2017 Champions!

28th March 2017 - Downend A vs South Bristol A

The A-team went into this match knowing that a win would guarantee them the league title. Last time they were under such a tiny amount of pressure, they managed to do the absolute bare minimum. With South Bristol A struggling this season to put out their fiercest teams, there was every reason to hope for a 3½-2½ win.

Patryk and Henry began by banging out 15 moves of the dullest theory known to Chessbase. The resulting mid-game was unsurprisingly level but that didn't stop Henry setting up the cheapest mate threat seen this season. Disappointingly for him, Patryk spotted the mate in one and was able to bring the game to a rook and pawn ending, though with the slight complaint of two h-pawns that had little prospect of making progress. White's active rook saved the day though, by being able to alternate threats on two pawns and forcing a repetition.

It's hard to know whether Chris' shambolic opening was the result of excellent preparation by Tony, or Chris' opening play. When Tony made significant progress in the centre, Chris decided to launch his kingside protection. The incredible result of which was gifting black a passed pawn, scuppering white's king safety and leaving white dangerously behind in development. As any good player knows, that's the time to offer the draw. For reasons that may never be known, Chris once again had his draw offer met with an agreement, rather than the more justified scoffing and subsequent checkmate.

Richard, by all reports (including this one) had a shocker. Shane was able to score a crushing defeat but the most likely explanation is that Richard was trying to open up competition for the best performance trophy.

Nigel had a spectacular game that really was the highlight of the match. Taking advantage of the sort of duff opening that normally only Henry would go in for, Nige claimed a solid plus and used that to grab space in the centre. After displacing a number of black's pieces and producing a passed a-pawn, Nigel uncorked a flashy knight sacrifice to swap off all the rooks and queens to highlight the danger of his pawns. As if that wasn't enough, white followed that by sacrificing his final piece to overload black's knight and force a pawn through.

Charlie chose to ignore Dorota's solid centre to create a backward c-pawn target. Though white's centre looked imposing, black was able to crash through on the c-file quickly and chase the white king about, winning a piece. In return, black's king was harassed but was able to king behind a wall of pawns. Demonstrating the synergy between the queen and knight attacking duo Charlie quickly finished the game off. That was Charlie's 9th win from 11 games in the league this season!

Jerry took the first opportunity to turn from a sharp opening to a locked centre with plenty of positional shuffling. After surviving a double rook invasion on the queenside and hiding his majesty on c4, white was able to demonstrate the position equivalent of Nigel's game with an unstoppable queenside passed pawn running through. That was Jerry's 2nd win from 16 games in the league this season!

With the worries about the league title settled before the final match against the troublesome Bath A, the question that now remains is can the club now do the double by winning the knockout? A feat that was last achieved by the club 30 years ago!

Michael Meadows