Not a convincing victory!

6th March 2018 - Clifton B vs Downend B

The B team was at full strength for the visit to Clifton B, a real four-pointer, and it turned out that it was just as well.

After an hour and a half we didn't appear to have any advantage on the top five boards while Dave, defending a Scotch Gambit against Robert, had emerged with a couple of extra pawns but with his uncastled King needing careful defence. The game fluctuated as every time he seemed to be emerging from the complications another trick confronted him. Nevertheless it looked possible that this would be the only decisive game in a narrow victory.

Attila and Andrew had each won a pawn against Chris and Sierra respectively. Andrew held on to his and reached an ending where he found he couldn't make the extra pawn tell, so his was the first half point on the board.

Of the other boards, Oli had the most promising chances. He attacked well on the K-side and by move 27 was clearly winning a R, N + 6 versus R, N + 5 ending against Tomas. But when his passed a pawn fell and the rooks came off he had to start all over again and another draw was on the cards.

Mike had engineered the minor advantage of an IQP for Anton but looked level. Steve was level against Alan. And Chris had re-gained the pawn against Attila but it looked odds on a draw. It was still only Dave, who by now had won the exchange but was running low on time, who looked to have a possibility of scoring the whole point.

And then suddenly fortune smiled on us. First Oli out-played Tomas in the knight ending and then Alan allowed his bishop to be trapped by Steve. Then Anton also went wrong in the ending and in the blink of an eye the match was won.

Dave was the last to win when his extra pawns finally told and unsurprisingly Attila was last to finish when they reached a dead drawn ending, making the score line 5-1.

Sounds very convincing doesn't it? But in reality it was much closer. Most of the games had been relatively uneventful until somebody went wrong late on, the exceptions being Oli (in his first attack) and Dave, who treated us to another thriller.

Ian Pickup