Banana skin avoided!

13th February 2018 - Downend D vs Downend C

Matches betweeen two of our club sides are notoriously difficult for the senior team, so the C team approached this fixture with a certain amount of trepidation. It was made more problematic by the fact that we had known for some time that Dominique and Richard P were unavailable, so we were very glad that Oli and a new recruit to the "Welsh Brigade", Adam, were able to play.

First to finish were the middle boards. Andrew equalised against Dave and embarked on a pawn gathering exercise which, despite opposite coloured bishops, proved to lead to a winning advantage. Oli took longer to grind Nigel down. After 35 moves he had less than a pawn advantage according to the engine in a rook, knight and six pawn ending but, after he succeeded in forcing the rooks off, the process to win became pretty straightforward. Nicely done!

Two points in the bag but James and Mike were putting up stout resistance against Adam and Robert on the top two. Furthermore, Toby and Jack were stubbornly refusing to bow down to their elders. In fact Richard won the exchange by move 12 and, while he still needed to develop his K-side, one felt he had it all under control. And I had all the play against Toby (or so I thought, indeed some others uncharitably confirmed this view afterwards) but it didn't develop quite as I was hoping. By the time Jack had regained the exchange with total control of the centre file it was only thanks to a marauding Queen that the Duffer was able to find numerous checks to confirm equality. Then Toby had the temerity to offer me a draw too, which I naturally accepted at once.

Mike had been playing well to hold Robert and it was still level after 33 moves when time trouble caused him to miss the best continuation in a rook ending where his King was better placed to influence events. It took Robert until move 49 to reach a clear win. Adam emerged from a complicated sequence of exchanges with R, B & N versus two rooks. With pawns mostly interlocked, it was not at first obvious how to force a winning advantage but, little by little, he manouevred his pieces until first one pawn fell and by the time James resigned he was going to be three pawns down. An excellent start in Adam's first appearance for the club.

5-1 looks like quite a hammering but it was anything but and had been very well played, even by those who eventually lost. The Ds were by no means disgraced and the Cs were mightlily relieved to have snaffled a vital two points.

Ian Pickup