Wanstead 3 – 2 Bedford, 20 June 2004


Wanstead qualified for the National Club Major final for the third time in four seasons as a result of this narrow victory against Bedford.

After tracelling to face Bourne End and Rose Forgrove in earlier rounds, Wanstead had the benefit of a home match in the semi-final.  The two teams were evenly matched on paper, with just 0.4 of a grading point difference in the average grades.  Of more potential significanve was Bedford’s winning of the toss, giving them an extra White, although this advantage was cancelled out when Paul Barclay obtained a quick draw on board 3 against an opponent who had recently become the youngest ever Bedfordshire champion.  However, by mid-afternoon the match appeared to be going the visitors’ way.  Mark Murrell gave up a pawn on board 5, and Terry Whitton followed suit on board 4 after drifting into an unpromising isolated queen’s pawn position.  Boards 1 and 2 seemed relatively even.

The match was effectively decided by a dramatic change of fortunes on board 4.  Terry Whitton shed another pawn in the interests of getting his queen and rook into attacking positions on the eighth rank.  When his opponent rahly snatched a third pawn, Terry’s bishop joined in the attack, and in no time at all mate had been delivered. 

Once in front, Wanstead showed no sign of letting their advantage slip.  Mark Murrell fought back well to draw, Li Wu had the better of the ending without obtaining a large enough edge to take the full point, and Ian Hunnable missed an endgame win after both players had declined draw offers.

Board Colour Home team Grade Score Away team Grade Score
1 B Li Wu 199 ½ Steve Ledger 192 ½
2 W Ian Hunnable 161 ½ Olu Olulode 165 ½
3 B Paul Barclay 151 ½ Peter Constantinou 151 ½
4 W Terry Whitton 145 1 Paul Habershon 159 0
5 B Mark Murrell 139 ½ Giuseppe Valerio 130 ½
  TOTAL – Home 3 TOTAL – Away 2

Click here for the 2003/4 National Club page.

About johnu175
I am John Philpott, a keen chess player, belonging to Wanstead & Woodford and Insurance Chess Clubs, and a former long-standing match captain of the Essex U175/U180 team and the Wanstead National Club team. I also hold many administrative posts, including ECF Company Secretary and Financial Controller, although I am looking to wind these down following my retirement to Mersea Island.

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