Should do better!

26th September 2017 - Downend B vs Clevedon A

Do you remember those school reports where the teacher seemed to think you weren't applying yourself enough to achieve the results you were capable of? Well three of us last night were guilty of not converting plus positions...but, hey, we still won and, pending news from Clifton A v Horfield B, we now have the top two places in division one, indeed those extra game points would have ousted our A team from the pinnacle!

Double unavailability in the last 24 hours put Captain Mike under a certain amount of stress but he called up a couple of likely lads from the C team to fill the gaps and away we went.

It didn't take long for Oli to provoke some nasty holes in Matt's Q-side. His bishops were able to invade and take away all the squares from one of Black's rooks. Once he had won the exchange Oli soon mopped up.

Steve and Mike had the task of holding boards one and three with Black. This they both achieved with relatively few alarums and excursions, although Mike was under pressure when he and Dave E both started to run short of time. First Steve, against Mike T, and then Mike shook hands.

The reserves were thrust in on boards two and four and, even if I say it myself, always looked at least comfortable. Dominique got to a late middle game with much better B & N than DPK and emerged into a winning endgame. I also had a strong attack against the Clevedon dragon for the second time in eight days, this time against Dave P.

Meanwhile our Dave had a wilder game against Andrew but seemed to have it all under control. Indeed he found later he had been playing best engine moves up to at least move 16 and reached a knight endgame that was safe enough. It became better than safe as the clock ran down and suddenly we had distinct winning prospects on all of the last three boards. Then the clock began to have a more serious impact.

My excuse is that I thought either Dominique or Dave was looking good to win, so avoided what the engine later showed to be some hard to find, but maybe winning, lines. Dominique opted to give up one of his pieces for an extra three pawns and his game became very tricky. Dave's time problem was probably more acute than any of us. And so it transpired that one after another we all baled out with draws to make the match result narrower than we would have hoped for a half an hour earlier. To be fair, Clevedon fought hard to keep the match tight but we managed a very welcome two points nonetheless.

Ian Pickup