Buzzkills the C team

The C team turned out on Thursday for yet another uphill struggle against Leighton Buzzard A – the tie represented something for a warm-up for us ahead of the crunch relegation decider against their B side next week. Once again it was good to see the whole squad turning out – it does make captaincy easier!

And just as had happened earlier in the season, we got off to a great start. Steve, playing against Gary Kenworthy, on board 2 got a strong platform against Gary’s Pirc defence, but still the position was complicated and a high degree of accuracy was required to take advantage. Steve stormed down the board on the kingside while Gary’s own queenside attack never got going, with Steve investing material to blow open the defences and make sure he got to his opponent’s king first. It was a hugely impressive (and, I imagine, quite cathartic) win for Steve; I’m sure he will have his own thoughts on the game (below) which will be better-informed than mine.

Unfortunately, on the bottom two boards we couldn’t compete so well. Peter and I both folded pretty much simultaneously, against Kevin Williamson and Peter Hunt respectively. On Peter’s end, he fell into a bit of an elementary trap early on, lost a pawn and had to compromise his own king safety, and was always struggling a bit from there. On my end it might have been a bit of the opposite story, I played perhaps a little naively and ventured a couple of moves that laid cute little traps which were never going to fool a 2000-odd player, and once those traps had been sidestepped the moves were just plain bad (or “ambitious”, as Peter charitably described it after the game).

Mike’s game on the top board against John Sharp I don’t know too much about, I’m afraid – whenever I glanced over at it looked too complicated for my little brain. I think Mike must have sacrificed a knight chip to away at the pawns in front of John’s king, but John was able to keep his king safe with his other pieces and was then just material up. There was a moment of confusion where I thought I’d seen Mike write “0-1” on his scorecard which would have meant he’d won, but my hope was very short-lived!

That meant the final game between Callum and Stephen Law on board 3 was a dead rubber in the end. In the middlegame it seemed to be an equal but dynamic game where all three results were possible, but then all the pieces were traded off, leaving just opposite-coloured bishops. There was possibly just a little bit of stubbornness from both players, but eventually the inevitable draw was agreed. Outrated by about 300 points, this was a good result for Callum; and I think this means that every C team player is now finally off the mark, results-wise. You never know, if relegation comes down to points difference then half-points accumulated here and there might just be crucial.

This left the final standing as follows:

Mike Botteley 0 – 1 John Sharp

Steve Pike 1 – 0 Gary Kenworthy

Callum Shields ½ – ½ Stephen Law

Alex Potts 0 – 1 Peter Hunt

Peter Gill 0 – 1 Kevin Williamson

Bedford C 1 ½ – 3 ½ Leighton Buzzard A

Leighton Buzzard took another step towards the title, while for us Bedfordians it’s all about the next fixture…

Alex Potts, 9th March 2024

Would it be very unseemly for the editor to revel in his first league win of the season? – no it would not!

Before my match, Kevin told me to “… at least play a game he could understand”, which I guess refers to my previous encounter with Gary this season where I had no clue what was going on! Anyway, everyone can understand a hack-attack …