Clifton superstars crushed!
Unfortunately not Clifton A but, nevertheless, a fine performance against a strong Clifton C team. Our 'E's have had patchy successes this season, but when they are firing on all cylinders they are a force to be reckoned with.
Grant (bd. 4) continued his fine form from last weekend. He built a threatening position with Black's King stuck in the centre and finished off with a knight fork of K & Q.
By now Richard (bd. 2) was exploiting holes in Black's K-side. Black chose to give up the exchange, perhaps in the hope that Richard's rooks could be blocked from invading by a pawn chain linked to his remaining bishop. It was not to be and when one rook reached the seventh and Richard's Queen also threatened to invade the K-side it was curtains and a 2-0 lead.
Mike's and John's games (bds. 1 & 3) were reasonably stable but complicated. Thomas and Jack (bds. 5 & 6) had, respectively won a piece and developed a strong K-side attack. Two draws and two wins from these four games was a reasonable expectation.
Jack's opponent cracked under the strain and first he won bishop and knight and, when the dust settled, ended up with rook and pawns against just pawns for an easy finish to a well played game. 3-0!
By now Thomas had unfortunately allowed his extra piece to be won back and it came down to just Queens on the board with his opponent having one extra pawn, so he needed to dig in to hold a draw. Meanwhile Mike's game was extremely complicated with all sorts of different move orders for possible exchange sequences difficult to fathom. In fact Mike gained a narrow advantage with bishop and knight for a rook but it was still very tricky.
In the closing stages Mike saw more and, when he won a piece, his opponent resigned. And Thomas comfortably found a drawing mechanism, obliging his opponent to take perpetual check or lose his pawn advantage. 4½-1½!
Which left it to John, who had been playing for many moves with a knight out of touch on the edge of the board while under the threat of a Queen invasion into some holes in his K-side. Despite countering many threats, he eventually succumbed when the enemy Queen was backed up by a bishop.
So it was quite a crushing win overall - an excellent team performance against a Clifton side which had started the evening with twice as may points as the E team.