…….. 24 little hours etc etc.
On Monday the A team was in Leamington League action away at Shirley, and came away with a thumping 3.5-0.5 win. Andrew finished first by virtually forcing Keith Ingram to make a piece sacrifice on g6 which resulted in immediate perpetual check. Keith didn't need a second invitation and so Andrew was on his way home for an early night with a half point in the bag. Then the wins started coming in. First Mike D crashed through against Frank Jimenez's Maginot Line defensive strategy, via a knight sac to get his pieces flooding into the passive White position, and soon after Joshua's extra pawn and bishop v knight saw him comfortably home against Jonathan Dale in an ending. I wrapped up the evening by beating Phil Purcell in an interesting game where I ended up with 3 extra pawns - which he decided was about 3 too many.
So it was with confidence sky high that two of those players set off for our Coventry League season opener against Rugby the next night. Regrettably that confidence was somewhat misplaced. With Dave swanning around in New York, and Carl also somewhere in the States, seemingly keeping the global economy going single handedly, Rod stepped into the breach to supplement our normal team. He held an interesting game with Black against Simon Turner on board 4, and Ben also drew, after appearing to be making the running, on 3 against Jonathan Cox. Mike then followed with another draw against Bob Wildig, leaving me to decide the match against Rugby's newcomer Paul Colburn on Board 1. Regrettably I was not up to the task, and after being equal or slightly worse the whole game, I gave the match away by failing to hold a difficult rook and knight v rook and bishop endgame, even though the draw was within reach until very near the end. So a loss by the minimum margin of 2.5-1.5, and a disappointing start to the season.
Meanwhile, on the same night at the Abbey Club our B team was making its debut in Division 2 of the Coventry League against a very strong Nuneaton B team, which was 75% comprised of regular Division 1 players. While our team's grey beards (literally in one case!) Roy and Stuart went down on the top boards, our two juniors, Will and Jude, distinguished themselves with fighting draws on Boards 3 and 4. Will's draw against 148-graded Bob Buckler was especially impressive. Not every league match will be this tough, for sure!
And while I'm wrapping up the week's results, mention must be made of the U-120 Cup team which scored a 2.5-1.5 win over Leamington - our first win in this competition for many a year! Jude and Matt scored wins and together with Tony's draw saw us through to a semi-final against either Daventry or Stratford 2 in the New Year. Well done team, and especially well done Jude, on becoming possibly/probably Kenilworth's youngest ever match winner!!