Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A Team falls at the first fence!

Banbury A 2.5 - Kenilworth A 1.5

Any thoughts that retaining the league title would be easy for our heroic superstars, were summarily dispelled at Banbury on Tuesday evening, when we came a cropper in our first match of the season. The omens were not good, as the last time that our foursome had turned out for the A team together, a truly calamitous defeat had occurred at Stratford last season.

But as big a turn up as the match result itself was, there was an even more earth shattering occurrence, as after scoring 17 wins and 3 draws in his first 20 games for the club, Joshua lost to Carl Portman. After a sensible opening the game went rather crazy after Joshua completely opened up the kingside. He won a piece for 2 pawns, but Black seemed to have oodles of compensation - especially as, and I'm sure he won't mind me saying this, neither White's queen's bishop nor queen's rook made a single move in the entire game. A rather brutal checkmate finished proceedings. But I understand that many wise chess masters say that this is what can happen if you don't develop your pieces.

Phil was the next to succumb, after a rather passive looking game against an English/Reti type set up. The white queenside pawns advanced, a knight or two jumped in and a black pawn fell off. And then it got worse. Or so I'm told, as I didn't really see much of the action. Anyway, it was enough to put Banbury A 2-0 up.

At this stage things looked really bleak, as neither Paul nor I were obviously winning - but clearly we had to try. In a rook and minor piece ending, I was trying to make use of a good knight against a bad bishop, but I missed the chance to swap the minor pieces off and cut the White king off on the a file. Instead the bad White bishop suddenly became good and I was in a bit of trouble. White might have had a winning position for one move, but he went the wrong way with his king and even though I had to give up my knight for 2 pawns, White was left with a bishop and the wrong rook's pawn, so it was a draw.

In all the excitement I missed the climax of Paul's game. He had been pressing for much of the game, but a Black knight apparently stranded on a4 actually caused him a lot of difficulties in co-ordinating his pieces. An ending arose and, with both players inevitably in horrendous time trouble Paul seemingly sacced a piece unsoundly but Black didn't see the tactical refutation and White emerged with a pair of mighty connected passed pawns which won the day. Unfortunately, too little and too late, and we were sent homeward to think again.

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