Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Coventry Online League - Week 5

 Our now traditional one win, one loss result again this week - but, and prepare for a shock, this time it was the B team who triumphed while the A team went down in flames.

Kenilworth B v Shirley A

A tremendous triumph for our brave lads, picking up their first points of the season against Shirley A, complete - as predicted here! - with their two 190 players. Bernard C finally got a slight change of fortune on Board 1 against Don Mason, when Don missed a forced mate and then a perpetual, to leave Bernard up a piece for a couple of pawns. Time was short and Bernard took a draw, though my engine says he was winning. But after recent experiences, a wholly understandable decision. Game 2 went less well, as Don won a double rook ending a pawn up. Tom faced Chun Chui on Board 2 and was perhaps relieved to come away with two draws. In Game 1 he just about always had enough activity for his pawn deficit to hold the balance, but Game 2 looked very dodgy as he was 2 pawns down in another double rook ending. Thankfully, though, doubled rooks on the seventh enabled him to win one pawn back and simplify to R and 2 v R and 3, all on one side, which he held reasonably comfortably. Though not until his opponent had played 50 moves of R v R with no pawns left. Dave continued his good form, despite an elevation to Board 3, where he faced Iain Galloway, the second of Shirley's 190 graded players. With any luck he would have had 2/2, but after playing superbly in Game 1 with White to reach a winning position, he imploded in time trouble and was mated. Game 2 was a tough struggle, as Iain threw his kingside pawns up the board menacingly. But Dave defended well and had repelled the direct assault when White blundered a piece, and then found that the lack of any pawns around his king meant that mate could not be stopped. Now, if you've been counting, you'll realise that so far we are trailing by 2.5-3.5, so where does this famous win come from?? Well, it comes from Board 4, where Solomon enjoyed the best day of his very brief KCC career, by beating Arnold Peace 2-0. Game 1 was probably heading for a draw, when Solomon was gifted a whole piece, which he no doubt gleefully accepted, but the real heroics occurred in Game 2, where, quite simply, Solomon played a near flawless opening and middle game as he seemingly demonstrated that the Ruy Lopez is a forced win for White! It was very impressive stuff, though he did slightly spoil his immortal game near the end, but as he was at least a rook up at the time, this didn't matter. No way can this guy really be graded 106!!

Kenilworth A v Nuneaton A

A top of the table clash, but rather one sided, as far as the result was concerned, since we crashed and burned by the score of 2-6. I didn't set a good example on Board 1 against League Chairman Colin Green. I was supposedly better on the Black side of a Closed Sicilian, but the problem  with this opening is that White is aiming at the Black king, and Black is aiming at the White queenside, which is rather less important! Sure enough, Colin found a way through to my king and I had to give up a pawn. I was close to being lost, but then I got some counterplay and for no reason Colin panicked and gave up his queen for a rook and piece. I immediately missed a move to trap a whole rook for nothing, but I was still winning as my queen was very strong. Fritz says I was +11, but short of time I stupidly allowed myself to be bluffed into swapping my passed e pawn - which was about to win the game - for White's passed h pawn, which was going nowhere and Colin then set up a fortress that I couldn't breach. In Game 2 I went wrong in the opening (and in the middle game!) and Colin played an excellent game, squeezing me to death before a nice final combo to queen a pawn. Thankfully, Jude was restored to the team on Board 2, and scored our only victory of the evening as he beat Tony Green (no relation!) 1.5-0.5. Game 1 was very eventful. After much toing and froing, Tony suddenly started winning Jude's pawns, but then allowed Jude to double rooks on the 7th rank and Jude must have been totally winning. But an unexpected Bg8 retreat by Tony trapped a White rook on h7 and won the exchange. The ending of RB v RR with one pawn each looked very difficult for Jude, but after trying for a few moves, Tony surprisingly took a draw. Game 2 was a bit of a mind blower, and beyond my understanding. I thought Jude was lost from the opening, but the computer disagrees totally with that assessment, which shows what I know. Jude played superbly with limited space to take complete control and Tony resigned when faced with serious material loss. A remarkable game by Jude. But there the good news, and points, end. Our 100% performer Mike, went down 2-0 to Paul Davies on Board 3, despite good positions in both. Game 2, though, did see an excellent exchange sac by Paul and domination of Mike's extra rook by the Black minor pieces. Billy also went down 2-0 to Nuneaton's junior, Thomas Glenn. In Game 1 he was better from the opening and pressing in a rook and opposite bishop ending, when he missed a deadly attack against his g2 pawn, which won a piece and the game. But Game 2 was a bit of a disaster as Billy's queenside castled king got a real going over. 

Next week its KCC A v Birmingham Uni, who I suspect we have never played before, and KCC B v Nuneaton A. Can our B team manage more heroics and derail the runaway Nuneaton train to keep the title race open? Tune in on chess.com next Monday and Tuesday at 19.30 to follow the games (though only if you are chess.com friends with the KCC players), or else wait for my report which will hopefully be online on Wednesday.

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