Clifton B 4 – Horfield B 2
(1) Chris Beaumont (208) ½-½ Paul Helbig (183)
(2) Andrew Muir (218) ½-½ Dominic Tunks (203)
(3) Dominic Goodwin (204) 1-0 John Richards (167)
(4) Manuel Sierra Jiminez (176) 1-0 Roger Pearce (138)
(5) Anton Muller (141) ½-½ Bob Radford (152)
(6) Robert Smolka (112) ½-½ Mike Jennings (110)
Horfield B were white on odd boards
From our last ever fixture at Downend Cricket Club, we moved on to our first ever fixture at Clifton’s new venue, Redland Green Tennis Club. The lighting is good, the room is spacious (but there was just the one match), it has a bar and there is a car park (though you have to compete with the tennis players for spaces). The negative is noise: there was a pub quiz in full swing in the bar next door causing a racket as a packed house played to win Wimbledon tickets, though this could have been a one-off.
We were without Mike Harris (ante natal duties) and Peter Kirby (international duties), so stalwart reserves Bob Radford and Mike Jennings stepped in. It was obvious, though, that we would be up against it: three 200+ players, and two of them international masters, made it one of the strongest teams we have met this season and substantially stronger than the team we met in the first half when Clifton B were seemingly heading for division 2.
We started okay though. Paul got a half against Chalks and I thought I wasn’t doing too badly – until I realised I was getting mated. Still, I got a chance to try the Fuller’s London Pride in the bar. 0.5-1.5.
Dominic had seemed to have a constricted position, but was coming back and making Andrew sweat. Roger was a pawn or so down, but had a passed b pawn which was causing Manuel some angst. Bob had all the pressure against Anton. Mike was holding off a kingside attack, but had all the centre under control and was a pawn or two up. I was starting to think we could get at least a point from this.
Dominic and Andrew got down to an opposite colour bishop ending, with Dominic having two extra pawns. Ultimately, Dominic had a bishop and two connected pawns against bishop, but a totally drawn position; these IMs are tough to beat. Bob had bishop and pawns for a rook, but could not find a way to get one of the pawns through for a touchdown, so another half. 1.5-2.5.
Mike had played well, but should probably have swapped bits off to reach a won ending. He didn’t, and another half resulted. This left Roger, who had been battling Manuel all game, but could not hold Manuel’s extra pawns back. Afterwards, Manuel said to me that Roger was a tough player and asked his grade. I replied that he was about 135, and Manuel would not believe me!
Perhaps an opportunity missed. Just the one game to go – at home to Bath in a fortnight, when we will try to dent their championship hopes.