Disappointing but not saddening!

12th September 2017 - Downend C vs South Bristol B

We welcomed S Bristol B in the absence of Richard P, who thought he would have a greater reward at the Memorial Stadium, so we were glad that Toby was able to stand in.

The end result was not what we wanted but this is what can happen when you are up against the clock. No such problems for Andrew, though, who reversed the previous week's escapade with a nice killer 14th move threatening mate or loss of Dave's Queen.

Meanwhile Richard L played an enterprising line, castling Q-side and preparing for serious complications. The plan was to unmask a bishop attack on Dorota's Queen while simultaneously attacking a rook with a pawn. The complications didn't quite work though and he ended up with a rook and a pawn for two bishops. These positions are notoriously difficult to hold and when one of his rooks was skewered that made it a fairly simple endgame to convert, bringing the match score back level.

I had high hopes at this stage that the other two white boards would turn out well for us. Dominique had a strong K-side attack against Tony, while adequately defending the counterattack on the other wing. Toby was playing brilliantly against Andy and forced a winning Rook ending, so if Robert or I could draw a narrow victory was on the cards.

Robert was under some pressure against Iain and also fell badly short of time while I had equalised comfortably enough and the position was level after 20 moves.

So now it was that the last four boards all suffered a turnaround. Realistically we could have expected L W D W on the four remaining boards. What we got was D D L L!

First I mucked up a perfectly level middle game against Neville and then Toby was blitzed into blundering his Rook. Short of time, Dominique missed a number of winning lines and settled for a draw. Robert was even shorter on time, playing on the increment. In fact he recovered from ten seconds to two minutes in the closing stages, and minus about 12 on the engine at one time, he showed tremendous resilience and succeeded in liquidating down to a dead draw.

So this really was a match that slipped away from us. Nevertheless we are going in the right direction and hope springs eternal for our next outing!

Ian Pickup