|Home Team: Milton Keynes C||Away Team: Bedford C|
|1||Alan Heath||152||1||0||Peter S Gill||134|
|2||Dave Wells||133||1||0||Richard McMorran||130E|
|3||Colin Solloway||133||0||1||Robert S Walker||117|
|4||John McKeon||121||1||0||J Nigel Staddon||122|
|5||Karthik Ramesh||0||1||Nigel B Walker||86|
I had decided to go to Milton Keynes with our strongest team, but our board one Joe Valerio went down with a nasty bout of flu. Thanks to those who volunteered on the day to fill the gap including A team Captain Paul Habershon.
Nigel Walker beat him to it however and didn’t let us down on board 5. He got his rook on the seventh rank very early on (what’s it doing there asked his namesake Robert) and there it stayed until the bitter end.
Robert Walker, against Colin Solloway on board 3, got his usual big Knight in the centre, exchanged it for an even bigger pawn centre, then went on accumulating pawns and to a crushing win. If only the whole team was called Walker! So far this season the Walkers have played 5 won 5.
After that it was all down hill. Nigel Staddon on board 4 never really got going against John McKeon, failed to defend f7, and paid dearly for it.
So did Richard McMorran on board 2 who got off to a good start but pushed the wrong pawn allowing Dave Wells to thrust a sharp wedge into the heart of his position with pawns on d5 and e6 before invading via f7.
That left me playing above my usual station facing 2016 Mastermind Champion Alan Heath, with white. He had the fiendish idea of playing the Petroff which, though I have played it myself for years with not much success, completely flummoxed me! I got a difficult middle game and Alan missed several chances to win material but we reached move 43 with material level, a blocked position, and little chance for either of us to make progress. Job done I thought and promptly blundered.
Next up the mighty Northampton (top two boards graded 207) and Leighton Buzzard (average grade around 150 ). It’s looking like a long season!
Peter Gill, 2nd December 2017