Bedford B finish on a winning note (game added)

Bedford B played their last game as defending champions in the finale to the season against Milton Keynes A.  Nothing was riding on the match with both sides being in mid-table.

Marc was up against Gary Kenworthy. Despite initially having a solid position Gary opened up Marc’s kingside and his attack proved to be overwhelming.

Qais again had a solid position against Graham Smith and if anything had a slight advantage.  Ultimately an oversight by Graham lost a piece and the game (game added).

Jame was always under pressure against Graham Borrowdale after accepting a pawn sacrifice.  The exchange of queens did not help relieve the position as Graham’s bishop pair and active rooks ultimately proved decisive.

On board 5 Nick won an early pawn out of a French , and never really looked in trouble.  He won another pawn, and then another and although there were opposite coloured bishops on the board, the result was never in doubt.

My game against Adrian was a scrappy affair.  The position opened up in the middle game, and short of time Adrian shed a pawn.   I made very heavy work of winning the endgame, missing lots of easier ways to win, but managed to!  (despite a scuffle on the terraces – Ed!)

The 3-2 victory was a good way to end the season.

Many thanks to all who contributed to the effort over the year!

Alex

Bedford B win at last!

Bedford B (still champs!) headed to Luton looking for the 1 game point required to remove any relegation fears.  Historically we have struggled, so another close match was expected.

In the event, it proved a rather one-sided affair.

Mike was first to finish his game.  He always had all of the play and after pressurising the queenside, he then pushed on the kingside and broke through with ease, and Mike assured me he was restrained!

Marc built up pressure against Andrew in his game and prevented his opponent castling.  This provided him with a sustained attack, which firstly led to the win of a pawn, and subsequently Andrew blundered in the ending dropping a rook.

Qais was looking for revenge for his defeat against Peter in the reverse fixture.  Sustained pressure on the queenside gave him space and pressure, which led to the win of a pawn and later on the exchange, which proved enough for victory.

I payed Samir on board 2 and quickly went into an endgame.  I was lucky to get control of the b file before my opponent, and once I achieved this I trapped one of his rooks on a3 and then manoeuvred my rooks to form a deadly mating net.

James was last to finish.  Out of a Queen’s Gambit opening Damon looked to have the slight edge, although James did not have any obvious weaknesses.  In trying to be active, Damon trapped his bishop on e4, allowing James to re-group and then play f3 winning it.  After that a win was assured.

An unexpected 5-0 victory gave us our first victory of the season and guaranteed Division 1 chess for next season.

B team still champions for a bit longer!

The outgoing Champions faced Leighton Buzzard A looking to improve on their heavy loss earlier in the season.

Marc faced the daunting task of facing Evgeny. Out of the opening the position was unbalanced with kings castled on opposite sides. Marc’s position looked playable, but after the exchange of queens Evgeny managed to win the exchange by exploiting the open a file and converted this to a win.

On Board 5 Toby was facing Adrian Matthews. His position from a French opening was solid and led to Adrian looking to press on the king’s side, while Toby looked to break through on the opposite flank. Toby was able to blunt Adrian’s attack, and aided by his opponent’s time trouble launched a deadly attack to win the game.

Qais played the English opening against Kevin. With kings castled on opposite flanks the position both sides were looking to attack. Qais’s position always looked solid and he benefited from a better knight v bishop. Ultimately the pressure and Qais first won a pawn,then the exchange, which coupled with an unstoppable attack led to a win.

Nick had an interesting battle against Steve. After a Caro-Kann opening we saw kings castled on opposite sides and both sides attacking. The position proved to be very complicated with Steve starting to get the upper hand. Confusion then reigned as it appeared that Nick had lost on time, but it was not entirely clear if and when his flag had ‘fallen’. Nick felt the position on the board was losing anyway, so any real controversy was avoided.

With the scores level, my game against Peter Clarke would decide the match. For once i was not worse out of the opening and although I went slightly wrong in the middle game, I managed to get to and ending with a rook and knight v rook and bishop slightly better. After exchanging rook it was level and I was worse and a desperate pawn push to e7 led to me having a knight v two connected pawns, with my king away from the action. I was almost certainly lost but somehow managed to reorganise and draw.

The 2.5-2.5 draw almost certainly guarantees Division 1 survival, barring freakish results in our last two matches. It also puts the A Team’s title chances in their own hands – only the small matter of beating Leighton Buzzard A and Milton Keynes A and the title will be theirs!

B team gain important point

The B Team hosted Milton Keynes B, still looking for points to avoid relegation. The fixture earlier in the season has seen the sides draw and another close match was anticipated.

Marc played the From gambit in response to Richard’s opening f4 and seemed to have more than adequate compensation for the pawn. Richard’s pieces were very cramped, but he was able to hold on and the game was drawn.

My game against Francesca proved a little hairy. Out of the opening I stood worse and had to rely on pressure on the open h file to counter the pawn grabbing on the queenside. Eventually I managed to regain my pawns and simply to a drawn endgame.

Steve played actively against Rob and tried to launch a kingside attack. Rob equalised and seemed to have a bit of pressure in the endgame, but eventually the position was blockaded and peace terms were agreed.

Qais seemed to have a cramped but compact position. However, eventually he dropped the exchange, which proved crucial as his opponent simplified into a won endgame, despite Qais’s valiant attempts to hold the game.

James was left with the task of winning his game in order to tie match. In the middle game he created a lot of pressure and at one point it looked like he could break through. Some good defence by his opponent led to a rook and pawn ending which looked unpromising for James, until a mistake allowed him to create a passed pawn on the kingside which allowed him to clear the queenside and force through a pawn.

Overall result was therefore 2.5 -2.5, meaning that all Bedford A and B matched against Milton Keynes this season were drawn! A valuable point earned which increases our survival hopes.

Alex

Bedford A take the derby spoils

Bedford A hosted Bedford B as both teams kicked off the second half of their seasons with the A Team looking to re-boot their title challenge and B Team looking to pull away from trouble at the bottom of the table.

Blink and you missed the Board 1 clash between Marc and Steve. Marc tried a Ledge-esque opening and initially looked OK, but unfortunately had one of those moments we have all experienced of missing a tactic, and managed to get his queen trapped on h5.

James made is B Team debut against Richard on board 2. A Queen’s Gambit led to a an level position with James having more space, but an isolated queen’s pawn. Matters took a Karpov-Kasparov turn (think about all those exciting draws in their first match) and the game was halved in 18 moves.

Qais faced Andy on Board 5 and initially the game was even, but after queens were exchanged Qais appeared to have a clear advantage with a better bishop v knight and more active rooks. Qais pushed his kingside pawns effective and firstly pushed a protected passed pawn to h6 then finished with bishop sacrifice which was going to lead to the pawn promoting.

Board 4 saw Steve take on Ravi. A Queen’s Indian-style opening saw Ravi get the bishop pair and an awful lot of space. At one point it looked like Steve was going to get crushed in the centre, but he managed to hang grimly on to an ending, where Ravi stood clearly better. I have to confess I did not see the end, but Ravi converted his advantage to a full point.

My game against Paul (see below)was a re-match from earlier in the season. I thought I was OK in the opening (another Queen’s Gambit), but played e5 too early – realising this was a mistake as I played the move. It gave Paul all sorts of chances to take on f7 and cause mayhem, but luckily for me he did not play it quite in the right order. Nevertheless Paul had a clear advantage, which he held into the endgame – a draw offer was refused, but I was not able to create any chances and a draw was agreed.

A 3-2 victory for the A Team re-ignites their title campaign; for the B Team their next match against MK B and their April clash against Luton now look key to their survival chances.

Alex Taylor, 8th February 2019