The A Team hosted the B Team, looking to reverse the result of the previous encounter. Recent matches have been tight affairs, and it looked like it was going to be similar this time- after half an hour’s play only two pairs of pawns had been exchanged across the five boards.
Boards 1 and 2 saw English openings as I did battle with Steve and Qais took on James. For me, after a solid opening it was a case of not being brave enough when I needed to play my pawn to f4, only to do it a few moves later when it led to my position weakening and then falling apart. Qais had James under a lot of pressure, building up good chances on the kingside. However, having missed his chance, exchanges occurred, leaving a level knight and pawn ending and an agreed draw.
On the lower boards things were equally tight. Toby and Paul were engaged in a tactical fight and it looked as if Toby had a slight advantage in the middle game, but once it boiled down to a knight and rook ending it looked as if Paul had a slight advantage, but it was only minimal and a draw was agreed.
Richard and Ravi were involved in a ding-dong affair. Richard sacrificed a pawn in the opening, but in return obtained a strong bishop pair and Ravi’s pieces looked tied up in knots. Escapology is one of Ravi’s talents, and they entered the rook and opposite coloured bishop ending game with Ravi a pawn up, but with Richard having a good defensive shape. However, an incautious bishop move by Richard lost a second pawn and the game.
Marc seemed to have the initial advantage over Mike with much more space and managing to lumber Mike with double a pawns. However, Mike countered down the middle and managed to force a pawn to d3 backed up with his queen and rooks. At one point this looked like it might be decisive, but Marc was able to exchange pieces and get to a rook and pawn ending. Even though he was a pawn down it looked like it was going to end in a draw, until Mike overstepped the time control.
Another 3-2 win for the A Team sees them maintain their good start to the season. The B Team move on to an encounter with Milton Keynes B in the New Year (Covid permitting!).
As Brian Valentine reminds us in his mail below, Christmas Eve is the closing date for entries so if you think you can beat most of those listed (and frankly it doesn’t look that hard 😉 ), why not give it a try!
“… We travel hopefully into the new year with this competition. While restrictions may mean we need to modify the schedule, we will do our best to get some chess played. This is to remind you that entries close next Friday.
Being older than the sum of my team mates’ ages is a new one for me(!) but I am enjoying it a lot (although I’m sure our captain Andy will be playing in 2022). After losing our first match against the C team, we were eager to get our first victory against the Open University.
From where I sat, I could witness Evan’s game first hand and it didn’t last very long. I was aware that his opponent had played the Benko and then next time I looked Evan had a bishop on e7 supported by a pawn on d6 against an un-castled king! Mate was inevitable – see below for an entertaining vignette.
My own game was far more prosaic. I still haven’t got a decent defence against d4 so David Wells managed to get a favourable endgame, Q+2R+6 each (but my d pawn isolated) after only 17 moves. Unfortunately for David, he must have been watching too much Nepo as he managed to blunder one his rooks on move 19 – an early Christmas present for me, 2-0.
I didn’t see a lot of Ramsey’s game in detail but he did seem to be up against it for quite a while, down material from what I recall. However, it seems his opponent overreached and Ramsey pounced, skewering their queen against a back rank mate, 3-0.
Next to finish was Lucian. I’m afraid I saw hardly any of it but a glance at the scoresheet showed a lot of queen moves early doors so I can assume a fighting loss.
Theo was last to finish. The game seemed very complicated by the time I started watching, with action at both ends of the board with active queens and, even though Theo was a piece down, he certainly had some dynamic compensation and his opponent had to be careful not to lose. After much thrust and counter-thrust, he managed to construct a perpetual (ish!) situation and his opponent agreed the draw bringing the score to 3.5-1.5.
Our newest member, 9 year old Ramsey introduced himself to the club’s competitions last Thursday – I suspect Andy won’t be his last victim! I have added some fairly general annotation to what is actually quite a complex game, but the overriding take away is a maturity that belies his tender years. We should all be very pleased to have such a promising talent in the club (and very scared if we have to play him!).
Our own James Gardner has recently started a YouTube channel Epic Chess which looks great to me. It is a series of quick videos analysing the top flight super GM games and he tells me he will also be looking at the upcoming World Championship. Have a look, like, subscribe, comment and all those good things!
Twenty months or so after the Club’s last Beds League Match we started a new season with C versus D – with debuts for no less than 3 new members. One of those, Oscar, who does not even have a rating yet, was first to finish. Though part of the D team squad he agreed to turn out for the C Team on Board 5. When I first saw the game Oscar was a pawn up, then George dropped a Knight, and Oscar quickly cleaned up.
I had not planned to play but with no sight of our Board 3 after more than 10 minutes I stepped in to play another new member, Theo. I really struggled to remember book moves and as Theo seemed to know what he was doing I lost even more time. However, with the game about level he allowed me to mess up his Kingside pawns, and gain a sufficient small advantage to make an offer he couldn’t sensibly refuse.
On Board 2 Evan for the D Team was up against Richard (McMorran) – never likely to be an easy first match! After Richard had won an early exchange Evan got some pressure with Queen and Bishop on the long white diagonal, but it was not enough and Richard bagged the point.
Callum, who we all just about remembered after not seeing him since the first lockdown, got a big centre against Lucian, on Board 4, which he was eventually able to convert for a win.
Steve (Pike) on Top board got his rooks onto Robert’s second rank. I think Robert managed to win an exchange but only at the expense of Steve’s massive pair of passed queenside pawns (I think I dodged a bullet! – see below, Ed).
So 3.5 to 1.5 to the C team. When we next play in March it may well be a different story!