Witney 1 has retained the 1st division title of the Oxfordshire League with a run of 11 straight victories. Only City 1 came close — but Witney won both head-to-heads — leaving no room for argument.

As a bonus for Witney, their second team has pipped Didcot 1 to the second division title and promotion to Division 1.

Witney also hold congresses, host lecture evenings and simultaneous displays at their Ducklington Village Hall venue and have a thriving junior scene.

All in all, the organisers deserve all the praise coming their way for creating such a model club. Witney even have a team competing in the Four Nations Chess League now.

Starting in the third division, as all new teams must, and consisting largely of juniors it may not be too long before the Witney 4NCL team emulates the success of the Cumnor and Witney teams — former winners of the junior 4NCL.

This week’s game comes from Witney’s last 4NCL match — a victory over Sussex Smart Survivors 2 — and features Witney Club’s leading light Mike Truran showing a keen eye for a finish.

White: Scott Borland
Black: Michael Truran

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Be7 Black’s opening is called the called Czech Benoni — so named because it was employed by Czech grandmasters Hort and Jansa in the 1960s. 

6.Bd3 0–0 7.h3 Nbd7 8.Nf3 Ne8 9.0–0 Attacking with 9.g4 and leaving the king in the centre is the way Kasparov used to play the position.

9…g6 An interesting Czech Benoni idea that's also become popular in the King's Indian. Black supports the f5 break by rerouting his knight to g7.
10.Qc2 Ng7 11.Bh6! Stopping Black's f5 ideas for the time being.

11...Nf6!? Another interesting idea by Mike – he intends to repel the invading bishop with ...Kh8 and ...Ng8.

12.a3 Kh8 13.b4 b6 14.bxc5 bxc5 15.Nh2 Ng8 16.Bxg7+? A very big positional mistake, handing over the dark squares to Black. White will pay later for this decision.

16...Kxg7 17.f4 exf4 18.Rxf4 Bg5 19.Rff1 Bf6 20.Rab1 Qa5 21.Rb3 Bd7 22.Nf3 Rab8 23.Rfb1 Rxb3 24.Rxb3 Ba4?! Returning some of the favour by donating the light squares to White.

25.Nxa4 Qxa4 26.Nd2?! Better was 26.g4 to menace g5 and to allow the king to advance to a white square — but such moves are hard to play.
26...Be5 27.Nb1 Nf6 28.Rb7 Qa6 29.Qb3 Qa5! Suddenly the weakness of the dark squares around the white king becomes apparent.

30.Kf1 Nh5 31.Qb5? Missing one of Black’s threats. 31.Ke2 was much better - but even then after 31...Nf4+ 32.Kf1 Qd8! Black’s infiltration on the dark squares would be very threatening.

31...Ng3+! 32.Kf2 Bd4+! 33.Kf3 Qe1 Faced with unavoidable mate, White resigned. 0–1