We were at home to Rugby last night, in the Coventry League Divisional Cup, on the coldest night of the year so far. Sadly, our Chess ended up doing little to warm the heart.
Things started strangely when Rugby told us at 6.45 that they were a player short. My attempts to let Roy know this failed and he was of course the first person to turn up at the Club. He was very gracious about no longer having a game, so thanks Roy for that... All jokes re previous questions on his reliability should now cease... (Albeit Roy, just a gentle reminder that the next Cup game is on the 13th.)
Hence we started 1 - 0 up and whilst we were a little out-graded (I think) it wasn't by much. For a large chunk of the evening things looked good, unfortunately just not the last bit. Mike was the first to finish on Board two. A typical Mike game against Simon Turner. Kings castled on opposite sides of the Board and Mike all guns blazing on the king side. Certainly Mike looked to have all the chances, but Simon defended well and Mike became the first Kenilworth player to a thousand draws in the season (or some such.) Again a case of so close, but no cigar...
My game against James Kearney wasn't great. Quite quiet, with the Queens off early for the second night in a row for me. James burned through his time, but managed to make incremental improvements. I misjudged where he was likely to place his Bishop and ended up in a very difficult position. We ended up in an ending with him having Rook, Bishop and Pawns vs my Rook and more pawns. I did get quite a bit of play, but the end was sadly inevitable...
This left Dave, who is definitely this seasons points machine, but sadly it wasn't his night either. Dave looked to me to be better throughout, but it ended up wildly complicated, with both Dave and Patrick Reid very short of time. Dave swapped Rooks when perhaps there was a tactical shot on, but even from the comfort of the sidelines I wasn't 100% sure and it was very tricky. However, after the exchange of Rooks, Patrick's Knight became the dominant piece and Dave's position became untenable. Dave definitely deserved more, but of course has got more for us on many occasions this season.
So we lost 1.5 - 2.5 for our second successive defeat in this competition. Dave's the captain the next time we play in this and Carl will be back - I'm sure it's just a matter of time until we get things moving!
I did also reflect on Leamington v Coventry League this season. Kenilworth A are second in Division 1 and the B and C teams are joint top of Division 2. Great stuff and we just need to find a way to capture a fraction of this form when on Coventry duty!