Increments rule, OK!

25th January 2018 - University B vs Downend C

As we understood University don't have clocks suitable for increments, we took six of our own. As it turned out, those precious extra seconds helped us to garner an unlikely victory against a very strong team.

First Robert neutralised their top board, Victor (180). It was all over after 22 moves, with Robert comfortably snuffing out any possible counterplay.

Then the Richards (that's the Pirate and the Duffer) sneaked us into the lead. Richard P nicely took advantage of some horribly weak dark squares around Jonathan's king in what otherwise could have been a drawn ending and finished off with a nice mating sequence. Meanwhile Richard L reached an opposite coloured bishops ending against Oliver where he started off two pawns up but it was never likely to be a win against half decent defence.

This left us up 2½ - 1½ up with my game looking promising and Dominique tense but level so that Andrew offered a couple of draws which were rejected presumably for the same reason.

But then it all went rather pear shaped. Dominque's ending against Ethan proved to be too tricky and my promising game went into what could, maybe should, have been terminal decline. It was just as well that Andrew was still playing.

The score was now 2-2 and I was two pawns down and into the last few minutes against 30. Maybe Denis relaxed a fraction but I managed to get my queen and rook into play and was able to stay on three minutes thanks to the increment while making a dozen or so checks. When I also managed to snaffle back the two pawns we called it a day. A very lucky escape!

Over to Andrew who, conversely, had a big time advantage against Evangelos, while it was still pretty level after 30 moves. Then Andrew got his queen and rook moving nicely and won a pawn. More importantly, he was able to harass the enemy king onto a square where it was caught with a fork which won the white rook. A true captain's innings had clinched the win.

A hugely pleasing result against a side that comfortably out-graded us gives us a glimmer of hope in our relegation struggle. We need a few more results like this to move anywhwere near safety, though.

Ian Pickup