|1||Steven C Ledger||194||1||0||Jake Chan||178|
|2||Paul F Habershon||175||0||1||Graham E Borrowdale||175|
|3||Ravi Arulnandhy||170||1||0||Dominic Bartram||163|
|4||Richard T Bodily||173||0.5||0.5||James NO’D Alexander||157|
|5||Darren Reed||167||1||0||Paul Endersby||119|
The A team’s 5th match of the season was at home to the Open University, who in their previous match had defeated Bedford B. The usual entrance to the car park being closed caused some early confusion but all players made it to the venue on time. Mindaugas and James again were unavailable with Ravi and Darren replacing them on boards 3 and 5. Steve Ledger therefore had his 5th black out of 5 games played, sorry Steve.
Once again the match was very close, after 2 hours I couldn’t see that any Bedford player was better and some appeared worse.
On board 4 I was white against James Alexander and once again (!) I was first to finish. After yet another opening about which i knew very little, a Kopec Sicilian, black equalised easily but after several pieces were exchanged in the middle game it became clear that no-one held an advantage and a draw was agreed.
Next to finish was Steve on board 1 who was playing a new opponent, Jake Chan (see game below). He defended against d4 with his usual Benko and quickly achieved a standard position with decent play for the pawn sacrificed. He steadily increased the pressure, recovered his pawn following a nice combination and once it was clear he would be 2 pawns up with all the play, his opponent resigned.
Paul was white against Graham Borrowdale and after some initial moves the game transposed into a Tarrasch (I think). After a level opening, black obtained pressure against Paul’s isolated d pawn and following piece exchanges achieved a better major piece ending. With black looking for a mating attack on the back rank, there was a chance for Paul to force queens off into a rook ending with drawing chances but this was missed and black mated nicely 3 moves later.
On board three there was an entertaining struggle between Ravi and Dominic Bartram (see game below). White opened with a Reti and for once Ravi avoided a kings bishop fianchetto but still had a clear advantage after 10 moves – how does he do it? However white was able to generate central play and a king side attack. After some exchanges, Ravi had generated good counterplay against white’s castled king on the queen side and it looked like he would crash through. However queens and rooks were exchanged and advantage passed again to white in the minor piece ending with few pawns. But white elected to support his ‘a’ pawn with the king allowing a nice manoeuvre for Ravi to force his own passed ‘h’ pawn.
Finally on board 5 Darren defended with a Pirc against Paul Endersby. Despite the large grading difference between the 2 players, there didn’t seem to be much between them in the game and after 20 moves all major pieces had been exchanged leaving 8 minor pieces and pawns in a complex ending with white having more space and hence an edge. With Darren looking to open the position, white missed his best chance but still had the better of it with a remote passed ‘a’ pawn with Darren having a passed ‘d’ pawn. However in a long ending, black advanced his passed pawn too far away from support and
Paul Darren (!) was able to capture this and enter a knight endgame a pawn up and carefully converted into a win.
So another win moves Bedford A to top of the league but with some tough matches to follow in the New Year.