David May and Ed King strapped themselves into my mean, green, getting lost machine and we trundled up the A140 to Sheringham (via Cromer, because I am a terrible navigator) to meet up with Brian and combat the North Norfolk Seals last Friday.
Board one saw me take on Darrell Pigott with the White pieces, and my inexperience with the Pirc saw us quickly transpose into a bad version of the Philidor for me, with four very scary pawns bearing down upon my king whilst Darrell's sat, completely undisturbed on the queenside. I needed about three tempi to even have a chance at counterplay, but luckily, after a5?? was gifted to me for reasons beyond both mine and Darrell's comprehension, I had the counterplay I needed. His pawns stalled and I thrusted, sacrificing a pawn for a strong attack. After a couple of inaccuracies, Darrell found himself in the kitchen sink variation and I took home the first full point of the season.
Board two saw The King with the black pieces matching up against Alan Page, who played his notorious English opening. The early middlegame was dominated by a knight on an outpost in the middle of Ed's queenside, but he managed to remove it and as both players drifted towards having minutes left on the clock, Ed offered a draw and Alan promptly accepted.
Brian faced Peter Clough on board three, where a c6 English unfolded. Play seemed to be focused on the queenside, but Black managed to very quickly shift into a kingside attack, and unfortunately his pieces were able to attack quicker than White could manoeuvre back to defend. Facing mate in two, Brian resigned.
Board Four saw David face Ed Hackford, in what was apparently a very even game all the way through to an endgame, with just a couple of pawns each and a bishop left on the board. Alas, disaster struck when David missed that his pawn could be captured with check, leaving his bishop en prise, and fell at the final hurdle.
So, it was in defeat that we drove back down the A140 (via Catton, because I am a terrible navigator).
Three of the games from this match are also on the website! Really pleased that people are sending me games. Brian has asked me to clarify exactly how I like them sent to me: the chess.com analysis board is what I usually use to put the games on the website, but I can import .pgn files that are emailed to me and the Lichess studies tool is just as good, so choose what is most convenient for you! Failing any of the three, I will write up any text-based games I get when I have a spare moment. Here is the link to the games currently on the website again, in case your email application doesn't like hyperlinked text:
Hopefully we can secure our first team win on the 1st of November, when we face Kings Lynn. Now how is it that I'm meant to sign off these things? Gerry? Ah, gotcha.
-Nathan Abbott, 23rd October 2018