Match Report: Horfield C vs Clevedon (20 February): Another win!

Clevedon are probably, after Bath, the strongest side in the division so our trip to the cricket club felt like it would be hard work. It turned out to be a bit of thriller.

Lionel and Ben drew early on board three. It looked like white had gained a space advantage meaning black was a little cramped but there were no obvious pawn breaks and whilst there were still a lot of pieces on the board a draw didn’t seem unreasonable. Shortly afterward Clevedon went ahead with a win on board six. James and Adam had reached an equal position after 14 moves when black got a bit skittish, over-committed, and allowed his knight to get pinned. From there Adam had no trouble in breaking through and with James’s pieces badly positioned white’s rook entered on the seventh to threaten a significant material gain and that was that.

Scott and Geoff had played a cagey game on board five. The middle game saw interlocked pawns and whilst black’s bishop was bad white wasn’t able to find an outpost for his knight. When the final minor pieces came off and it became just rooks and pawns it became obvious there were no breaks available and unless one or the other blew it by pressing to hard the game was drawn. So the bottom half of the match saw Clevedon 2-1 up. The next result came on board one. Andrew had active pieces in the opening but wasn’t able to create anything tangible and the game quickly moved to a rook and pawn ending. White had the better of the position with black very much in passive defence mode. However I couldn’t see a route to the win and a draw was agreed. Almost certainly I should have played on and indulged in some no-risk probing but after a glance at the remaining matches I had some hope we’d be able to get something from the match (a slightly self-serving rationale for my lack of stomach for the fight I accept).

Luke and Stuart were playing slow-motion chess on board two, just 15 moves in with over two hours of the game played. Black had effectively positioned his pieces to constrain any pawn breaks from white on the queen side and was playing for pressure against the e4 square. Stuart was burning a lot of time trying to find some tactics but the position favoured Luke. On board three Paul had countered Piotr relatively effectively but white was able to pick up a pawn on the kingside and the endgame of bishop and pawns versus knight and pawns looked advantageous but it was going to be hard to engineer the breakthrough with the black pawns safe from attack from the bishop. Board two finished first. Stuart had continued to use time to try and find a progressive combination but a loosening of his pawns around his king with his pieces on the queenside allowed Luke to penetrate with queen and knight and force the win. A splendidly controlled positional game from black and the match was level. All eyes were now on board three as Piotr (not unusually) was short on time but he found a way to keep black’s king out of the game and then with a lovely tactic won Paul’s knight for two pawns . White was able to control black’s queenside pawns and entered the black position with his king taking the long way round. Stuck on g8 and f8 Paul had to sit and wait to see if Piotr was able to deliver the coup de grâce. Calculating well under pressure white sacrificed his g pawn to allow the f pawn through and with the king in close attendance promotion was inevitable and black recognised it was all over. A terrific win under time-pressure and the match was won.

Our fifth win in the last six. Suddenly we are looking up not down and if we continue this run finishing top two isn’t out of the question. Funnier things have happened at sea.

1Andrew Chapman (1854).5Pete Marks (1744).5
2Stuart Iles (1806)0Luke Millard (1697)1
3Paul Martin (1796)0Piotr Zielinski (1618)1
4Ben McGurrell (1640).5Lionel Germaine (1611).5
5Geoff Dring (1576).5Scott White (1548).5
6Adam Langford (1489)1James Kirk (1523)0
 Clevedon B2.5Horfield C3.5

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: