Aron Saunders (121) 0-1 Tom Holmes (129)
John Paines (104) .5-.5 James Facey (136)
Geoff Gammon (91) 0-1 Louis Martin (126)
Rob Haydon (94) 1-0 Pete Marks (117)
Sam Ryan (95) 0-1 Howard Millbank (123)
Bilal Ahmed (62) 1-0 Piotr Zielinski (106)
We still have a chance to get promoted. We need other results to fall our way but winning our matches is a minimum requirement. This was a match we should win comfortably as we had a significant grading advantage across all the boards. As it turned out we made it harder than it should have been.
Howard won first, comfortably finding an advantage out of the opening and making it count. Splendid. However looking at the other boards it didn’t look as comfortable as I hoped, Tom had strong control of the centre and a significant space advantage out of a Grenfeld, Louis was clearly better against Geoff and Piotr was very comfortable in his game. However I was responding to Rob’s London system in a feeble and passive way demonstrating a complete lack of structural understanding and James looked somewhat vulnerable against John and was material down.
So I finished next as Rob put me out of my misery after completely outplaying me. 1-1, I’ve managed to lose two games this season – both against Downend E. Happy not to be playing them again this year. In the spirit of sharing Downend have published my game for posterity https://www.downendchess.com/game/1567 – it hasn’t got any better with a second viewing….
Pleasingly Louis restored our lead having never looked like he would do anything apart from win. 2-1. However Piotr let his advantage slip and Bilal won well to level the match at 2-2.
On the top board Tom had complete control and won well as Aron simply didn’t find a way to break out of his cramped and uncoordinated position. Another really strong performance from Tom who is having an excellent season. All eyes on James’ match with John. It was a relief when James found tactics allowing him to draw with a perpetual and John accepted the draw.
A narrow squeak against a group of lovely chaps but a win is a win and we got the job done on the white boards.
As an aside on the way to the match Tom, Louis, Mike and I discussed if our chess was music what it would be. Tom aspired to Debussy, Louis to Satie, Mike mentioned REM and I came up with the Ramones (simple but gets the job done) whilst secretly aspiring to Beethoven’s Choral. On the way back I think my chess was more like a Timmy Mallet novelty record.