The unbeaten B team travelled to North Bristol for their first match after Christmas. Being top athletes I was confident they wouldn’t be affected by a surfeit of mince pies and lampreys. Games began apart from board two where John found his focus drifting to other things until Debs arrived just before the cut off.
Within an hour three games had finished. On board six James finished first. From an equal opening Michael couldn’t find a plan and unnecessarily pushed his kingside pawns allowing black to get in behind with queen and bishops to deliver a very tidy mate. James now has seven wins from seven games this season, nice. Shortly afterwards Rob and Nigel finished their games. On board five Nigel had got what he wanted from the opening leaving Mitch struggling for counter-play. Black decided to try to advance on the queenside but it carried no particular bite and white saw an opportunity to win an exchange which, when a pawn was won as well, ended up as a bishop ahead; from there it was then just a case of swapping off and picking up pawns before the inevitable end. Rob was equally authoritative on board three. From a fairly level early middle game James missed a tactic that allowed white to sacrifice a bishop in advantageous circumstances. Declining the sacrifice would have resulted in a pawn advantage and a strong position, accepting it resulted in a quick checkmate meaning Rob joined James by continuing his 100% record this season and we were 3-0 up.
On board one Phil had an initiative out of the opening and then made a temporary pawn sacrifice on e4 to keep Doug’s king in the centre. With open lines it was looking good for white. On board two John seeing the match score offered white a draw but it was politely declined as Debs explained this was his last match before leaving Bristol and he wanted to play on. On board four Judd and Joe had reached a reasonably even middle game where the challenge for black was to avoid mishaps down the open e-file. Shortly afterwards board two reached the position below. John played 24…Qe3, can you see anything better?
On board one Phil missed the way to make the most of his initiative and went into an ending a pawn up where black had some drawing chances. On board four James had manoeuvred his knight towards a splendid outpost on e5. Judd tried for a tactical sequence in response working with a white pawn pinned to the king to threaten the white queen but hadn’t noticed the sequence ended with a check for white to gain a tempo, and material, and the game. 3-1 with the top two boards to go.
John eventually won a pawn and moved into a rook and pawn ending, white was now desperately short on time and finally his flag fell on move 71. Phil ground out a rook and f pawn vs rook ending in around the same amount of moves. A comfortable match result where we won the short games and we won the long games. A strong return after Christmas as the B team look well established at the top of division 2.
|1||Doug Cooke (1966)||0||Phil Nendick (2004)||1|
|2||Debaditya Dasgupta (1777)||0||John Richards (1919)||1|
|3||James Bingham (1634)||0||Rob Attar (1901)||1|
|4||Joe Fearnhead (1769)||1||Judd Chidwick (1821)||0|
|5||Mitchel Clarke (1309)||0||Nigel Pollett (1766)||1|
|6||Michael Stinchcombe (1396)||0||James Facey (1731)||1|
|North Bristol A||1||Horfield B||5|
Answer to John’s position: 24…Bxh3!! 25.gxh3 R8e3! with crushing threats. If 26.Re1 Rxe1+ 27.Nxe1 Rg3, and if 26.Qb1 Qc8 27.f5 Qb8