|Bedford B||Milton Keynes B|
|1||Alex Taylor||2050||0||1||Dominic Bartram||2065|
|2||Qais Karimi||1949||0||1||Adrian G Elwin||2055|
|3||Richard T Bodily||1968||0||1||Graham Smith||1960|
|4||Paul F Habershon||1949||0.5||0.5||Peter Edwards||1863|
|5||Okwose Marc Obi||1938||0.5||0.5||Alan Heath||1833|
The B Team hosted fellow strugglers, Milton Keynes B on Thursday, hoping to get off the mark for the season.
Qais faced Adrian on Board 2 and decided on an aggressive approach against the Caro-Kann by pushing his kingside pawns. However, Adrian countered with a thrust in the centre, which after exchanges on d4 led to the winning of a key pawn and the added bonus of forcing queens off. With black having all the active pieces and control of all the open files and ranks it was only a matter of time before the victory was confirmed.
Richard faced Graham on Board 3 and out of a Sicilian opening pushed on both flanks and took the brave decision to leave his king in the centre. The game seemed to be in the balance, but Graham managed to open the e-file and always had threats against Richard’s king. The game ended with Richard overlooking a mating threat on e7.
Paul seemed to have much the better of the game on Board 4, cramping his opponent’s position and having more of the play. I have to confess I did not see the finish, but it ended up a draw. I was in a right battle with Dominic on Board 1. The opening ended up as a quasi-Queen’s Gambit, with white having central pawns on e4 and d4 commanding space but not doing much else. Some patient manoeuvring led to me winning the exchange and a solid position. Things then went wrong as I failed to follow up on my plan of opening up the centre, which allowed Dominic to launch an attack on my king. Under slight time pressure I failed to find the right defence and another loss arose.
Marc seemed to have the better of Alan for much of his game on Board 5. He picked up two minor pieces for a rook and pawn and cramped Alan up. In the middle game Marx put pressure on the queenside and managed to create a passed pawn, which looked as though it was going to be decisive. Alan had to give back material, but his wall of pawns ultimately allowed him to set up a barricade which could not be broken down.
A rather dispiriting 4-1 defeated leaves the team still pointless as they hit the halfway point in the season. D:Ream once sang “Things Can Only Get Better” and let us hope the second half of the season improves!
Alex Taylor, 25th February 2022