On Monday we were away at Shirley, who incidentally have the nicest chess sets in the league. We were fighting for second place in the league after Solihull acquired the final point they needed. Banbury A defaulted their match to Solihull, a bit harsh considering they turned out a super strong team against us and turned us over, only to settle the league title by a default.
Andrew Paterson (w) (186) – Matthew Long (171)
Mark Page (b) (190) – Paul Webster (170)
Mike Donnelly (w) (157) – Keith Ingram (170)
Philip Wood (b) (150) – David Thomas (164)
Mark on 2 played the King’s Indian against Paul’s 1.d4. Paul played well and gained central space whilst remaining solid. Mark broke out on the queenside but sacrificed structurally to do this. Mark then sacrificed his lonely a pawn to try to make progress, but white’s position was solid enough. A draw by repetition was soon reached.
On 3, Mike faced a Stonewall. Mike outposted a horse to e5 and gained a ton of queenside space. Keith defended well though and Mike struggled to break through. A draw was agreed and the match was one all.
Philip was facing Dave Thomas on 4. Dave opened 1.d4 we had a Queen’s Gambit Declined. Dave seems to know what he was doing and obtained a very favourable position, taking advantage of black’s poor light squared bishop sitting at home on c8. Dave started to break through in the centre when Philip unleashed a devastating tactic, a knight fork from nowhere taking advantage of Dave’s overburdened queen. The game looked over but somehow Dave fought like a tiger and when I caught up with the game 20 minutes later, Philip was a pawn down in a difficult rook endgame. Paul was unable to hold and the score was Shirley 2 Kenilworth 1.
I played a boring English and both players tiptoed around strategically for a while. Matthew then pushed in the centre and I felt like I was struggling to retain equality. A slight inaccuracy by Matthew allowed me to take advantage of black’s queen’s knight having little manoeuvrability. Soon black was forced to sac the exchange to mix things up. Another exchange fell in the difficult position so I was 2 exchanges up. Matthew threw the kitchen sink and I had to fight to avoid being checkmated. A mop of the brow later and the match was 2-2.
So, congratulations to Solihull, who have been the best team over season and deserve the title. We will get them next year.