Another week, another three games ruined by connection issues with chess.com. And this time we are on the wrong end of two of them, which goes a long way to explaining two defeats for our teams in Division 1 of the Coventry/Leamington Online League. Thankfully there looks sufficient light at the end of the OTB tunnel for me to assume that its not another lockdown heading in our direction, because I'm not sure I could stand another edition of our local online league with so many games arbitrarily decided by chess.com issues. Thankfully I have not been affected myself in any of the league games (though I lost a random bullet game today a whole queen up due to an inexplicable disconnection), but last night both Bernards were on the receiving end, while Ben was a beneficiary. Coming after two disconnection victories last week, this is simply not satisfactory.
Onto the chess itself, and the A team lost its 100% record, going down 5-3 to reigning champions Nuneaton A. I got my revenge for a drubbing at the hands of Colin Green before Christmas, by winning 2-0 this time around. Both games followed the same script. I was winning almost straight out of the opening; then Colin equalised or nearly equalised; and then he made a big mistake which let me score the win. I'm not complaining, but it would be nice to play a good game from beginning to end just once. Anyway, that's 8/8 for me so far, so I'm a happy bunny!
Jude had a tough time against Tony Green on Board 2. He was on the worse side of the draw in Game 1, and in Game 2 Tony's knight absolutely dominated Jude's bishop in a minor piece ending. We needed a win to tie the match (this was the last game going) and I suspect Jude went all-in to try and get a victory, but unfortunately this never looked likely.
Mike lost Game 1 to Paul Davies through a mouse slip which just put a piece en prise. Game 2 was a heavyweight encounter in which Mike was a tiny smidgen better when a draw was agreed - despite all the major pieces and two sets of knights being on the board. This was not a good result for us, as it took Nuneaton to 4 game points, but unfortunately Mike apparently could not see the current match score. He'd also had issues trying to join the match in the first place. Two more counts against chess.com.
But the real disaster occurred on Board 4, where Artistic Bernard ended up with a big fat zero against Thomas Glenn. He was totally winning in Game 1, but overlooked that a key pawn was falling off with check, and then self destructed from a still favourable position. Tragedy. But not as big a tragedy as Game 2, where the game never started on his computer and he was counted out by chess.com. Even 50% on this board and we would have tied the match, so this was absolutely crucial.
And more disasters to record in the B team match against Sutton Coldfield A, where we went down agonisingly by 4.5-3.5. Once again we had a 2-0 score on top board, where Dave continued his recent excellent form with 2 good games against John Mildenhall. I especially liked his Black win against the London System. Someday soon, White players will get the message and play a proper chess opening! This takes Dave to a splendid 6/8 for the season. We got a lucky break on Board 2, where Ben won Game 1 against Mircea Mesesan thanks to a disconnection. But in Game 2 he got a right going over and lost in 18 moves, so much material down I couldn't count it all! I'm afraid a 28% accuracy score says it all!
Will returned to the team on Board 3, and found himself up against it, grade-wise against Andy Lake. But he played a really splendid Game 1 and was very unlucky not to win after making it all the way to an opposite bishops ending with two extra pawns. Game 2 went less well, though, and he had either a total hallucination or a mouse slip and lost his queen.
Which leaves Capitalist Bernard on Board 4, where he went down 2-0 against Marek Soszynski - who I played on Board 1 in the pre-Xmas League, so this was a very decent Sutton Coldfield team! This made it was a very bad night for the Bernards - and you know what they say, when the Bernards are strong, KCC is strong! And vice versa. Game 1's calamity was self inflicted, though, as Bernard had a clear edge with White when, spending a whole 14 seconds of his remaining 11 minutes, he blundered a rook. With check, just to make it worse. But Game 2 saw the unwelcome return of his previous connection problems, and in a totally equal position, and 13 minutes on his clock, he got timed out. And there went the match.
This is all getting beyond a joke. Suddenly the prospect of a mid-winter drive to Banbury or Nuneaton looks quite appealing, compared with the mental anguish being caused by the chess.com online experience. And its not even my problem, which is making me all the more bitter/frustrated/angry/despondent/annoyed/desperate/vexed/suicidal. (Delete where not applicable - but, here's a clue - they're all applicable!)
There's only one song for my present mood - and its rather powerful stuff! You have been warned. But make sure you check out the video at 2 mins 25 secs, when Johnny Cash briefly looks like the spitting image of Russell James!
Its the B team's turn to take on Nuneaton next Tuesday, while the A team are in action a day earlier against Warwick Uni A, who now seem to be the only unbeaten team in the league. I suppose it will all come down to which team's players have paid their internet bill on time.