Bedford A edge the Bedford division 1 derby

 Home Team: Bedford A   Away Team: Bedford B 
1Steven C Ledger218510Alex Taylor2050
2James Gardner20800.50.5Qais Karimi1949
3Ravi Arulnandhy207310Richard T Bodily1968
4Toby Cox20660.50.5Paul F Habershon1949
5Michael T Botteley204301Okwose Marc Obi1938
Played: 16/12/21     

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!).

Alex Taylor, 21st December 2021