Old foxes can still bite you!
Although Hanham are in a relatively lowly position in the league, they have some resourceful players, so we were more than happy to welcome Mike to cover for James, who was unavailable. He did us splendidly, easily the first to finish, after a crushing attack. The only shame is that he pocketed his score sheet before anyone could photo it. This, after beating Mr Rossiter of Cabot last week in short order, continues an excellent vein of form, showing that old foxes can still bite you!
Neil was under pressure for several moves but managed to reach an even position where neither side could make progress, so they settled for a draw.
Then the bottom two boards moved in our favour. Oli won a pawn in the opening and later piled up against an isolated pawn on an open file. I have seen him convert similar positions already this season and it was no surprise when he consolidated and won more pawns on the way to victory. Nigel managed to reach a position where his knight was on an unassailable white square while Black's bishop was restricted by its own pawns. He built pressure on a half open file and found a tactic which won the exchange and, soon after, the game, and clinched the match points.
Dave (White) castled on the opposite side to his opponent and an exciting race to attack was in prospect when he probably erred by exchanging bishops, leading to the a file being opened. Black was eventually able to invade and pose too many threats to Dave's beleaguered King.
Which left me, as usual, last to finish, in a Gruenfeld which drifted into decidedly murky territory after I won a pawn around move 20. Glen went for all out attack but I was able to give up a bishop and push the d pawn all the way home, and when somebody managed to find me another Queen, resignation followed,
Sadly, by now it was too late for a visit to the bar but these two points maintain our tussle with Clevedon for the top spot.