|Leighton Buzzard B||Bedford D|
|1||Kevin J Williamson||1953||0||1||Evan Lewis||1746|
|2||Adrian Matthews||1878||0.5||0.5||Andy Evans||1585|
|3||Peter Taylor||1825||0.5||0.5||Theo Jenkins||1576|
|4||Dominic Watson||1882e||0||1||Ramsey Dairi||1500e|
|5||Lee Davies||1791e||0||1||George Griffiths||1383|
(not only can Evan beat Kevin, he can write this report and submit a game!!)
If Bedford D were vulnerable at any time, it was during last night’s match. When we turned up to our away game against Leighton Buzzard B, the team was in disarray:
We’d lost to this team 4-1, exactly 3 months prior. Our unbeaten board 1, was not playing. Our board 4 was in a sling!
If matters could get worse, our board 5 was unable to find the venue! No chess had started and yet already it seemed the match was psychologically lost.
However, once George arrived, play began swiftly. Perhaps due to the team’s starting instability, it seemed as if every position quickly developed into a vicious battle. George was on the white side of a Scandinavian and was able to build a big center. After an unfortunate counting problem from his opponent, he was up a knight before move 10. I’d love to say black put up a fight but George was relentless. An incredibly clean conversion led to a resignation. 1-0
My own game (below) was a Chigorin Queen’s Gambit. Kevin and I entered theory, but his sharp theoretical knight sacrifice was known to me. Having prepared this line beforehand, I saw many games where a selfish white loses [Praggnandha-Dale (2017)]. So instead I gave the piece back for a long-lasting initiative. It proved too much for my opponent to handle and with 2 different threats of promotion, Kevin threw in the towel and Bedford D were up two games. 2-0
Theo’s game was next to finish and also reached a variation named after Chigorin! In a Closed Ruy Lopez, play deviated from theory with Theo’s 12.Bg5 and soon he’d established a stronghold on f5. Otherwise condemned to passivity, black was forced to trade bishop for knight. A queen bishop vs queen knight endgame ensued and the bishop seemed superior. Unfortunately for Theo, even with an extra passed pawn, there was no way to make progress and a draw was agreed. 2½-½
Andy and Ramsey were playing against the Alapin Sicilian on boards 2 and 4, respectively. Ramsey opted for the mainline with …2.d5 and achieved rapid development. A pleasant but precise position. It appears his left arm is just as good at chess as his right because regardless of the sling, he equalised and kept pressuring. In a rook and pawn ending, his opponent fell asleep at the wheel but Ramsey kept his foot on the gas. Finding a quiet winning move, to activate his rook, Ramsey wins another for Bedford D. 3½-½
Andy attempted the force the issue with an immediate …2.e5!?, controlling d4 but creating a weakness on d5. As pieces developed, Andy had to concede some space and doubled h pawns but had the bishop pair against the knight pair. Rather than opening up the board for counter-play, he responsibly decided to trade all the minor pieces and defend a heavy piece endgame. When I left the venue, they were still playing and it seemed a gruelling and depressing task, reaching far past time control. As always with Andy’s solid defensive play, he made no further concessions and his opponent was unable to convert the remaining space advantage. A draw was agreed. 4-1
Impressive stuff from the team and a nice way to finish the division, especially considering we were on the back foot going into the match. We finish this year with 5 wins and 3 losses. Thank you to Andy, Evan, George, Lucian, David, Ramsey, Steve and Theo for playing for us and of course we have to congratulate Leighton Buzzard B for winning the league.
Good luck to a strong-looking Bedford D for next year.
Evan Lewis, May 4th 2022