|1||Chris Ross||211||1||0||Darren Reed||167|
|2||Nigel Young||146||0||1||Michael T Botteley||160|
|3||Srihari Iyengar||155||0.5||0.5||Giuseppe Valerio||140|
|4||David P Curran||136||0.5||0.5||Peter S Gill||135|
|5||Shane Ashley||126||1||0||Robert S Walker||128|
The C team’s winning run (well 2 matches) came to an end at Northampton on Tuesday night.
On Board 4 I played Captain Dave Curran as I have done in our last four matches. An early draw was agreed, also as in our last four matches! When I fed the game to my chess engine it could barely stay awake offering only two suggestions one of which was not to play the modern defence!
On Board 3, playing a newcomer with the difficult name of Sriihari Iyengar, Joe survived a ferocious pawn storm on his castled King emerging with a slight material advantage and a good chance of a win only to fall asleep (his words) and allow his opponent to equalise with a cheap trick. At this point Joe encountered his usual opponent, the clock, but this time it was not Joe’s fault. It turned out the clock was not adding increments on each move. In a far from ideal solution it was agreed to add 10 minutes each.That was ample for the players to reach a dead draw.
On Board 5 Robert had got what looked like a winning position against Shane Ashley. Shane’s pawns were doubled whilst Robert had a massive pawn on e5. It was surely a matter of time before he cashed in. However, spoilt for choice with ways to win, Robert stumbled into about the only way to lose.
On Board 1 Darren had the unenviable task of playing the formidable Chris Ross – surely the strongest player to grace Division 2 of the Beds League. Chris managed to establish a fearsome Bishop pair in the centre of the board and drove one of Darren’s Rooks into a corner from which even Houdini could not hope to escape. Darren defended stubbornly but eventually dropped a pawn with more to follow.
So the match was gone but on Board 2 Mike had gone two pawns up against Nigel Young. Nigel conjured up some complications before jumping up from the board and dancing round the room on one leg in what appeared to be a celebration in rather bad taste. I assumed that Mike had somehow gone wrong but it turned out Nigel had had an attack of cramp. Mike sportingly insisted on stopping the clock but when Nigel was ready to resume, for some reason – I don’t know why – the clock was no longer adding increments. Nigel managed to muddy the waters with Mike’s King looking vulnerable but Mike cooly pressed on, promoted to a rook (I think!), and with 4 seconds left mated with two rooks against against King (and not much else.) That avoided a difficult conversation with Dave and Nigel, who I am sure would have recognised that a win for Mike was the right result.
Peter Gill, 14th November 2019