County Match (Open) 2015-16: Sussex – Surrey

Yesterday, I played my first game of the season for the Sussex Open team. We were playing Surrey away at Coulsdon. Unfortunately, Dix had great trouble getting players for the match; we ended up four players short, so started 0-4 down. We also had the problem that the players we lost were in the middle of the team, so a number of players were a few boards above where they usually would be. Not surprisingly, we lost heavily. However, on a personal note, I achieved a decent result: a draw against a strong player (current grade 199), against whom I had twice lost previously in county matches over the years.

The game saw my opponent commit an early inaccuracy; however, instead of choosing the safe follow up, with a solid advantage, I played a speculative pawn sacrifice. I had decent pressure for a while – probably adequate compensation but no more – but let things slip, and allowed by opponent to establish a position with a fairly solid extra pawn. However, as we approached the time control, my opponent overlooked some tactical threats that I was building up, and allowed a combination that equalised. Soon afterwards we agreed a draw.

I give the game below with some notes.

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