Attentive readers may have noticed that there was no match report of the A team's season opening 2-2 draw with Shirley, but given my loss from a completely winning position, the more sympathetic amongst you might understand my reluctance to relive the depressing experience. So the fact that I am now reporting on our 3-1 win away at Banbury B yesterday evening should tell you that I'm feeling a bit happier with the world.
Paul was unavailable, so Ben joined the team and the rest of us moved up a board from last week to make room for him. Our opponents were fresh from a shock 3-1 win over their own A team, and fielded a team which had a grading spread of just 6 points from top to bottom. The first thing I noticed was the bizarre happenings on Board 1, where our Player of the Year, Andrew Paterson, opened with the moves 1 c3; 2 h3 and 3 d3. Revolutionary stuff. It certainly worked, though, as by move 12 he was a clear pawn up. A bit later on this extra pawn had captured its way, from g4 via f5 and g6 to h7, and Black was so tied down by this monster that he couldn't prevent further material losses on the queenside.
I played rather more conventionally against Carl Portman, and after a serious positional error by Carl conceding his good bishop, my pawns yomped down the centre towards his king which was stranded in the middle. With Carl in serious time trouble (and boy do I mean serious!) I found a nice combo which won the exchange, and in attempting to avoid this White walked into something even worse and lost on time a couple of moves later a whole rook down.
This all came after our Carl had rather grovelled his way to a draw against Nick Martin on Board 3. He played the opening nicely against Nick's Dutch Defence, but then seemed to play without much of a plan. Nick was able to redeploy his entombed light square bishop and attack the White king with queen and rook, and I had mentally written the game off as a loss. I have no idea how it came to be agreed drawn a few moves later - even though I was sat next to the game!
The rest of us then abandoned Ben who was struggling along on Board 4 with a queen against 2 rooks. It looked bad, and he tells me he was lost at some point, but he hung in there and eventually secured a draw by perpetual - queens are quite good at doing that after all!
So an excellent, if slightly flattering, scoreline. On another day it could easily have ended 2-2. Let's hope the Chess Gods smile on us again when we have to revisit Banbury next week for a KO Cup match!