Forget it, Horfield B are winning it this year
On paper this was clearly a battle to watch. Last year's champions against current league leaders:
Actually on paper, this was not likely to be a close match. Without Richard, but with the dubious replacement of Attila, our A-team out-graded Horfield B by more than 30 points. Alas, it was not a close match.
Unfortunately for my knowledge of the other boards, Christopher promised me an entertaining game and I was much too distracted by his tactical wizardry to give much thought to the other games.
From what I saw and what little I understood of the top table, Attila had taken the centre in his game as black and was setting about establishing a dominance in space. Henry was playing some buffoonery with an awkward queen on c1 and bishop development, while Mike seemed to have nearly finished setting his pieces up as black. Next to me Nigel and Jon were trying to wriggle their knights into each the holes in the other's position, but really rather locking the pawns up. Ambitious sacrifices never looked like they'd be more than ambitious, no doubt much to Jon's dismay.
I had attempted an idea I'd used in a different opening at the weekend (much like how you'd never attempt to play the Saëmisch and the Maroczy Bind in exactly the same way) but somehow it had worked well enough. That was when Chris decided to uncork a double pawn gambit to drum up play against my ever-queenside king.
"If you're ahead by one pawn, you're probably winning. If you're ahead by two, you're probably lost."
- Michael Meadows, shortly after taking the second pawn.
Martin and Brent appeared to have pushed some pawns and then moved their pieces about on the starting ranks to create a Chess 960 set up. I'm not entirely sure what was going on, but I'm sure it was great fun. Jerry decided that he may have to push for a win and managed to maintain a slight pull through most of his midgame.
When the last of the rooks were going to be exchanged, Jon and Nigel split the point early rather than shuffle their remaining bishops for 50 moves. While Henry's position never really recovered from the opening and Mike took the first surprising point, Attila's position looked like a barbarian horde charging through the centre (who knows where that imagery comes from?) and he comfortably kept the match level.
Disaster struck when Martin's position suddenly fell to a queen and rook invasion (which I believed were safely tucked away on the first rank). Worse, despite Jerry demonstrating clinical king and pawn endgame technique (see "opposition"), I had bungled a piece in the maelstrom of Chris' attack and was unable to conjure up a swindle despite playing on for a suspect 70+ moves.
Well done to Horfield B who took the points deservedly: