Horfield D 2.5 – Downend E 3.5
Johnny Zeng (78) 0 – 1 Aron Saunders (115)
Prakash Chatterjee (137) .5 – .5 Grant Daly (108)
Howard Millbank (124) .5- .5 Elmira Walker (101)
James Facey (UNG) 1 – 0 John Paines (100)
Peter Marks (110) 0 – 1 Geoff Gammon (86)
Piotr Zielinski (UNG) .5 – .5 Rob Hayward (94)
One of the reasons I adore chess is because when you win you get what you deserve and when you lose you get what you deserve. There is no lucky or unlucky bounce of the ball, no fickle weather, no subjective judges’ decisions. Against Downend E we got exactly what we deserved. Going into the match I expected us to win; we out-grade them comprehensively and we’ve been in decent form as a team. However, however….
Firstly Tom who had agreed to play on top board on junior time limits decided to cycle to Downend for our home match and was unable to get back in time. Fortunately we could at least put someone up to give Aron a game. Really good of Johnny to take on the challenge (especially as 15 minutes had already elapsed) but Aron was much too strong for him. 1-0 and what we deserved. Secondly in my match against Geoff I simply wasn’t very good and approached the game in the wrong way. Having misplayed an English I had worked well enough to stand slightly better but then decided to sac a bishop to set up a combination to win two pawns. Somewhat feebly all it resulted in was losing a bishop. Geoff was accurate enough to make the extra piece count and I got what I deserved. 2-0 down. Piotr worked a good position and dominated Rob. As the end approached Piotr had four pawns and a knight versus a pawn. However as he queened one of the pawns the position was stalemate. 2.5-.5 from the first three. Dreadful but deserved.
On the other boards it didn’t really look we would win all three to make up for it. It was however just possible we could snatch enough to get a draw. James finished next. He’d out manoeuvred John’s personal interpretation of a Najdorf who traded down into an inferior end game and James calmly finished it off. James has played better and better as the season has gone along, I expect his starting grade when the January list is published will be 130 or more. The score was now 1.5-2.5. Briefly some hope.
Howard battled hard to equalise for most of the game as Elmira occupied good squares with her pieces. As they entered the end game both players had queen, rook, and passed pawns (Elmira two in the centre and Howard one on the queen side which was the most advanced). Calculation wasn’t clear and Elmira decided discretion was the better part of valour and a draw by a repetition of checks was agreed as Howard couldn’t get his king to safety without fatally compromising his position. 2-3. Still just about keeping our nose above water.
So Prakash and Grant were still playing. Still very much in the middle game however Prakash had struggled to gain any edge and Grant had won the exchange. So with only a little time left the parties accepted a draw as a win was unrealistic. 188.8.131.52. Lost.
We enter the Christmas break on ten points from eight games. This match was certainly a missed opportunity to position ourselves at the top of the table. A pity. However we’ll push on and there is hope if we can play to our capabilities we may be in the mix by the end of the season.