British OTB Championship, 2021, Round 6
Round 6 was played on 07/10/2021.
In the Championship, in sole lead after 5 rounds was Andrew Ledger of Sheffield, with 4 points out of 5, followed by 6 players on 3½ points. The top 4 pairings, with current scores in parentheses, were as follows:
Svetlana Sučikova and Robert Starley entered round 6 with scores of 3 and 2 out of 5 respectively
Andrew Ledger,with Black seemed to have the better of things out of the opening, having a supported past d-pawn, and a half-open file down which to harass White’s pawn at a2. White improved his position by establishing a supported passed h-pawn However, with all knights swapped off, there were no lines of entry into the enemy camp for either player. A protracted period of shuffling about behind the pawn barrier ensued. Then White who seized on a chance to make a pawn break down the c-file, but this enabled Black to win a pawn, whereafter the players have two rooks each and a bishop each of opposite square-colour. White, however, had control of the c-file, and any hope of a win for Black seemed to have evaporated. White, however, found a plan involving sacrificing a rook for bishop, so that he could pick off the two pawns near Black’s king. Black may have planned 79. Rxe5, but then 79. … Raxe5 80. Kxe5 Rxc4 81.bxc4 d6 would have allowed that Black pawn to queen. This meant Black was suddenly pleasantly playing with R + R +3P versus R+ B + 3P. Black then decided to push his d-pawn and allow his e-pawn to fall. This meant White could push his own now-passed e-pawn, and it soon looked as though a draw was inevitable, though play went on, and it was difficult to see who was trying to win, and a draw as greed at move 113!
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Svetlana Sučikova had White against Joseph McPhillips. White emerged the worse from the opening, losing a pawn and having a very uncomfortable position. Imminent loss of a second pawn may be what precipitated the dubious-looking 28. Nxa5, which led to loss of material, which could have been a whole knight, but which White managed to limit to the minor exchange. Nevertheless, White had two connected outside passed pawns, though Black had two connected outside passed pawns. White pushed the two passed Queen’s side pawns, and got a pawn to b7, albeit shedding the a-pawn en route. When Black’s king started to move across, however, White’s days were numbered, and ultimate loss was inevitable.
Robert Starley had White against Louise Head. White attacked on the King’s side, then switched to the centre where at mpve 31 he played what was superficially an exchange sacrifice, though immediate acceptance would have allowed to win back the exchange and a pawn as well. Black evidently miscalculated, instead coming up with a way of meeting this which lost a piece instead of just a pawn. Black played on while queens remained on the board, but managed to force exchange of queens, and Black resigned eight moves later.
Meanwhile, there were no cosy GM-style draws on the other top boards, with Pert and Hebden winning their games, though Olson and Gormally was drawn in 52 moves.
This left Nicholas Pert, Mark Hebden and Andrew Ledger in the joint lead on 4½ out of 6, and colour consideration imply in round 7 Andrew Ledger will have White against Nicholas Pert, while Mark Hebden floats down to an opponent on 4 out of 6..