Tom Holmes (124) 1-0 Anthony Carver (117)
James Facey (UNG) 0-1 Philip Lawson (104)
Louis Martin (129) 1-0 Barry Davies (105)
Howard Millbank (124) 0-1 Allen Bridgwood (77)
Peter Marks (110) 1-0 Matt Howells (47)
Piotr Zielinski (UNG) .5-.5 Tim Rabone (UNG)
Horfield D 3.5-2.5 Hanham A
Our first game of the New Year and one I had high expectations of winning comfortably. We drew at Hanham first game of the season after frittering away two winning positions in the match so was keen not to repeat the experience. We had probably our strongest D team out and as expected out-graded Hanham on all boards.
Tom playing black on board one quickly equalised out of the opening and set about exerting pressure on Anthony’s pawn structure to try to create a material advantage. James on two looked just about okay as they entered the middle game but it wasn’t clear he had secured any advantage from it. Barry opening with a somewhat idiosyncratic queen’s pawn sequence decided to be super aggressive and having lifted his rook onto the h-file sacrificed his bishop on h7 looking for a quick knock-out blow. It looked dramatic. Howard was involved in a fluid struggle with Allen but clearly had a significant position advantage from the opening and was soon the exchange ahead and in a dominant position. I struggled to get going against Matt’s English and the game was very much equal and Piotr looked in control winning a piece early in his contest with Tim.
The first to finish was Piotr. He blundered back the piece and the game finished with locked pawns and no entry points for the remaining pieces. A very drawn draw. I finished next. Matt had played better than his grade and I lazily let him get his queen behind my advanced pawns to give a series of checks which won his my kingside pawns fortunately (for me) he misunderstood a tactical resource and found himself in mate in one meaning we were ahead on the night. James’ position had gone sour as Phil had better calculated a tactical sequence and came out a piece up. James tried to complicate matters but to no avail and Phil took his time but accurately made his advantage count. All square.
Louis won his game as Barry’s attack ran out of steam as he wasn’t able to get enough pieces to the danger area allowing Louis to trade off the queens and a pair of rooks leaving him a piece up and he closed out the game nicely. 2.5-1.5. Then Howard who had been ahead in the game for 2.5 hours overlooked a mate delivered by two knights and bishop. It looked like a puzzle solution so absolute credit to Allen for hanging in the game and spotting the trap. All square with one to go.
All on the top board then. Tom had secured a two pawn advantage but it wasn’t necessarily decisive as Anthony activated his remaining rook well to create problems. Anthony offered a draw which Tom declined. Shortly afterwards as the position looked more equal Tom returned the offer and Anthony declined. Finally as time ran down Tom managed to advance his pawn to create a won position and secure the match. Phew.
So a win. A closer match than we had anticipated as Hanham battled hard. But a win is a win. Cabot up next, which will be tougher; they beat us 5-1 earlier in the season.