Leave it to someone else

7th February 2017 - Downend A vs Horfield A

I was a little late to the party because I'd been at a talk by Chris Packham. You know, the presenter from The Really Wild Show. As much I'd love to have stolen that for the title of this report, there could be no justification.

There really wasn't much to say about Henry's game. There was a quick exchange of queens and some minor pieces and a draw was agreed by move 14, but it was safe to assume that points could be won elsewhere.

Chris, in a bid to spice his chess up was avoiding his usual pawn structure and found himself in a wonky Benoni. The two put their attacks on hold to secure their kings and some quick exchanges also led to another quick draw. Still not a problem, points could be won on the other four boards.

Javier went in for some scary looking complications in the opening and, although I wouldn't have wanted to face the invading d6-pawn, appeared to have everything under control. Having neutralised white's centre by the midgame and even gained a pawn (though in a scruffy queenside pawn structure), Javier decided that splitting the point early was fine for him. No need to worry yet, there were three promising games left to play.

Jerry took a good chunk of space in the opening but Chris appeared to have ways to stay in the game. Ian called it much earlier, but I daresay the reader can guess the early result here too. 2-2, but with every hope for Richard and Chris. (Both of whom are undefeated for the A-team this season with performances over 200.)

Richard had won a pawn but at the cost of swapping into a rook and pawn ending. Stephen's masterful endgame technique kept him in the fight. Running low on time Richard, in a rare move for him, decided to split the point rather than press for a win. Besides, at least Charlie was a shoo-in for the point.

As it turned out, Charlie was not a shoo-in. Having won a pawn and reached a better endgame (at one point the engine apparently rates the position as +4 for Fry) time trouble caused its usual problems and John was able to simplify the position to a drawn rook and pawn ending.

It is often said that the top Downend vs Horfield team matches have a lot of draws, but this is a new one for me. Still, it keeps Downend A comfortable at the top of the table. Clearly they're happy to leave it to someone else.

Michael Meadows