|Mike Townsend (153)||1||0||Nigel Pollett (143)|
|Linda Smith (151)||0||1||Tom Homes (142)|
|Justin Yau (126)||0||1||Pete Marks (131)|
|Jim Nichols (125)||0.5||0.5||Prakash Chatterjee (124)|
|Mike Minshall (115)||0||1||Mike Jennings (104)|
|Chris Smith (111)||0.5||0.5||Alex Dunn (111)|
After our win last time out against Downend D we expected a tougher challenge from highly placed Thornbury. Pleasingly their team wasn’t the strongest they can put out so we were not out-graded by as much as we were expecting.
Nigel with white played his standard opening and Mike (T) looked to transform it into something he was more comfortable with resulting in what looked, to my eyes, a pretty even position as they worked into the middle game; solid pawn structures and a mainly respectful distance between pieces. Linda and Tom were playing a wilder game; Linda blundered a pawn early in the piece but the centre was open and she had significant piece activity and Tom’s position looked a little loose, I wasn’t confident with how that one was going to go. On three I failed to get anything from the opening and let Justin build good initiative resulting in me losing the exchange (I blame how cosy it was in the Anchor for my foggy brain); at that point I was confident I was losing. On four Jim opted for the exchange version of the French and was offering a draw to Prakash on move 20. Prakash wanted to play a bit more chess so declined (possibly mindful that he had no way home till the other matches finished so really might as well fill his time usefully). On five Mike and Mike (M and J) [is the collective noun a ‘patzer of Mikes’?] were playing out of a Ruy Lopez. Mike (J) had the better centre but it looked relatively even. Finally on six Alex and Chris were also locked in a pretty even looking game.
So in order of how they finished.
Prakash tried for complications but the rooks had been exchanged down the open e file and with a symmetrical pawn structure and few pieces left he accepted the draw. Second to finish was me. Provoked into having to do something I had a kingside hack and gave up my bishop for the two pawns in front of Justin’s king and created a nice pin on his rook and king with my bishop. I threw in a few speculative moves and Justin got in a defensive tangle meaning his queen was lined up in front of his king allowing me to win it for a rook. After that my bishop and queen were too nimble for his defence and I was able to win the game. 1.5-.5.
Third to finish was Tom. I had to check twice that when he said he had won he meant it. Tom described the winning manoeuvre as ‘I kind of drifted my pieces across to the king side and that seemed to do the job’ – I haven’t gone through the game but looking forward to seeing how ‘drift’ works in action. So an excellent 2.5-.05 advantage but we’d been here before this season and managed to lose matches. It therefore came as a relief to see Mike (J) and Mike (M) in a pawn endgame with Mike (J) having two passed connected pawns on the 6th and 7th occupying (M)’s king and allowing (J)’s king free rein to scope up (M)’s pawns. Well done (J). Game won, match won. Cracking.
Alex was locked in a bishop vs knight and pawns endgame. Once Alex knew the match result he allowed his bishop to be swapped off for Chris’s remaining pawns and with two pawns vs knight the ending turned out to be very drawn. Finally on top board Nigel had come through his middle game unscathed but Mike (T) promoted his passed pawn before Nigel did the same and was able to get his queen back to stop Nigel’s pawns. A shame for Nigel who is playing good chess this season.
A 4-2 win is a good result for us – takes us up to six points, we’re off the bottom and have Keynsham A in our sights as we scrabble to get out of the relegation places.