Bedford A stay top

MK ABedford A
1Graham Smith1740.50.5Steven C Ledger194
2Adrian G Elwin17201James Gardner187
3Dominic Bartram1630.50.5Paul F Habershon175
4Robert Whiteside1600.50.5Richard T Bodily173
5James NO’D Alexander1570.50.5Darren Reed167

Bedford A travelled to play Milton Keynes A as we reached the half way point in our fixtures. Mindaugas again not available with Darren replacing him on board 5. Steve Ledger had the white pieces for the first time in his 6th league game.

Paul was first to finish, white against Dominic Bartram who had played each other earlier in the season when it was Bedford v MK B and a similar opening resulted, a closed sicilian. Paul had the more passive position from the opening allowing his opponent to gain space on queen side and centre. Black then won a central pawn and had the better chances but erred and Paul was able to win the exchange. However with black seeming to have a very active position a draw was agreed. Fritz still prefers white in the final position but black had ominous threats.

On board one, Steve was up against Graham Smith, opening could be described as a queen pawn opening with black playing Qa5 on move 3. Queens were exchanged early followed by the rooks resulting in a 2 bishops (Steve) v knight & bishop ending with Steve having the worse pawn structure. I didn’t see the ending and Steve confirmed there wasn’t much to play for when a draw was agreed.

On board three James took on Adrian Elwin. Early on in an exchange Slav, James Qb6 attacking the b2 pawn should have been met by sacrificing it with an equal game, possibly even a white advantage but in defending it, weaknesses were created and Adrian had to let the exchange go. There was no way back from there and James finished very nicely (see game below).

On board 5 Darren with white against James Alexander playing against a Sicilian essayed a morra gambit which was declined. There followed a steady manoeuvring game with black infiltrating on the queen side but Darren assured me afterwards that all was under control and so it seemed. Major pieces were exchanged and Darren now seemed to have a slight edge and agreed a draw which assured the win for his team.

On board 4 I was black against Rob Whiteside and another entertaining struggle resulted, I must have played Rob more times than anyone else recently and games are always interesting. I accepted Rob’s Morra gambit against the sicilian and was able to exchange some minor pieces and then queens leaving me a pawn up in the middle game. This transposed to a rook and pawn ending a passed ‘a’ pawn up but i was unable to convert and another draw resulted.

This was sufficient for us to win the match 3-2 and maintain our position at the top of the league.

Richard Boildy, 14th January 2020