Bedford A crucial victory

 Leighton Buzzard A   Bedford A 
1Gary Kenworthy228301Steven C Ledger2185
2Peter Hunt20650.50.5Toby Cox2066
3Stephen Law20580.50.5Ravi Arulnandhy2073
4John R Sharp194501James Gardner2080
5Brian J Valentine192410Okwose Marc Obi1938
Played: 05/04/22      

Bedford A scored a crucial win on Tuesday. After losing to Leighton Buzzard earlier in the season, we needed to come away with points to keep in contention for the title.

My game was the first to finish. After a boring first 20 moves of a French exchange, I had a tiny advantage with better pawn structure, which I quickly wasted by overcommitting my own pawns. A draw was agreed.

The highlight of the night was on board 1. When I first saw the game, it was already in a knight endgame, with Steve a pawn up. However, he had less than a minute in the clock, to Garry’s 40. Despite Garry’s attempts at a swindle, Steve managed to simplify into an N+2 vs N situation, with connected E and F pawns. This was classily converted with a fork to force the exchange of knights.

After this, Ravi agreed a draw. Having less activity, but better structure for most of the game, he had managed to trade down into a N vs B endgame. Ravi had a passed A pawn, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the bishop’s dominance over his knight in the endgames.

Marc had a very interesting middlegame, with both players simultaneously having pawns reach the seventh rank in the early middlegame. However, when exchanges were made, Marc’s opponent played well to squeeze an advantage from nothing, and win a complex N vs B endgame.

That put all of the pressure on James. From a very closed position, neither side had seemed to gain much of an advantage, until James’ opponent left the defence of the long diagonal and allowed James to push his passed pawn. From there, he just needed to escape the perpetual checks, which he did with ease.

This puts the A team in prime position to win the league, being a point ahead of the competition with fewer games played.

Toby Cox, 10th April 2022