Not all who wander are lost
Another Tuesday, another missed episode of The Great British Bake Off. With the Clifton teams temporarily living the nomadic lifestyle, we found ourselves upstairs in the Lansdown; a distressingly short walk from Henry's. Despite the weather and parking being less than ideal, all of the games easily started on time with the exception of Chris, who presumably wanted to make a bit of an entrance.
Nigel and Manuel had a locked position in the centre, though white was pushing to open up the black kingside. Nigel appeared to be defending with little worry while making his own progress on the queenside. Next to me I saw that super-sub Mike had gained a protected passed pawn on d5 which looked like it'd be a pain to defend against. Meanwhile I was busy labouring under the misguided notion that I was about to equalise and struck out in the centre with ambitions of crushing the middle. The result was that I too would be defending against a protected passed pawn on d5.
Martin appeared to have agreed with his opponent to create plenty of holes in their own positions which they could fill with heavy pieces. Though White had the space, black had a scary queen on h4 and my assessments are nothing if not based on how intimidatingly placed the queen is. When Henry started he was soon in a middle game where neither side wanted to take the centre. Perhaps it was what they call "hypermodern" chess, or perhaps they both fancied a quick draw ("classical" chess).
While Jerry was busy realising he had no plan from his slightly worse opening, white's king suddenly appeared to suffer from delusions of grandeur and promptly un-castled itself, marching right into the centre as it was ripped apart. Having cobbled together a hasty defence, none of which I remember seeing in his prep, Henry was offered an apparently well-earnt draw.
Despite surviving the immediate storm with some sharp (and probably speculative) tactics I was adrift in a bad endgame and down a pawn. One final blunder finished off the game as a mercy. Martin also managed to demonstrate that one imposing piece doesn't compensate for a crushing positional advantage and brought home the point.
Nigel, having gained something of an edge once his kingside was secure was unable to make enough headway in the otherwise locked position and a draw was agreed. Mike however ensured that the A-team took away full points by converting his positional advantage.
As Henry kindly pointed out, "At least you didn't cost us points". As a result, he can also wait for the Clifton report in which his chess was no doubt "magnificent" or at the very least "competent". As it stands the A-team is on 2/2 before their rest until October. In the meantime, we'll just have to look forward to the B-team starting their title campaign against South Bristol A next week!