2018 Berks & Bucks congress

The annual Berks & Bucks congress was held at its usual St Pirin’s School location in Maidenhead over the 2018 August Bank Holiday weekend.

What was special was how well Scott Leadbetter played at this event. The link below records his win against Phil Foley and is well worth going through to see how Scott showed his opponent how a Rook/Pawn ending should be played. I watched most of this game and honestly thought that Scott was lost early in the middle game. Man, was I ever wrong. Definitely an instructive lesson in moving a major piece from one side of the board to the other, and back again, in order to achieve best advantage. Well played, Black.

Scott’s own thoughts on the game are shown below. Enjoy!

Event: Berks & Bucks Congress

Date: August 2018

White: PHIL FOLEY (141)

Black: SCOTT LEADBETTER (138)

Result: 0-1

Time Controls: All moves in 90 minutes, plus 30-second time increments from Move 1

https://lichess.org/ReiPY6RR/black#1

[Use the Back arrow on your keyboard to navigate to the start of the game and the Forward arrow to progress through the game]

Scott says:

Move 12: Alas, I missed an opportunity to win a piece (Qa5+) that would have made the game much easier.

Move 34: When White moved his rook off the e-file, I realised that I needed to use my King to profit from my space advantage.

Move 36: Two moves later, I was fortunate that my opponent did not see Rb3 as this would have won my d-pawn. My King could not defend it, due to White’s follow-up f3 move with check.

Move 38: I realised that I could play Kd4 at once since, if my opponent got greedy and captured a pawn, I would be able to generate backrow mating threats. The advantage of not capturing the White c-pawn was that it prevented checks against my King.

Move 41: White’s next few moves are forced and it soon became clear that I would be able to promote my pawn and force White’s Rook off the board. Then, it should be quite a straightforward endgame.

Near the end of the game, my opponent preferred to hoover up pawns instead of acknowledging the severity of the mating threat I was generating. It doesn’t matter how much of a material advantage you have, if it costs you the game to get it. White resigned on move 56.

Having offered my opponent a draw at move 26 (he declined), I was particularly pleased with the win.