|1||Andy Penn (155)||0.5||0.5||Pete Marks (131)|
|2||Andy Hewitt (132)||0.5||0.5||Piotr Zielinski (109)|
|3||Jeremy Gardner (127)||0||1||Prakash Chatterjee (124)|
|4||Ben Mumford (115)||1||0||Alex Dunn (111)|
|5||Pete McAfee (112)||1||0||Graham Strickland (101)|
|6||Dave Clarke (104)||1||0||Siobhan Campbell (20)|
|Yate A||4||2||Horfield D|
A dry night in Yate.
As ever we were out-graded on all the boards. I found myself under immediate pressure out of a Nimzo (and realised my knowledge of theory goes about four moves deep (maybe only three), Andy and Prakash were helpful in pointing out what I should/could have done afterwards) and didn’t feel comfortable at all. Piotr had got into the kind of positional play he likes and the there was a fair amount of even-looking wood-shifting. Prakash presented with a quiet opening from Jeremy decided to go at it. He gave up the exchange (the knight was Jeremy’s only developed piece) for activity and it looked like he had proper king-side opportunities. Alex and Ben were playing an open game but it looked like Ben’s pieces were marginally better coordinated. Pete and Graham seemed even to me but as is often (always) the case Graham was taking a lot of time over his moves. Finally on six Siobhan had blundered a piece in the opening but was soldiering on.
Around 9 there was a fire alarm so we all stood outside for a bit wondering if we’d need to get Geoff Gammon to come across from Downend to adjudicate all the games (assuming the pieces and score sheets hadn’t been burnt). However it was a false alarm and we pottered back in.
Prakash finished first. He prodded hard around Jeremy’s king, forced pawn structure concessions and won well with a raking white bishop diagonal and a queen that had gained entry behind Jeremy’s pawns. Activity won over material as Jeremy’s rooks were still on a8 and h8 and his bishop still on c8 at the end. Not long after I drew my game with Andy; a few blunders each but by the end honours pretty much even – I had rook plus three versus Andy’s knight plus four but all on the same side and I had no way of shifting the knight. Looking down the boards it wasn’t pretty but there was little point playing on as I couldn’t see how to manufacture anything. Piotr then drew his drawish game. He was never under pressure but didn’t generate much in return so again it felt a fair result. This was the high point of the evening for us.
Graham lost on time in an equal, maybe slightly better position. Pete still had 45 minutes left on the clock. 2-2. Siobhan lost next. Whilst Dave had a piece for pawn advantage he struggled to create much meaningful pressure until Siobhan allowed her rooks to be forked and that was that. 2-3. Still compared to the game they played in October this was significantly closer. Finally eyes turned to board 4. Ben was significant material up but Alex had a potential trump with a central passed pawn being shepherded down the board by his bishops and king. However short of time Alex couldn’t find (the non-existent?) way to promote and Ben was calm enough to make sure he didn’t suffer a disaster. We all had a quick look afterwards to see if we could find anything but probably not was the answer.
I was going to push the fire analogy but the chess didn’t really warrant it. Apart from Prakash who certainly was blazing, and Alex who tried to create an out-of-control wildfire, the rest of us played games that really were as exciting as one bar on the electric heater. 4-2 seemed pretty much right on the night.