Any realistic chance of the C team winning Div 2 having gone when we dropped a point against Northampton in our last match the club couldn’t really lose in this fixture so Steve and Peter took the chance to rest some regulars and give others a chance to shine.
George Griffiths on board 4 for the C team certainly did do. Mac Mackenzie challenged George’s Bishop on g4 with h3 expecting, as anyone would, that the Bishop would retreat. George had other ideas playing h5, leaving the Bishop en pris. Mac could not resist the offer of a piece for a pawn, reckoning as did I that his King could wriggle away from the resulting attack down the h file. It could not and mate quickly followed. George has played a lot of lightning chess and can’t break the habit of moving very quickly. I had urged him to take his time but, though he claims to have done that, he used only 15 minutes for this miniature masterpiece (see game below).
On board 5 Tony Lawrence was playing Doug Page, who was making his team debut for the C team. Tony had his eyes on Doug’s f2 from the outset and, having won the pawn, used the square to infiltrate Doug’s second rank picking up the odd piece as he went. The resulting mate must have been a relief for Doug!
So with half the evening gone it was one all and nothing much between the players in the remaining games..
Lucian Cox did have a slight edge having doubled the pawns in front of Andy’s King but Andy was able to hang on until what seemed like a routine pawn swop trapped his Bishop. Lucian, seized the opportunity to introduce a Rook to the attack on the King, leaving his other Rook en pris with check. Andy’s Queen just had to pop out to take the Rook and then return his Queen to home defensive duties. However, reckoning that Lucian must have something planned, he thought he saw a trap and missed the chance fo a Rook for nothing. After that he did well to survive into an ending and get close to stalemate but Lucian was too good a player to fall for that and efficiently clinched mate.
Robert Walker and Richard McMorran had barely got going by this stage, having exchanged a solitary pawn after 20 moves or so. However, spotting a chance to win the exchange, Robert was tempted into abandoning his recent policy of grinding out endgames. The trouble was that with Robert’s Queen away from home Richard’s Queen went into a very menacing attack. All hell was let loose at either end, pieces tumbled, and Richard was able to give perpetual check.
That left the D team needing a draw on board 1 to win the match. I must confess I had not really understood the game well enough to decide if either player was better. Andy Chapman had infiltrated his Knights into Mike Botteley’s King position but Mike seems to be able to handle pesky Knights. As material reduced it came down to a time scramble and with only seconds left Andy allowed mate in one.
So a drawn match. What could be better!?
Peter Gill, 29/02/2020