Three Points for an Away Draw!
It's tight at the top of Division Three with us being one of four teams on 14 or 13 points, so it was important to try not to lose away to Cabot A.
For the first hour or so four of the games seemed to be settled down with not a lot in prospect. The exceptions were my game, where I was hoping to castle Q-side and attack on the other wing and Neil's, who was under pressure with slower development and a rather holey position.
Things went mostly according to plan as James, Dave and Nigel all clinched draws in quick succession but Oli missed a tactic when his rook was pinned by a bishop so we found ourselves 1½-2½ down. My attack bore fruit to level the scores but the pressure was telling on Neil as he went a piece down for a pawn or two.
With the match hanging on this result Neil (Black) dug deep. The bad news was that it was R+N v R with both sides having pawns on each wing and the knight was threatening to pick off Neil's two remaining Q-side pawns. The good news was that Neil's rook was on the 7th tieing down its opposite number to defend his b pawn, Neil's King was more mobile while White's was on the back rank defending his pawns on g2 and h2, and Neil had about 25 minutes against 10. While White was manoeuvering his knight Neil pushed pawns to f5 and g5 and when he checked on b1 White (by now down to about 4 minutes against 10) found he had two choices - repeat moves to hold his g pawn or march his King up the board, lose the K-side pawns and try to win with seconds ticking away. He wisely took the draw offer.
So, a very handy drawn match means we are still all bunched on 14 or 13 points and we now have to visit the other top side, Clevedon, on Monday to see it we can pick up at least another three points.