Hard fought draw for Bedford C

Home Team: Open University Away Team: Bedford C
Board Name Grade Score Score Name Grade
1 Graham E Borrowdale 177 0.5 0.5 Giuseppe Valerio 150
2 James NO’D Alexander 149 0.5 0.5 Peter S Gill 138
3 Colin Solloway 129 0 1 Richard McMorran 130E
4 Dominic Bartram 111 0.5 0.5 Robert S Walker 95
5 Paul Endersby 107 1 0 Anthony P Lawrence 54
2.5 2.5
Played: 13/12/2018

The 5 old codgers of the C team faced the OU away last Thursday.  Having lost heavily against the D team in our only previous game and against an OU team which had won their first three matches we were not at all confident.

Richard’s game against Colin Solloway was the first to finish when in a tense middle game Colin left a piece ( or two?) en prise. Joe and I, against higher graded players, were happy to settle for rather tame draws, but after glancing at the remaining games I got a bit excited. I saw that we might actually win!

Robert had grabbed a dangerous pawn in front of his King (a sac I think) and had survived the attack which followed to be the exchange up in an ending. But he had an abysmal Bishop, trapped behind its own pawns, and reluctantly had to settle for a draw. So we still needed half a point for a memorable win!

All eyes turned to Board 5 where Tony having outplayed his much higher graded opponent in the opening had not managed to finish him off. Never mind – material was level and neither player had made any progress for several moves. His opponent offered a draw but Tony thought he saw something in the position which no-one else in the large crowd could see. He would have none of it.

I would like to have dropped a heavy hint by offering to tell him the match position but Adrian Elwin, ECF Director of Home Chess no less, told me that would not be proper (at least whilst Tony was at the board). Nor apparently are a player’s Captain and colleagues allowed to stand opposite the player to watch the game. Had Tony been able to see my body language there might have been a different outcome! I am of course famously draw ready.

As it was Tony played on and blundered the exchange within a few moves. A bit tragic for him after playing so well in the opening but if we had been offered a drawn match at the start of the evening we’d have jumped at it!

Peter Gill, 16th December 2018