Who needs White anyway?
First, an apology to all our readers concerning last week's report. Mind you, I'm not sure who should be apologising to whom. It concerns Nigel's game with Jack which, you may recall, ended with Nigel resigning when facing mate next move. A bit of subsequent analysis shows how they both got it wrong, but Nigel rather more horribly than Jack. Word on the street is that Jack had better watch out next time they play!
And so to the events at Keynsham. Dave J succeeded in exchanging Queens by move 9 and offered a draw. I made him wait a move before agreeing, thinking that if Henry could take a quick draw against Horfield, I could emulate him and leave the hard work to the others. The only trouble is that there is no bar to which to retreat in the Church Rooms.
Most of the games already looked comfortable or, at worst, safe by the time I started watching. Most comfortable was Oli who had a better pawn formation and heavy pieces trebled on the only open file. My confidence in his ability to convert was not ill-judged and he wrapped it up when he reached an easily won pawn ending.
Next to finish was Neil, who equalised comfortably and had impressive piece play against Lawrence. Then he uncorked a nice little combination which won a piece and forced immediate resignation.
The third game with Black was Matt's against David Woodruff. Matt emerged into an ending a pawn up but with some interlocked pawns and just a knight against a bishop. The huge difference however was that Matt's knight was on an impregnable white square and David's bishop was dark squared, as were all his pawns. It just required Matt to find the correct sequence to open up a hole for his King to invade. Although David invaded on the other wing, Matt was able to (a) win the bishop, (b) promote a queen, (c) promote a second queen and then bring his massed forces to bear before David could queen one of his own. So, three wins with Black ensured the match points.
Nigel meanwhile had been jockeying for position against Paul, first on the Queen-side and then the other wing. The pawns were mainly neutralised by each other but Nigel did contrive to be one up with just a rook each remaining. It turned out, however that as soon as the rooks came off there was no possibility to force the pawn home, so they called it a day.
Last to finish was Dave against his namesake, Ben. This pair of game birds had a pretty level affair from which a little excitement emerged when they were both down to about ten minutes. Ben's Q, R & B menaced Dave's King but he found adequate defences and even had sneaky mating threats of his own on the back rank. After the queens and bishops came off the resultant rook ending, with only four minutes each by now, was such that they agreed that it was not worth the risk of a blunder in time trouble.
So we only managed three draws with White but still won the match comfortably enough. Who needs White, anyway?