|Milton Keynes D||Bedford C|
|1||Josue Estevez Fernandez||170||0||1||Michael T Botteley||160|
|2||Nick Tsimikalis||103e||1||0||Giuseppe Valerio||140|
|3||Ivor Smith||0||1||Robert S Walker||128|
|4||Yuv Saxena||90e||0||1||Callum T Shields||128|
|5||Steven Wayne||100e||0||1||Andy Evans||100E|
For once we outgraded the opposition, the newly (re)formed fourth Milton Keynes team. Only their top board with a grade of 170 had much experience the rest having estimated gradings from 90 to 103. I travelled to Milton Keynes as non playing Captain allowing Andy Evans to make his C Team debut (though he won against us as a last minute substitute for our D Team in our first match!)
Callum was first to finish. His opponent Yuv Saxena had posted his Queen and Knight in aggressive positions but ought to have wondered with plenty of other options why Callum chose to retreat his Bishop to the back rank. Yuv walked into a pin, the Knight was lost and soon after the game. When he resigned he had used only 17 minutes for 20 or so moves. Callum, who is a quick player himself, had used twice as much.
Robert was going well against Ivor Smith on board 3 in a Sicilian. Major piece pressure on the Queen file enabled him to exploit a pin to win a pawn, after which he was able to eschew opportunities to win a minor piece and readily accumulate more pawns until he had a massive and unopposed pawn chain which would have netted several Queens if he had wanted.
Despite the good start however the remaining games were not looking at all clear. Joe, playing a Modern Defence against Nicholas Tsimikalis, expanded on the Queenside and won a pawn. However he didn’t give sufficient attention to his opponent’s sacrificial attack on his King and failed to find a defence until we were on our way home!
Suddenly a loss for the team looked distinctly possible, particularly as after a very solid start in which he had established an imposing pawn centre, Andy had lost a piece to their Captain Steven Wayne. He had compensation having established his Queen and rook on his opponent’s second rank. At one point he hardly seems to have any pieces which weren’t on the second rank! However, Steven’s King was nowhere near having scarpered all the way to Andy’s end of the board where he was threatening to promote a pawn. Andy missed a chance to blockade and would have to give up a rook to stop the pawn. However – fortunately for us – Steven lost his nerve and his attention turned to his own back rank where after all Andy’s pieces had come off he had a menacing trio of passed pawns. By the time Andy’s rook had gone his pawns were unstoppable. Phew! (see amazing game below, annotated by Richard Bodily – Ed!)
Meanwhile Mike had found himself playing in what appeared to be the comfort zone of Josue Fernandes. Deep into the game, whatever he tried, Mike could make no headway. In what appeared to be a blocked position with few exchanges I couldn’t make much of the game (over my head!) so I was delighted to find that Josue had finally cracked to give us a 4-1 victory.
Peter Gill, 22nd November 2019