It's a bit difficult for Roger to write about his performance at Hartlepool so I thought I would chip in.
I spectated in the final round and was delighted to see Roger doing so well, especially after all the effort he's put in to his chess site. He was playing Jimmy Simpson on top board and needed a win (draw, ed.) to seal the tournament. The Hotel is a nice place to play chess, but it can be rather hot and stuffy. The referee had Roger's half of the room in serious shade as the sun had been bright in the morning. I tried to get him to open a few curtains top help my photography without flash, but he didn't want anyone disturbed. One problem with chess venues is they tend to have soft light as they are rooms for people to socialise in. So Roger and Jimmy faced each other at dusk. Like gunslingers.
Queen's Gambit Declined Exchange Variation, with Roger firing first. A hit Jimmy's c6 pawn was left weak. He countered on the kingside and Roger's position had a lot of holes on the white squares. Jimmy manoeuvred a bishop into f3 and he was setting up to sac a rook on g3 and mate with Queen on h1.
Alan Harvey thought he was in big trouble, but the white knight got across in time via e2 and turned the game round. I think the knight then went to f4 and suddenly black was struggling.
Hey, I like the gunslinger analogy! To give some background: Jimmy's always a tough opponent, there are no quick or easy games against him. Actually, a normal game against Jimmy is like a heavyweight fight in the 'good old days' of 15 rounds slugging punch for punch, with the verdict usually a split decision. We've met quite a few times, and whilst the results have been better for me, Jimmy's certainly had the better positions in our last few encounters. Sunday was tense as Martin describes, post match we found a line that appeared to crown Jimmy's attack, although Fritz reckons I might have been able to scrape a draw exchange for pawn down. Jimmy missed the move and my pieces developed new life.
Martin is moving into chess photography, we'll get some of his photos to display on Chess Tales.