A real mixed bag
You never know quite what to expect with Horfield and indeed they turned up last night with only one of their registered B team. But we tried to outfox them with our own new recruit, Attila, on board one. In reality he replaced Javier, who has finally returned to the land of "Dos cervezas, por favor". We thank him for his efforts, amazing blitz finishes some of them, and wish him well for the future.
Since Mike M found something better to do, Andrew M stood in for him and we can blame Mike for what ensued. Well, he blames everyone else when he does the scribing!
What transpired was a real mixed bag, with two yawn provokers, two really attractive wins, a somewhat luckier one and a pawn roller to out-roll all pawn rollers.
First to finish was Lewis, who played very aggressively against John's Gruenfeld with both bishops bearing down on the castled King and an f pawn ready to prize open Black's fianchetto. When Lewis's Queen and Knight also got in on the act Black soon crumbled. Nice win!
Then, in fairly quick succession came the two draws: first Steve was given few chances to gain the upper hand and then Mike, by his own admission, had a fairly boring draw.
Andrew C built pressure against Brent's French Defence, calmly avoiding re-capturing a pawn from moves 6 to 19 while he gained space and restricted Black's minor pieces. Then he exchanged Queens and invaded with his Rooks, reaching a position where he was bound to win a piece, while still holding a huge positional advantage. Another nice win!
Meanwhile Andrew M got a rather cramped position, level on the face of it, but was caught by an imaginative Knight sacrifice which picked up two pawns immediately and he was soon facing enemy pawns on c4, d4 and e4, backed up by Rooks on d8 and e8. From there I think there were any number of ways for Black to win and, to be fair to the illustrious Mr Meadows, I don't believe even he could have saved this one. Although I expect he would tell us he wouldn't have got into this position in the first place.
Which left us with board one, where Attila was in an unclear position with B + N v Rook and two pawns. The engine has it as level for many moves but when Harvey's h pawn started to march, well supported by his Queen, warning lights started to flash and it looked like maybe Horfield would snatch a point. Time was also unfavourable to Attila, who was coming down to one minute against three or four. One mistake by Attila allowed Harvey to get the Queens off but then he reciprocated putting the Rook en prise for nothing. Attila showed he is quite capable of "doing a Javier" and calmly made all the right moves extremely fast and showed he was clearly capable of mating in his remaining time when Harvey conceded.
So a 4-2 win in the end . It remains to be seen whether they can repeat the result against Horfield A in a few weeks time to round off an excellent season. Well, actually I think they need to beat Horfield A 5-1 to overhaul them. Can't wait to watch that one!