Downend B 2-4 Horfield B 1.Steven Meek 05 Paul Helbig 2. Andrew Cooper 05 Michael Levene 3.Oliver Stubbs 0-1 Matias Perez Candelario 4.Michael Brigden 05 John Richards 5.Andrew Munn 0-1 Robert P Radford 6. Ian Pickup 05 Nigel Pollett
Last night we travelled to the Downend HQ at the Cross Hands pub without top board Patryk Krzyzanowski and Rob Attar but facing a full strength Downend B side. The C team skipper Nigel stood in for Rob and Paul returned after missing our last match to take over on board 1. Starting with Bd1. Paul seemed to gain a minimal advantage in the opening and looked to have a decent position. Bd2.Mike had a cramped Sicilian but it appeared to be compact and without weaknesses. Bd3 When these two met recently it was Ollie who was the eventual winner in a long drawn out game. However Matias playing with white quickly got a space advantage and the position of his pieces on the board looked promising. Bd4. Mike played his tried and tested d4 opening and appeared to have come out a little better nursing a slight plus. Bd. 5 Andrew once again tested Bob’s 1.e4 with the Scandinavian Defence, Both players followed up to the first 6 moves from the last time they played this book line in 2013 until Andrew suddenly stopped and seemed to recall he did not fair well from the opening in that encounter and instead of remaining with the book and play 6.Bh5 retreated to Bf5 which loses a tempi as he could have played that a move earlier. On Board 6. Ian attempted to grab space in the centre as Nigel’s plan was to play a sort of kings Indian pirc like opening setup. As the night rolled on three games were all quick draws. Nigel in 14 moves, Mike in 16 and John in 24.
With Bd’s 1, 3 and 5. still playing, all of which were white for Horfield it was there to be won. Paul v Steve on Bd1 Steve was on the back foot defending a worse position but was not losing. . Paul went into the end game with a pair of rooks and a past pawn against a knight, bishop and rook. His opponent eventually gave up his knight for the pawn and with time running out on both clocks, a draw was agreed. Matias had now gained a definite plus and looking good to level his personal score with Ollie. Andrew had a horrible position as his pieces were all virtually undeveloped. Only the Queen looked hard and long at an unprotected poisoned pawn which Andrew wisely declined to take as it would result it in the loss of his queen. With a loud sigh of frustration he sent her back to d8 conceding the opening had been lost. Matias has a fantastic game. Very difficult to explain just how good it was. He started attacking his opponents king side with a knight and rook. Then brought his second knight into play attacking the king side defensive squares and supported by his second rook. His opponent tried to repel the first knight with a pawn but Matias first put his queen on the column pinning the pawn to the king, then sacrificed a rook which the king was forced to take. The queen then moved across to check the king which was then forced to move back to the remaining safe square. Then he checked the king with this knight revealing his opponents unprotected queen on the same diagonal as his own queen (all thanks to the rook sacrifice). As soon as the queen was off the board, it was clear that there was only ever going to be one winner and his opponent quickly resigned. 2-3 up. I myself now needed only a draw to win the match for us. I was in good stead with my two steeds as my game with Andrew got better and better. Andrew’s to his credit never gives in until it’s made impossible for him to continue. When pieces got traded off Andrew was trying hard looking for tactics to get back into the game and in his mind maybe even win, but as our time was running down fast and with my c pawn now arriving 7th rank , I was squeezing the pips out of Andrews nerves. He finally cracked as with barely a minute left for either of us he missed my trap and grabbed the g pawn and walked into a knight fork checking his king and winning his rook. Last time He caught me in tactical combination and it finished just as abruptly as I recall. So Andrew resigned gracefully and game and match went to Horfield B.
Cheers and slaps on my back as I recorded my first win of the season and what an important one it was as we are all most home and dry for another division one spot next season. Commiserations to Downend B.