Starting as we mean to go on
Having replaced traitors Chris and Charlie with the equally alliterative, yet far more talented Martin and Michael, Kaiser Jerry was making a bold statement that short draws were no longer going to be tolerated. Indeed, last season there were only 3 decisive boards over the 12 that faced Horfield A. In this match there were 5.
Henry opened the proceedings with an IQP position with plenty of pieces and dynamic potential but felt compelled to swap some pieces early on for a kingside hack. Both Richard and Derek appeared to be expanding on the kingside in a closed position, but it was the white pieces that took most of the space and Richard soon found himself chucking a bold pawn in the centre for wild complications. Nigel and Alex decided that endgames are where the fun is to be found and went straight for one of those, with both sides rejecting draw offers along the way.
My wayward queen was swapped early on and the game became locked very quickly. With Phil worried about a trapped rook he tried a bold sacrifice in the centre to start a pawn storm which led to blunders on both sides. Martin was, of course, enjoying the return of the new Accelerated Dragon season and claimed the bishop pair and the central space. Bob misjudged on which of the queenside files he should build his rook battery and Jerry was able to pinch a pawn with the added benefit of invading the white camp.
All of the games went nearly the full distance and when a second white pawn fell, Jerry's passers on the c and d-files were too imposing and Bob offered his hand. Seconds later, Henry squeaked a draw by repetition despite being down a pawn and the position in what he described as a "good game". Richard's gambit had paid off in stunning yet outrageous style and Derek resigned as the material was about to come off the board (including the king, I believe).
Despite a quite foolish blunder on my part to cap off a positional endgame mistake, an agile knight and 3 passed pawns spaced across the board saw my game through. Nigel was also facing the task of defending a bishop vs knight endgame and when his king was forced to mop up on the kingside, black's queenside was able to breakthrough. Finally Martin overcame a draw offer and used his positional edge to polish his game off and make sure that it wasn't only the black pieces that won the games.
A really great start for our A-team on paper though by my reckoning there could've easily been another 3 draws. Can the new (and improved) A-team keep it up next week away (or home) to Clifton B?