Match Report: Horfield A vs Downend A (8 March): Honours even

Our strongest team of the season with Callum making his debut for us, Steve playing his first of the season, and Mike his second. It isn’t often we out-grade a Downend team but they were probably more match-fit with all their players having played regularly this year and not needing to shake the rust off which evened the odds.

First to finish was Derek and Oli on board 2; . In an open position it looked like there might be dynamic opportunities but pieces came off and a draw was agreed in an equal position. Maybe half chances for both sides but nothing tangible looked like it had been missed. Second to finish was board 3. Hugo played the opening accurately to equalise against Peter, there was one open file down which the major pieces were exchanged off and it led to a drawn king and pawn endgame.

After this initial flurry of early draws we were in a for a long wait for the next result with the other four matches lasting well past 10pm. On board 1 Oscar had got some pressure out of the opening with the white pieces but Callum played accurately and had more than equalised but as clocks ticked down there was still enough complications for one of the players to go wrong in time pressure. On 3 Steve had struggled for a long time in an IQP position against Graham and with white finding a series of strong moves the game had the potential to go Downend’s way. On 5 Mike’s endlessly unconventional opening repertoire had made it difficult for Dominique to find a coherent plan and on 6 Phil was comfortable in his game against Martin; he was the exchange up for a pawn and the position looked very manageable. 

As the clock ticked on the results on the vidiprinter began to fly in. Dominque indulged in a speculative sacrifice and got nothing for it and Mike, material up, calmly controlled any complications and white accepted the inevitable. Then on 3 almost as soon as Graham had worked a positional advantage it slipped away and Steve was able to win a pawn, but with structural defects in black’s pawns and the worse bishop it was difficult to see the win. The position reduced to a bishop and pawn endling where the extra pawn counted for nothing and a hard-fought draw was agreed. On 6 Martin had surprised Phil with a knight manoeuvre which curtailed his rooks activity and allowed black to subsequently win white’s b-pawn. With unopposed b and c pawns supported by queen and rook black had complete control and white conceded the game to level the match at 2.5-2.5 with just the top board left.

Playing into the last couple of minutes each the game reduced to rooks and asymmetrical pawns. Black got his king active to pressure white’s queen-side pawn advantage and his rook did the job of holding the other side of the board and denying white’s king access into the pawns to join his rook. Pawns were all exchanged and with just kings and rooks on the board a draw was agreed. So a drawn game and a drawn match. The main downside of the evening was trying to get the Downend team and their extensive travelling entourage to leave the building (I even managed to get rid of Oscar in the end after I’d locked him in by mistake).

1Callum Brewer (2243).5Oscar Garcia (2199).5
2Derek Pugh (2138).5Oli Stubbs (2100).5
3Steve Dilleigh (2088).5Graham Iwi (1965).5
4Peter Kirby (2075).5Hugo Fowler (1946).5
5Mike Harris (2056)1Dominique Conterno (1846)0
6Phil Nendick (2000)0Martin White (1873)1
 Horfield A3Downend B3

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