C Team scrape through against OU

 Home Team: Open University   Away Team: Bedford C 
1Dave Wells170501Robert S Walker1758
2Paul Endersby158501Richard McMorran1653
3David Phillips135210Giuseppe Valerio1728
4Luke Singleton131810Peter S Gill1728
5Steven Wayne130801Callum T Shields1660
Played: 27/01/22      

The C team maintained its winning start to the season against the Open University on Thursday but despite upgrading them comfortably – only just!!

I played ungraded newcomer Luke Singleton who played exactly the same line against my Petroff as I faced last week, so this time I knew what to do. I gained a small advantage out of the opening. Astonishingly however, despite his opting to retreat his King’s Knight to its original square on the 6th move, I struggled to make progress. Depressed by this turn of events I passed up a straightforward opportunity to win a piece with a comfortable win, and instead immediately lost a Rook to a backwards Bishop move and with it the game. Pathetic!

Their Captain Steve Waine on Board 5 can’t have been pleased to see on form Callum again after losing so quickly to him last week.They reached the middle game before Callum won a pawn, and soon after one piece, then another, then the game.

Richard, playing Paul Endersby, got a solid position with his Sicilian defence. He cornered Paul’s King which was surrounded by its own major pieces and a solitary pawn, more prison than defence. Facing the loss of Queen for Rook Paul conjured up his own clever mate threat but Richard calmly moved his King to safety without losing his grip and got his win.
Meanwhile Joe had built a handsome position with an impressive pawn centre when he boldly opted to give up the exchange for two pawns. He couldn’t get them rolling however and when Dave Phillips eventually returned the exchange (I’m not sure whether deliberately or accidentally) he gained an extra pawn which couldn’t be stopped.

So attention turned to Robert and Dave Wells on top board. Against Dave’s French defence Robert had, at the expense of a slightly weakened pawn structure, got a lead in development but with both players very short of time Dave, having fought back, was 2 or 3 pawns up (I’m not sure which). Dave kept trying to exchange pieces and Robert kept finding threats to delay what seemed inevitable defeat. One such threat was a Knight fork of Dave’s Rooks. After what seemed like several minutes as his clock headed to zero Dave moved a Rook out of the frying pan into the fire to a square which was already attacked by the Knight.  It might perhaps still have been a drawn game but Dave ran out of time within a few more seconds.

So blunders on Board 1 and 4 cancelled each other out, but I’m not sure that we fully deserved the win!

Peter Gill, 28th January 2022

Postscript – we subsequently received a message from Richard Freeman on Saturday evening that one of our opponents had just tested positive for Covid – we wish him all the best of course. It does not appear that any of us were infected.