County Championship Controllers Report

Bedfordshire have a new county chess champion. Olufemi Adebajo has won the competition by an emphatic one and a half points. The final two rounds were held on 27th May.

The top scores were:
1. Olufemi Adebajo 5.5/6
2.4. Adrian Elwin, Stephen Ledger and Graham Smith 4/6

Femi used to have a reputation for sacrificing pieces. This style lead to interesting positions, but often the material deficit was too much. In this tournament he adopted a more conventional approach and found opponents giving him winning positions around time control.

Here is his round 5 game, where he is black against Adrian Matthews. Time control is at move 35.

Matthews has had a noticable advantage most obviously an extra pawn, but over the last few moves Femi has sown the seeds of confusion. Here white should rule out back rank mate threats with 31 Ka1, 31 a3 or 31. Qg2 instead he continues:

31.Rh4? Rxh4 32.gxh4 Bxf4

regaining the pawn

33.Kc2?! Qc7 34.Qh5 Bxe5 35.Qe8+ Qc8

Matthews has lost a second pawn, but has reached time control. After 36. Qxc8 Kxc8 37 c4 he has reasonable drawing chances, because of the opposite coloured bishops. But as Adrian explained to me afterwards he fancied his faint winning chances with the queens on.

36.Qf7 Qc6 37.Qg8+ Kc7 38.Qf7+ Kb6 39.Qf8 The final mistake, now Femi has too many threats, play finished: 39 ...Qa4+ 40.Kc1 Bf4+ 0-1

In the final round Femi had White against Paul Habershon. Femi only needed to draw whereas Paul had to win to share the trophy. For most of the game Paul played a model way to win with Black. First he neutralised white’s opening advantage and then methodically improved his position. However this had left him short of time.

First we watch Paul take control. At this point Femi increased the tension with 23. f4

Paul responds 23 ...g5! 24.Nf3? gxf4 25.Bf2 fxg4 26.hxg4 Rg8 27.Ne5 Nxe5 28.dxe5 Qf8 29.Qh3 Rg6 30.Bf3 Qg7 31.Rfe1 and now has many ways to win and his choice is good as any 31 ...Bxf3 32.Qxf3 Rxg4+ 33.Kf1 Rg8

And there is no defence, except note the move number and the possibility of causing confusion.

34.Rc7!? Qg5

and now Paul has about 30 seconds to find one move to win the championship. Femi throws in


In normal circumstances this would be the losing blunder, because after 35 ...Rg1+ 36 Bxg1 Qxg1+ 37. Ke2 Rg2+ the d4 square has become undefended for a killer Q check. However Paul didn't have time to see this, and he didn't notice Femi's threat.

35 ...h5??? 36.Nf7+ 1-0

So now I've shown you Femi's winning methods, maybe he'll find it tougher next year!

The slow starter prize was shared by Peter Hunt and Michael Joseph.

Page last updated 15th September 2012
Copyright © 2001-12 Adrian Elwin