Drubbing of the Champions – episode two
Once again a B team confounds their “betters”! But this time we were on the right side of it. We welcomed a full strength Horfield A and were without Oli so, in the absence of any 197-grade substitutes, I was drafted in. With Black, too, “to balance the colours”, would you believe?
Horfield also did a minor re-shuffle to find somebody prepared to take on Chirag with the faster time limit in what was to be his first outing against really testing opposition.
I had my head down for most of the match but why do images of Trumpton flash through my mind whenever we play Horfield A? Anyway, the middle boards were first to finish with Chirag shedding a pawn fairly early on against Barney Nendick, from which he was never able to obtain compensation, while Martin was stodging it up against Cuthbert Dilleigh. At least that gave us half a point on the board. And a very vital half it turned out to be!
The advantage was with White on the last two boards where I was wrestling against Mike Dibble while Andrew was building pressure against Harvey Grub. His attack finally won him a piece and, after a swapping off in fraught time trouble he emerged a knight up with only pawns remaining - a simple enough win. Curiously, my game also finished in a tricky position with knights and pawns after I missed a simple enough draw by repetition. In my ending we each had a knight but unfortunately my pawns were rotten. But, as I later found out, exceptional things had been happening on the top two boards!
Alex had arrived in the nick of time to play our Mike (apparently he thought Horfield were at home) and was just over half an hour down on the clock which may have contributed to his getting an inferior game. Or perhaps it was just Mike's relentless play after Alex gambited a pawn! Anyway a monster passed d-pawn presented Alex, who by now was playing on the increment, with insuperable problems. But Steve's game against Derek was one for the connoisseur. In the space of just 24 hours Steve has played two games which will undoubtedly feature in our October Game of the Month. Under extreme pressure, he found a way through all the threats to emerge with a huge material advantage once the dust had settled.
So, to the consternation of our A-team captain, thanks to these excellent wins on the top two boards, the B-team are flying at the moment. This was a memorable victory against last year's champions, made even more remarkable by the fact that we were out-graded by an average 15 points per board.
By the way, I wonder when we shall be allowed to read episode one!