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!