|Bedford C||Bedford Uni|
|1||Michael T Botteley||160||1||0||Pete Montgomery||146|
|2||Giuseppe Valerio||140||0.5||0.5||Marek Gladysz||140|
|3||Peter S Gill||135||1||0||Efraim Ie||120e|
|4||Robert S Walker||128||1||0||Humayun Mirza||94|
|5||Andy Evans||100E||0.5||0.5||Nicholas Pointon||90e|
The latest addition to Div 2 of the Bedfordshire League turned out to strongly resemble a Luton B team – I guess the average age was well into the 40s if not the 50s.
Despite the table collapsing, fortunately without any injuries, first to finish was Board 5. As he often does Andy organised his forces behind an imposing wall of pawns. I didn’t see much of it but his opponent Nick Winton did much the same thing so I was not surprised to hear that they had agreed a draw.
Robert flung his pawns at Humayan Mirza’s King. Robert is a fierce player, more Beast of Balsover than Cuddly Corbyn. His aggression paid off with a decisive gain of material.
My opponent was I suspect the only student, Efraim Ie. He got off to a tame start allowing me to gang my pieces up on his castled King, though at the expense of leaving my own King in the middle. I wasted a lot of time trying to decide between several promising lines. Pretty much ignoring my attack he started to threaten my uncastled King with a series of sharp moves played very quickly. By the time I took the plunge I was very short of time but he was always a move behind. Visiting former member John Harbour harshly rebuked me for announcing check mate when in fact it was only mate in two.
Next door I saw that Joe was a pawn down against Marek Gladysz but he had plenty of activity and I expected at least a draw. With Joe’s clock where it usually is with plenty of moves to go (ie soon to fall) Marek offered a draw which, to my relief, Joe accepted to clinch the match. John slightly spoiled the moment by pointing out that Joe had missed a forced win – I am not sure whether that was still on by then or not.
So a win on top board for Mike against Peter Montgomery would be the icing on the cake, though apparently Mike hadn’t had any time for cake or indeed anything at all having rushed from a late finish at work. Peter had yet to lose this season having drawn all his games for Luton A against players averaging 170. Mike, against similarly strong opposition however, had yet to drop even a half point in league matches (or indeed anywhere). When I first started watching the position seemed blocked but Mike had an imposing Knight in the heart of Peter’s position and was soon able to undermine the base of his pawn chain. Peter, no doubt feeling the heat, put his Knight en pris to Mike’s advancing pawn. He didn’t let go so was able to find another square for the Knight but resigned a move later. I am not sure but I suspect his position was lost anyway.