Horsham 1 slip to first defeat of the season

Worthing 1 visited us on Tuesday and inflicted our only loss so far. The visitors fielded their strongest possible lineup and beat us 3-2 in a close match...

With Mike laid up with the flu we were not at full strength, and Worthing sprang a surprise by fielding Matt Payne who was home between university semesters. We were 2-0 down after the first two games to finish - I sacrificed a pawn against Matt on board 2 and achieved compensation with his decentralised queen, but I prevaricated too long over sacrificing a second pawn and never got round to it. Matt almost let me back in when he overlooked a knight sacrifice but his king scampered across the board to safety and I resigned. On board 3 James succumbed to a kingside attack from Chris Jones after an unusual line of the c3 Sicilian, with no counterplay to balance White's steady buildup.

On board 4 Dix pulled one back when he beat Keith Homeyard after an interesting queenless middlegame. I didn't see the finish but was grateful for the point as we looked ok on the other two. On board 1 Gavin felt he was always a bit worse against Dave Graham, but only his final move before the time control was really a problem. Despite having a technical advantage Dave offered a draw after the match which was accepted. On board 5 Peter had had the better pawn structure out of a Petroff and his d-pawn looked very menacing but Morgan Blake drove his king into the open and Peter was forced to choose between two escape routes - the one he chose led to a perpetual, agreed after the match.

G.R. Lock 1/2-1/2 D.B. Graham
A.R.J. Higgs 0-1 M. Payne
J.C. Mansson 0-1 C. Jones
D.N. Roberts 1-0 K. Homeyard
P. Harbott 1/2-1/2 J.M. Blake

The diagram shows Blake-Harbott at the crucial juncture. Peter has to choose between 39...Ka5 or 39...Kc5, what would you do? Answer below in the comments.


Anthony Higgs's picture

Peter chose 39...Kc5 but there was no refuge on the kingside light squares and a perpetual is forced. Instead 39...Ka5 was the move, after 40.Qc7+ Ka4 41.Rb4+ Qxb4 42.Qxc6+ Kb3! 43.Qxd5+ Qc4! White is lost as 44.Qxd2 allows 44...Qf1+ with mate to follow. A tough line to see just before the time control!