WORCESTER CLOSED CONGRESS 2017

WORCESTER CLOSED CONGRESS 2017

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Welcome to Kevin's Corner…

Many thanks to Steve for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences with fellow Greenlands members.

I last played in a weekend tournament about 15 years ago but decided to enter the recent Worcester Closed Congress in the centre of Worcester. I did play in this Congress once before about 30 years ago when I was a 120ish player and I finished joint 1st in the Intermediate section.

Not sure about whether I could play 5 games in 2 days, I travelled with Nigel Towers (Redditch) and was surprised to find I was the top seed though there were some good players there.

I outplayed my first opponent G. Stanton (Redditch) 132 ECF but started to get twitchy towards the end of the game but I won my favourite opposite coloured bishops ending.

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Final Position in which Black to play resigned.

In Round 2, I played a dangerous junior player of 160 ECF, Ben Fuller (Worcester City).

I came out of the opening well with black in a Pirc Austrian Attack and was winning until I played 22...Qd8?? stopping the mate threat which I thought was essential...Now, my Analysis engine ignored the threat and played 22...Rxc5!

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Position after 22.Qc4-h4 - Black to move...

What did I miss? 22...Rxc5 23.Qf6 Rxc2+ is mate in 11 apparently, I could kick myself for missing this... 24.Kb1 Rxb2+ 25.Kxb2 Qb6+ 26.Kc1 Rc8+ 27.Kd1 Bb3+ 28.Ke2 Rc2+ 29.Bd2 Bc4+ 30.Kf3 Qxf6+ 31.Kg3 Rc3+ 32.Be3 Qf4+ 33.Kh3 Be6+ 34.g4 Qxg4 mate. 

After the game continuation 22...Qd8??

White later missed a win and then blundered which I fortunately took advantage of.

The 3rd round saw me against the 3rd seed and Herefordshire County Champion Lee Davis (Malvern) 176 ECF. I had the white side of an Austrian Attack in the Pirc and held a small advantage for most of the game but despite pressing, I could only draw the game.

My toughest match was against Ian Clarke 166 ECF (Malvern) in the 4th round. He put me under lots of pressure by pushing on the kingside.  

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Position after 36.Qe6-c8+

He exchanged some pieces and offered a draw earlier and like most of my opponents, he was happy with a draw. My policy in this tournament was to make players work very hard for their result and we reached the above position.

The above move seemed wrong to me as the Queen can be misplaced but it does tie down my Knight on f7 for a time. The game continued 36...Kg7-+ 37.Qxc7+ Nf7 38.Kg1 Qxb2 39.Qa5 Qc1+ 40.Bf1 Kf6 41.Qb6 Qf4 42.a4 Qg3+ 43.Kh1 Qf4 44.a5 h5 45.Kg1 Kg7 46.Qc7 Kh6 47.gxh5 Bxh5 48.Qc8 Qg3+-+ 49.Bg2 Bf3 50.Ng4+ Kg7 51.Ne3 Qe1+ (Very short of time... I missed 51... Be4 52.Nf5+ Bxf5 53.Qxf5 Qe1+ 54.Bf1 Qxa5 55.Qb1-+) 52.Nf1 Bxg2 53.Kxg2 Qe2+ 54.Kg1= Ne5 55.Qc7+ Nf7 56.Qxb7 Qxc4 57.Qc6 Qd4+ 58.Kh1 Qf2 59.Qc4 Qf3+ 60.Kh2 Kf6 61.Qxa6 Qxd5 62.Ng3 Ne5 63.Qf1+ Ke7 64.Nf5+ Kd7 65.Kg3 Qxa5-+ 66.Ne3 and I won on time later in a won position.

Nigel Towers 160 ECF (Redditch) and myself were both tired in the last round and he offered a draw but I decided to continue with a slightly inferior move to keep the game going. He unfortunately blundered a piece in the middlegame.

I was the top seed at 191 ECF but I was so proud to become The 2017 Worcestershire County Champion. Enjoyed the local pub and shops too.

My average performance for the weekend was 203 ECF.

Kevin Hurney