Breakfast of champions
As ever Downend A started with the expectation that they could win the title if they could just pack in a little consistency. Well where better to start the campaign than against the current title holders?
Though the standard of the top division continues to rise, both teams were fielding one reserve (FM Nick Frost and Stephen Meek). The match started relatively calmly, but then in what must've come as a surprise to everyone, Lord Jerry agreed a quick draw. A little later Nigel successfully held a draw where his one endgame weakness wasn't enough for Nick to break through.
Chris played an enticing sacrifice of a piece for two pawns, but a series of increasingly implausible defensive moves by John managed to hold the position for white. As time ran low the tactics went against Chris and after further sacrifices he had to chuck in the towel. Stephen equalised and won a rook, but then came under some pressure. After jettisoning the rook for a winning endgame, Stephen managed to claim the point.
The last two games came down to the final minute. Richard appeared to have had the better of Gareth for much of the game, but a last minute sacrifice left the position particularly unclear. Matters were settled when a piece was left en prise and Gareth didn't fancy that much of a deficit in the scramble. Henry was once again engaging in a sharp game though it looked like he may have been slightly worse. In the time scramble Henry managed to activate his rooks and a knight and grabbed something of a swindle.
An excellent start for the A-team. Long may it continue (at least until they meet the B-team).
Clifton are in the process of revamping their website and have written their own match report. It's certainly worth a read as it probably contains more intellectual and factual merit than our own.
Thanks are owed to Jerry, Chris and Henry for their contributions to this report, if not the match.