We faced a full strength Clifton A this week – always a tough one!
The evening began with Peter playing solidly and getting us an unexpected draw against Igor on board 6. This was followed on board 5, by Prakash who went a pawn down and though putting up a spirited fight could never level the game with Duncan and eventually lost. Jon on board 4 was doing well and holding his own but somehow allowed his position to drift and David’s Queen which was central most of the game was pivotal in keeping Jon’s position under control refusing some pawn sacs and not allowing any freeing counterplay. Eventually Jon’s position became untenable after dropping the exchange and David gave a virtuoso performance in endgame play to clinch another win for the away team.
Board 1 was always a struggle for Patryk with the black pieces against IM Cobb. James kept a minimal space advantage and showed in fine style why he is well known for his grinding style of play forcing resignation from Patryk. Bob and Jon on board 3 were symmetrical in position for some time before Jon decided it was time to get the central pawns off and open up the position. Bob had the pair of Bishops which normally would a plus against both knights except Jon completely controlled the centre with them leaving Bob’s Bishops unable to make an impression. From here Jon began a menacing attack against Bob’s king side with the threat of knight manoeuvres and a rook lift to f3. On move 22 Bob found a move that totally freed his position by placing a Bishop en prise as it had a tremendous sting to it if taken. Jon declined taking it which allowed Bob to swap off bishop for knight and created a powerful attack on Jon’s king which almost led to mate but Jon coolly defended his position and after a Rook and Bishop swap for Jon’s Queen, leaving Bob with a Queen and Rook against Jon’s pair of Rooks and a knight, with the pawns being equal it petered out into a drawn position.
Finally Rob on board 2 having won a pawn early on seemed to be weathering the storm and almost got free of Gareth’s dangerous assault on Rob’s king but with just a short time left Rob blundered and lost the exchange and with a pawn down also called it a day. 1-5.
The score suggest a thumping but the performances proved otherwise. Very well done to the Clifton lads.