1996: The margin of the draw

Game Alexandrowicz,S - Hill,D, National Club Championships, Intermediate Cup Final, 1996

The Margin of the Draw

A nail-biting finish to our Intermediate National Club final. We had a great time travelling to away matches and on the way back drinking toasts to our victories. The night before the final was played we all went out to celebrate Devon's victory in the County U150 competition, which we had all played in. And just before the start of the Final game, Ian Taggart changed into his lucky chess socks... — DH


1.c4 e6 2.g3 d5 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nf3 c5 5.e3 Nc6 6.Nc3 Be7 7.Bg2 0–0

[7...cxd4 8.exd4 0–0 9.0–0 b6=]

8.b3 Re8

[8...b6 is probably better.]

9.0–0 Bf8!? 10.Bb2 b6 11.cxd5 exd5 12.Re1 Bg4 13.h3 Bf5 14.Nh4 Be4 15.f3 Bg6 16.Nxg6 hxg6 17.Qd2 Rc8 18.Rad1 Na5?!


19.dxc5 Bxc5 20.Na4 Bd6 21.f4 b5 22.Bc3 bxa4 23.Bxa5 Qd7 24.Bxd5 Nxd5 25.Qxd5 Qxh3 26.Kf2

[26.Qxd6 Qxg3+ — Draw by repetition.]

26...Bc5 27.Rd2 Bb6

Playing safe. Although I was tempted by Bxe3.

[27...Bxe3+ 28.Rxe3 Rxe3 29.Kxe3 Qxg3+ 30.Ke2 (30.Qf3? Re8+–+) 30...Rc1 31.Rd3 (31.Rd1 Qg4+ 32.Ke1 Qg1+ 33.Ke2 Qg4+ 34.Ke1=) 31...Qh2+ 32.Ke3 Qg1+ 33.Ke4 Qg2+=]

28.Bxb6 axb6 29.Rh1 Qe6 30.Qxe6 Rxe6

At this stage the match was very much alive. Richard Towers had won, but Mark Abbott had lost. Iain Taggart's position looked dodgy, but Steve Webb was a Pawn up in his game.

31.Kf3 axb3 32.axb3 f6 33.Rd3 Rce8 34.Rc1 R8e7

At about this stage Iain Taggart lost, despite the socks. We were 2–1 down, but Steve Webb had the better position in his game. I offered a draw, knowing that on board count Rose Forgrove would lose if Steve won his game. My opponent probably also realised this, and so decided to play on.

35.Rc8+ Kf7 36.Rb8 f5 37.b4 g5 38.fxg5 Kg6 39.b5 Kxg5 40.Rc8?

[40.Rb3 must be played in order to avoid losing material.]

40...Re5 41.Rc6 Rxb5 42.Rdd6


My King looks vulnerable and I could see Richard and Mark grimacing at my position — but I felt I knew what I was doing...(well, kind of..)

42...Rb3 43.Rg6+ Kh5 44.Kf4

The best move..

44...Rb4+ 45.Kxf5 Rf7+ 46.Ke5 Re7+ 47.Rce6?!

White must endeavour to keep both Rooks on the board.

[47.Kd5 Rg4 48.Rxg4 Kxg4 49.Rxb6 Kxg3 50.Re6 Rxe6 51.Kxe6 Kf3 52.Kf5 leads to a draw.]

47...Rxe6+ 48.Rxe6 g5 49.Kf5 Rb5+ 50.Re5 Rxe5+ 51.Kxe5

Now it's won for Black, but there is still some playing to do...

51...Kg6! 52.g4 b5 53.Kd5 Kf6 54.e4 b4 55.Kd6 b3 56.e5+ Kf7 57.Kd7 b2 58.e6+ Kf6 59.e7 b1Q 60.e8N+

[60.e8Q Qb5+ 61.Kd8 Qxe8+ 62.Kxe8 Ke5 63.Ke7 Kf4 64.Kd6 Kxg4 65.Ke5 Kf3]

60...Ke5 61.Ke7 Qb7+ 62.Kf8 Kf4 63.Nf6 Qc6 64.Kg7 Qxf6+

[Notes by Dan Hill]

BCF Team Championships, 1996: Intermediate final


Exeter vs. Rose Forgrove, Leeds

D Hill (142)


S Aleksandrowicz (149)

I Taggart (145)


AG Williamson (147)

S Webb (146)


M Round (145)

R Towers (143)


IM Thackray (137)

M Abbott (139)


T Wheldon (129)

Exeter won on board count, and Ian never wore his socks again.

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