A trip to Leamington and our first outing with Fischer time control in the league. 30 moves in 70 minutes, then an additional 10 minutes with 10 second increments from move 1.
1. Andrew Baruch (w) (193) – Morgan Blake (175)
2. Andrew Paterson (b) (186) – Andy Collins (164)
3. Mark Page (w) (190) – Tom Darling (154)
4. Stuart Blaiklock (b) (115) – Ben Egid (153)
Stuart’s game on 4 was the first to finish. Ben opened with c4 and played a Botvinik system (pawns on c4, e4, kingside fianchetto, Nge2…) Stuart responded passively and soon his opponent had more space and the more active pieces. Stuart struck back in the centre but his inactive pieces were struggling to make an impact I didn’t see how the game finished, but white wrapped up the point. 1-0 to Leamington.
Andrew on 1 opened with a kingside fianchetto and c4 and obtained a fantastic position out of the opening. A knight outposted on e5, all his pieces coordinated and active, I didn’t think Morgan would survive. I was wrong as Morgan played gallantly to reach an endgame that was close to level, rook and 5 vs rook and 5, Andrew having the more active rook. A draw was the final outcome with Andrew having the better chances along the way. 1.5 – 0.5 to Leamington.
Mark’s game was by far the most entertaining with Tom playing the elephant gambit. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5! Mark more than took up the challenge by playing 3…d4! After the dust had settled, material was even but Tom had an overextended pawn on e4. If Tom was allowed to consolidate he might have been able to prove this pawn was strong and an asset, alas Mark did not accede and surrounded the frightened critter. Tom had to make concessions to defend the pawn and Mark infiltrated with a rook to the seventh. A ton of pressure later and Mark had obtained a winning endgame, Bishop vs knight (Mark had the Bishop) and an extra pawn. The Bishop dominated the knight and Mark converted easily. 1.5 all.
On 2 I played a ropey Kalashnikov Sicilian, Andy didn’t play a critical line and we got an equal position. 300 moves of grind later and we reached a rook endgame in which I was a pawn up. After a mass liquidation of pawns somehow Andy skilfully manipulated the position into a theoretically drawn A and H pawn rook endgame. Luckily for me the position proved difficult to defend and I managed to score the full point.
2.5 – 1.5 win, Olton on Monday, Olton need win on all boards to take second place from us.