... to write another match report from the Coventry Online League? Just about, I suppose, though the fact that I am already feeling de-motivated by Week 2 is not a good sign for future matches.
Anyway, the A team lost 5-3 last night to Warwick University B (and yes, the result may well be a major factor in my disinclination to spend too long on this) - which hardly augurs well for our fixture against Warwick Uni A! On paper/ratings, this probably should not have happened, but online chess is a young person's game, and with Jude and Billy sitting this week out, we were struggling to field many/any young persons! Andy W might just about count under normal circumstances, but even he is positively geriatric compared to the student demographic. So the writing was on the wall, even when the University made a late switch and brought in an ungraded (ECF) and unrated (chess.com) player instead of their intended Board 3 at the last minute.
I had been rather heartened to be told that the University Board 4 was very new to chess - surely our gnarled veteran Capitalist Bernard would hoover up some points for us? Well, within about 2 minutes of the match starting I got put right on that score. First there was a pop-up message telling me that Bernard had gone off line, and not long after, this was followed by 0-1 appearing in the results. Apparently Bernard played 1.... e5 in response to 1 e4, but that move never reached the server and while he was waiting for his opponent to make a second move, he was actually being timed out. This "accident" was then followed by a loss on the board in his second game - mate does tend to end the game, after all - so we were 2-0 down and Bernard's work was over for the evening. Before anyone else had finished even one game.
Andy paid the penalty for having too high a rapid rating by getting stuck on Board 1 where his University opponent sported a rapid rating of around 1950 - and a bullet rating of over 2400! I didn't see the games, and I have to admit I have not felt moved to rectify that omission, but they didn't end well for Andy.
Mike at least did the expected thing by beating his unrated opponent 2-0, though apparently there was very nearly stalemate in Game 2. And he also bemused me by failing to deliver mate in one during his rook v lone king ending, and preferring mate in two. Also, he very nearly failed to join the match in time, which would have been a complete disaster. What with Bernard's experience I guess it must be an old people and technology thing! Which means its probably my turn next.
The numerically astute amongst you will have deduced that this made the score 4-2 to the University, so it was down to the Captain to save the day for Kenilworth. Of course, he was unable to do so. I had a totally drawn king and pawn ending in Game 1, but managed to "do a Firouzja" and misplay it horribly. Even after making the "wrong" move, I had a second chance to rectify matters but failed abysmally to do so. At least in Game 2, I managed to equalise my own score by winning a piece on move 10.
Both our teams are in action next week, with the B team taking on Warwick Uni B, and the A team facing Sutton Coldfield. No guarantees, but there could even be 2 match reports next week. Or none. But probably not one. Its all or nothing as far as I'm concerned!