Never tell me the odds

17th October 2017 - Downend A vs Clifton A

We had a sneaking suspicion that Clifton A may not be at full strength after some of their team appeared in photos somewhere far away with a red sun. It may not be the most difficult detective work, but we'll certainly take credit.

Red Sun

I don't know where John Curtis is, but I know he's studying the Colle.

Regardless, one of Clifton's strengths (as well as being absurdly strong) is squad depth and a few missing players was unlikely to affect much.

Henry and James agreed a fairly quick draw, though Henry may have had reasonable chances in a line he hadn't seen. In a post-match interview, our board 1 went on record to say that taking the draw was the wussy option especially considering how he was worried for the state of the match (which in fairness, was my bad).

Richard was continuing his foray into unexciting openings and once he and Gareth had pushed most of their pawns to the fourth and fifth ranks they also drew. Nigel played very solidly against an ambitious try from Duncan and despite having a slight space advantage and the bishop pair, Duncan was just unable to find a convincing plan and board 3 split the points.

This was all very well and good; Martin had a level position in his game and Jerry was claiming a massive space advantage having sorted out a thorny pawn near his king. Unfortunately, my run of tremendous form continued as I chucked a piece as part of a rash defence in a duff line of the Dragon. A draw looked to be the best we could hope for.

Fortunately for us (and me!) Manuel then allowed a mating net to form around his king and I was able to nab a second pawn in the endgame. Although the chances were still with black, my excess pawns were passed and ready to roll, so black opted for a repetition.

With Jerry converting his game to put him on a Caruana-esque 5/5 with a 190 performance, Martin only needed to hang on in his game. He had resolved IQP position but allowed a rook to invade. With time running very low for both players, Martin offered a draw but Anton decided to play on. One move later, the position repeated and this time it was Anton that offered the draw.

As Dear Leader Jerry phrased it "a bit of a scrappy win".

Michael Meadows