Horfield B 2 – Clevedon A 4
(1) Mike Harris (185) 0-1 David Painter-Kooiman (170)
(2) Paul Helbig (183) 0.5-0.5 Dave Egginton (170)
(3) John Richards (171) 0.5-0.5 Paul Spiller (167)
(4) Rob Attar (177) 0-1 Max Walker (160)
(5) Bob Radford (152) 0-1 Chris Strong (152)
(6) Roger Pearce (150) 1-0 Andrew Chapman (148)
Horfield B were white on even boards
It’s been a long time between matches, but we did beat Downend A last time out, so came to this match with a good degree of optimism. We would be fielding Paul Helbig for the first time, and Peter Kirby would be match hardened having returned from international duty for Guernsey at the Olympiad in Georgia. Things started to go wrong a couple of days before, when Peter reported he had acquired a very heavy cold, probably caught from the San Marino captain. I called up Bob and moved myself from five to three.
Still, it would be all right, wouldn’t it? On paper, Clevedon has one of the weakest sides in division one and we had a grading superiority of nine points. Paper doesn’t always cut it and we were soon in trouble on boards four and five. Young Max Walker was playing very sharply and had Rob on the ropes. Bob was getting pressed in the centre and seemed to have no counterplay. Roger was doing fine though, winning the exchange and working his way down the queenside.
In my game, I decided to take Paul Spiller on in the Morra. He must have played this gambit against me about three times before and I had always declined the pawn, fearing that I would be walking in to superior knowledge. This time I was better prepared and grabbed it. After 20 moves or so I still had the extra pawn, but my position was looking distinctly like a tent with no guy ropes. When Paul offered a draw I was faced with a difficult choice. We looked like being 2-0 down very soon so felt I needed to play on. Then I realised I had no idea how to hold the tent up any longer so, there’s no escaping it, I bottled out.
Rob’s position collapsed, and the same happened to Bob soon after to make it 0.5-2.5. Roger was continuing to make progress, and eventually won on time. 1.5-2.5.
Paul, on his debut, looked to have an edge against Dave Eggington. However, it wasn’t as good as it seemed and Paul could not find a way of breaking through. Reluctantly, he offered a draw. 2-3.
Any hope rested with Mike, but it was not looking good. David’s rooks and bishop had been eating their way down the g and h files and at last broke through to seal the match for Clevedon.
We have a week to lick our wounds before a trip to in-form Bath.