Another important victory for the 'A' team on Monday Feb 17th, this time by 3-1 against fellow title challengers Daventry. The win saw us go back to the top of the table on game points ahead of Shirley A - and with a match in hand.
On Board 1, Paul played an excellent game against the league's highest rated player, Chris Ross, and after neutralising white's kingside attack with a well-timed f5 move, he took the initiative on the queen side, won a pawn and transposed to a winning queen and rook ending. Unfortunately, just when the victory was within grasp he went wrong in time pressure and had to settle for a draw.
I played Steve Willetts on Board 2 and had obtained no advantage at all after about 30 moves. Then, with a draw well in sight, Steve transposed into a difficult double rook ending, when he could possibly have kept the balance by keeping a knight each on the board. All of a sudden the black pawns became sitting ducks for white's rampaging rooks and when the dust cleared white had a rook and three connected passed pawns against a lone rook. 1-0 to us.
Andy played a very strange game on Board 3, which I completely failed to understand at any time. First he was a pawn up with a very shaky king position; then he was a pawn down with a chance to tuck his king away to safety and have bundles of compensation, and then his king was in dire trouble and he was stone cold lost. Luckily, at the crucial moment his opponent captured the wrong way on d5 and had to take a draw by perpetual instead of delivering mate. The words of the Duke of Wellington come to mind .... it was indeed a d***** close run thing!
Phil had set the scoreboard rolling on Board 4 when he continued his return to form by winning another curious game against Tim Lawson. In what I thought was a pretty level rook and knight ending, Tim rather inexplicable sacrificed the exchange, for what looked like minimal compensation. Phil had a massive passed kingside pawn, and Black's king was cut off in the middle of the board by the white rook on the f-file, and it was soon 1-0 to Phil.
So a crucial win, and another boost to our points difference, which may be crucial in the final reckoning.