Veni, vidi, vicerunt

20th September 2016 - Downend A vs Bath A

I arrived a little later than planned (Pokemon Go gyms don't conquer themselves), so I missed two of the games. Usually this implies two quick draws, but Jerry was still going. In fact, Henry had won within 90 minutes against David after Buckers found himself mired in Henry's preparation. This begs a number of questions, most of which revolve around the revelation that Henry apparently prepares for his games. David later described his game as a poor practical decision to get into a position with which Henry was familiar (having been dealt a number of crushing defeats with the white pieces). Chris had gone down the quick draw route however, having boldly played himself into a slightly better position with the white pieces against lower-rated opposition*. After the exchange of a single pawn each and two pairs of minor pieces, Chris heroically offered a draw after his 16th move and proceeded to spend longer analysing the game at the bar than he did actually playing.

Despite a temporary lead for the team, Javier had a difficult time against Matthew Payne. After failing to clock a knight pseudo-sacrifice that took advantage of Javier's exposed king and was compelled to give up his queen for a rook and minor piece. Matthew's attack never showed signs of flagging and it wasn't long until he had claimed the full point.

After weathering a cramped position with the white pieces, Caesar Jerry succumbed to the inevitable and agreed to a draw. Despite the score now being level at 2-2 things started to look difficult as Nigel appeared to be at best level against Matthew Staniforth, and Charlie's extra pawn appeared to be insignificant against the pressure he was facing.

Luck was once again on the side of our A-team as Matthew's progress as black was hampered by the blunder a pawn which induced a draw offer. Nigel appeared to be in a difficult position as a draw was certainly the result on the board, but it would likely condemn the team to a loss when Charlie finally caved. Fortunately, he decided against pushing needlessly and took the draw. Charlie's game then descended into madness.

Utter nonsense

The crowd ready to lynch the loser.

Richard's attack had finally broken through and black's position was collapsing against the threats of an invading rook, but both players were dealing with extremely low time. In the chaos, Richard managed to promote a pawn to a queen but then immediately left it hanging. To quote Charlie, "that probably levelled the position". After a flurry of moves, Charlie snatched victory from the jaws deserved defeat (with 8 seconds on his clock), which probably sums up the team's performance. Still, another win against a very strong Bath team is not to be sniffed at.

* Clearly I'm doing Aitor a disservice for the purpose of berating Chris, as he was an absolute star for the Downend & Fishponds 4NCL team last season.

Michael Meadows