|Home Team: Bedford C||Away Team: Northampton|
|1||Richard T Bodily||168||0||1||Chris Ross||207|
|2||Steve Pike||161||1||0||Stratsimir K Kostov||207|
|3||Giuseppe Valerio||154||1||0||Shane Ashley||138|
|4||Peter S Gill||134||1||0||Nigel Young||146|
|5||Robert S Walker||117||0||1||David P Curran||123|
Facing the prospect of two 207 graded players on Board’s 1 and 2, without Richard McMorran and possibly without Joe Valerio, I was very grateful when Richard Bodily and Steve Pike agreed to stand in. In the event Joe recovered and this was the strongest C Team I can recall, but still outgraded by over 40 points on the top two boards and around 17 points a board on average. So I was not optimistic but how wrong I was!
First to finish was Steve playing Sratsimir Kostov. Steve got his Knight on the 7th rank and grabbed a Rook which was still at home while his opponent launched a King side attack. I sort of assumed Steve was bound to regret his daring raid. But far from it – he beat off the attack and held on to his material advantage. The last time I saw his game he had two Rooks and a minor piece for a Queen, and soon after I saw him rise in triumph. Polished off a 207 inside two hours! [modesty forbids publishing the game – no it doesn’t, see below – Ed]
Joe opened as black with g6, which I don’t recall seeing him play before, and got a solid game. His opponent grabbed what he thought was a loose pawn only to lose a piece instead. Two up and with a Walker still to finish – a won match surely.
Fortunately I had a comfortable opening and for once I was ahead on the clock but I was so excited I could scarcely focus on my game and I missed a check which would have produced a nasty attack for my opponent. Happily so did he! After that my enduring pressure down the Queen file led him to lash out sending his rook into my territory and to a sorry end.
On the next board was Robert Walker who I assumed would win as usual. However he did not manage to post an aggressive Knight in the centre as his custom. Indeed I’m not sure he got any piece beyond the fourth rank. He eventually succumbed after a dour defensive struggle.
Last to finish was Richard who, apparently against a player graded over 200 for the first time, had got to an ending with three pawns, Rook and minor piece on each side. I could see that Chris Ross was better but having played all evening without losing material surely Richard could hold out for a draw. At least Chris would have to go to the trouble of promoting a pawn to get winning chances. However Chris had other ideas. He conjured up deadly mate threats from his limited resources to make the score Bedford C 3, Northampton 2. So Richard lost but his presence on top board was surely crucial to a great result!