Bedford C edged out

The old codgers of Bedford C headed for Leighton Buzzard on Tuesday needing to win to keep our hopes of finishing top of Division 2 alive. 
I faced the Scandinavian defence on Board 5 – something I don’t believe I’ve met for over a hundred serious games. I wasted a lot of time before deciding to accept a gambit pawn. It took 20 moves for my opponent, Lee Davies, to regain the pawn at which point, having overlooking a winning resource, I meekly agreed a draw.  
Meanwhile Joe was struggling with his Modern defence in what looked to me like a very cramped position. He also missed a winning move, before going on to lose. Joe has had a bad run for a player of his pedigree but “after every valley there is a hill” – hopefully in Joe’s case on Thursday when we play at home against the OU.  
Robert on Board 1 had the unenviable task of playing Brian Valentine, a regular for Leighton Buzzard A. He got off to a promising start in a Run Lopez, managing to double his rooks on the d file, but Brian interjected his Bishop and was able to to establish a passed pawn on the Queen side which proved decisive.
That left Richard doggedly hanging on a pawn down – and a passed pawn on the 7th rank at that. To me it looked inevitable that Adrian Matthews would promote but Richard kept finding saving moves and as exchanges took place the pawn fell and a draw was agreed.  
Callum, obviously not an old codger, travelled independently and after struggling to find somewhere to park, finally sat down to play Peter Taylor on Board 3 with only about 30 minutes left on his clock. Very sportingly Leighton Buzzard captain Adrian Matthews and Peter himself agreed to waive their entitlement to a forfeit. They may well have regretted that. I didn’t see how how he managed it but Callum engineered two connected pawns opposed by Peter’s solitary one and a Bishop each. It looked pretty drawish to me but Callum, turning down Peter’s draw offer, was able to promote to a Queen with seconds left on his clock. He has now won all 6 of his games for the C Team this season!
Realistically however finishing top is now likely to be beyond us.

Robert Walker        0    – 1        Brian Valentine 
Richard McMorran    0.5 – 0.5        Adrian Matthews
Callum Shields    I     –  0        Peter Taylor
Joe Valerio        0    –   1        Dominic Watson
Peter Gill            0.5 –      0.5        Lee Davies