On a wet and dark evening Mercia won a relatively easy Pittaway Cup semi-final last night against visitors Stafford. The handicap of 2¼ got bigger when they had to default bottom board making a tough job even harder. Mike S was instructed to get a quick draw and go home and that he did! Lee’s troubled season continued as he found himself with no pieces in front of his King. Despite his opponent missing a Knight-sac the position still crumbled and he put Mercian nerves on edge. John P was a pawn up in the end game with same colour Bishops however his opponent had a passed pawn. Luckily, John was able to keep the Bishop safe and cover any ambitions the passed pawn had. Meanwhile, he Queened his own pawn to record a valuable win. Jon H slowly picked a part his opponent and although in the final position he was a Bishop down, the useful pawn on the seventh proved to be the winner. Dave H recovered from a bit of opening pressure to build a good position for his Rooks and Queen and made no mistake to also win. On top Andrew was giving as much as he got from the IM and it came down to an endgame of Q and 4 pawns vs Q, N and 2 pawns. Time pressure built and when Tony’s clock unexpectedly started bleeping it proved too much and he missed a simple N fork. Tony S already had a won position from an early stage and despite the theatrics of the clock won a straight forward ending. The Stafford Captain joked at the start that they should have the handicap! However, even if the handicap had been moved to them they still would have gone down! Well done to all players. The final will be held towards then end of the season against Stourbridge. Matchcard can be see here.