John keeps his cool

The first Knockout Champion is John Cawdery, overcoming Ashley’s “draw odds” advantage to win a 72 move game, which was screened live on the Internet as it unfolded. This was an extra point of interest for the players in the other room, contesting “Bonanza Night”, with the KO final being screened alongside the Bonanza pairings.

The Knockout competition was an initiative of Ashley Freeman and it was fitting that he fought his way through to the Final. For a long time, it looked good for Ashley, keeping the position tight with a closed centre while maintaining positivity with the potential of expansion on the K-side where John’s King resided. Remember, as White, John needed to win as Ashley with the Black pieces only needed to draw. But John has the knack of extending the game without losing his objectivity and keeping a level head.

The turning point came at move 28 and Ashley’s break with … f5. This did not turn out well, the resulting exchanges leaving Ashley with an exposed and weak pawn on e6 which soon fell, giving John clear winning chances in the rook and pawn ending – provided he could stay ahead of the clock. The players were soon down to their last minute or two (plus 10 second increments) from around move 36 onwards, leaving the second half of the game – the R & P ending – to be played out at blitz speed. “Cool hand Luke” brought in the win that makes him our first Knockout Champion. Many congratulations, John!

You can play through the game via the link below.

Links: Play through the Final game | Knockout page

Posted in Internal events, Knockout.