Bedford B played their first match of 2024 against Leighton Buzzard B looking to find a win to ease relegation fears.
On Board 1 I faced Brian Valentine. Our game followed a bit of Ruy Lopez theory to start with and the game looked evenly poised. I wasted a couple of moves with my black squared bishop as I forgot I needed it to support my f6 knight and Brian seemed to have a bit of an edge. However, he then let me grab his d4 pawn, and declining the opportunity to exchange queens pressed on the kingside. Ultimately, the game was decided by Brian overlooking the same tactic of bishop skewering queen and rook as he had a couple of weeks ago as black!
Richard played Ian Woodward on Board 2 and seemed to have an advantage out of the Caro-Kann opening. Richard castled queenside and drove a pawn wedge on the kingside. At one point black’s position looked a little precarious, but there were no obvious weaknesses and at the point a draw was agreed it looked like black had perhaps the slightly better of it.
Ramsey’s game against Adrian fluctuated. Things looked pretty level from the opening but in trying to push his centre pawns Ramsey loosened his position and Adrian’s rooks and queen looked strong, particularly as Ramsey had a weak looking isolated d pawn. However, once queens and one rook came off the board the rook and pawn ending looked favourable to Ramsey. He won an extra pawn and then clinically simplified to a R vR+P ending and clinically ensured that it promoted.
Robert’s sparkling run of form continued on Board 3. From what I saw of the game he never really looked in trouble. From the opening his pieces had more freedom and were more coordinated. This allowed him to win a pawn and although his opponent tried to generate some counterplay, this seemed to make things worse for him and Richard entered the ending a knight a couple of pawns up which he duly converted into a win.
Richard’s game on bottom board was a bit of a tussle. I did not see much of the game, but Richard was pressing on the kingside and seemed to get to a position where he was going to break through the defences. His opponent found the only way to wriggle free and this led to a rook and multi-pawn ending with Richard a pawn down, but having a much more active rook and king. This allowed Ricard to win back the pawn and although his opponent managed to get a pawn to b7 it was blockaded by the king and Richard’s threats of pushing a pawn through led to all pawns coming off the board for a draw.
Overall a 4-1 victory for the B Team which moves them to 4 points and hopefully clear of relegation worries.
Alex Taylor, 26th January 2024