For the umpteenth time, the Cov League A team lost against Warwick University A last night. But as in the return fixture earlier in the season, we got very close to getting something from the match. However, unlike the first match, this time we didn't miss any open goals, so we have little to reproach ourselves for.
The evening got off to a bad start, as Dave overlooked a Bxf2 tactic that, after a further Rxc2+ deflection left Black an exchange and possibly a pawn or two up. The inevitable duly followed after a brief, but unequal struggle.
Any worries about a total wipe-out ……..
…… were then allayed by Ben's solid draw (once again using his own dodgy interpretation of an already dodgy opening!) against R Karia on Bd 3. (If it had been R. Haria (IM, grade 247), then he would really have had something to shout about!)
So at least we were on the score-board and then, most improbably, we were level, when I once again beat the ridiculously strong Dimitar Daskalov on Board 1. I felt I was slightly worse for most of the game, after I had to concede the two bishops right out of the opening, but I toughed it out until a crisis arose, inevitably, just before the time control. The position became very murky but I spied a combo which looked very promising for me, only to be rocked back when Dimitar defended by sacrificing his queen for two bishops. In return he also got a rook on the seventh and a very threatening passed pawn on the sixth rank. Remarkably, though, in jumping in to attack my weak pawn on f7 he allowed a most unusual fork of his two rooks (on d7 and d1, but split by his own pawn on d6) by my queen on g4. The best he could have managed was to drop a piece but as this would have left me up a queen for a bishop, resignation occurred instead.
Which left the fate of the match on Mike's hands. Unfortunately, though, Warwick Uni had brought along another very strong player Guy Moss, to insure themselves against accidents, and after a real heavyweight encounter, it was the University man who came out on top in a queen and knight ending. Black had monster squares on e4 and f5 for his knight, but Mike's had no similarly juicy outposts and this eventually led to the loss of crucial pawns and the game.
We can but hope that the next intake of Warwick students does not contain yet more chess superstars, and that we might finally have a chance of securing our first ever point - or dare I say points - against their A team in 2019-20.