Not King of the Hill
I was away this week attempting to walk in the highlands, but later realised it was much more my speed to go to Edinburgh, have a Sunday roast, and smash an escape room.
Rob sacrificed an exchange to cement a monstrous knight on d6 bolstered by two pawns. Unable to sacrifice the exchange back, black sacrificed two exchanges back but one came with no material and the point was easily won.
Playing in a tent, I was slowly drumming up something on the c-file, but white was creating a far more impressive something that culminated with a double sacrifice to mate that was worth letting white play out.
This game saw an unusual Sicilian and while black was able to grab a couple of pawns on the queenside, white took a piece. The game ended when a bishop rerouting allowed Dominique to win either a rook or set up an unstoppable mating attack.
Ian took a sneaky h-pawn, but as there was a rook behind it, white may not have been too bothered. Development against black's queen allowed white to drum up the rest of the attack for CSC's second king in the centre mate.
Max developed well, but white was able to create weaknesses against the castled black king, which became the theme of the game. It took 30 moves, but white was finally able to crack open the rest of the defences.
Oli had a comfortable start, but in the theme of the evening, the castled king was under fire and after a heavy invasion, it was ousted for a mate in the centre.
Ian's return was a a triumph. Winning a pawn early on, a heavy piece invasion proved too much for white to hold while also chasing the material deficit.
Finn made his 4NCLO debut after testing himself in the J4NCLO, with an excellent draw against higher-graded opposition. Being down a few pawns doesn't matter when you play better in the endgame to hold the half point.
Surprise promotion to Division 3 has made the team's task much harder as Dave found out against his FM opponent. There was a theoretical opening after which Dave may have even been better, but a piece blunder ended the battle.
Samy was under pressure and had troubles on the f-file, but tenacious defence proved to be well worth it as white got carried away and allowed a royal skewer that ended the game.
Shaun gave up an exchange for two pawns after an Owen's Defence turned Winawer-ish. Things looked good but black found a way to invade with the queen and rook and while a draw was on the cards, Shaun risked going for more. It didn't work this time, but it will the next time!
Catherine's first foray into ECF chess was far from a disaster. Black was a little passive but it was only a b6 push that lost a piece. After that white was able to mop up smoothly.
Tough nights for all the teams, but we'll turn it around soon enough!