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Bill Smith Open Round 4 - The Matsonian Institute

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Kele Perkins (left) in his round 4 win over Bertram Buggs.
Kele Perkins (left) in his round 4 win over Bertram Buggs.
The Bill Smith Open continued last night with round 4 producing a sole leader in David Argall (2000) who now has 4/4. There were no major shocks this round, although there were a couple of small upsets on the lower boards.

On board 1, Mike Carlson (2062) took on "The Matsonian Institute", as Carlson described opponent Dave Matson (1987) before the game. Matson's excellent play led to an endgame which, at a glance, looked completely winning with connected passed a and b pawns. However, this fascinating endgame turned into a known (if slightly unusual) draw with black able to sacrifice his rook for one of the pawns and keep his king on a8, producing a stalemate situation. The result puts both players on 3.5/4 and still in contention.

Phil Chase (1942) grappled with David Argall on board 2, with Argall eventually emerging victorious. The game was quite interesting and Chase, who had white, looked to have some pressure against Argall's king which was in the center of the board. Black had a dangerous passed pawn by way of compensation and then made a surprise (but apparently quite sound) exchange sacrifice that made it extremely difficult for white to stop the passed pawn. Chase eventually had to resign and the result puts Argall in the sole lead in the tournament.

On board 3, Gregg Fritchle (2066) beat Gordon Brooks (1900) with the white pieces. Fritchle was able to win the exchange with a neat discovered attack on black's queen, leading to a large plus for white which Fritchle then converted into a win. Fritchle is now on 3.5/4 with a few other players, well placed to do well as the tournament goes into the latter stages.

On board 4, Matthew Hayes (2064) defeated Wendell Salveron (1948), also with the white pieces. Black played a pawn sacrifice that was probably unsound and, although he got some initial pressure for it, white was able to consolidate. An interesting middlegame ensued where white gave back the pawn in return for attacking chances against black's king. When that fizzled out, the resulting endgame was possibly drawn but was easier for white to play. Unfortunately, black blundered a rook in time trouble and had to resign shortly after.

The three slight upsets came courtesy of Justin Chang (1558), Danny Machuca (1569) and Robert Head (1481). The ever improving Chang had a very good draw against Aaron Taing (1705), with the black pieces to boot. Machuca defeated Melvin Bond (1701), his lessons with FM Matt Beelby apparently bearing fruit. Finally, Bob Head beat Michael Bond (1653) with the white pieces, overcoming a 180 point rating defecit.

The Bill Smith Open will continue Monday, August 6.