Writing this match report gives me considerably more pleasure than they often do, as this particularly performance was only two minor quibbles away from perfection. The first is the absurd incompetence of the man charged with writing it, who is only managing to publish it now, nine days after the match took place. The second we shall come to later on.
So, casting our minds back to our trip to Shirley on the 13th, I recall that my game was the first to finish, after barely more than an hour. My opponent played the Dutch defence but appeared not to know any of the theory, as he managed to obtain a lost position after 4 moves of a Staunton gambit. Specifically, after the standard sequence 1. d4 f5 2. e4 fxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 he played d5, a well known blunder. After 5. Bxf6 exf6 6. Qh5+, white not only wins the pawn on d5, but also the f6 and e4 pawns as well, ending up two pawns up for absolutely nothing, not a bad result from a slightly dodgy gambit. Nothing very exciting happened after that, as we just swapped pieces off until I reached a completely winning endgame.
I then retired to the bar for half an hour or so to recover from my exertions, during which my opponent filled me in on all the developments in the Solihull car industry, not a topic I can claim to have been particularly well versed in previously. When I returned, we appeared to be completely winning in all three other games. Andy, after playing an English against his opponent’s King’s Indian set up, had managed to gain a massive amount of space on the queenside, and his opponent had no active counterplay. Mark had lured Dave Thomas into playing the four pawns attack against the King’s Indian, and had subsequently broken down the centre and won the exchange. Finally Mike, after his opponent played a particularly limp line against the Pirc had, after some manoeuvring and last minute panic to reach the time control, emerged a whole piece up.
Andy and Mark duly converted their games, but Mike’s just kept going and going. He remained a whole piece up for nothing, but couldn’t seem to make progress as the time ticked away. Finally, with about a minute or so left, he found the correct winning plan, but ran out of time just 3 or 4 moves away from mate, meaning a possible 4-0 victory only ended up as 3-1. Nevertheless, an encouraging performance where I don’t think we were ever worse, at any point, on any board.
Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the games played by the other three, and mine wasn’t interesting enough to be both showing the whole of. Therefore, I thought I would continue my demonstrations of how not to play the opening, form a game I played in Coventry yesterday. Although I eventually won the game, it is fair to say the position I reached is not one I am anxious to repeat. I hope you enjoy: “How not to play the Scandinavian defence”