Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Back To Winning Ways

It looks like a narrow win on paper, but in truth our 2.5-1.5 victory over Nuneaton B in the Coventry League was quite comprehensive. At one stage it looked as though we might win 4-0, or maybe 3-1 if things went wrong, but after some cruel twists it ended up coming down to the last game - mine, of course - before we triumphed by the minimum margin.

Ben led from the front yet again, winning a piece early on when his opponent miscalculated, and then winning another piece around the time control to confirm the victory and put us 1-0 up. But then the wheels began to come off.

First Dave could only draw after seeming to be in total control against Mike Maher. White tried to attack all over the board with pawns on a4, b4, c4, d4 and e4, and then throwing in h4 soon afterwards. But Dave dismantled the over extended White centre, refuted the attack and won a pawn. However, possibly distracted by Mike's horrendous time trouble, something went wrong and it was only a draw.

Then it got even worse, as from nowhere Carl got mated by Dave Kearney. The position from the opening had been super boring, but Carl slowly gained the upper hand, trying to prove that his bishop was better than the White knight. All the kingside pawns eventually came off as the game entered a double rook ending, where I thought Carl was pressing. But looking away for a minute or two I was horrified to then discover that all his good work had been undone and his king had been mated in the middle of the board. Disaster, and really unfortunate after so much effort to try and make progress. A draw could have been had for the asking at any stage.

Luckily, though, I chose the evening to get my first league win since the third week of the season - and that's a long time ago! Maurice Staples went badly wrong in the opening, and though queens were exchanged early, the Black king was wandering around looking very vulnerable. I missed a chance to win a pawn and open up the position, and he'd almost extricated himself from the worst of his problems, but then right before the time control he fell for a cheapo that won the exchange and the Rook v Bishop ending was easily winning for me.

With one league game left, we seem certain to finish sixth, but right on the heels of Coventry A, Rugby A and even Nuneaton A, so we can feel reasonably proud of our debut season. And there's still the KO Cup to aim for!

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