The A team beat Banbury A 3-1 at the Abbey Club last night to secure our first Leamington League title since 1988. It was an at times nervy evening, but thankfully everything came right in the end.
Early on we seemed to be winning on Board 4, where Carl had won a pawn, but Joshua had entered a not entirely sound line and was a pawn down in a very complicated position. Paul and I were both marginally better, but it was clearly shaping up to be a close match.
Mine was the first game to actually finish on Board 2. With my opponent in pretty serious time trouble, out of nowhere the game suddenly became much sharper and a couple of inaccuracies allowed me to get a rook to the seventh followed up by me apparently trapping a black bishop on a7. With no time to think Neil generously resigned, but there was a tactical way out of the immediate difficulties, although Black would have had to give up a pawn with a poor position.
Almost immediately, Joshua's game clarified and his pawn minus became rather less significant than a crushing attack with rook and two bishops which won material. This was possibly a very good game of sustained, dynamic, gambit play. Or it was a completely random hack attack! Who knows??
By this stage Paul had won a pawn, but in an opposite bishop endgame he was happy to agree a draw that clinched the match victory. Carl had meanwhile gone wrong and had allowed his opponent a queen sacrifice possibility which seemed to be winning/almost winning. Thankfully it was not played, but a weak White king still made it hard to utilise the extra pawn. We were all off celebrating at the bar with our opponents when Board 4 finally ended in a draw, so the concluding stages were lost on me.
A more considered review of the A team's season will follow at some stage in the future, but for now, in the words of Maggie, "Just rejoice!"
And we still have the KO Cup Final against Olton to look forward to on Tuesday May 13th at Leamington.