The mighty KCC went down by the agonising score of 10.5-9.5 in our ground breaking, inter-regional encounter with Harrogate Archbishops on Thursday evening. The two teams looked very closely matched on paper, and so it proved in practice, as there was hardly a sheet of Andrex or a wafer thin mint between us at the end.
(The appropriate video clip could have been inserted here - but its not in the best of taste, so I rather surprisingly decided to restrain myself!)
With 10 boards in action, it was impossible for me to work out what was going on during the match, especially as I was engaged in two protracted struggles that totalled 176 moves over the two games, which left me totally exhausted.
We played 2 x 15 minute +10 seconds games each on Lichess, with the following results:-
Kenilworth Harrogate Archbishops
1 Paul Mate Ther 0.5 - 1.5
2 Mark Leon Wooldridge 1.5 - 0.5
3 Joshua Mick Stokes 0 - 2
4 Mike Paul Pritchard 1.5 - 0.5
5 Jude Jonathan Round 0.5 - 1.5
6 Bernard C Clifford Marcus 0.5 - 1.5
7 Ed Brian Coop 1 - 1
8 Ben Steve Revell 2 - 0
9 Bernard R David Harasym 2 - 0
10 Billy Cameron Funnell 0 - 2
As is inevitable in relatively quick chess, a number of games had the wrong result! Some of us got very lucky - myself included, as I briefly went to -13 in my first game before drawing! (having been +5 a moment earlier). Bernard R, who clocked up a tremendous 2-0 score from his lowly berth on Board 9, was incredibly fortunate in round 2, but his first game was a real tour de force, and almost qualified as game of the match. Ben also went 2-0 for us, and mixed one convincing win with one fortuitous one, but poor old Joshua went against the trend and managed to lose two winning positions! The first game was excellent and he was totally in control until it went horribly wrong, and the second was also winning - albeit briefly - until his rooks on g2 and a8 were cruelly skewered by a White queen on b7!
It was great to have both our young guns in the team, with Jude playing way up there on Board 5, only to run into Harrogate's two time (and reigning) blitz champion. He found a great save in Game 1 to secure perpetual from a lost position, and was close to a draw for much of Game 2 as well. Billy was heavily out-graded on Board 10, but came within touching distance of a draw in Game 1, and very nearly landed a killer blow to White's wandering King in Game 2, after throwing the kitchen sink at his opponent.
Mike racked up an excellent 1.5 points, although he was in dire straits (ie lost!) in Game 1, and worse at times in Game 2 before taking control and finding a very nice combo to finish the game. Ed split the points with an old friend on Board 7 via two draws - though the result in both bordered on the miraculous, as he seemed to be totally lost each time! Bernard C should have split the points on Board 6, but after going down in the first game his strong opening play in the return (which won an exchange very quickly) was not followed up, and he was first losing before reaching another difficult, but apparently, winning position late on, that then slipped away to a draw.
Having played through all the games, though, I can safely say that by far the best chess was played on Board 1, where - alas - Paul was edged out by Harrogate's star teenager. He just came up short in game 1 with Black, where the players engaged in a lengthy bout of tactics that White handled excellently, but Game 2 was a real tragedy after he achieved an overwhelming position right out of the opening. In big time pressure Paul went all in only to have to take a perpetual, when a calmer approach would probably have brought home the win that his energetic play really deserved. This game was the best of the match in my opinion. But don't take my word for it - take a look for yourselves!
One that got away for Paul, but still the best result he has achieved for the Club in 3 years!!
And a final reminder that the game was played to raise money for the NHS, and specifically the Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity, and anyone who would like to contribute can still do so here. The total raised as I write this (July 18th) is a remarkable £301.95 - or over £370 with Gift Aid.
For a friendly, especially online and with a rapid time limit, this was quite an intensive competitive experience, for which many thanks to Harrogate, and especially my friend Mick Stokes, the Archbishops' Captain. I can't promise the same each time, but we have more friendlies lined up in the coming weeks against the Isle of Wight and Stockport where we can but hope the results will be different! And after that ..... who knows?? Maybe its time to think of going international?!