All Good Things
The season rounded off with some wild games, as is Downend's wont. Downend 1's win secures them promotion to the mighty Division 1, which is a horrific thought. The Rook1Es have held their own magnificently in Division 2 and finished with another good comeback win. Downend 2, who were promoted due to lack of returning teams, see themselves back to Division 4 where we can expect them to get back to their winning ways. Anyhow, the games are freely available, so you must be here for the follow-up Halloween film photos.
Rob never seemed to get into the game, with white quickly snuffing out the f5 break options. Despite this, there was never really any attacking opportunities as the position was held together nicely. In the end an opposite-coloured bishops ending was on the horizon and a draw was accepted to save everyone time.
Something approaching good chess was seen on my board, though I shan't make it a habit. There was an ill-conceived, but perhaps reasonable gambit to improve my pieces while black got in a bit of a tangle on the queenside. When the kingside opened up it was a relatively straightforward finish.
Exchanges came thick and fast in Steve's game, with a dark-square bishop ending the result. There was a slight asymmetry to the pawns, but I expect both sides felt a draw was on the cards. Something went wrong late on as time was getting low, and as a pawn dropped off, white had two passers that seemed too much to contend with.
Black played slowly in the opening, in which white retained a slight edge. There was very little space for black to work with and Dominique had a great time pushing the pieces back. During the middlegame there was a great moment when somehow both of black's bishops were bad. Despite a desperate exchange sacrifice to free up some space, white pushed through for a great win.
Finn, Chris vs default
Whoops! Lockdown makes fools of us all. This default on the top board meant The Rook1Es were starting 0 - ½ down, hence the odd score above.
This was a positional game with small gains being made that would occasionally materialise in the form of a dropped pawn. Exchanges then became order of the day, with two passed pawns being more than enough to stump the black king.
Despite white's best efforts to keep Aron's fireworks at bay, there were some sparks to be found. The middlegame tactic onslaught was something to behold, and black did well to hold the position together until both sides had a pair of connected passed pawns and only kings available to stop them.
Finn's excellent wins continue, with a knight jumping to its optimal h1 square before picking up an ambitious black pawn. Black pressed hard and looked to have a good invasion but things were settled very quickly when Finn spotted a cheeky knight fork to win the last heavy piece.
Ian had the most entertaining game of the night, and that's with it starting as a Petrov! A sort of Reversed Bird's Spanish appeared, which let to a monstrous knight getting cemented on the a well-protected e6 outpost. Before black could think to deal with that, the kingside was opened and it wasn't clear who's attack would land first, though white's had more punch. Time trouble then took over for both sides, though 32. Ng5 (hardly an easy find) could have been move of the season, and black won a rook. Fortunately, it had to be given back for a 7th rank pawn. In the end a draw was agreed, though Ian was on the better side of it.
This was a tricky game and an excellent demonstration of opening up files for your pieces. Despite black's better development, white managed to have enough control over key squares.
As with Samy's game, Shaun seemed to do everything right, but it was almost a mirror of open file control and devilish pins that ultimately saw black win the point.
I liked Elliott's handling of the opening. If your opponent will oblige you to point your h-rook at their castled king, why not castle long? While the white invasion looked scary, if it hadn't been for the adrift black knight, I would have fancied white's chances at hiding back on the kingside and stirring up defences against the defenceless white king.
Well, another season dealt with. They really fly by when they're only half a normal season! My thanks go to everyone that took part, especially those that signed up as reserves only to play every game, or those that received last-minute pleas to play. Let's see what we manage in season 3!