The end of our remote hopes of finishing top two. Clifton arrived with a team strong enough to be near the top of division 2 let alone division 3 and we did reasonably well to get any points at all.
Mark and I played an even opening into a closed middle game where the contest revolved around whether white could arrange pushing his d pawn in advantageous circumstances. On board 2 James had mis-remembered his theory in a very sharp opening and the board was open with a clear advantage to black but white had some possible tactical resources. Igor had secured a positional advantage against Luke on board 3; black had a strange square of pawns on the f and g file, white had the more active pieces. On board 4 Piotr had a slight edge in the opening but James was well set up to defend against the kingside attack that looked like it would be coming if white could arrange his pieces properly. Board 5 finished first. Scott had been slow to develop and tuck his king away and Ted, with active bishops and an open file in front of the king, pinned the defending knight with bishops and rook and the game was done. The first of what felt like many points that were going to go to Clifton. James stood better against Simon on the bottom board with the black king still central and denuded of pawn cover, the question was whether black had enough time to get himself safe.
So in order of finish. James won his game in good style. Simon misplaced his bishop looking to put pressure on a pinned knight but it allowed James’ queen into the black position and he remorselessly harried the black king winning material and the game in fine style. Match level. On board one Mark hadn’t been able to arrange his central pawn advance and we repeated moves and a draw was agreed. Match still level but it didn’t look great on the other boards. James’ position on board 2 was sinking fast and his attempts at counter-play were easily met by Colin who forced the white king into the centre of the board and won material. Clifton back ahead and they secured the match as Igor’s pressure won him a pawn and with better minor pieces and a superior pawn structure he eased to victory. Finally on board 5 James had resolved the threats from Piotr and stood well positionally however it would have been a long slog for either player to prove anything and with the match already decided a draw was agreed.
Strangely Clifton are still unlikely to finish top two after their slow start. It would be a shame if a team as strong as them weren’t playing in a higher division next season.
|1||Peter Marks (1747)||.5||Mark Walker (2091)||.5|
|2||James Facey (1719)||0||Colin Davis (1959)||1|
|3||Luke Millard (1751)||0||Igor Doklestic (1885)||1|
|4||Piotr Zielinski (1632)||.5||James Bleeg (1723)||.5|
|5||Scott White (1549)||0||Ted Korolchuck (1734)||1|
|6||James Kirk (1512)||1||Simon Dunphy (1603)||0|
|Horfield C||2||Clifton B||4|