Last week we had two matches between the Bulldogs vs Buccaneers and Bandits vs Bishops.
Buccaneers vs Bulldogs
If you look at boards 3 and 4 you can see this match unfortunately was a bit of an anti-climax. Brian Hilton's wife had covid, so that meant last minute he pulled out giving Alex the automatic win - he went on to play Paul Errington in a friendly and managed a draw which was a good result. Paul was very complementary of your endgame technique and how you survived his press so well done Alex! James E sat for 30 minutes but unfortunately Kieron was a no show which was a shame, but James took his automatic win with good grace. Sometimes all it takes to win is to show up! This left two boards though this swiftly became one. Paul Jackson blundered his queen early in the opening and he resigned. They played on a couple of times for fun with similar results. James is now 5/5 for the tournament playing on board 2 which is an incredible performance! Your reward: a match versus Dennis next week. This left board 1. Steve surprised me with his opening, though I surprised him back on move 3 which made us square. Black was quite passive so broke out with a pawn break that was dubious and then blundered a tactic. I had lost a bishop and you would think the game, however I had the asset of a passed pawn on c4, that quickly became c3. Still it was hopelessly lost and looking at the computer has not improved that assessment (+7 at one point). Steve played passively and ended up slowly dwindling his advantage over time and finally blundered his bishop leving a bishop versus rook endgame where a draw was agreed. Last week I got away with murder, this week I was Houdini! (not the chess engine, the escape artist, please don’t frisk me! – actually no need just look at the scorecard and you will agree that Steve and I were definitely not using engines!) Buccaneers win 3.5-0.5 and the tournament.
Bishops vs Bulldogs
Rob Willington tested positive for covid last minute so could not attend the night giving Paul the automatic win. As mentioned before, Paul played Alex in a friendly and got a draw. Paolo played very well and blasted Femi off the board very quickly. Peter then managed to get an excellent win against Tony. Hard luck Tony, you are just getting the losses out of your system ready for the season! This left one final game. Stefan has been 4/4 on board 3 having an incredible tournament. It was time to give him a tougher opponent, so Dennis stepped up. Dennis played the opening poorly though wasn't punished. Stefan however had still been principled in the opening giving him an active position. What followed was a game of Dennis setting trap after trap and Stefan refusing to fall into them, though his time started to dwindle. This eventually became an endgame of knight and 5 pawns versus knight and 5 pawns though there were times when both sides were potentially winning. Now it was a game of could Dennis pressure Stefan into making a mistake. Dennis had 40 minutes on the clock and Stefan was running out of time. Unfortunately for Dennis he could never find a timely sacrifice to blow it open and Stefan played very accurately meaning it eventually simplified down to a dead draw which was agreed. A fantastic result for Stefan, completely blowing my expectations out of the water and showing a remarkable increase of strength since the start of the summer. Good job, though unfortunately in a defeat for the Bandits. Bishops get their first win of the tournament 2.5-1.5.