It was never going to be easy opening our campaign against reigning champions Downend A. However, we certainly had our chances in this match although I was too occupied with the complications which erupted in my own game to observe the details of the critical stages of the other games.
On board 1, Aaron’s Tarrasch Defence seemed sound enough although Henry was trying his best to break through on the kingside. On board 2, I established a significant space advantage, but Richard was doing his best to find counterplay by threatening to break out in the centre. Board 3’s game had quickly reached a late middlegame / endgame. Alex’s position looked promising (with a queenside pawn majority to work with) but Nigel had found some rook activity which gave counterplay. Board 4 featured some complex manoeuvring, and I was struggling to work out who (if anyone) was better. On board 5 Harvey has struggling to create play against Martin’s Maroczy Bind. On board 6, in a closed position, Jerry had an initiative on the queenside which ultimately cost Bob a pawn.
At this stage, Richard lashed out with a pawn sacrifice to free himself in the centre. It probably shouldn’t have worked, but I made the classic error of playing too quickly in my opponent’s time trouble, missing a key intermediate check which gave my opponent both material and the initiative, and Richard wrapped up efficiently. I was pleasantly surprised though to see that the rooks had been exchanged in Alex’s game and his queenside pawn majority then decided the game. Aaron and Henry had agreed their game drawn. Unfortunately, boards 4 to 6 all went the way of the opposition. I’m aware that on board 6 Bob succumbed to a powerful queen centralisation forcing material gain, but missed the details of the other games.
(1) A. Guthrie 0.5 – 0.5 H. Duncanson
(2) D. Pugh 0 – 1 R. Savory
(3) A. Easton 1 – 0 N. Hosken
(4) P. Nendick 0 – 1 M. Meadows
(5) H. Atkinson 0 – 1 M. White
(6) R. Radford 0 – 1 J. Humphreys
HORFIELD A 1.5 – 4.5 DOWNEND A
NB: Horfield were black on boards 1, 3 and 5