The final matches of the season. The title already won by the B team and the challenge was to finish the campaign unbeaten.
Early developments were mainly encouraging. The top three boards all seemed very even, and on board four James (F) had a created havoc in James’s (B) centre, winning a pawn and positionally it was looking good. Boards five and six seemed positive; Nigel looked very solid against Tom and it seemed as if white was struggling to find a plan and on six Judd had developed a strong initiative against Tony’s kingside and was beginning to manoeuvre his pieces over into the attack.
First to finish was Mike and Alex on board 1. Minor pieces and a pair of rooks were exchanged. White had a 5+1 pawn split and black a 4+2 but nothing suggested a decisive result and the players agreed a draw. The two Jameses drew shortly afterwards. Whilst it had looked earlier in the game that white held the advantage the open centre made piece placement difficult and black’s bishop was clearly better than white’s knight. James (B) found some accurate moves to shore up his structural weaknesses and won back the pawn he was down. The position was unbalanced but black offered the draw and white decided discretion was the better part of valour. Board 3 was next to finish, Joe had belied his ranking by playing accurately through the opening and into the middlegame but he failed to spot a tactic and lost a pawn in the centre then in time pressure Pete was able to win a second pawn and his previously hemmed in bishop was now free to roam and the game was done. Shortly afterwards on board 6 Judd’s ongoing pressure on Tony’s kingside produced material results and black, who had spent the game in grim defence, accepted the inevitable. Three points in the bag and the unbeaten season was a reality.
Nigel finished next. He constrained then from a strong positional base forced Tom into inactivity and the mistakes came and the win was secured. Finally John had been battling a difficult pawn and rook ending against Richard for what felt like a long time. In the end John was able to hold the position after Richard lost his extra pawn and in a rook and two vs rook and two and a well-earned draw was agreed.
So the invincibles were indeed too strong for the division romping home with eight straight wins after Christmas. Judd’s inspirational captaincy and pep talks? Being the strongest team in the division? Feng shui? A lucky rabbit’s foot? All of these things and more.
|1||Mike Levene (1883)||.5||Alex Kent (1801)||.5|
|2||John Richards (1910)||.5||Richard Millener (1791)||.5|
|3||Pete Marks (1758)||1||Joe Fearnhead (1297)||0|
|4||James Facey (1718)||.5||James Bingham (1605)||.5|
|5||Nigel Pollett (1751)||1||Tom Merchant (1415)||0|
|6||Judd Chidwick (1757)||1||Tony Golding (1387)||0|
|Horfield B||4.5||North Bristol||1.5|
The D team also played their final match of the season last night. Honours were shared against a strong Yate B team with Harry and Graham securing good wins against higher graded opponents. A good season for the D team who punched above their weight and finished in the top part of the table.
|1||Joaquim Luque (1646)||0||James Bartram (1558)||1|
|2||Harry Duckworth (1509)||1||Olly Blackford (1588)||0|
|3||Graham Strickland (1449)||1||Kevin Langmaid (1579)||0|
|4||Kana Balasubramaniam (1355)||0||Lester Moon (1176)||1|
|Horfield D||2||Yate B||2|