After their success in Div 2 last year it was interesting to see what the University team would look like; the answer: a couple of familiar faces and four new ones.
All the excitement took place on the top two boards, Oscar had a winning position on move 6 with ….fxe6 leading to a fatal exposure of the e pawn and the knights, with black resigning after Oscar’s tenth move. Board 1 was a much more complicated affair; Ian produced some opening preparation in a sharp and trendy line against Aron’s Slav Defence. I will leave it to the opening theorists/computers to suggest improvements but the Nxf7 sacrifice left Ian with a winning position. Aron struggled on and was able to coordinate his pieces but the b7 pawn should have been decisive. However Ian advanced his d pawn too recklessly, when 37 Qe6 followed by h4/h5 would win, so Aron was able to collect the d pawn and with his rooks combining to cover b8 his knight was able to pick off the white pawns and then contribute to a mating attack. Much sorrow for Ian!
The remaining games were more routine. Steve got a good Benoni position with plenty of queenside play, Jonas lashed out on the kingside but to no effect and Steve’s play crashed through supported by two dominant bishops. I (Nigel) obtained a positional advantage early on with better development and a passed d pawn. Tommy rightly stormed forward on the kingside in King’s Indian style and gave me some awkward moments but objective there was nothing there and the point was gathered in.
Peter on Board 5 faced the Morra Gambit but was not tempted to hang on to the pawn, selecting a line in which the queens came off early. He won a pawn as Finn strove to avoid weakening his pawn structure and the rest was ‘a matter of technique’ in which Peter seemed smooth. Finally board 6 saw opposite side castling with Mark getting there first to open up the black king, win a piece and the end was not long in coming.
A 6-0 win and good to get one under our belts as the return fixture with University B will no doubt be a great deal harder as their players gain experience.