|Bedford C||Milton Keynes C|
|1||Michael T Botteley||160||0||1||Ray Holland||148|
|2||Giuseppe Valerio||140||0.5||0.5||Alan Heath||140|
|3||Peter S Gill||135||0.5||0.5||Dave Wells||138|
|4||Robert S Walker||128||1||0||Colin Solloway||124|
|5||Callum T Shields||128||0||1||John McKeon||115|
Outgrading Milton Keynes C by about 6 points a board, and after beating all our opponents so far apart from the mighty Northampton, I was optimistic about this home fixture. After the first hour my optimism looked fully justified. Mike on Board 1 had a lot of pressure on Ray Holland’s castled King, Joe had won a very solid pawn against Alan Heath, and Robert and Callum were on the attack against Colin Solloway and John McKeon respectively. I looked like the only loser, grovelling against Dave Wells’ big centre with my Modern Defence.
I managed to survive Dave’s attack with even material. He was still better but he generously agreed a draw.
Robert managed to break up the pawn shield round Colin’s King and duly won.
But then things started to go wrong! Somehow Joe’s advantage evaporated, material was whittled down and with just a pawn and a bishop each another draw was inevitable.
Callum had trapped John’s King in the middle which in turn deprived John of the use of his rook. Callum’s pieces were all over John’s King but they ended up just getting in each other’s way. If John had taken a piece or two Callum might well have clinched a sparkling win. Instead the King slowly wriggled out of trouble and Callum, having eventually lost material, was left to try and swindle a draw with King and Knight against King, Knight, Rook and pawn. Too tall an order though there was a thrilling moment near the end when John might well have fallen for a stale mate – he did not.
That left Mike, yet to drop even a half point so far this year, but his early pressure had gone, he had lost pawns, and could not hold out for a draw.
Never mind, though Joe thoroughly disapproves of my lack of ambition, I don’t think we really wanted promotion anyway!