Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Shirley C vs Kenilworth B (17/02/2014)

Another Monday and another trek into the wilderness that is the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, this time to the fine town of Wythall, home of Shirley Chess club. Due to Dave choosing to spend his time gallivanting around in North America rather than playing chess in the Midlands (I will never understand some people), the B team kept up its proud tradition of not managing to field the same team for two games in a row all season. I'll go through the match from board 1 to 4, since that is the order the games finished in.

1) Joshua Pink vs Gordon Christie - This started as a c3 Sicilian but very quickly transposed to a French defence type position where my opponent had castled kingside. Here my hatred of and contempt for the French took over and I decided that rather than castling or bothering to develop my pieces, I would simply start an incredibly crude attack by playing g4-g5-g6. These sorts of attacks really shouldn't work and I'm sure there was some way to diffuse it and gain a good position. However, my opponent didn't find it, ended up in a very ugly position, then blundered; losing material and the game. 1-0 in 16 moves and 30 minutes, so a relaxing evening was in store for me, watching developments in the rest of the games.

Shirley C 0 - Kenilworth B 1

2) Peter McGuirk vs Rajen Parekh - This game started with a French defence (seriously, why does everyone play the French, it is a terrible opening) and Rajen got just what you deserve for playing it, losing a pawn early on and ending up with a very ugly position. Around the time control, the game just looked strategically lost with white having two rooks and a well posted knight, and black two rooks and a light squared bishop entirely trapped behind its pawn chain. However, with white trying to win too quickly, a clever tactical swindle enabled black to push his c and d pawns further and further down the board, eventually costing white a whole rook to stop a promotion, and prompting resignation.

Shirley C 0 - Kenilworth B 2

3) Nick Mottran vs Chris Pitt - A very interesting opening occurred in this game, the Ulvestad Variation of the Two Knights defence (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 b5), where black offers a pawn to try and get his light squared bishop quickly on to the long diagonal. He will then usually push his kingside pawns and try to mate white when he castles on that side. Probably wisely for someone who didn't know the theory, Nick declined the gambit, resulting in a very equal and almost entirely symmetrical position (the only imbalance begin white having a knight to black's bishop). After some manouevring a draw was agreed, with each side's pieces tied down to defence, so no progress could be made.

Shirley C 0.5 - Kenilworth B 2.5

4) Kim Gilbert vs Stuart Blaiklock - With Stuart once again generously volunteering (being volunteered) to play for the B team, the game began with an extremely turgid opening, with black beginning passively and giving white the opportunity to seize space in the centre, which he in turn declined by playing conservatively himself, leaving a balanced position without much play. Neither player appeared to have a clear middlegame plan, but unfortunately after some manoeuvring Stuart managed to trap his own knight, dropping a piece and leaving me to write the game off as lost. However, at this point he sprang to life, launching a kingside attack which won back the piece and, even though his opponent was still two pawns ahead, forced him to accept a draw by perpetual check

Final score: Shirley C 1 - Kenilworth B 3

A second win in a row for the first time this season, and the continuation of Stuart's journey towards captaincy of the A team in 2015.

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