Wednesday, 5 March 2014

We're Going To Wember-leeee!

Or in our case, Leamington (I think) on Tuesday May 6th for the final of the Open KO Cup. On Monday we edged through our semi-final by beating Shirley on board count after a 2.5-2.5 draw. With a number of our first choice players missing and a C team match on the same evening, this was always going to be a test of our squad strength, and thankfully we were - just! - up to the task.

The games finished very symmetrically in reverse board order. On 5, Stuart was thrown in at the deep end and would have been giving away about 30 grading points - if he possessed a grade! He persisted in his liking, recently seen at The Royal Oak, for following the discredited example of the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard against Paul Morphy, and while an opening calamity was avoided - something the aristocrats couldn't manage! - he eventually went down after a tough struggle.

On Board 4, Dave was under some pressure in the early middle game on the white side of an Alekhine, but neutralised the Black initiative to secure a draw around the first time control.

On 3, Phil had a very scrappy game against Dave Thomas, and although his d-pawn eventually fell off, somehow he got a white rook entombed on h7. There was no way to win it, but it was enough to hold the balance.

Joshua, meanwhile, had been playing a manic game on Board 2. Thinking that Phil was losing, he took massive risks to play for a win, and at one stage I feared the worst when Black's rooks were checking him all over the a, b and c files. But as long as it wasn't mate, he had many threats of his own on the king side, and once Phil had agreed a draw he quickly calmed the position down and secured the draw himself.

So this meant that a win on top board would give us the match. Fortunately, I actually managed to play a reasonable game against Keith Ingram - something that seemed unlikely on the evidence of my efforts at the Warwickshire Open over the previous two days - emerging from the opening with an extra pawn, and soon acquiring another. Eventually we got down to Rook plus g and h pawns against a lone Rook, and though my technique wasn't 100% perfect (understatement) it is basically impossible not to win this eventually, and when Keith left mate in 2, it enabled me to bring proceedings to an earlier close.

So we will be playing Olton or Daventry in the final, and will obviously need to have everyone available to stand any chance of victory, so A team players please make sure you keep May 6th free in your diaries. And who knows - the U-700 team are contesting their semi-final tomorrow (Thursday), so we may actually need to have 10 players that night, if they prevail against Stratford!

No comments:

Post a Comment