With James Gardner on board 1 we travelled to Leighton Buzzard for our last game with some hope but I can’t help feeling that standards in Div 2 have rocketed when County Captain Kevin Williamson, and National Manager of Grading Brian Valentine, can’t get in their A Team.
James having got off to a bad start against Kevin had to invest a lot of time trying unsuccessfully to disentangle. When I saw his Kingside Rooks pawns had been doubled (rarely a good sign I imagine) I correctly feared the worst.
I was also struggling on position but well ahead on the clock. Having lost a pawn and facing multiple threats I thought it wise to offer a draw. When I made the offer my opponent had about 2 minutes left for 16 moves to my 30 minutes. He used most of that considering the offer, by which time I’d have withdrawn the offer if I could. Subsequent analysis showed my position was completely lost but even with increments he might have struggled to avoid defeat.
Richard had a big pawn centre against Fred Dorn but it appeared to be under terrific pressure. After a long think he adopted attack as the best form of defence, thrust his Queen deep into Fred’s position and wouldn’t let go until the threat of a neat mate forced the win of a piece and an easily won ending.
When I first looked at Robert’s position all his pieces were developed and all his opponent’s were still at home. Somehow however his opponent managed to get all his pieces into the game only to succumb to a Queen sac and a bank rank rate.
That left Joe who seemed to have a drawn Rook and pawn ending against Brian Valentine and, a miracle, plenty of time on the clock. However there was still some play in the position and Brian pounced on one small error to clinch a win and draw the match – not good enough I’m afraid to lift us off the bottom of the table just behind the D Team who beat us twice!
James Gardner 0 – 1 Kevin Williamson
Joe Valerio 0 – 1 Brian Valentine
Richard McMorran 1 – 0 Fred Dorn
Peter Gill 0.5 – 0.5 Thomas Evans
Robert Walker 1 – 0 Tony Readman