Match Report: Horfield C vs Downend D (30 November): A win!

The C team has been on a pretty poor run of form and a trip to Downend’s Cross Hands fortress is rarely a good way to try to rediscover winning ways. We were short of regulars so had made up numbers from the B and D team squads.

Nigel was guesting for us on top board and had maintained a slight edge out of the opening. He took the opportunity to break Ian’s pawn structure after black had tried to get his queen active and whilst material was even white had an isolated d and h pawn and isolated double pawns on the f file as targets. On board two Alan had taken the opportunity to build a space advantage against Luke. Black’s pieces looked constrained and slightly awkward and the challenge for white was to use his spatial advantage and develop his pieces into strong positions and see what happens. On board three I snaffled the g pawn with a tactic in the opening and forced Dave’s king to stay in the centre. After a few exchanges on e4 white’s knight was nicely placed on e5 and had a loose black pawn to collect when the time was right on e4. Additionally black’s white bishop was stuck behind his pawns, so definitely my advantage. On board four Mike and Neil had reached a very even middle game and the challenge would be to find a plan. Board five saw the unbeaten Scott take on Michael. Play began to coalesce around the semi-open e file and black was building pressure targeting Scott’s advanced e pawn. Finally on board six Joaquim was taking on James on junior time controls. Black had won a piece early but white potentially had compensation due to black’s king lacking pawn cover.

Board six finished first. Joaquim had won a second piece but had to give it back to James to avoid a mating attack down the g file. But once that was resolved black won further material and whilst white decided to play the game out, hoping possibly for stalemate options, there was too much time and too large an advantage for anything other than the first point going to Horfield. Dave and I finished next. Black had struggled to create any counterplay and after white won a second pawn the threat of losing the exchange or worse for Dave was enough and we were 2-0 up. Shortly afterwards board three was decided. Alan had continued to exert a boa-constrictor squeeze and with Luke’s pieces almost without moves white won the exchange and with further damage certain black conceded meaning Downend were on the scoresheet. Nigel put us two points clear again with a dominant win on the top board against Ian. Black’s bishops were vulnerable and queen out of position. White was able to harry the bishops to win a central pawn and with the black king exposed a forced mate in four with rook and queen was on the board. Ian bowed to the inevitable. The match was secured on board five. In an bishop versus knight endgame Michael was able to pick up a couple of loose pawns but Scott had a passed outside pawn which distracted black’s king and knight allowing white to regain material. Low on time in a knight plus pawn versus bishop ending Michael offered the draw and Scott obviously accepted. There was a chance for black to block the bishop’s line to the pawn but with only 15 seconds left Michael wasn’t able to find the continuation. So Scott still unbeaten this season. The last game to finish was board four. Mike had become passive in the middle game and given up a piece to pressure. He then worked hard to win the piece back for a pawn but the endgame favoured white with the extra pawn. After a long series of checks in a time scramble Mike ran out of moves and the queen exchange meant Neil was able to push his extra pawn home and the match was over.

A solid team performance to secure a 3.5-2.5 win and stopping our sequence of loses. Forza!

1Ian Pickup (1792)0Nigel Pollett (1756)1
2Alan Papier (1741)1Luke Millard (1730)0
3Dave Williams (1716)0Pete Marks (1709)1
4Neil Adams (1554)1Mike Jennings (1526)0
5Michael Passmore (1641).5Scott White (1561).5
6James Thomas (1402)0Joaquim Luque (1499)1
 Downend D2.5Horfield C3.5

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