You wait 18 months for a chess match then two come along in consecutive days.
Four boards, four vastly different openings. Clive and James played a Sveshnikov, it looked like theory through the first 10 moves or so and James was eyeing the d5 square as you would expect, probably even. On board 2 Paul came with the Grob (for those of you who know Prakash you’ll be aware he takes flank openings as a personal slight…) against which black developed conventionally and won a pawn, both players left their kings in the centre daring the other to blink first and the middle game became fluid with all kinds of potential tactics. Martin replied to my d4 stodge with a KID. I bailed out of trying to play chess and went with dxe5 early in the piece and settled into what I bravely convinced myself was a ‘small but enduring advantage’. Roy and Piotr went Caro-Kann. Now I don’t know a lot about the Caro-Kann but I did begin to sweat when I saw this: 1 e4 c6, 2 Nc3 d5, 3 Nf3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nf6 5 Qe2 Nbd7 (eek!)…… Anyone? Anyone?
Into the middle games: James decided to slot his knight into d5 but that allowed Clive to exchange off his white bishop for James’ knight and then the queens leaving black with a passed pawn on e5 and f5 to follow creating a dangerous looking block of pawns. Accurate play on the queen side from Clive left white with a backward c pawn and a pretty shonky looking position; black clearly favourite. Prakash’s game came to a head where a series of exchanges which resulted in Paul winning the exchange and creating entry points into black’s position, it became obvious Prakash wasn’t going to hold the game and he did the polite thing rather than prolong the misery. Piotr’s game, much to my relief, had not finished after 6 moves and after some piece swaps he was left with an overwhelming positional advantage in a two rook and knight vs two rook and bishop middle-to-end game. Plenty of outposts for his knight and the slow grinding weakening before the dam bursts against a boxed-in opponent suits Piotr’s style. He accomplished the task with absolute aplomb; winning two pawns and marched them down the board to win the game. 1-1. By this point my ‘small but enduring advantage’ had not endured at all and I was faced with a two bishops vs knight and bishop end game and a queen side pawn majority for Martin. My hope was simply he’d run out of time as he had entered his last five minutes. On balance Bath very much favourites.
Clive got a bit over-eager to eat up the backward c pawn and allowed James a tempo to capture the f5 pawn with the threat of a back rank mate and then white comfortably held the opposite coloured bishop and rook ending. A good display of scrapping, forcing your opponent to win, and seeing the chance to get something out of the game. 1.5-1.5. The night finished with Martin playing on the increment which led to inaccuracies and I was able to create some confusion and difficulty in the position with my knight meaning I had probably just about equalised when Martin’s flag fell. Lucky me.
So 2.5-1.5 the result. Not necessarily the most deserved as we could have lost 4-0 on another night to warm and friendly hosts.
|1||Clive Walley (1930)||.5||James Facey (1660)||.5|
|2||Paul Osborne (1608)||1||Prakash Chatterjee (1653)||0|
|3||Martin Archbold (1525)||0||Pete Marks (1653)||1|
|4||Roy Whaley (1285)||0||Piotr Zielinski (1578)||1|
|Bath B||1.5||Horfield B||2.5|