(Three Wins and) One Draw Disarms Grendel
With nine out of twelve of our C team's games played so far ending in very quick draws, it was probably time for a change of approach. We faced a strong Grendel side who, unfortunately for us, were at full strength, having briefly told me that they might turn up a player short. Whilst technically we out-graded them, this was virtually all down to board 6 where Ken was undefeated and has beaten players graded nearly forty points above him. It was a packed room as our A and F teams were also in action.
Early play suggested some close encounters. Then, from nowhere, Ken overlooked a mate in one with his king still in the centre, whilst under pressure to save his knight from Richard's attack. Having seen this, I was encouraged to immediately try for an attack of my own in a position that required more preparation and development. My attack was easily repelled by Patrick and I paid for my foolhardiness through a well-played counter attack which left me in a hopeless position.
By this stage, Martin had managed to drive one of Dave's rooks to a very awkward position on the side of the board and through further skilful manoeuvring exploited this to force the win of a piece, bringing swift resignation. At the same time, Dominique and Mark agreed a draw in a very equal pawn and minor pieces ending with not too much to write about. The score 2½-1½, yet it was difficult to see where we might get anything else. Dave had fallen severely behind on the clock a pawn down, and looked to be struggling to get some play. Robert's game was unclear although his king was more exposed and Alistair looked to be very comfortable.
Unexpectedly, a Boden's mate pattern suddenly appeared for Dave and he snapped up the opportunity with his time running out to give us victory! Our third win as white. That left Robert to fight on an exchange down, in what was now a difficult position. Despite some very good defence, Alistair eventually overcame resistance with seconds left on both clocks to bring about a rare defeat for Robert.
An excellent result for us and something to build on against a team that look to be one of the promotion candidates. Last season's promoted team, University B, visit us in two weeks for what seems a must win match if we wish to avoid slumping to the bottom half of the table.