Time to focus on the league

Last year we were booted out of both cups – so as Steve Dilleigh says at the end of his report (he won in 14 moves so he was able to observe the other games) – it is time for Horfield to focus on the league. As for the wild and dangerous Meadows-Nendick game, I’m sure the Bristol Chess Times will cover it soon.
Downend’s match report and the scoresheet can be found here:
At 7.58 Dominic still hadn’t turned up so we were in big danger of being one down. But then he made it just in time and proceeded to play solidly against Tyson. Soon afterwards Richard Savory made a bad miscalculation against me and lost a piece, prompting an immediate resignation. This gave me the opportunity to watch the match and at at the same time to watch some of the Liverpool – Napoli game which was also tense.
Next to finish was board 3. Despite White seemingly doing nothing special, Tyson didn’t find himself in an ideal position. He then had to use his great Kings Indian experience to find the correct way to defend. Having accomplished the task successfully he offered a relatively early draw which was accepted. So having got away with a time deficit on board 3 and being 1 up on the top boards things could have been very promising. Unfortunately the rest of the match wasn’t looking so good.
On board 1 Derek, unusually, achieved a very normal looking Caro-Kann position. However it seems that normal positions don’t suit Derek as he proceeded to imprudently advance his pawns to get active play. When the active play didn’t really materialise he was just left with pawn weaknesses. Steve Meek managed to break into the White position and was soon creating all sorts of threats. At least one pawn dropped off before Derek was forced to concede.
On board 6 Phil was playing a very sharp game against Michael Meadows. Apparently this all started as theory but when I first saw it I found it impossible to evaluate. A bit later it settled down to queen (Michael) against two rooks (Phil) and I thought (maybe hopefully) that Mike would go for a perpetual check. Michael correctly decided to play on. His queen was active and Phil was undeveloped. I don’t know if Phil could have held this but a bit later he fell into a sequence that would have lost a rook so he was forced to resign. Now one down in the match, it didn’t look likely that we could come back as we weren’t doing well in any of the remaining games.
Mike H had played some sort of queen pawn opening with queenside castling but Mike Brigden’s position looked very solid. Ultimately Mike B seemed to be doing more of the pressing but a draw was always likely, which indeed turned out to be the result.
On bottom board John Richards had a somewhat unbalanced game against Oli Stubbs. I thought this one could go either way but after various twists and turns the two players fought each other down to R+2P v R+2P before agreeing a draw.
Things were going badly on board 4. Paul’s opening seemed to go wrong when Lewis Martin advanced a pawn to d6. Paul then allowed a pawn to c7, perhaps intending to win it. A bit later the pawn had disappeared but Lewis had a strong passed d pawn instead. Not only that, but Lewis also had a very agile knight which was causing all sorts of problems. Paul defended valiantly and it looked like he had a chance of holding on but his defences were eventually stretched too far and he succumbed to a knight fork.
Meanwhile Mike L was taking on Nigel Hosken on board 5. Nigel had a French position with a backward e pawn. I always find it hard to judge those even though I’m a French player myself but initially Mike seemed to be doing well. A bit later though Nigel had drummed up some play on the kingside. Mike L decided to give up a pawn temporarily and invaded the Black position with his queen. White looked to be on top but perhaps should have played more solidly. After a few deft defensive moves Nigel was threatening a big counterattack. It was surprisingly hard to find a defence to this and with his clock running down to almost nothing Mike succumbed to a mating attack.
And so we lost 5.5 – 2.5. We probably deserved a bit better on one or two boards but they were worthy winners overall. Time to concentrate on the League instead.
Steve D

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