On Monday, against Stratford, Joshua was one of us, but the very next day he was one of them. Oh, the joys of different leagues and multiple club affiliations. But we'll let him off because - (a) we all love him dearly and (b) he did the decent thing and lost!
With Andrew now in the team to play Board 1, the world was spared another Page v Pink encounter, and Paterson v Pink was almost certainly far more entertaining anyway. Andrew burped the b7 pawn early on and unravelled to be a solid pawn up. Joshua looked like he'd landed a clever shot with a pawn sac to win a piece, but there was sting in the tail and a Black piece fell off to restore the balance. When Andrew invaded with doubled rooks on the 7th rank it was all over.
Bernard, deputising for a jet-lagged Ben, had drawn very early on against Dave Filer on Board 4 after a decidedly unexciting - and brief - game. But as he'd given me a lift, I won't hear a word said against him. And its always good to draw with Black according to the Soviet School of Match Captaincy.
Mike played a model game against Warwick Scaife on Board 3, slowly strangling and cramping the Black pieces. A weak Black pawn on c6 and a monster square for a White knight on d6 put the Black position under maximum stress. I didn't see the finish, but as Black was running out of sensible moves its not surprising that Mike found a way to win.
Which left my game against another KCC friend/member, Ed Goodwin, as the last to finish. After seeming to give the dreaded Jobava London System a good going over in the opening, I drifted a bit and out of the blue, Ed imaginatively decided to play the normal h4-h5 and RxN sacrificial combo - when he had no attacking moves with which to follow up. Instead he tried to show that his remaining two knights were a match for Black's extra exchange, and indeed it took a very long time for me to make the extra material count. But after much faffing around by both players, and serious time pressure (with no increment!) I eventually opened things up and when Ed allowed a queen exchange his goose was well and truly cooked.
Can you hear me? Baduur Jobava; Joseph Stalin; Lavrentiy Beria; Katie Melua; Aram Khachaturian; tamar of Georgia; Nona Gaprindashvili; Eduard Shevardnadze; Sopiko Guramishvili - your opening took a hell of a beating!!
So a very welcome 3.5-0.5 victory, which keeps us top of the table for another week. Long may it last!
And please note that for the rest of the season Joshua is once again, officially, one of us, and should consequently be treated with all due respect! (Exactly in line with my New Year's resolution to stop insulting him on club nights! Which I have regrettably failed to keep for most of January.)