the final pair of pieces resulted in a king and pawn endgame where black's king was marginally further advanced. This wouldn't have been enough to win had it not been for 33.b5?, which, though forcing a trade, left the pawn overextended, while black's corresponding b6 pawn was harder for white's king to attack. Lee missed his opportunity to play 36...h4, placing white in zugzwang and forcing an invasion of the white camp. The resulting pawn race was all a question of where to move the king after capturing the opponent's pawn. Just as it seemed the drama was finally over, Lee moved his king to a6, a step in the wrong direction, which allowed white 44.Kf4!, winning because white was in time to stop black's pawn, and black could not stop white's pawn. Instead, white chose a different square, which meant both pawns queened simultaneously, leaving a dead draw. A highly instructive ending which is well worth looking over.

In Isaac Browning's game, the early win of a pawn had been complicated by the decision to allow white unnecessary counterplay through his passed c6 pawn. However, under some time pressure, white was unable to find the most incisive continuation, and, after both players had used almost all time on their respective clocks, Isaac was finally able to win.

The final score of 4-2 was a very pleasing result. Special congratulations must go to Ed, who was able to achieve his first victory of the season.