Barclay wins 'Friendship Match' in a fierce battle!
The 2nd "Friendship Match" was highly anticipated and there was wonder as to how this match would end. Barclay admitted that he felt Wamala would win. Wamala on the other hand had told his father how much he was impressed by Barclay's accomplishments. Mutual respect was there. Based on his history, Barclay has a dynamic attacking style while Wamala has a penchant for building attacks over time with solid positional ideas. Nice contrast of styles… and it produced some interesting results.
Game #1: First game was a complicated Center Counter which turned into a tactical battle. Wamala sacrificed a pawn to open the b-file, but was unable to generate enough counterplay against Barclay's king. Barclay then used his two bishops to good effect and reeled off a tactical sequence winning material, but Barclay played 23.Qc4? instead of 23.Qb5! Wamala missed his chance with 23…Qh5! but fought on trying to promote an advanced h-pawn. It was soon tackled and Wamala was facing a virulent attack on his king. With several threats looming, he resigned. (See Game #1)
Game #2: This game looked as if Wamala would even the score. Barclay was in trouble after playing a Slav against the Queen's Gambit and drifted into a passive position. He allowed Wamala an imposing center after 17.e4 and was on his heels after his opponent uncorked an interesting pawn sacrifice after 24.d5!? The idea was to give the knight a strong post at d4 and point at both the weak pawn at e6 and the forking c6-square. However, Wamala played 25.Rfd1 instead of 25.Nd4 and his king laid precariously on the a7-g1 diagonal allowing possible intermezzo checks. Wamala sacrificed the exchange, but could not conjure up enough play and Barclay's pawns steamrolled up the queenside. (See Game #2)
Post-Game: The games were exciting and while Wamala stated that he did not play well, he had some very interesting ideas in the first game and was clearly better in the second game. Barclay had prepared deeply for the first game and it showed. The second game was appeared more to Wamala's liking, but he was unable to maintain his grip on the position. Nevertheless, the games were exciting and these two young men will certainly have many wins ahead of them!