It was a night of very tough opponents and tough losses, though the two didn't necessarily correlate. Downend 1 were supposed to have an easier night against Hull & Beverley Romans 2, but they didn't. The Rook1Es had the very strong Mushrooms 1, but proved more than equal to the challenge. Downend 2 suffered against MK Phoenix 2 and relegation to Division 4 is sealed. Since you can view the games yourself, you're doubtless here for the spooky film quiz, so let's crack on. Click the picture for the answer!
Something went wrong in my opening, but I managed to claw my way back to level. Perhaps I should have taken a topical approach and declared a win there before the final score. Despite no pressure in the endgame, time or otherwise, I then managed to end matters on the spot with a spectacular double blunder.
Dominique had a calmer game, with white making gains on the queenside and black fighting back in the centre. With airy kings in a heavy piece endgame, accurate calculation was required, and it started to look like Dominique's passed doubled pawns might run through, but as the bits were exchanged a more predidctable drawn result emerged.
Stephen played well in the opening and the fighting for the holes in black's position made for some juicy piece placement. While we're all taught that holes in a position can be a weakness, it's easy to forget that it means some pawns are steamrollering ahead. Unfortunately for this balanced game, the pawn roller was more effective this time.
Dave's game was a proper positional affair, with pieces being shifted to optimal squares before exchanges happened (on move 21). Things looked to be going well, but white gained good chances with a protected passed pawn in the endgame. Tenacious defence set enough for problems for white and while there may have been an edge still available, a draw was agreed.
Oli had the toughest club opponent of the night and I assumed he was winning the whole way through. His kingside expansion looked so much safer than mine. An exchange was lost and I was still optimistic, but in the end the attack against the wide open king wasn't quite enough.
Ian scored an excellent win in this one. Careful piece shifting eventually saw a central white pawn fall. White lashed out with a sacrifice to weaken the kingside but the position was closed and it was really just a lost piece, which was enough to earn Ian the point.
It wouldn't be an Aron game if there wasn't something wild. Unable to regain a gambitted pawn, our chap went all in with a piece sacrifice that looked very good. There was a winning line, but it proved too risky to accurately calculate and Aron very sensibly forced a draw by repetition.
Finn's opponent went for a quick queenside development plan. Finn went for a quick hack against the fianchetto. It fell apart very quickly for white.
Ian's game was a slow starter with both sides taking plenty of time. The position was closed and black had less space to work with, which ultimately lost a pawn. Despite a hearty defence, white was able to scupper black's plans as the remaining pieces ran out of squares.
If you recall the game from the last season, Samy seems to have a grudge against the Caro-Kann. This time it took an exchange sacrifice that let white mop up all the pawns while maintaining a passed pawn of his own. By the time black gave the rook back, it was just a matter of converting the point.
Jon, in a hunt for more material for The Chess Pit podcast, returned and snatched a cheeky b-pawn. The pressure mounted and white started to gain an edge, but things reached a head when an accidentally set pre-move wasn't unset in time and a piece was lost.
Elliott played a professional-looking Sicilian opening, but a piece was dropped early on. It was always going to be tricky from there on, and when black invaded with the rooks there was little defence that could be offered.
One more to go until the playoffs!