There was plenty of blood spilt on the carpet at the Abbey Club last night, but regretfully all of it was ours. And most of it was mine. At the end of the evening Nuneaton A went back home (or in Andrew Paterson's case, off to Plymouth - is he mad??) with a 3.5-0.5 pts win.
I was on the receiving end of a right shellacking from Andrew P - these internecine battles are taking their toll on me. But at least I haven't been tempted to spoil good friendships by beating any of my sometime team-mates. Pity they haven't felt constrained to adopt a similar approach. I played a very risky opening in response to the Kitchen Sink variation employed against me, and I was basically swept from the board, as Andy kept finding very nice tactics to cash in on my exposed king.
Mike had finished slightly earlier after a draw on Board 2 against Tony Green. He seemed to have a persistent edge against Tony's Chigorin Variation of the QGD, but Black defended well, and just after the time control Mike sensibly offered a draw as the game was in danger of turning against him.
Carl went down on Board 3 to Paul Davies. Doubtless reading this in exile 'oop North, Joshua will be relieved to learn that Carl abandoned the line of the Caro Kan which had so upset him recently, but the Scandinavian didn't serve him much better - Phil is presumably available to give lessons on this opening if required. It eventually came down to an ending of bishop v night, with White having an extra pawn. The next time I looked White had about four extra pawns and Carl resigned.
And so to Ben on Board 4, going for a double over Colin Green. For much of the game it looked as though he would do it, as he was pressing strongly in the middle game, and both players felt that White must have missed a win. But it came down to a rook ending with 4 pawns each, though Ben's pawns were all isolated and he looked to be struggling. With no time on his clock, though, he outplayed Colin and managed to emerge a pawn up. However, Black's one remaining pawn got to c3, and when Ben needed to go Rc8 to stop it he didn't. Instead the Black pawn queened and Ben discovered to his horror that if he queened his own f pawn it was mate in one. A very unlucky loss, but once again Ben led the way in fighting, aggressive chess.
So a real hiding for the team, and we can only hope that next week Nuneaton B are rather less formidable than their A team!