Battling display but Horfield B fall in the final minutes (26/09/17)

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White to play on Board 2.  Is there a way through after black plays Bd5?

Tuesday morning and I wake to realise my cold is worse than before. I really do not want to play tonight but I have no reserves and everyone would have to move up. Best to soldier on.

However, we are to play Clifton A. A daunting prospect at the best of times, but we are without three B team players. I’ve put Jon on two because he said if he’s going to play a strong player he does much better with white and although he’s been playing board five there seems no better alternative. My head feels like it’s full of cotton wool.

Clifton is missing Dave Collier, which helps us a little, but it is still a massive 20 point grading difference. With Dave there, it would have been 30 points. Still, we beat Bath so anything could happen.

Bob is first to finish, settling for a very creditable half with Duncan. Brent has a definite edge and everyone else seems fairly comfortable, so I decide I had better try to concentrate on my own game.

Playing an IM is, of course, hard at the best of times. It is even harder when the squares start to waver and your eyes and brain are fuzzy. Remarkably, I get to move 27 with a level position, even possibly slightly better for me and James is short of time. I decide to lob in a draw offer, not with any expectation of success. IMs did not get where they are today by accepting draws with players like me – they know they will grind you down in the end. So it is no surprise when this offer is rejected, but it did have the virtue of taking a bit more off James’s clock.

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An interesting position from Board 1. Excellent endgame technique secured a good draw for Captain (sniffer) Richards

I stagger on for another 30 moves until we reach a position where James has about 12 seconds and no clear way of making progress. This time the offer is accepted. I must offer an apology to James though: it cannot have been pleasant to play someone sneezing and snuffling like I was. Sorry, James. 1-1.

It’s time to catch up on what is happening elsewhere. Jon has repaid my confidence by getting a draw against John Curtis, and Nigel has also shook hands. 2-2.

However, things have turned around on five where Brent is now losing and so is Chris on three. 2-4.

Closer than it looks, and also encouraging in its way. We’ve shown we can stand up to two of the top teams. If we keep playing with that spirit, more results will come. But it’s the league champions next.

(1) John Richards 0.5 – 0.5 IM James Cobb

Play through game

(2) Jon Fisher 0.5 – 0.5 John Curtis

Play through game

(3) Chris Jones 0 – 1 Gareth Morris

(4) RP Radford 0.5 – 0.5 Duncan Grossett

(5) Brent Perrin 0 – 1 Igor Doklestic

(6) Nigel Pollett 0.5 – 0.5 Tomas Jankowski

HORFIELD B 2 – 4 CLIFTON A

NB: Horfield were black on boards 1, 3 and 5.

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