Well, that was an incredibly painful way to spend three hours, but somehow - at the very last moment - we stumbled across the line to win our Coventry League KO Cup Semi Final against Division 3 side, Coventry E by the required handicap defeating score of 3.5-0.5. But it was an evening of pure agony.
Andrew is exempted from all/any criticism, as he was the only one who played anything like a good game, throwing in plenty of tactics on his way to a convincing win over John Conway on Board 1. John lost on time at the end, but his position had completely gone by then.
But the rest of us. Oh dear, oh dear.
Ben eventually won decisively on Board 4, being oodles of material up against Joshua Rivett, but his opening play looked anything but convincing and I reckon he was in serious danger of being worse for quite a few moves.
Mike then offered a draw against Pablo Kelly on Board 3. His position had been going progressively downhill, as his two bishops looked pretty impotent against a big queenside pawn advance by White. I guess out of desperation he gave up a piece for a couple of pawns, but his young opponent was glad to take the rating points and a draw when they were offered.
But, of course, this then meant I had to win on Board 2 against Dave Filer. From a position where I was absolutely not better at all. And behind on the clock. I have no idea what had gone wrong, as I was almost winning straight out of the opening, but then I kept taking wrong decision after wrong decision. With Dave playing very assuredly, and consistently forcing pieces off the board whenever the opportunity presented itself we ended up in a dead level rook and knight ending. And then he forced the rooks off. It was move 49. It was knight and 4 against knight and 4. There were no passed pawns. It was almost 10.30. And the engine evaluation was 0.00. For all intents and purposes we were going out. And then Dave cracked. I had ramped up the clock pressure as a last try, and he had fallen behind, and at the crucial moment he allowed a trade of knights which gave me a winning king and pawn ending. Phew!
I didn't deserve to win. We didn't deserve to win. But I/we did, and next Tuesday we will play either Rugby A or Coventry A in the final.
No contest for this week's song. It's the only one I could think of that was depressing enough to match the mood of last night!