Eric Wilson (res)
The Essex under-100 side had a frustrating afternoon when it travelled to Sutton for the away match against Surrey. The venue was the Thomas Wall Centre, so named because it was built using money provided by a former resident of Sutton who was best known for his sausages and ice-cream. This same building was at one time known as the Sutton Adult School, and experienced county players will need no reminder of the delights provided by the one-way system.
Advances in grade had deprived the Essex team of some of its strongest juniors so there were several players making their debuts. A car-load from Colchester included Katie Bates, who played a very good ending against one of last year's England under-11 team. Katie somehow lost a piece for two pawns in the early part of the game. When the forces were reduced to a bishop and 4 pawns to white and 6 pawns to black, Katie succeeded in advancing her passed g and h pawns so far that Oliver decided to give his bishop up for them. This then allowed Katie's king a simple task of capturing a couple of white's other pawns thereby precipitating his resignation. This was one of the first games to finish.
Another early result in Essex's favour was Alan Trent's victory over Eric Wilson. Eric stood in as a replacement for an absent player, and his standard of play is fairly typical of parents of England under-11 international players. Alan's on the other hand, is not, so Trent 1 Wilson 0 was not hard to predict. Threefold disaster struck on boards 3, 4 and 5 as none of the Essex three produced anything like their best chess.
John Marsh had been fighting off a strong attack and had won a couple of pawn in the process. He then played a sensible-looking move, attacking white's rook with a bishop and intending to capture the pawn beyond it, after which the game would have been fairly quickly. Sadly, John overlooked the fact that white could advance his pawn to a5, which had the drawback that it was checkmate, thereby finishing the game even more quickly, but with the other result.
Jonathan Livesley played the early part of the endgame particularly well, advancing his rook to the seventh rank and winning a couple of pawns. Once again, a lapse in concentration allowed black to play a pawn check, and white's king was forced away from the rook, allowing black to capture it. Now Jonathan had just four pawns against a rook and two, there were no further significant errors and the Surrey team robbed Essex of one of its "bankers".
Nicholas Fenton also struggled hard and tried to find a way through on the kingside. However, he committed himself to too much of an attack and white's defensive resources were adequate. Nicholas's opponent was able to use one of his rooks to capture a few pawns on the queen side.
Heather Walker played very well and full deserved her win. She won her opponent's queen for two pieces and after a long series of manouevrings this material advantage told. However, she could have made life a great deal easier for herself had she delayed capturing white's queen for just one move, spending the time capturing a pawn with check. This oversight allowed white's king to protect the pawn and consolidate his position.
The score remained at 6 - 3 for a long time, and of the three remaining games only Matthew Cain seemed to have any realistic chances of victory. John Sneesby's opponent had advanced a pawn to g2, and it seemed inevitable that a knight check would knock white's king away from g1 and allow the pawn to queen. However, John played a series of checks himself and eventually won the pawn to leave a sterile-looking ending in which each side had a rook, a knight and four pawns, all on the queen-side. It was then that the Surrey player committed precisely the same error which had cost Jonathan Livesley his game earlier in the afternoon and lost his rook.
By this time Matthew Cain had forced the win of a piece and his game became a formality. Robert Parish had been trying to defend a lost position for a long time, and at one point he was three pawns down in a rook ending. Then the game changed dramatically. Firstly, Robert's opponent blundered the all-important h-pawn. Secondly, Robert was allowed to pull of the trick in which he captured black's f-pawn with his rook. Black then captured white's rook with his king but left his own rook undefended. This left a completely drawn ending in which white had an a-pawn against black's a and b pawns but in which white's king was closer to the black pawns. The Surrey player was so rattled by this time that Robert played on in the hope that he would make yet another error, but it was not to be. Robert achieved the draw he deserved, but it gave Surrey the victory by the slenderest of margins.
Gary Kasparov recently visited Oakham School where he took on 8 very strong players, including Harriet Hunt, Graham Lee and both Pert twins, in a clock simultaneous display. The result was Kasparov 8 Oakham 0. The following game was against Richard Pert.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.Be2 g6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Bb5+ Nbd7 7.Re1 a6 8.Bf1 0-0 9.d4 e5 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.a4 Qc7 12.Na3 Rd8 13.Qc2 h6 14.Nd2 b6 15.Ndc4 Bb7 16.f3 Bc6 17.b4 cxb4 18.cxb4 Rac8 19.Be3 Qb8 20.Qf2 Bxa4 21.Nxb6 Rc6 22.Nxa4 black resigns