A fighting 2-2 draw for the A team against Olton A on Tuesday night, (temporarily?) put us top of a very congested Division 1 of the Leamington League. But as we were much closer to winning the match than losing it, there was not really cause for too much celebration.
Dave started the evening off with a fairly inevitable draw on Board 4 against Rob Reynolds, who seldom loses, especially with the white pieces. Much later, though, things shifted decisively in our favour as Andrew P suddenly cheapoed Alan Lloyd on Board 2 with a crushing Nxf2+, winning an exchange and a pawn, and probably something else as well. Alan decided not to find out and resigned immediately. Meanwhile, Mike D was seemingly easing to a win over Mark Cundy on Board 3 to wrap up the match for us, but somehow he failed to bring home the bacon in a knight v bishop ending and had to settle for a draw.
While this meant that we couldn't lose, it also put the responsibility to win the match firmly on my shoulders. Thanks guys! For most of the evening things weren't going well for me against Phil Holt, and I found myself with two knights against two bishops plus all the heavy pieces. However, Phil seemed to lose the thread of the game and I managed to exchange a few pieces and stabilise my position, so that I was about equal after we came down to a Q&N v Q&B ending. Unfortunately, the after effects of my flight home from Hong Kong the previous day had contributed to some woefully slow play by me, and I found myself in terminal time trouble - not helped by the fact that we were playing with an antique analogue clock that gave little clue as to how much time I had left. So while my body clock thought it was the early hours of Wednesday, I was actually managing to lose on Tuesday evening. In fact I had lost on time about 10 or more moves before Phil noticed, but it didn't matter as by that time his rather unnecessary decision to sacrifice his bishop had paid off. He had queened a pawn and then easily avoided my desperate attempts to secure a perpetual.
So 2-2 it was, and a third successive loss for me. Still, Peter Svidler recently lost four in a row at the European Club Cup, so I am at least in good company!