Pirates battle to narrow win

THE Penarth Pirates have been struggling to maintain themselves at the upper end of Glamorgan Chess League’s Division 2 so, when visiting North Cardiff to confront the Cheetahs, they were hoping to improve their position significantly at the expense of a team considerably below them.

The first result was swift and in favour of Penarth as Tony Gutteridge comprehensively outplayed Nessie Georgion on bottom board, but a curious tussle developed on Board 2. Ben Thomas was confronted with an unusual, and probably unsound, opening by Vince Williams. Although Ben had the advantage of a pawn from very early on, Vince held on until, in the middle game, he developed a line whose significance Ben failed to realise until too late and the home team levelled the score.

Meanwhile, both third and fourth boards had got themselves into precarious positions. Mike Servini appeared to have a good game against Gavin Williams but suddenly found himself on the wrong end of a mating attack, taking over 20 minutes to come up with an adequate counter-move. When the attack was over, both sides felt that their positions could not be usefully improved. Sam Warburton on third board was under pressure from Peter Slater when he completely forgot to make a reactive move that allowed the Cardiff man to unleash a winning combination. An almost certainly unsound response resulted in fireworks in which most of the material fell. Suddenly, unsure as to whether Sam had a sound counter-attack, Peter offered a draw which Sam was glad to accept.

The top board game between David Sully and Dave Hambrook was a long, drawn-out affair in which the home player was keen to retain as many pawns as possible so as to constrict his opponent. However, David had the initiative and slowly tightened his grip on the board until he succeeded in demonstrating the win.

So, although the Pirates came home 3-2 to the good, they were conscious of the fact that victory had been so nearly denied them.

Penarth Chess Club meets every Monday at 7.30pm at Penarth Conservative Club; all are welcome. The junior section meets during term time from 6.30 to 8.30pm at the Kymin.

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