6th February – Bedford A v Milton Keynes B & Bedford C v Kents Luton

Chris Hill reports on a busy night!

I was present at a remarkable evening at the North End Working Men’s Club last night. The chess was hard-fought but lacking in great quality and certainly in brilliancy but that didn’t matter. The chess club was more alive than on possibly any night I can remember, and certainly on any night since we left St Marks. We have only 22 members in the club but 18 of them were present last night, 10 playing in the A and C Team matches, 4 playing in Division 2 of the Club championship and another 4 drinking, chatting and pointing out the various errors made by the 14 actually playing! Certainly this was the sort of scene that North End envisaged when they offered us the room for £10 per night – plenty of imbibing and cash handed over the bar rather than a few geeks shut away, invisible to the usual members downstairs. But a happy medium should be struck – surely 4 or 5 pints during a game cannot increase playing strength (no names!) and captains should encourage a more conservative approach! The noise levels were perfect – did someone pull the plug on the jukebox!?

In terms of the chess, I cannot say much as, having obtained an excellent position against Andrew Perkins after 15-20 moves, I was keen not to let the tiger escape. But it is one thing to get a strong position against such an experienced and technically sound opponent, quite another to turn that into a winning position and after a long period of sparring he offered a draw which was gratefully received. The rest of the team battled hard into the endgame but against higher-graded opponents a single additional draw, achieved by Mac, was all we had to show for our efforts.

Home Team: Bedford C Away Team: Kents Luton
Board Name Grade Score Score Name Grade
1 Chris Hill 134 0.5 0.5 Andrew Perkins 188
2 Peter S Gill 133 0 1 Damon D’Cruz 156
3 Gerry Nolan 110e 0 1 Michael Joseph 152
4 Peter T Housden 102 0 1 Pete Montgomery 145
5 RW (Mac) MacKenzie 72 0.5 0.5 John Kelly 122
Date Played: 06/02/2014 1 4

The A Team match showed how easily the likes of Milton Keynes B (and indeed our own B Team) can make life very difficult for the top teams. We could easily have lost on Boards 3 & 4 which would have ended our title hopes for the season but Paul (see game) and Mike gained a vital draw and win respectively and, with a point from the ever reliable Steve Ledger, 2 match points were obtained and the pressure on Leighton Buzzard A maintained.

Home Team: Bedford A Away Team: Milton Keynes B
Board Name Grade Score Score Name Grade
1 Rajan Ganger 183 0.5 0.5 Robert Whiteside 160
2 Steven C Ledger 188 1 0 Ray Holland 152
3 Paul F Habershon
see game
191 0.5 0.5 Tim Puleston 139
4 Michael T Botteley 165 1 0 George Ward 147
5 Alex Taylor 158 0.5 0.5 Zbigniew Ledwon 133
Date Played: 06/02/2014 3.5 1.5

Strangely the two club games continued long after the matches had ended – John and Callum (master and pupil a la Star Wars) fought out a draw where neither seemed to want to accept the half point – with the pupil getting closer and closer to becoming the master. Joe finally wore down Sajan to claim a win.

So the evening was enjoyed by most if not all. I visited one of the few absent members this morning. Nigel is looking a lot better and looks forward to playing in the re-scheduled C Team fixture against MK C in April though we may not see him at the club for a while yet.