Friday, 13 October 2017


After Tuesday's absolute shellacking at the hands of Warwick University A, there was a return to the calmer waters of the Leamington League Division 1 the following night, as the A team had an away match against Solihull B. We couldn't quite produce a complete turnaround, but a 3-1 victory was good enough to steady the ship and get our first league points of the season on the board.

Mike D was first to finish on Board 4. Normally this would imply an early draw, but not so this time as he successfully brought home the full point with Black against Geoff Stokes. White sacrificed an exchange for compensation with two raking bishops, but Mike successfully negated their threat and subsequently invaded with the queen on e3 and a rook on d2 to overwhelm the poor white king on f1.

Andrew then chalked up our second point with a very smooth top board win over Neil Clarke - recent star of highbrow BBC2 quiz, Only Connect. Black chose a Stonewall Dutch type set up but found himself steadily outmanoeuvred, with his white squared bishop remaining a problem  piece all game. Andrew lined up a minority pawn push with b5 to force a breakthrough, and despite a pawn sac to finally liberate the hapless bishop on e6, the Black position crumbled.

On Board 2 I spent some time suffering in the early middle game against Nigel Byrne, after he played the Bf4/h4 London System attack popularised (to chess's detriment, in my opinion) by Simon Williams, aka the Ginger GM. However, he missed a crucial line which would have given him a sizeable advantage, and instead swapped off into an equal position. But then he lost a pawn, and compounded the error by giving me a passed h pawn. This was able to distract the White king and rook long enough for my own king to invade, and victory was ensured by my f pawn which lurched all the way to f2 to win White's rook. (Memo to self - move faster! After reaching the time control on Tuesday with 2 seconds on my clock, going down to 3 seconds in this game may have constituted a 50% improvement, but is still cutting things far too close for comfort!)

Unfortunately, Ben couldn't wrap up the 4-0 win on Board 3, but came very close after building up a nice king side attack against the Dutch Defence and then sacking the exchange to drive the Black king into the open. However, Jeremy Summerfield somehow kept the White attack at bay, and Ben's knight, which looked poised to hop into d5 and cause mayhem, somehow never got involved. The pieces were gradually exchanged and the knight v rook ending was lost for Ben.

Overall, though, this was a good recovery from Tuesday's demolition job - a fine demonstration of the concept of bouncebackability, a term memorably coined by that great sage and philosopher, Iain Dowie. From now on, I am hoping we can show a bit of stringsomewinstogetherability, too!

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