Horfield D come up just short in promotion clash

Tom Homes (124)                      1-0                    Mike Passmore (134)

James Facey (UNG)                  0-1                    David Woodcock (129)

Louis Martin (129)                      0-1                    Richard Livermore (128)

Prakash Chatterjee (137)            0-1                    Jack Tye (111)

Howard Millbank (124)               .5-.5                  Grant Daly (108)

Peter Marks (110)                      1-0                    John Paines (100)

Horfield D                                           2.5-3.5                  Downend D

This was a big game for us; a test of our promotion credentials. We had our strongest team out and Downend arrived with a good line-up meaning grading was pretty even.

I finished my game early and was home and hosed by 9. John was somewhat passive and allowed me to open the e-file, create pressure down it then strip away his kingside pawns with his pieces misplaced on the queenside. Pressure turned into material gain and John accepted defeat. This gave me the chance to watch the other games and also play a couple of friendly games of blitz with Johnny in the other room. The next to finish was Prakash. He had worked a slightly better position into the middle game but then blundered a piece and Jack finished the match confidently and with the minimum of fuss. All square. Louis was next to finish. He had been a pawn up and comfortable when he touched the wrong piece and had to go the exchange down and entered a losing position. Richard did make sure of the outcome without alarm. 2-1 to Downend.

The other matches were relatively well balanced, Howard and Grant looked very even; James was a pawn up in a rook + knight vs rook + bishop ending; and Tom looked well placed having created a passed pawn in the centre and a rook to knight up with queens still on the board. Mike’s knight was unfortunately placed on h8 and out of the game so the advantage looked like a whole piece.

As it turned out we got 50% from these three matches. James couldn’t get his pieces off of the white squares as Dave always seemed to have a tempo and with James’ king exposed in the centre of the board Dave won a piece with a bishop fork and with it the game. Tom however restored some hope with a highly competent finish as he calmly withstood Mike’s increasingly desperate threats and with the promotion of his passed pawn inevitable sealed the point. Tom has been sterling this season and his grading performance must be close to 150. 3-2 down but there was to be no ‘best comeback since Lazarus’ as Howard and Grant’s very drawn position was drawn.

Downend deserved the win by playing solidly across all the boards, a shame as we certainly had chances and conspired in our own downfall. Unlikely now to finish top two in the division but we continue to travel in hope.

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