Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Two Ronny Rosenthals in One Match!!

Not that obscure a title for me, but I guess it might need some explaining for the younger members of the club.....

So when we managed two misses of such proportions in last night's match against Warwick University A, you'll understand why it was so galling to end up as 2.5-1.5 losers. The match was there for the taking, and we blew it. Indeed, this was the weakest Warwick Uni A side we've encountered for several seasons, with their monstrously strong Board 1, Dimitar Daskalov (228!), backed up by 3 x 150 players - a far  cry from the juggernauts we have been crushed by in recent years.

I was the first to finish on Board 1, and was responsible for the first Ronny Rosenthal moment of the evening. After resolutely neutralising my super-strong opponent's attempts to complicate the game,  he let his guard drop for a moment and I flashed out a Qxh6+ pawn grab, when Kxh6 would have been answered by Nxf7+ and Nxd6 (Black queen!), leaving me two pawns up in an overwhelming position. He didn't take the queen, but instead allowed me to make an immediately winning knight sac on g6 … except that I didn't win. I couldn't find the right sequence of moves, which should have won back the piece leaving me 3 pawns up, and instead had to settle for perpetual check. So what would normally have been an excellent result, turned out to be a massive missed opportunity.

Mike drew almost immediately afterwards on Board 2, after a tense struggle where he was seemingly perpetually on the verge of making a breakthrough against a very draughty White king, but was never able to get in the killing blow. But if that was a half point lost, Ben's draw on Board 3 against his female opponent from Turkey felt like a half point gained, as he had a very ropey looking position from the opening, which hardly got much better all the way into the ending. Resolute defence kept the material balance, though, and when he was finally able to bring his king over to the queenside to shore up his vulnerable b2 pawn, the draw was agreed.

And so to Dave, just back from New York, and hopefully full of American get up and go! Unfortunately not. His opponent seemed to play the opening rather well, as in typical Catalan style, Dave just couldn't get his light squared bishop into the game satisfactorily. After some time I looked back and it had become a rook and knight ending where Kenilworth were 2 pawns down. Our only hope was that Dave was a couple of minutes up on the clock with play well into the final 10 minutes. But in trying to capitalise on his time edge, Dave blundered his knight and was totally lost. His opponent then gave a seemingly killing check which drove Dave's king to h6 right into the path of the white g and  pawns which were set to give forced mate.  Except that the Black king - for one crucial move - was in stalemate. Rook takes pawn check would have been an instant draw if the rook was captured, and if it wasn't White's extra piece was going to fall off with a stone cold drawn rook and pawn ending - especially given White's time situation. But instead it was Ronny Rosenthal moment number two, the fleeting opportunity passed, and the game and the match were lost.

That Ronny's got a lot to answer for! Not least that KCC are now bottom of Division 1 with no points from two matches. Its a hard life in Division 1.

But better news from Division 2 where our youthful B team scored their first point of the season with a 2-2 draw against Coventry D. Heroes on the night were the mighty Jude and Coventry League debutant Algis. Well done chaps!

And news has also reached me of another Cup success for the club in the Leamington League competitions. After our ground-breaking win in the U-120 tournament last week, this time round we have progressed through to the semi-final of the U-700 Cup after a nail biting 2.5-2.5 draw against Shirley went our way on board elimination. In this respect, Ben's win on Board 2 counted for more than Shirley's win on Board 3. Special mention also to Jude (yet again!) for his draw against 126 rated Jon Asbury, and Bernard for finally getting on the scorecard in his comeback campaign. The first win cannot be far away!

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