Not just a song title - three also happens to be the number of consecutive Coventry League matches in which we have now avoided defeat; the number of successive home matches in which I have been material up (a pawn; a piece; two pawns) but failed to win; and -most importantly - the number of players that Nuneaton A arrived with last night!
Thankfully they had warned us in advance, so Dave was able to enjoy a night off while chalking up a win from the comfort of his own armchair The rest of us just needed to draw the actual match to secure the two points. And we did it!
Mike played a very strong game against Bob Buckler on Board 3, and won quickly after a bishop sacrifice on g2 destroyed the White defence and won a pawn thanks to a follow up queen fork. But this was the least of Bob's problems, as he had somehow managed to leave himself with 9 seconds (3 x 3 - are you twigging something here?!) for 12 moves! Even Paul has never quite got himself into that predicament. Unsurprisingly, in a losing position, the task of reaching the time control proved impossible and we were 2-0 up.
It looked for most of the evening as though 2-0 would become 3-0, as for once I had quickly obtained a winning position against our very own Andrew Paterson. He overlooked a rather elementary cheapo by me that won a pawn straight out of the opening, and then compounded it by losing another one. I could have won an exchange for a pawn, at the cost of allowing him two rampant bishops, so instead decided to content myself with advancing a pawn to c2, figuring it must win. Andrew grabbed one pawn back as I completed my development, but then found a good way to eliminate my monster c2 pawn by offering his g pawn. I decided to decline this, but after a lengthy sequence it turned out that by a single tempo he could walk his king from g1 to d2 and win the pawn anyway. In a bishop ending it was suddenly me who had to play carefully to secure the draw, but I managed this and the match was won.
Which was just as well, since Carl was seemingly well outplayed by Colin Green with Black, after a Pirc Defence. I think Carl's problems occurred very early - move one in fact, as his score-sheet showed 1 e4 d4 2 Nf6 Bd3 3 g6 Be3 4 Bg7 f3 and so on for 13 moves - when he suddenly noticed that he had been writing down White's moves as Black and vice versa, ever since forgetting to record Black's first move d6. No wonder he was confused and played some ropey old moves. Under pressure late in the game he fell for a monster knight fork which won material and, soon after, the game.
Never mind, it was still two points in the bag and a very respectable league position ahead of our first ever match against Coventry Chess Academy. Watch out Paul - we're coming for you!