Another dismal saga!
We travelled full of hope. MK C occupied bottom spot in Division 2 and are the only team we have beaten this season.
On board 3 I faced the formidable young Dominic Bartram whose grade for Division 2 games (mainly for the OU) is a whopping 170, having won all but one of his 10 previous games and drawn the other. Last time we played I managed to lose from a position given by Hiarcs as over 5 in my favour. This time I won a piece in the opening and – to my surprise – Dominic immediately resigned. Hiarcs only put my advantage at about 3!
Jubilant, but careful not to show it, I started a long evening of spectating. I noticed that Nigel on board 5 was a piece for a pawn down, but for some reason he looked remarkably unworried. On closer inspection I saw that he was about to win John McKeon’s Queen and pawn for two Bishops – obviously a win I thought. My spirits soared, but those Bishops were demonic and his doubled rooks were brutal. Nigel’s plan was to triple his major pieces behind his extra pawn but I suppose if you have a big plus in material it’s not ideal to devote all your pieces to the defence of a humble pawn even if you hope one day to promote it. The trouble was it was pinned and before it got going John’s pieces, unencumbered by Nigel’s trio, got at his back rank. Nigel battled ingeniously but eventually his King was cornered.
Joe meanwhile was nominally playing Mastermind champion Alan Heath, but in reality playing against his usual opponent, The Clock. The loss of a meagre pawn was nothing compared with the 30 minutes it took in a vain attempt to avoid it. Another couple of long thinks and defeat was inevitable.
Richard was into a minor piece and pawn ending against Dave Wells but when it got down to opposite colour Bishops he couldn’t make his extra pawn count.
So it was down to Robert Walker to salvage a drawn match. He seemed to have chances against Colin Solloway, but he shipped a pawn, and then a Knight fork of his Rooks brought the proceedings to an end.
Joe Valerio 0 – 1 Alan Heath
Richard McMorran 0.5 – 0.5 Alan Wells
Peter Gill 1 – 0 Dominic Bartram
Robert Walker 0 – 1 Colin Solloway
Nigel Walker 0 – 1 John McKeon
1.5 – 3.5
Yours sadly, Peter