Deja vu for Bedford C

Oh dear. I knew it would be a tough week – two matches against Northampton in 3 days but I thought we might sneak a win or two.
For the away fixture last Tuesday we were boosted by Ravi who however got no change out of Chris Ross, and resigned when loss of a piece was inevitable. Joe gradually ran out of time and his flag fell in what was a difficult but playable position. Richard McMorran played most of the game a pawn down but was always confident of recovering it and duly did so to draw. Their Captain Dave Curran and I both had our moments, and I even showed some aggression with Black, but after the major pieces came off we fairly soon both settled for a draw. That left Robert playing Sean Ashley who earlier this season played on Board 2 to battle out another draw.

Never mind we soon would have a chance for revenge at the home fixture. Richard Bodily, who ran Chris close last year, came in on top board, and Nigel Walker on Board 5. Northampton were forced into one change – but my hopes for an easier match were dashed when I heard the replacement explaining how he had lost quickly to Jim Plaskett but beaten Jon Speelman (albeit in simuls).
First to go was Richard McMorran. It always seems to me that Richard’s games are on a knife edge with pieces and pawns all over the place but more often that not he is in control. But for once on this occasion he was not – he missed an early mate.
A few minutes later and Nigel who. despite lacking match practice, looked to have come though his opening with a very solid position showed he was a little rusty and simply left a piece en prise for nothing. Dave and I were now playing with colours reversed and again it was Black who was attacking but his pawn storm against my Kingside fizzled out into another draw. Joe ran short of time as usual at present and I watched the seemingly inevitable and unwelcome appearance of the dreaded black flag.
That left Richard to try to get our only win of the week. As he did last year he held on into an endgame which, against a lesser player, he could easily have won. Indeed with Knight and 5 pawns against Bishop and 5 pawns I understand he missed a fleeting opportunity to win a pawn. That having been missed Chris relentlessly exploited the slight edge his Bishop gave him to complete the near whitewash.

Northampton won Division 2 last season but were allowed to decline promotion because they expected to lose Chris Ross and their other over 200 grade player. Since the New Year however Chris is back and any club running a team in both Divisions will struggle to match them – we certainly couldn’t!

26 March

Ravi Arulnandhy 0 – 1 Chris Ross
Joe Valerio 0 – 1 Greg Smith
Richard McMorran 0.5 – 0.5 Nigel Young
Peter GIll 0.5 – 0.5 Dave Curran
Robert Walker 0.5 – 0.5 Shane Ashley

28 March

Richard Bodily 0 – 1 Chris Ross
Joe Valerio 0 – 1 Nigel Young
Richard McMorran 0 – 1 Chris (?) Sykes
Peter GIll 0.5 – 0.5 Dave Curran
Nigel Walker 0 – 1 Shane Ashley