Another close shave

20th February 2018 - Downend B vs University A

We were missing Attila and Andrew C against University so Mike P and I were drafted in.

I found myself sitting next to Steve on the top two, so was able to see close at hand when he comfortably equalised (or so I thought) against Bogdan. Just a rook and four pawns each - Steve's were on the a, c, g & h files against a, b, g, h, when Steve offered a draw. Bogdan had a miniscule advantage and no way of winning a pawn but he played on, presumably hoping for a major error. As I had emerged from the opening level but positionally slightly better than Mark, I too offered a draw. Mine was accepted at once so I was spared the usual time-trouble. Bogdan also agreed eventually.

Mike B reached an ending with a much superior knight compared to Alice's bishop but the pawns blocked the position and the bishop was always just able to hold the fort. With Oli also playing out a hard fought draw with Phillipp, it was all down to the bottom two boards where the play was much more open and possibilities of a result were evident.

Mike P had a hairy game with Alex where the middle period looked to be a bit dodgy but he managed to get all the pieces swapped off except the queens. Although he emerged a pawn down, his king was much more secure and when his queen got down to the eighth rank he had all the checking threats, regained the pawn and they agreed an obvious draw. Very nicely played in the end by the Old Fox!

With the match still level, Dave had one of his trademark strong attacks against Leonidas and by move 24 had a clear advantage. Unfortunately he missed one killer continuation and, as time ran lower, fatally moved his king forward into danger. It was a huge pity that he had been unable to capitalise on very enterprising play. As the webmaster alluded, too many draws spoiled the evening.

Ian Pickup