No points for recognising the title reference, but two points for Kenilworth last night with a much needed, first Coventry League Division 1 victory of the season over Coventry A. It was a close run thing, and for once it didn't all depend on me as the last game in progress. This time Carl was the hero who successfully got us over the finishing line for a much needed 2.5-1.5 win.
Mike is a class act on Board 4 in the Coventry League, and duly brought in the first point of the night after winning from the White side of a complex Catalan/Slav or something similar (I missed the opening moves) against Bava Manickam. At one point there were many pawns and pieces on the board, then I looked back again and most of them had disappeared except that Mike was an exchange and a pawn up in a winning position. No idea if it was a brilliancy or a blunder - but either way it was a point for us!
Unfortunately, Ben then continued his rather calamitous early season form by losing with the White pieces to our very own Bernard C on board 2. It was a highly original opening, but Bernard, as befits a man steeped in chess knowledge, simply occupied the centre (none of this hypermodern rubbish!) and eventually broke through to win material after a flurry of tactics. Simple when you know how, I guess. There's not much one can say to cheer up Ben as his bad run continues, but if its any consolation to him, he did break the world land speed record in his exit from the room - a record which has stood since 1982 when it was set by an opponent of mine at the conclusion of this game from the National Club Championship:-
Digressing a little bit further, I have very fond memories of this match (played on a Sunday afternoon in rural Buckinghamshire if I remember correctly), as not only did I have this crushing win, but my team won 6-0 and the day was capped off with a seriously large number of celebratory pints of Young's Bitter at an excellent pub in Wimbledon village. Work the next day doubtless brought the mood of euphoria to a quick halt.
So where was I? Oh yes, the match was now tied 1-1, and soon it became 1.5-1.5 when I drew against Dave Ireland on Board 1. It was a highly dramatic game, where my king was stuck in the centre and seemingly ripe for the chop, but I had snaffled a pawn on a2 next to White's castled king by way of compensation. The position was very complicated, and both players made mistakes. However, Dave made the most serious one, and with an excellent return of my extra pawn I engineered a double threat to win a piece and deliver mate. Unfortunately, I then captured this piece one move too quickly and Dave cleverly managed to hem in my extra piece - a knight on g8 - with pawns on g5, e5 and d6. Check it out for yourselves, but there was no way the knight could ever get out. And to make matters worse, I had a rook stuck on h8 as well. The only way to extricate this rook was to play Ne7 and allow the capture of my extra piece, producing a totally drawn double rook ending. A great fight from both players, but more points for spirit than accuracy.
Which may probably also be said about the decisive Board 3 game between Carl ánd Ed Goodwin. The opening looked to have gone wrong for Carl, but things were deceptive, and his knight was much better than Ed's bishop, while he had an active queen and an open f file to work with too. After many adventures Carl started winning Ed's queenside pawns, but then Ed invaded with queen and rook to seemingly threaten at least perpetual. But Carl drove the White king up the board to h5, and then overloaded White's defences with mate threats of his own. Ed blundered into one of them when also about to lose on time, but by that time Carl was winning on material as well.
Our unbeaten run now stands at a whole 2 matches (!!), but a strong Nuneaton A are up next, so we will have to be on top form to keep the sequence going. But I have faith in our boys! Then again, I also once had faith in Tony Blair as Middle East peace envoy, so maybe my judgement shouldn't be given too much credence!