Never in doubt

After Milton Keynes B’s unexpected defeat of Leighton Buzzard A on Tuesday, the wooden spoon is definitely between the B Team and our opponents on Thursday, MK A.  With both teams struggling, it was likely to be a close affair.

Marc seemed to have a good position after the Sicilian opening.  He had made good use of his queenside space and his opponent’s attack on the kingside did not seem to be going anywhere.  Once queens were exchanged, the ending looked pretty level, and a draw was duly agreed.

Paul and Rob had a closed Sicilian type opening after transpositions, and the game appeared to be pretty level.  Rob had decided to concentrate his pieces on the queenside and had a rook well positioned on d4 contesting the open file.  However, Paul set his sights on the kingside and Rob’s king.  He established a knight on f6, which could in theory be taken by  a pawn on g7, but not without consequences.  Paul then advanced his h pawn, took on g7 which left Rob facing mate in one of a few ways, so a much needed win for us!

Richard and Philip played out a Queen’s Gambit Accepted, and Philip played 3 e4 in his customary aggressive style.  Richard responded with 3…e5 and the game then looked very complicated with Philip leaving his king uncastled and Richard’s king slightly unprotected once Philip had exchanged bishop for the knight on f6.  The ending was balanced with Richard having slightly more active pieces but Philip had an edge, which ultimately he converted (I am afraid I missed the end so cannot give precise details).

To be honest, I did not know what was happening in my game after move 3.  The position was almost like an Alipin Gambit in reverse, but I certainly had the better position with my g7 bishop having the long diagonal and a king on c1 to have a go at and Richard did not really have any attack on the kingside.  I temporarily sacrificed a pawn to open up the c file and managed to double my rooks, but Richard managed to just hold off my attack.  As we both slipped into time trouble the position simplified and we were left with a double rook ending with me having an extra pawn.   We then reached a position with Richard’s king stuck on the a file and my king stuck on the back rank and it looked like a draw was inevitable.  Only after the draw was agreed was it pointed out Richard has missed a simple mating chance!

Qais was playing Graham Smith on board 4 and had built up a very solid position.  Indeed, the position was so solid it looked like a nailed on draw and Graham offered a couple of early proposals.  However, fearing for his colleagues’ positions (which given the season the team have had, very understandable) Qais declined these and they played on.  Qais then sacrificed a rook for knight and pawn, and for a moment it looked like Graham might break through on the kingside.  However, once queens came off  the position looked drawn again as set up a fortress on the black squares, making use of the opposite coloured bishops and there was no way that Graham could use his rook to break through.  A draw seemed likely, until Graham forgot about his clock and lost on time.

This meant that the B Team emerged as 3-2 winners so our long wait for a win is over!  We are still bottom on board points but at least we have broken our duck.

Alex Taylor, 25th March 2022

P.S. A good night for Bedford Club was completed by Bedford D who won well away at MK C.