A friendly grudge match

10th October 2017 - Downend A vs Downend B

I've often written that the A vs B team matches are rarely easy to predict, but in the last few years it seems like the results have more often followed the bookies odds than not. This year however, on paper the teams are fairly evenly matched and the A-team was still reeling from a brutal loss to Horfield B the week before. Despite there being no Attila on the B-team, Fabrizio was making an appearance and the two have the same stinking FIDE rating (2280). It really could have gone either way.

Games started in the usual way, which is to say, white moved first. Henry and Fabrizio were playing very slowly but presumably accurately. Richard side-stepped a presumed gargantuan amount of Stephen's prep on move 1. Board 3 was crowd favourite as Andrew and Nigel went in for a wild and truly awe-inspiring sharp line with white's queen snaffling off a b-pawn. After a truly Herculean 14-move effort, they split the point. Breath-taking stuff, indeed.

Mike and I were heading for an endgame where I believed I had the tiniest of pulls, which explains my ill-fated rejection of a draw offer. Martin was in a very rare Accelerated Dragon with Dave trying to arrange the cheeky Nc3-d5xe7+ intermezzo trick though it never seemed to quite work. Jerry had ceded the open a-file, but soon regained it with a formidable queen and rook battery.

After offering a series of trades Dave and Martin also split the point, while Richard managed to convert his slight space edge against Stephen's slightly worse pawn structure. The B-team struck back after I had significantly over-pressed and Mike's kingside pawns won him the game.

At 2-2, Jerry had won himself an exchange and was slowly constricting Dominique's position with the aim of winning an additional pawn before simplifying to avoid fortress chances, when suddenly Fabrizio and Henry's game finished. As it turns out Fabrizio had imagined a rook defending a potential capture where there was no rook (and it wasn't a queen either!) and simply blundered a piece. After that, it was a matter of time before Jerry converted his game for a comfortable A-team win.

Michael Meadows