Another week, another round of fixtures, despite the best efforts of chess.com to frustrate our efforts by having different clock timings for match start times on different parts of their site. But we are not that easily deterred!
Kenilworth B v Sutton Coldfield
The B team were unlucky to come up against a stronger Sutton team than that which the A team faced last week. It is getting to be a painful experience spectating at B team matches, especially when watching Artistic Bernard's games. This week he was +7 straight out of the opening as his opponent, the Sutton captain Neil Owen, tried a manic hack attack with Black (pure poetry from me there!) that Bernard was about 1 move away from completely refuting. Until he inexplicably collapsed and lost horribly. Game 2 was tame by comparison, but after Bernard returned a sacrificed piece rather than give up 3 pawns to keep it, he was always in a bad position, and an unfortunate second loss occurred. Ben also went down 0-2 again, to John Mildenhall. I don't know who Ben bought his opening systems from, but he should really ask for his money back, as they are not doing him any favours. He needs to get back to the style that saw him play the game of the season against Neil Clarke a couple of years back! Solomon rather unluckily found himself on Board 3 against the 183 graded Mircea Mesesan. He was doing well in both games according to the online engine, but the rating difference - and the clock - eventually told, and it was another 2-0 to Sutton. For the second week running, the whitewash was averted by Dave, who from his lowly position on bottom board, ran up another 2-0 victory of his own. Game 1 with Black was slightly uncomfortable at times, but Game 2 was a bit of a rout that ended in a swift mate. Thanks to the chess.com rating system finally starting to catch up with his playing strength, he won't be on Board 4 any more!
Kenilworth A v Shirley & Wythall A
More chess.com drama here, as Tom and Frank Jiminez simply disappeared from the screens as the match started, so that we only got to play over 3 boards! I think this website is not totally fit for purpose. If only Lichess would develop a match system we could all happily leave chess.com and never have to go back. Shirley were fortunately missing one of their two 190 players, Iain Galloway ..... but on the evidence of previous matches, I'd be amazed if he didn't turnout against our B team next week!
Mike chalked up his fourth consecutive 2-0 victory on Board 3, against Arnold Peace. Game 1 was over very quickly when a queen check won a whole Black rook, but Game 2 was a much closer affair, for much of which a draw looked the most likely outcome, but Mike's perseverance eventually led to the win of material. Andy was similarly efficient on Board 2, playing an excellent game with Black against Gordon Christie to win very convincingly. Game 2 was in the balance for along way, and it may well be that Andy should have lost material at one point, but Gordon missed his chance and Andy eventually won in a rook ending. I got two draws against Don Mason on top board (yes, I have eventually made it there - but only just). Game 1 was rather unexciting after I missed my chance for an advantage by forgetting my opening prep from earlier the same day! Game 2 was far too exciting, and I was totally lost for virtually all of it. I desperately sacked an exchange in the vague hope that I might be able to save the ending where we only had 2 pawns each. This should have been lost, but short of time, Don gave back the exchange thinking he was winning my pawns, but by a huge stroke of luck he wasn't!
This win should keep us close to the top of the Division 1 table, and next week we are up against Nuneaton A who have 100% so far. Time for the manager to work his team selection magic. Regrettably the B team are yet to collect any points, but fingers crossed that another squad shake-up will get them off the mark against Shirley A.