|Denis Fradkin (156)||1||0||Tom Homes (140)|
|Dorian Schiefer (UNG)||1||0||Prakash Chatterjee (130)|
|Oli Clarke (147)||0||1||Peter Marks (126)|
|Conor Newton (107)||0||1||Alex Dunn (106)|
|Carmel Barwick (UNG)||0||1||Graham Strickland (103)|
|Chris Kaye (109)||1||0||Kana Balasubramanian (68)|
|University B||3||3||Horfield D|
We all arrived on time, helped set up and got off to a dreadful start. Prakash against a French Advance touched his h pawn rather than his f6 knight and felt duty bound to accept the loss of a piece after six moves. he played on briefly but was beaten by 8pm. It will be of no consolidation to Prakash that Dorian said after the match he hadn’t noticed and wouldn’t have enforced the rule anyway if he had as it was so obviously not intended. Kana lost next; his opponent Chris looks better than his grade and nicely created a central protected passed pawn on the sixth rank then invaded with his heavy pieces on the queen side . Kana had no space; his pieces in each other’s way, and Chris finished it well.
On the other boards Denis had built a lot of pressure on the kingside with an active bishop, knight, queen, and his rooks doubled behind a pawn pushed to f4 but Tom was defending the g7 point accurately and it seemed quite secure. Oli and I were playing what was recognisably Kings Indian theory but I began to develop a slight advantage as Oli lost tempo retreating his queen to protect c7 allowing me to castle long and try a kingside hack. Being two-nil down made me play a little more assertively than normal and it felt relatively positive. Alex gave up a piece for two pawns to try to open up Conor’s stonewall and looked like he may have some initiative but it felt even. Graham after starting with e4 then refused to move any piece beyond the third rank and Carmel didn’t look like she had a plan to open up graham’s position and was using a lot of time trying to find best moves.
As it turned out an inaccuracy from Tom allowed Denis to invade and win with a forced combination. Nice finish from a strong player. 3-0 and University’s grading advantage was bearing fruit. I finished next. Oli tried to shift my knight from d4 but to do so created a backward d pawn which became a nice target. Then I managed to trade off black bishops and won a pawn as he struggled to find a square for his hemmed in white bishop. Shortly afterwards I won a second pawn (I know what Tarrasch said about being two pawns up…) stripping away his kingside protection. Oli tried to complicate but ended up leaving pieces hanging and with my king completely safe he conceeded . At least we had a point on the board.
Looking at the two remaining matches Alex was under the pump. Conor had connected passed pawns in the centre and Alex’s three king side pawns were static. Conor got his rook in behind and with the white bishop on a splendid diagonal it looked like a matter of time. However time was what Conor didn’t have and Alex did enough to create a blockade of the queening squares with his king and knight and Conor found rapid calculation in a relatively difficult position too hard and lost on time. 3-2.
All eyes on Graham’s game. Remarkably Graham found an opponent who was using more time than him and with only seconds left Carmel’s position fell apart loosened and Graham forced the win to secure a drawn match; as Sid Waddell once said (shouted), the best comeback since Lazarus. A morale booster after a run of chastening losses.