Match Report: Clifton A vs Horfield A (22 February): Finished better than it started.

A curate’s egg of a match.

Board 5 was first to finish. Sitting down opposite Igor I felt confident I should be able to get something out of the match with the white pieces if I played competent sensible chess. Instead I played the opening as if I was underwater and had never played chess before; losing a piece, allowing Igor to keep my king in the centre, and break up my pawns. With no compensation and no stomach for playing 30 more moves and still losing I resigned by 7.45pm. Pathetic. Although Igor did buy me a drink as a consolation. With Clifton having two IMs and a strong board 3 and 4 it left the team in an invidious position. Next to finish was Derek and Chris on board one. It finished in a controlled draw meaning at least we had opened our account. Then shortly afterwards board 4 finished. Chirag playing his first game of the season was too strong for Mikey; the game was unbalanced and black struggled to find any concrete plan allowing white to control the board and ease to victory. Next up Peter lost out to James on board 2. He missed a key idea in the opening, and had a passive middlegame with a lack of space and a bad bishop on c8. White gradually increased the pressure on a backward d-pawn, and black’s attempts at complicating the position led to a loss of a pawn and a piece in the endgame. So match over but at least the last two matches will have been personally satisfying for Hendrik and Phil.

On six Hendrik won his first league game for us by outplaying Simon. Comfortable out of the opening black won a pawn on the queenside and with white unable to find any counterplay another one fell and Simon resigned without any prospects. A nice controlled performance. Finally Phil got the better of Gareth on board 3. White had the advantage (mainly) throughout; black had secured two bishops vs bishop and knight but the Phil managed to engineer the position into opposite coloured bishops and heavy pieces and Gareth had no useful defence on the a1-h8 diagonal. A super win.

Score 3.5-2.5 to Clifton. Downend B next up in a fortnight.

1Chris Beaumont (2302).5Derek Pugh (2146).5
2James Cobb (2406)1Peter Kirby (2057)0
3Gareth Morris (2066)0Phil Nendick (1989)1
4Chirag Hosdurga (2019)1Mikey Wright (1725)0
5Igor Doklestic (1842)1Peter Marks (1682)0
6Simon Dunphy (1628)0Hendrik Wessels (UNG)1
 Clifton A3.5Horfield A2.5

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