After last week's calamity at Stratford, Kenilworth A got back to winning ways last night in another away match against Banbury B.
Paul was first to finish on Board 1, after a very energetic game. An offbeat opening was followed by a break in the centre which left white in full command of the e-file, with 2 bishops raking the board, a strong passed d-pawn and the black queenside pieces stuck at home. Not long after, another point was chalked up on Board 2, where we followed an earlier game of mine for 23 moves, but instead of then agreeing a draw as I had before, I played on and soon won a pawn with a very simple cheapo. White had a strong knight on d5 as compensation, but my rooks started to work around this and I eventually won another two pawns and then the game. About 5 minutes afterwards, I discovered that - like a complete idiot - I had left my phone on for the whole game. Lucky I don't have (m)any friends!!
Joshua had won a pawn on Board 3, but the position then got very murky. Suddenly I noticed that he had won another two pawns, but in the process a piece had unfortunately been jettisoned (accidentally or deliberately, I'm not sure!) and it remained very unclear. In time trouble black offered a draw, which would clinch the match for us. Joshua drove the stand-in match captain to the edge of despair by thinking for about 10 minutes before, thankfully, deciding to accept!
If we had been clearly winning on Board 4, he may have chanced his arm and played on, but for the most part a still jet-lagged Carl had been getting pushed back as white's central pawns edged further and further forward. In a double rook ending, though, he managed to blockade the white e and d pawns and by the time control the game was turning around. The imposing white pawns then fell off and Carl wrapped up the game with two connected queenside pawns of his own.
So a very welcome 3.5-0.5 win that edges us tantalisingly close to our first league title in 26 years.