This fixture ought to have been played before Christmas but Leighton Buzzard couldn’t raise a team and we agreed to reschedule. This time they had no such problem – they turned up with County Captain Kevin Williamson on top board.
With black against Peter Taylor’s e4 I played the Petroff. I have been trying for a year or two to “Lure my opponent into the Philidor Swamp” but after some early successes I found I was usually the one in a swamp so I decided to revert to the Petroff. I spent too long remembering the right moves but not – sadly – in the right order. For a moment or two I thought I had trapped white’s Queen, only to find I was losing a pawn and in danger of shedding more material. Fortunately Peter counter blundered into a dead drawn ending and for once it was my opponent who offered the draw, gratefully accepted.
Mac on board 5 was next to go. Playing Black he got a cramped position in the Pirc, lost (or sacced?) a pawn early on in a vain attempt to get some activity and went slowly down hill until 3 connected passed pawns down he resigned.
Robert on board 4 managed to win a minor piece against the always tough to beat Fred Dorn but with all Fred’s remaining pieces focussed on f2 and Robert’s King cowering on g1 he had to be be very careful as he chased Fred’s Queen away from the attack. He managed to do so and thus, something he has not always been able to do of late, converted a winning position into a win.
So all square with everything to play for. Joe’s game against Kevin was down to King, Rook and several pawns for both sides heading I thought for a quiet draw, and Richard’s was far too complicated for me to follow, so I decided to take a short break in the bar. There however I was soon joined by Joe himself who told me that he had nodded off with two moves to go and lost on time. When you have Joe’s talent I suppose you are easily bored by a quiet position.
When I returned I still thought a drawn match was possible as both Richard and Adrian Matthews were threatening bank rank mates with hot spots on all four corners of the board. The only result that looked unlikely to me was a draw. However Richard lost a Bishop and the central passed pawn he got in return was never going to be enough for a win. He did well to exchange off all Adrian’s pawns leaving Adrian with only a few seconds – a few hours would not have been enough for a win as he was down to a solitary Bishop.
Joe Valerio 0 – 1 Kevin Williamson
Richard McMorran 0.5 – 0.5 Adrian Matthews
Peter Gill 0.5 – 0.5 Peter Taylor
Robert Walker 1 – 0 Fred Dorn
Mac Mackenzie 0 – 1 Tony Readman
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