Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Game of the Month, July 2016

The more sporty of you may recall a goal scored by Mark Robins for Manchester Utd against Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup match in January 1990. It came to be known as the goal that saved Fergie's job - and we all know what happened subsequently as a result. I can't claim that July's game of the month offering had quite that much significance, but it sure as hell played a major role in shaping our debut Coventry League season.

The game was played in our very first match, away at Rugby. On Board 4, Rugby's very promising junior, Jamie Kearney, found himself up against our grizzled veteran, Roy Watson. Roy was quite heavily outgraded, and all the smart money would have been on Jamie. The smart money would indeed have won the day eventually, but not before a very exciting, and exceedingly bumpy, ride along the way. Roy repeatedly got himself a winning position, and repeatedly let it slip. Then in a final twist of fate, he blundered horrendously when up on the clock and still with an extra pawn. Tragedy. The match was drawn instead of being won, while Roy's season got off on the wrong foot - and never really recovered.

That really was one that got away. I imagine it was a case of sleepless in Fen End that night. Games like that take a lot of getting over - as we all know, only too well!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Now where was I?

Hello again folks, its the Club Organiser here again, with more news from the World Seniors Team Championships in Radebeul. As expected, the arrival of Mrs Club Organiser has impacted my blogging opportunities over the last couple of days, but now I can catch up on the last three rounds.

We duly drew our Rd 5 match against Th├╝ringen, with our rampant GM, Jim Plaskett scoring our only win against GM Peter Enders. I sat out our Round 6 encounter against Leipzig, but the team did the necessary as wins on Boards 1 and 2 were enough to see us home 2.5-1.5.

Meanwhile I was undergoing intensive sightseeing in Dresden, which is not called Paris on the Elbe for nothing. Even my cheap phone and poor photographic skills can't entirely hide its glories (though as you'll see, I tried my best!).

Despite being only just behind the front runners, we managed to get a reasonably favourable pairing in Rd 7 yesterday, against Ulm. For once GM Plaskett didn't chalk up his customary 1-0, but we still edged home 2.5-1.5. I drew against a 2200+ player after having slight pressure for most of the game, without it ever threatening to become a decisive advantage.

Which brought a stunning pairing today - against the all GM team from Armenia on Board 2, with the match going out live around the world. But why am I telling you this? I know you will have been watching and supporting! In which case, you didn't do a very good job. We fell to a predictable defeat, but not before Plaskett had absolutely destroyed Vaganian on Board 1 with immensely powerful play. Regrettably the 200-400 grading point deficit on the other 3 boards proved unbridgeable. However, I was +1 out of the opening (with Black) against GM Sergey Galdunts, and was still level late into the game, even after I had made an ill fated queen sortie. Eventually my poor queen position forced me to e to jettison a piece for two pawns, but only two moves before resignation I could have made it RRB and 3 against RR and 6, but in bad time trouble I walked into immediate loss instead of taking a third pawn for the piece. Still, it was a competitive game, and not as one sided as I might have feared. Nevertheless, it was still my first loss, so it hurt a bit.

Well, the adventure is almost over, and in tomorrow's final round we play yet another German regional team, this time the 11th ranked Hessische Seniors, who comprise 2 x 2300+ FMs and 2 x 2200s. Meanwhile, England 1 have put themselves in with an excellent chance of a medal by winning 3 of their last 4 matches, including todays 2.5-1.5 victory over top seeds, Iceland - and this despite resting John Nunn. Jon Speelman was the hero, winning the only decisive game on Board 1 against former World Championship Candidate, Johann Hjartarson. And tomorrow they have a dream pairing against Ulm, who we beat yesterday.

On their way to victory in the England 2 v Leipzig match - FM Andrew Lewis (left) and GM Jim Plaskett (right)

Below are:-
(1) Dresden Opera House
(2) Zwinger Palace Gardens (with Mrs Club Organiser talking her own photo, left)
(3) Frauenkirche (destroyed 1945, rebuilt 1990s)