Yet another resounding win for the A team, as Solihull B were swept aside 3.5-0.5 last night at the Abbey Club. But it all felt like a bit of an anti-climax to me after last week's same score triumph against champions Olton A. Nevertheless, it did take us two points clear at the top of the table and kept the pressure on the three chasing teams that can all still overtake us with their games in hand. It also boosted our game points difference to a whopping 16 - 10 of which have come in the last three weeks!
My sense of ennui may have been partly due to the fact that Solihull only managed to field three players, as the usually ultra-reliable Ray Carpenter failed to show for his Board 3 appointment against Joshua - who consequently established a new club record for the furthest distance travelled to not play a game of chess. I'm sure that on occasions he has won faster (time wise) against an actual opponent than he did last night against no-one, as he had to wait till 20.30 to claim the full point.
After his desperately poor show against Banbury A in his last appearance, I had demoted Andy to the lowest board he has ever played for Kenilworth, and the wake-up call duly worked a treat as he saw off Nigel Byrne after building up a very strong attacking position in the early middle-game. Now that's what I call good man-management. Fergie could have learned a thing or two from me about how to motivate your players. (I mean Sarah, of course, not Alex!)
The win was clinched when I unfortunately had to agree a draw on top board against Nigel Towers. After an interesting opening I got a very slight edge with Black but Nigel found some good moves and gave up a pawn to reach a position where a permanent attack on my bishop from his rook, plus pressure against f7, meant I couldn't make any progress in a rook and opposite bishop ending. Despite my extra pawn making it all the way to f2. But going no further. Ever. Still, a big improvement on our game last season where I got my queen trapped and lost ignominiously!!
Another big score was finally secured when Andrew beat Julian Summerfield on Board 2 after a very interesting game. Andrew had two rooks and a pawn against a queen, and in what looked like a very tricky position found a lovely combination to force the trade of the rooks and queen, leaving him with a passed b pawn in a same coloured bishops ending. The pawn was used to force the Black king away from the centre and Andrew's king then marched in to gobble up Back's kingside pawns for an exemplary conversion.
Meanwhile, on the same night, not only were the D team drawing at home against Stratford D (see Roy's already-published report) but the B team were engaged in a key promotion/relegation encounter away against Shirley B. With any luck there will be a report of this match too (a 2.5-1.5 victory), as our boys got to within one point of securing the Division 2 title (2 games left) and also opened the door for our C team to possibly leap-frog Shirley B at the foot of the table and save themselves from relegation at the 11th hour. We shall see, but it is clear that Division 2 is where all the excitement is for KCC right now!