Monday, 1 December 2014

Back to the drawing board

Just as it seemed we might have been overcoming our little slump, and had registered two consecutive victories, the A team came crashing back to Earth in our last game, a defeat against bottom of the table Stratford. It was however, a close run thing with us only let down by some mishandling of the clock.

Carl managed to get himself into a horrible position out of the opening, missing a tactic which exchanged queens and left him with doubled, isolated pawns and badly placed minor pieces. I had already resigned myself to watching a log a depressing defence, when a mistake by his opponent threw away all of the advantage, and a quick draw was agreed. Not long after that two other games came to a relatively early conclusion as well. Mine started with a reasonably respectable sideline of the modern defence (1.e4 g6 2.h4) and I ended up being able to grab a pawn for not much compensation. My task of converting this advantage was, however, made considerably easier by my opponent showing a remarkable lack of urgency, and losing on the clock with 7 moves still to make (which must be something of a record).

The news from Mark's game was less positive. After declining Richard McNally's offer of a free pawn with the Smith-Morra gambit, Mark seemed to be making the very sensible decision to avoid making the position too tactical, in a game against a player known for his speciality in that style. Unfortunately, when I came back a few minutes later, the position had exploded into insanity, with queens and pieces flying everywhere. Analysis after the game seemed to indicate that Mark should have been fine, but unfortunately he was outplayed in the position at the board, so the match remained level.

This left everything hanging on Dave's game on board 4, which had transitioned from him having a small opening advantage with more space, to being a pawn down but with an excellent pair of bishops as compensation. However, this is where my former comment about time comes into relevance, as Dave was unable to negotiate the position fast enough, and eventually lost on time. A close match, but yet another defeat in perhaps the second swiftest fall from grace currently occurring in the world of sport (after Borussia Dortmund being bottom of the German football league, of course).

P.S. Apologies for the delay in writing this report; I was clearly too distraught to remember to do so previously. On the plus side, this means our next game is now tomorrow, so hopefully I shall have better news to report very soon.

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