AC/DCent Contest

(Alex continues to write his own headlines – other captains should note that this is a good(!?) way to avoid my feeble puns!)

Just a few weeks after our last encounter, the A and C teams met again. The circumstances were rather different though; this time us C’s were able to put out a full-strength side as opposed to the extremely makeshift crew that turned out in January. Meanwhile, for the A’s, Ravi sneakily ducked out so that Steve Pike’s preparation against him would be ruined, but otherwise they were also at full strength.

Board 5 was something of a nonevent; Peter and Rob agreed to a draw after fewer than 20 moves, with no real action taking place. Still, credit must go to Peter who neutralised a strong opponent in good form, and kicked his losing run. Perhaps Rob was still worn out after his stunning exploits for the B team on Tuesday, and didn’t fancy another long struggle.

I know very little about what went down on board 2, other than that James seemed to win against Steve Pike with relative comfort. Such is the luxury of having the website editor on board that I can get him to fill in the gaps! Ed – it was a bit more exciting than that, or at least it might have been if I had not lost my way playing a rather speculative line that actually should have won a rook, knight and pawn for my queen where I was probably still worse but in an interesting way, rather than the way i played it which just lost a piece!

Board 3 featured Paul against Callum. Callum seemed to equip himself rather well for a while, but Paul was able to win a pawn in the middlegame, and as the pieces came off it looked like a tricky task for Callum to hold the draw with a knight and five pawns versus bishop and six. He probably put himself out of the misery of having to struggle on for another twenty or thirty moves before losing anyway, with an unfortunate lapse which allowed Paul to get an unstoppable passed pawn. Callum saw the funny side, at least.

That left myself on board 4 and Mike on top board the nigh-impossible mission of both having to win our games to salvage anything from the match. My own game against Nick did not get off to the best start it must be said, reaching out of a Grunfeld defence a very passive position that seemed practically lost even if the engine evaluation wasn’t that bad. But somehow, the decisive blow never came, and I was able to generate counterplay by marching my c-pawn so far down the board that Nick felt compelled to sacrifice the exchange just to stop it. Thereafter, in a frantic time-scramble, we both went for each other’s king, with my own attack somehow crashing through just one tempo ahead (analysis below). So that kept the match alive with only one game still to finish.

After I had regathered my breath I wandered over to see how Mike was getting on against Steve Ledger. It seemed Steve Ledger had done Steve Ledger things, gradually accumulating small advantages and reaching a rook endgame one pawn up, meaning Mike had no winning chances and was playing for a draw. Shortly thereafter Steve used his more active rook to win a second pawn and clinch the win, both for himself and his team. (Ed – from what I saw in the bar afterwards, had Mike sacked a knight(?) for a couple of pawns at one stage, things would have got very tricky for Steve – see game below)

(Apologies for not featuring more details on others’ games – part of the reason being that my position was so miserable after 15-20 moves against Nick that I was expecting to lose quickly and have plenty of time to assess the state of play elsewhere. But it didn’t turn out like that!)

Final result: Bedford A 3 ½ – 1 ½ Bedford C

Steve Ledger 1 – 0 Mike Botteley

James Gardner 1 – 0 Steve Pike

Paul Habershon 1 – 0 Callum Shields

Nick Collacott 0 – 1 Alex Potts

Rob Walker ½ – ½ Peter Gill

Alex Potts, 23rd February 2024

Ed – Alex sent me his game to which I have added a few random comments (“annotated” would be overstating it!). If either player would like to supplement or correct my efforts, please do so and I will amend – in particular, I don’t really know the state of the clocks at any given moment. Any which way, it was quite wild to say the least!

4 Replies to “AC/DCent Contest”

  1. I saw 30 Qxc3! Rxc3 31 Rd8+ Qxd8 32 Rxd8+ Kg7 33 bxc3 almost immediately after I played 29 …c3; if I’d seen it beforehand, I would have played something else and probably lost in the long run. Very fortunate for me that Nick didn’t spot it either. Caissa was kind to me in that game.

  2. The metal monster tells me that, yes, Mike should have tried the knight sac we looked at in the bar afterwards though it needed to be followed up with a further exchange sac which is easy for a computer to say ! I’ll maybe send in the game when I get a tic.

    1. 20.nxe6 is certainly interesting. At the time thought the only logical way to follow up might be something like rxe4, but I didn’t much like the remaining rook and dark square bishop not being active enough to contribute to a later attack. be3 seemed more sensible, particularly because this was a team match, and partly because the knight is so well placed on d4 anyway. After be3 and rad1 things look very reasonable for white.

      The disappointment was that I didn’t just play f5 on move 31 (f5, exf3, e6 is one idea). That was my objective in some ways, so I can’t really work out why not. I remember deciding to play a couple of moves and then f5. I suppose after 31.rf3?!, then f5 would allow ng5, so then another passive rook move (slippery slope). Steve plays rather too well to allow such things.

Comments are closed.