Champions continue to win to extend lead at the top (03/04/18)

During the course of our successful season we’ve had some fair slices of luck along the way. I can count at least 3 full point swindles in my own games! This match, although it finished 4.5 – 1.5 in our favour, was a good example of this luck, although perhaps we should also give ourselves credit for persistence and giving our opponents opportunities to go wrong.

Taking it board by board:

On 1, Aaron had a tricky game, in which he looked to be skating on thin ice towards the end of the game. However, with some good endgame technique he was able to hold.

On 2, Dave managed to hold up my kingside expansion and we entered a position where the whole centre and kingside was blocked. I was able to prise open the a and b files, but the black defences seemed to be holding. However, the clock situation proved crucial as, with Dave just down to increment, he ‘blundered’ the exchange and resigned. It wasn’t clear to me though that the exchange up position would have been sufficient to win, particularly given my totally useless king’s bishop hemmed in behind the locked pawn structure.

On 3, Mike was also facing a tricky battle, in which his provocative opening had ceded quite a lot of space to white. This led to a position in which his opponent gained a dangerous passed pawn and Mike’s position seems too passive to be able to prevent its advance. I’d completely given Mike’s position up for lost and went to spectate another game. When I turned back I was amazed to find that not only had he not lost, he’d completely turned the game around and won! I’m still not quite sure how it happened.

On 4, Dominic faced the unusual 1…h6 in response to his 1. Nf3 opening. I later found that this has been played by a number of strong players (e.g. Richard Rapport) so perhaps not quite as provocative as it looked. In the game, Dominic seemed to build a pleasant position, but Dave seemed solid and the point was ultimately shared.

On 5, Phil was another of our players to find himself in difficulties. A tactical oversight in the early middle game had allowed his opponent to pursue a very dangerous kingside attack which led to material gains. However, Phil fought back, trying to exploit a few holes around the white king with his knights. It probably shouldn’t have been enough, but with a couple of pawns for a piece and an open king position to exploit, Phil’s counter-chances were sufficient to persuade his opponent to offer a draw which was accepted.

On 6, Harvey’s game was much more respectable. He’d won a pawn at an early stage with some enterprising piece play, and slowly steered the game to an endgame, which he duly converted.

(1) A Guthrie 0.5 – 0.5 D Painter-Kooiman
(2) D Pugh 1 – 0 D Egginton
(3) M Harris 1 – 0 A Chapman
(4) D Tunks 0.5 – 0.5 D Peters
(5) P Nendick 0.5 – 0.5 M Wilson
(6) H Atkinson 1 – 0 S Iles

HORFIELD A 4.5 – 1.5 CLIFTON A

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

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