Horfield D 4 – Keynsham 2
Prakash Chatterjee (137) .5-.5 David Jarrett (140)
Tom Holmes (124) 1-0 Duncan MacArthur (139)
James Facey (UNG) 1-0 Jim Rowlands (103)
Peter Marks (110) 1-0 James Sutton (52)
Piotr Zielinski (UNG) 0-1 David Woodruff (79)
Johnny Zeng (78) .5-.5 Chris Hayden (69)
Keynsham have been in good form this season with their teams strong on the top three boards in particular. Before the match I’d hoped we would win enough points on the bottom boards to protect us against the tougher contests up top. As it happened Keynsham came without John Kilmister who has been I great form for them this year so whilst we were a little out-graded on boards one and two we held healthy advantages further down.
Prakash, who has been struggling to close out good positions this season, worked himself into the game nicely on top board against David (who is unbeaten this season) and entered a middle game with the bishop pair versus bishop and knight and some reasonable chances. Tom’s game looked like an attack vs defence training game. Duncan played a sort of Grunfeld but didn’t exchange knights on c3 and instead retreated to b6 and developed his pieces tightly leaving Tom to build a massive classical centre (c4, d4, e4, f4, knights on c3 and f3, bishops on d3 and e3 and rooks on the d1 and e1); the stage was set for part eight hundred million of big centre versus ‘hyper-modern’ defence. On three James played a French and Jim went for the advance option and after a queen exchange down the b file James had doubled b pawns but the semi-open a file which resulted in him winning the a pawn early. The question was whether he would be able to work any advantage from the position. All three games looked like real chess. Conversely on the hacking boards it was slightly different as we indulged in Christmas giving…
James (newish to chess) opted for a Dutch versus my d4 opening and it was passably competent for 15 moves. However I set James a one move tactical threat (knight check revealing an attack on his hanging queen). Rather than move or protect his queen James decided a king walk was the best solution. It ended with his king in front of his pawns on d6 allowing a relatively neat but straightforward mating sequence meaning after 18 moves I’d mated him on e5. Early Christmas gift number one.
Piotr was involved in an English with David which quite early got clogged. It didn’t look like there was any real risk of a defeat (nor for that matter of a win) with relatively accurate play. Johnny started (as ever) very fast, found himself a piece down in the opening (Christmas gift number two) and then had a slog to stay in the game. It didn’t look promising at all. However in a position where he was five to two pawns down in a queen and rook ending he offered a draw (ah! The chutzpah of youth) and remarkably Chris accepted with 20 minutes left on his clock. Christmas gift number three.
Back with the real chess Prakash and David had worked into a position where there was little scope for further play without compromise and a draw was agreed which put us 2-1 up. James finished his game off shortly afterwards. Having exchanged down to leave a knight and pawn ending with a passed pawn on the queen side things looked good. James secured the kingside, had his knight ideally placed to restrict both Jim’s king and knight, and Jim resigned as he could only stop the passed pawn by giving up his knight. Very smooth. 3-1.
Two games left. Piotr had got frustrated playing a completely drawn position where David would not accept a draw and seemed content to shuffle pieces. He ran out of patience deciding to break open the position. Sadly this allowed David’s king to dominate and secure the point. The final Christmas gift of the night made it 3-2 leaving all remaining eyes on Tom and Duncan’s game.
Duncan had created significant counter play on the queenside but Tom has a great knight on e6 supported by a pawn on f5 and the chances on the kingside. As the game got more complex and tactical opportunities abounded Duncan won knight for rook but Tom burst through Duncan’s kingside pawns sacrificing his bishop to do so meaning Duncan’s king was exposed to queen and rook down the h and g files and it was game over. A pleasure to watch a rich and interesting game.
4-2 versus one of the stronger teams in the division, winning the top half of the match 2.5-.5. Excellent. It takes us to 10 points from 7 games. A very healthy position indeed.