Kenilworth B v Nuneaton A
A tough task for our plucky lads, against the League leaders, who came into the match sporting a 100% record and fresh from an absolute whooping of our A team the week before. But boy, did they get a fright in this match. With Artistic Bernard rotated to the subs bench, Tom took over on Board 1, and fared considerably better against Colin Green than I had managed with two draws. He had to suffer slightly in Game 1 with Black, but always seemed to be holding, while in Game 2 Colin was quite happy to repeat moves for an early draw, despite the 400 points chess.com rating difference, Which in ECF terms is actually just 2!! Ben's woes continued on Board 2 when he went down in the ending in Game 1 to Tony Green, after being on the back foot the entire game with White. But at least he changed his opening approach! Game 2 could have gone the same way, as he entered an opposite bishops ending a pawn down, but with White having passed a and h pawns. He seemed to be digging in for a tough defence, when he played one of the worst moves ever seen, which allowed Tony to simply queen his a pawn. But bizarrely he neglected to just march the pawn to a8, and with Ben finding some good moves after this reprieve he finally held the draw with some careful play when left with just a bishop against two connected passers. So Ben is on the scoreboard for the season. It's onwards and upwards from here, I hope! Dave's impressive start to the season unfortunately came to a juddering halt on Board 3, where he went down 2-0 against Paul Davies, who had done the same to Mike the week before. In Game 1 bad things happened to Black on the f7 square, while Game 2 was very grizzly as a French Defence saw Black get connected passed pawns to d3 and e3. Ouch! But 4.5-1.5 to Nuneaton ended up as a narrow 4.5-3.5 final victory, as Will produced a tour de force on Board 4 to score a 2-0 victory over fellow junior Thomas Glenn. Game 1 did not start well, as Will tried the Hopelessly Unsound Double Pawn Gambit against Black's French Defence. (Of course, his opening play could just have been a terrible mistake!) But making the best of a bad job, Will got compensation from a rook on the 7th (though it should probably have been trapped and won!) and then used a nice pinning combo to win a piece, followed by mate from a rook and light squared bishop. As Black in Game 2, Will was always slightly better and then used a nice pinning combo to win a piece followed, after neutralising some slightly worrying advanced pawns, by mate from a rook and light squared bishop! So coincidental finishes after 2 very different games. But well done Will, for an excellent evening's work.
Kenilworth A v University of Birmingham
First surprise of the night was discovering that I had been displaced from Board 1 by Jude whose inexorable rise up the rating list was to gather further pace during the evening! He found himself up against former - and possibly future - Rugby Board 1, Jamie Kearney, and they had a rare old set to in Game 1. But Jude always seemed to have the tactics under control, and his queenside attack eventually proved stronger than White's kingside assault. Good fighting chess from both players, but the point went to Jude. As it did in Game 2 where he won a piece in 10 moves, upon which Jamie instantly resigned. My indifferent form reached a new low on Board 2, as I lost Game 1 against Anna Wang from what was a very good position with an extra pawn. Getting into severe time trouble, I went to pieces and started to shed material with every move. Ugh! Game 2 at least enabled me to equalise the score, from a game where I got an edge from the opening, lost it for a move or two, but then got back on track in the ending, eventually shepherding a passed pawn home in a rook and opposite bishops ending. Mike should have had a 2-0 evening against Dan Jones on Board 3, but blundered back one of his two extra pieces and then found that the remaining one was actually worse than White's pawns. A swift and timely draw offer thankfully prevented total meltdown. Game 2 followed a similar pattern, as Mike played powerfully to win lots of material, and this time there was no escape for Dan. Bernard R was back in the team on Board 4 (sporting a chess.com rapid rating of under 900!) but unbelievably managed to repeat his earlier experience and get timed out for disconnection. At least he managed more than the 0 moves of his earlier effort, and, with White, was a comfortable pawn up this time when the very unsatisfactory chess.com platform threw him out. Finally, though, his luck turned in Game 2, as he managed to stay connected for long enough to win a messy, but ultimately convincing game (despite missing a very obvious mate in 4!) against Birmingham Uni captain, Frank Crossley - who I recently discovered is the godson of a very good friend of mine! Small world. eh? So, a final score of 5.5-2.5 to us, including a 4-0 clean sweep of Round 2. Not bad after we started by going behind 0-2!
And so on to Week 7 when the B team are first up against Birmingham Uni on Monday, while the A team play against Coventry A the following day. It will be interesting to see which of the double agents (on both sides!) turn out for this potentially treachery laden encounter!
But we can't go this week without a game. And when someone wins in 10 moves, there's not much doubt which one it's going to be! Take it away, Jude!