Thursday, 13 August 2020

You'll Never Win Anything With ..... Old Codgers

Alan Hansen famously got it wrong with his comment about kids, but I'm pretty sure I will be proved right with my alternative assertion. At least based upon the result of our friendly match against Stockport, where a 7-3 reverse for KCC was especially noteworthy for the remarkable fact that no-one over the age of 10 scored even a half point for us! Bookending our team on Boards 1 and 5, Jude and Billy must have been bemused at what their elders were getting up to.

Artistic Bernard got possibly the most lost position ever seen in his first game against John Reed, after a Benko Gambit went horrendously wrong. He bounced back with the King's Gambit in game 2 and was a pawn up with a very compact position, when the ticking of the clock caused him to rush his kingside pawns up the board with ruinous effect, as a probable win turned into a loss.

Ben fared no better on Board 3 against Dan Sheppard. He seemed to be outplaying his opponent in game 1, but after stern defence the White pieces jumped out and grabbed material, before time pressure caused the total collapse of the Black position. In game 2, Ben's London System (boooo!) went wrong and most of his pawns fell off in the ending.

More woe on Board 4, where capitalist Bernard managed to fritter two good positions away against Stockport captain Gareth Griffiths. The first should have been an easy draw - until he got a piece fatally pinned. In game 2 he won two pieces for a rook straight from the opening, but then played a series of moves that were totally incomprehensible to the watching audience (me, Joshua and Lionel). He should have lost a whole piece, but somehow wriggled out by giving up two pieces for a rook. Then he grabbed a pawn or two and should have been winning, only to collapse for no obvious reason and get himself mated.

I am reminded of a great joke, which finished, with a slight amendment for artistic effect, with the punch line: "They've let the club down; they've let the team down; but most of all they've let themselves down."

Thankfully, the two mighty atoms in the team were in superb form, and at least salvaged some much needed pride for the club. Billy was like a hurricane, and just swept Peter Taylor off the board with dynamic attacking play that crashed through with decisive effect in both games. Jude, on the lofty heights of Board 1, played two very good games against a strong and very experienced opponent in Andy Stoker. The first game was very complicated, and Jude played superbly to set up a winning position, but at the crucial moment he missed a beautiful rook sacrifice that would have clinched the full point. Disturbingly, amongst the watching few, only Joshua found the winning move! Game 2 appeared to be going badly, but with some brilliant attacking play Jude completely turned the game around and was again on the verge of winning. But faced with strong defence, he couldn't quite bring home the bacon and then had to really buckle down to draw a difficult rook ending.

So great stuff from our juniors, while the less said about the seniors the better! But seriously, this was a match to make you pause and think about the superb play of Jude and Billy. To say they are in their element in these online matches is an understatement. The way they can create dynamism and activity from almost any position is quite frightening. I'm glad it was Stockport on the receiving end and not me!!

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