On board 6, Jon Fisher was so focused on promoting the A pawn that he missed Rook to e6 mate! It would have sealed the draw but it was not to be and he lost the subsequent time scramble despite being a rook up. Tragic!
I guess the wheels had to come off sometime. But we almost snatched a point!
Chris was first to finish; Andrew is partial to a quick draw, so this was no great surprise. Peter, playing his first match after injury and work commitments, and Mike slugged it out a bit longer on three before sharing the point. 1-1.
Then, close together, came two losses. Mike lost on board one, and I was comprehensively outplayed by Ian on five. 1-3.
So, we needed 2 from 2. Both games were objectively level, but there were chances. Jon seemed to have a harder task, having less active rooks against Oliver’s pair of rooks on the seventh. However, he contrived a set of intricate manoeuvres on the queenside (have you ever seen a knight and rook pirouette? A thing of beauty) and created a passed pawn. Meanwhile, on board four, Brent pounced on an error and launched a winning attack. Dave fought on but his flag fell. 2-3.
All eyes returned to Jon. Concentrating on pushing through the passed pawn, in a tense situation and the clock ticking, Jon missed a (admittedly unusual) mate in one! Even so, he was now a rook up. As long as he could stop Oliver’s g and h pawns, all would be fine. It was not to be. The pawns could not be stopped without giving up both rooks. A gutting way to lose.
And so the first half of the season comes to a downbeat end. Looking back, though, we have done so much better than anyone expected. At the start of the season, I could identify just a couple of sides that we would have a chance of beating. Since then, we have won against Clevedon A, Bath A, league champions Downend A, Clifton B, and University A, for a very creditable ten points: two more than we managed in the whole of last season. In the matches we have lost, we have not been outclassed and stood chances of taking at least a point.
We must not be complacent. We still have work to do in the second half. It may look like a long gap to the relegation zone right now, but that gap can close fast.
(1) Mike Harris 0 – 1 Steve Meek
(2) Chris Jones 0.5 – 0.5 Andrew Cooper
(3) Peter Kirby 0.5 – 0.5 Mike Brigden
(4) Brent Perrin 1 – 0 Dave Tipper
(5) John Richards 0 – 1 Ian Pickup
(6) Jon Fisher 0 – 1 Oli Stubbs
HORFIELD B 2 – 4 DOWNEND B
NB:Horfield were black on boards 1, 3 and 5