Phil brought in a chocolate Chess set, which was eagerly consumed by the participants and we got down to business.
On Board 1, Nick Fesenko who has been a fantastic addition to the Club and the C team this season unfortunately (for him) fell into an opening trap against me and that put the B team 1-0 up. (Thanks to Mike, Mike and Dave for their notes, as I didn’t see all of what followed…)
On Board 4, Dave Shurrock and Mike Johnson squared off and Dave played the closed Sicilian. In Dave’s words, “Blacks opening play allowed white to play an early e5 which gave him space and active pieces. White was unable to capitalize on this and a draw was agreed in 19 moves.” On Board 2, Mike and Rod played out a very long and wild encounter. As Mike described it: “In my game Rod played a pawn sacrifice on move seven. At first it looked speculative but it actually gave decent play. I unravelled some 25 moves later but the extra pawn didn't mean much so with a four minutes to two minutes time advantage I offered a draw. Some 25 minutes of joint analysis eventually showed a similar but better way to unravel reaching a position where the extra pawn give hope of conversion. A complex game for both players.” Well done to Rod, for being undefeated in his two B v C encounters this season against Mike and me…
On Board 2 in the other decisive game of the evening, Phil Wood played Nick Mottram. Thanks again to Dave for his assessment: “White won material during the opening but was forced to return it. With accurate middle game play he reached an ending with a queen side majority and two bishops. In the ending black lost his a pawn giving white two connected passed queen side pawns. Unfortunately black also then got his rook trapped in mid board and resigned when he was about to lose the exchange.”
So 3-1 to the B team who top the table! Whilst we might have missed out on the Christmas number ones, our A and B teams are now both top and the C team are still really well placed. Where-as others might have celebrated with champagne and a night of revelry, I’m told that those who remained contented themselves with some final analysis and the rest of Phil’s chocolates… Bring on Stratford!