Finally a great week for the club, as we managed to win both matches, including the local derby against Coventry, where our two double agents (code-named Burgess and Philby) successfully infiltrated the opposition to glorious effect. While also maintaining their cover. Until I just blew it. Oh well, nothing for it now, boys, but to come back home where you will be greeted like returning heroes!
Kenilworth B v Birmingham University
As always, the B team kicked the week off on Monday, and helped themselves to a splendid 5.5 - 2.5 win against - for the first time yet - a somewhat weaker side than the A team had faced the week before. For once Artistic Bernard got - well, almost! - the rewards that his quality of play deserved, though again it made for agonising viewing at times. Those times were the whole of Game 1 against Anna Wang, where Bernard played terrific chess to get a completely winning position (where have we heard that before?) with 3 pieces against a rook, only to suffer the same time induced wobbles that have prevented him from racking up a tremendous score on Board 1. In the end he was very relieved to escape with a draw from a position where his lone bishop and knight were confronted by White's rook and 2 connected passed pawns on h7 and g6. Even after he managed to sac the bishop for the two pawns, the resultant rook v knight ending was not a trivial draw as Black's king was stuck in the corner and White's king was very advanced. But luckily White didn't even try to win. Game 2 (see below) was much less stressful all round, as Bernard set up a mate in double quick time. Tom exchanged wins with Dan Jones on Board 2, producing a monstrous mating attack with White before hallucinating in Game 2 and ending up too much material down. An initial piece sac looked completely unsound to me, but in no time at all, the engine was screaming that he was winning easily. And then he blundered! A shame as 2-0 would have been a nice return for some dynamic attacking chess. Ben had another disaster in Game 1 against Frank Crossley dropping a piece and then getting mated - will he now heed my wise advice to ditch his ropey Black opening, which just doesn't suit his style?? At least in Game 2 he bounced back to register his first win of a season, after a nice tactic exploiting a pin that wasn't a pin won a piece. And on Board 4 Solomon continued his recent good form with two convincing wins against the splendidly named Jack Attack, winning copious amounts of material before delivering mate in each game.
Kenilworth A v Coventry A
There can't be many sports (alright, chess isn't officially a sport, but cut me some slack here!) where Kenilworth, population 22,000, can take on and defeat Coventry, population 326,000, but chess is one, especially when our two double agents carry out their mission so successfully! Very little happened in the two games between Jude and Joshua on Board 1, except that in Game 2 Joshua missed a trick ..... and Jude most definitely didn't! Resulting in an extra piece for Jude and a solid one and a half points for us. I managed a similar score against Lionel on Board 2. He played a typical Bxb5 sac against my Sicilian, but it wasn't sound, as when he took the third pawn (Nxd6) he should have lost a second piece! But of course I missed the right move... then he went wrong and I was +11. Then I went wrong and he found a great resource in desperate time trouble...... but then he went wrong and missed his drawing chance, and ending up getting mated. Game 2 saw me build up an attack against the Black king, but I was one move slow with the winning idea, and even though I was still winning at the end according to the engine, it was very complicated and I was happy to repeat the position to secure the match victory. Meanwhile Mike stuck to the script and also notched up one and a half points against Sam Cotterill on Board 3. A Ng5 jump in Game 1 threatened a pawn and a big fork on e6 - and it couldn't be parried. Mike then won further material and took a convincing victory. Game 2 was very irregular, but Mike was always better, even though material was level, and was able to take a draw from a position of strength. So 4.5 points and match won for the good guys, but regrettably events on Board 4 suggest that one of our double agents may actually be a double-double agent! Capitalist Bernard has been stricken by disconnection issues on chess.com all season, but last week our undercover agent Philby "fixed" it for him, and he lined up to play Bava Manickam with renewed confidence. Which was totally misplaced, as he lost both games due to yet more disconnection issues! It looks like Agent Philby has been turned against us! And now we all discover that as well as love, money can't buy you a decent connection to chess.com, either. Sort it out, Bernard! The club may, at some unimaginable future stage, and after an unimaginable series of unfortunate coincidences, be so desperate that it briefly needs you again. You must be ready to answer the call!
The A team will finish up its season next week against Warwick Uni A, when a draw would be enough to guarantee us second place, albeit well adrift of runaway victors Nuneaton. The B team still have two matches to go, and after this week's triumph have clawed their way off the foot of the table to lie in 7th place. Next week its Coventry A for them, when our double agents had better deliver the goods or serious questions will be asked, followed by a final match the week after against Warwick Uni A.
Well, I promised you a game, and here it is. Artistic Bernard in beast mode!