I was supposed to be in London today at golders green but lack of sleep meant I cancelled (in case knaves are wondering how I'm doing a match report in the middle of a rapid Congress!)
Last night a modified knaves team took the trip to the coast to meet fellow bottom dwellers the shrimps who had a strong team out.....
Board one guesting Crumpton took on Christopher Sheehan in an evenly graded top board. I didn't see much as my game for once dragged on endlessly, I had like 35 minutes left or something horrific. Crumptons was last to finish though and a very tight game with opposite bishops, one rook and a handful of pawns each in a totally closed position. Crumpton had huge time advantage but offered the draw which seemed a very fair result.
Board two captain Ken against the diminutive but dangerous Amy Little, outgrading Ken as were all 3 bottom boards by a margin. Ken won a piece early on and hammered home the advantage, I was able, whilst my opponent mused, to watch Kens king stalk her king down the files and mate in the corner with queen. A great win.
Board three was me against Jack Evans and his top knot. I played the London system (lol) and he deployed the stonewall Dutch against it, he had the running early on with that awkward pawn structure but I found a tactic to restrict his bishop and chase his rook around whilst I rearranged pieces. I had a strong attack but was a pawn down and doubled centre pawns and he defended well so I managed to swap off everything except white bishops and 6 pawns each (winning back my lost pawn to initiate the exchanges). Offered the draw but he declined it due to my doubled isolated pawns. However, he put all his hopes in his connected centre pawns with one a passer and let me pick off most of the rest. Then a king to pawn skewer and bishop exchange left him with one passed pawn on the 3rd rank blocked by my king, me with a passer on the king side and two to one queen side. Hobson's choice for him and I forced the win down the queen side and he resigned a square before queening.
Board four Alan guesting against Tony Piper. I did not see any of this game but Alan reveals he had a deadly rook fork which he didn't even need to cash in as it cleared the way for forced mate by his queen. Sounded like a commanding performance!
3.5 to 0.5 and our second win of the season and we are off the bottom! A really great night, and we had the pleasure of Dennis company too who took on John Pearl in a couple of friendly games.