|1||Brian J Valentine||167||0||1||Darren Reed||167|
|2||Adrian Matthews||158||0||1||Michael T Botteley||160|
|3||C Fred H Dorn||138||0.5||0.5||Peter S Gill||135|
|4||Edward P (Ted) Brown||117||0.5||0.5||Robert S Walker||128|
|5||Tony Readman||106||0.5||0.5||Callum T Shields||128|
Reinforced again by Darren Reed on top board we headed to Leighton Buzzard where for once we had a small grading advantage.
Fred Dorn, a player I have always feared as a wily tactician, quickly equalised against me playing a Centre Counter, but such tactics as he produced were damp squibs. Gradually his position went downhill and I got into a rook and pawn ending a pawn up. I thought I had devilish back rank threats but it turned out he did also and rather than trying to grind out a lengthy ending I settled on a draw.
Callum won a piece for a pawn and seemed to have excellent chances but Tony Readman somehow acquired a very imposing pawn centre which steamrolled him back to equality.
I always expect Robert Walker to get at least one Knight into the heart of his opponent’s position and he eventually obliged but he couldn’t make it tell this time and a draw duly followed.
Over to our star players! Mike’s game took a long time to get going – late in the evening each side had only lost a minor piece and a pawn – but gradually Mike got a strangle hold and a time advantage which he cashed in for an excellent win on his debut as a C Team Squad player
So a good away draw was in the bag but Darren had other ideas. He had opened with the Evans gambit which Brian struggled to meet. He got behind on the clock and hurrying to make the time control he lost two of the three pawns he had got in return for Darren’s extra piece. However he fought strongly against what I had thought to be inevitable defeat and seemed very close to forcing though a pawn wedge. By the time Brian’s clock fell Darren had managed to block Brians pawns however and his own passed pawn was well on its way to promotion.
So played two won two, already better than last year, we’d better be careful we don’t get promoted. Now that would be a disaster!