Last week we had two great matches between the Bandits vs Buccaneers and Bulldogs vs Bishops.
Bandits vs Buccaneers
The First game to finish was board 4 with Chris completing a confident win through winning a piece early and then converting. That makes 3 in a row for Chris, well done! The punishment for your success is that I have put you on board 3 this week, cruel I know! The next to finish was board 2. It looked like James won a piece for two pawns , however when I looked back he had done the same back so material was then equal. Both Kings were very exposed so this may have been a practical decision. James' king was stuck in the centre whilst Adem's was exposed on the kingside. James then didn't rush and slowly improved his attack on Adem's king until he could not escape without losing material and then was ultimately trapped in a mating net. That makes 4 from 4 for James who is having an excellent tournament. You may get rewarded with a game against Dennis on the final week if I can convince him. The final two games went down to the wire on the clocks. Board 1 was between myself and Thorsten, I blundered a pawn early (it was technically a poisoned pawn with +5 - though the trap was missed so ultimately it was a blunder). I was worse for most of the game and was trying to lay traps for Thorsten to fall into to no avail. Fortunately my efforts finally paid off. Have a go at finding this one, White to play and save the game:
Nxd6! This is a fork of the rook on c4 and threatening a deadly check with the queen on f7. It turns out black taking the pawn on b2 was poisoned! Thorsten blocked the check threat with Rf8 and I took the exchange on c4. Thorsten had to take back the knight as it threatens the queen. It was still messy after this but eventually the board was left with a rook+queen+3 pawns, completely symmetrical and a draw was agreed. How to get away with murder! The final game was board 3. Stefan quickly went up two pawns and an exchange. What do you do when you are up material? Complicated the position of course! (wait a second that isn't right) - Despite this Stefan survived his folly and managed to convert the game after it lasted much longer than it should have. Stefan now has 4 for 4 and is having an excellent tournament too, however it was not enough as Buccaneers won 2.5-1.5.
Bulldogs vs Bishops
Result: 2.5 : 0.5
Paul Errington finally had the white pieces however Paul Jackson complicated the position and Paul E’s position was in tatters. The game was over very quickly. On board 1 Steve decided to blunder a pawn early on (bit of a theme for board 1 this week). However he fought back and in the end in low time potentially even had a winning position. In the end he offered a draw against Paolo, happy to take the draw with low time on the clock - Paolo snatched his offer without a second thought! He told Steve after the game he would have played on, Steve won’t ease up on him in the future I don’t think! Finally Tony was due to play Brian and Kieron to play Azhar, however when both their opponents were unable to play they played each other. Tony played the same opening as Stefan - Kieron's opponent from the week before so this meant he had done some preparation after his loss, unlucky for Tony. There were no big blunders, however Kieron was able to get the advantage and then convert this into a win. Bulldogs win 2.5-0.5.
The Buccaneers are starting to storm away with the tournament with a win on Wednesday guaranteeing the tournament win. Personally I think this is a bit of an upset, well done to everyone on my team so far you are boosting my ego tremendously. Can the Bandits or the Bulldogs find a way to come back? Bishops will have to play spoiler. We shall have to see.