A hectic evening

15th November 2016 - Hanham A vs Downend D

Having to play away on the night of the big match, no, not England v Spain, nor even Rovers v Crawley, the D team missed all the fireworks by being in downtown Hanham. So the plan was to polish off the opposition as quickly as possible and get back to HQ in time for the finale. Fat chance!

It was OK on boards five and six. Matt was soon material up and clinched his point and Oli was building his position nicely. When first Nigel and then James secured their draws we were already staring at three probable points with only a single draw needed to win the match. That's when it all started to go pear shaped. Neil seemed to have won a pawn but next time I looked, he was the exchange down for a pawn or two. I had played fairly ineptly in the opening and spent far too much time so I offered a draw before it was obvious that Oli was winning. No dice, as they realised they needed two wins against Neil and me to salvage a point.

Neil had counter threats so he also offered a draw before Oli converted his advantage, making us 3-1 up. Declined! Meanwhile I reached a level ending horribly low on time. Then Neil proved his opponent could not make the exchange tell. With the match now won, I naturally offered a draw again but was turned down this time because my prospects were diminishing by the second. It came down to a distinctly inferior knight and pawn ending. The only good thing I did all night was bash out enough half decent moves in quick time to try to put my opponent off from finding the win. It took until twenty past ten before I managed to liquidate his last pawn.

So a 4-2 win for the D team, which could have been unpleasantly closer but far too late to catch the end of the A v B match. But I was in time to see Henry basking in the reflected glow of his draw with Lewis and Chris entertaining the gallery with a multiplicity of variations from his game with Steve. Curiously Mike M was not showcasing his game with Nigel, though.

So a hectic evening ended with the A team securely atop the league and the D team now in a promotion slot in division three.

Ian Pickup