The inter-church hall battle; a fixture that gets the synod a flutter. We’d brought, by our standards, a decent team and I was hopeful we would get something out of the match.
On one Nigel and John had got wild early with white giving up a knight for two pawns to try to get to the black king. The question was would Nigel find the combination or would John weather the storm and get to a winning endgame. On two Duncan and I took a more sedate approach and had, after a series of exchanges, reached a pretty level looking endgame after 20 moves. On three Chris had done a good job of negating threats and had got to an even pawn and rooks ending against Piotr; the result very much now down to technique and calculation. Finally on four Judd and Jim were in a complicated position; it looked as if Judd had some positional pluses but I couldn’t see an obvious plan to make it count (but I never can so that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one).
Board two finished first; I managed to get my remaining pieces more active than Duncan’s and with a rook on the second and an active knight won a pawn then a second. With a pawn majority on each side the result wasn’t in doubt especially once I’d engineered a trade of rooks. After collecting exactly zero points previously in my games against Duncan it was nice to win one; as Vitas Gerulaitis said after finally beating Jimmy Connors ‘and let that be a lesson to you all. No one beats me 17 times in a row’. Board three finished shortly afterwards. Piotr demonstrated better endgame understanding by swapping off rooks and creating static weaknesses in Chris’s pawns which resulted in a zugzwang and the point. So 2-0 by 9.30
One and four were still battling. Nigel was probing but John seemed to have got past the worst of the threats and was comfortably exchanging down. Jim was beginning to get short on time and the position was still complicated enough to require significant thought. Judd simplified slightly then created a threat on the kingside which loosened Jim’s pawns and resulted in a black pawn on f3 and his queen on the back rank with a mate in two on g2. Two out of two for Judd so far in his debut season. Finally on board one Nigel ran out of threats and John switched from defence to attack seamlessly. With black’s queen hovering up pawns and white’s king hopelessly exposed Nigel stopped the clocks.
So 3-1 on the night and it would seem the tenants of the URC have the bragging rights over those of the Methodists. Let us hope it doesn’t cause an ecumenical schism.
|1||John Kilmister (1742)||1||Nigel Pollett (1797)||0|
|2||Duncan Macarthur (1666)||0||Peter Marks (1672)||1|
|3||Chris Hayden (1187)||0||Piotr Zielinski (1578)||1|
|4||Jim Rowlands (1351)||0||Judd Chidwick (UNG)||1|
Finally thanks to Keynsham, nice to see them and they are always friendly and courteous; a nice set of folk and we look forward to seeing them after Christmas.