Written by

CM Charles Campbell 


The CNO Premier Chess League made its long-awaited debut early this morning as CM Charles Campbell (Candychessmaster) defeated Udeme Edet (Udemzo) in a rather cagey encounter with about 19 spectators from all over Africa watching.

In the 4+2 blitz variant, both players appeared content with testing the waters and basically sized themselves up in the first game as an exchange Caro Kahn was played out. After a series of repeated moves, a draw was agreed after 50 moves. In the second game, Udeme declined Charles’ offer of a Queen’s gambit and the game quickly transposed into a Semi Slav as white inflicted an isolated queen’s pawn on black. As compensation, black had more room to shuffle his pieces behind the weak pawn, liquidated the pawn by capturing on e4 and made some gestures towards the white king. White in return was content with playing on the queenside and tried to create more weaknesses in the black camp. The game ended abruptly on the 23rd move as white’s dominance on the c-file paid dividends when black missed a double attack on his c8 bishop. In the final 4+2 game, another Caro Kahn was played out, this time in classical fashion. A comedic ending ensued when white, having gained the initiative, missed capturing a completely free rook which would have evened the match. Black went on to capture the white rook and without any compensation whatsoever, white was forced to resign.

In the 2+1 bullet games, Charles drew first blood when in an even position, Udeme flagged in a frantic finale. The second game saw a reappearance of the classical Caro Kahn as both players played out an intriguing game right up till the bitter end. A draw was sealed after White sacrificed his knight on the last black pawn and though he still had a knight, black had no mating material. Udeme had to wait until the final game of the match to secure his first win. He employed an accelerated Slav defence as black and built a very strong focal point on e4 by planting his pawns on f5 and d5. The star move of the match was 23…Nf2 deflecting the white queen away from the defence of his rook as Charles was forced to exchange rooks and so doing, cede control of the f-file to black. Some pretty Queen, rook and knight attack motifs quickly emerged around the white king and coupled with time pressure, Udeme emerged 2 clear pawns up from the ensuing melee. Charles was forced to resign as black ably marshalled his d-pawn towards the queening square.

The match ended Udemzo 2-4 Candychessmaster as Charles occupies pole position on the CNO Premier Chess league table, at least for a couple of hours before the other matches kick off at 9pm, Naija time on Monday, April 16th 2018.

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