When you arrive at the Students' Union, you never know quite what to expect. I have played in what seemed to be a sauna with bar stools and bar tables and then on another occasion we were in a corridor. So when directed to the Gromit room (what is that about?), we went up with some apprehension. Wow! It is excellent. It is spacious, comfortable, well lit and quiet. What more could a chess player want? Attila couldn't believe that student accommodation could be so nice. Well done University!
Andrew had been ill over the previous 24 hours and was close to withdrawing, so when he wasn't there at the start I was quite nervous, but he duly arrived after 5 minutes complaining of the traffic and parking problems. After another 5 minutes or was it an hour, I really don't know, he was shaking hands with Bogdan. A draw with black when poorly is very creditable.
A little later I noticed that Oli had his queen deep into his opponents entrails. Apparently Aman had gone wrong in a Winawer, so it was no surprise when a little later Oli came and entered 1-0 on the results sheet. Attila had a very nice position with more space and well coordinated pieces which were beginning to get dangerous squares, so it was no surprise either when Mark resigned. When reporting the result to Bogdan, he shrugged his shoulders as if to say “I did my best but what did you expect?” Attila still has a 100% record playing for Downend.
My opponent played the exchange variation against my French and proceeded to play very solidly. I did manage to get a knight to f4 and forced some K side weaknesses, but Victor calmly countered threats effectively. When Attila won I decided to stop bashing my head against a brick wall and offered a draw which Victor accepted. This left us 3-1 up just needing a draw from the remaining two games.
Stephen had a double minor piece ending which was unbalanced but looked equal to me. Dave, having mucked up the opening by his own admission, had fought back and had a dangerous passed d pawn. He pushed the pawn to the seventh and looked as if he could win a piece for it, but suddenly he stood up, let out a groan and put his hands to his head. He had inexplicably blundered a rook by putting it en prise. Oh dear. Dave had been up early and had had a hard day so perhaps played the blunder in his sleep.
Stephen's game looked even and, in view of the match position, he offered a draw. Alice, always gutsy, declined against her higher graded opponent. Stephen though soon managed to remove all realistic winning possibilities and the draw was agreed. We were very happy to have won another match. Perhaps we won't, after all, be in a relegation battle this year.