Happy New Year to one and all and especially to our gallant and brave team who ventured out last Thursday. David Graham lost a closely fought match with Malcolm Dinham having also lost to him in the previous match. Congratulations to Vic for once again beating Steve Miles, rated 30 points above him, Mike Ward drew and Chris Greenaway accepted his opponent’s offer of a draw to level the match at 2-2.
Afterwards he said he could have won, but we all say that don’t we? In this case though I think he could have. Anyway, I was pleased with a draw after our last outing to Weston ended in a 3-1 defeat against the Weston Bishops team and a 1.5 to 2.5 defeat when the Weston Knights visited Taunton in September.
The Knights welcomed Wellington to St Michaels Church on the 17th December. Wellington brought a strong side as expected, but no Chris Barratt on board one unlike the previous week when they faced and lost to the Bishops who triumphed 2.5-1.5. They drafted in A.Walker a 140 player to play Arnold 126 grade (a bit un-expected to say the least). To the match Knights Arnold, Chris, Martyn, Stan. The first game to finish was Stan v Robert Harris board 4 a draw agreed in the middle game which seemed premature, but there were no Pawn breaks to be had no easy way to break through with out weakening ones position. This in turn put added pressure on the other boards
Chris board two was next to finish playing a much improved Alan Stonebridge had a battle on his hands. Alan with two passed Pawns versus Chris passed pawn in the end game a clear advantage for White un-expectedly offered a Draw, which Chris gladly accepted as he felt his position was lost, his reputation obviously goes before him. 1-1
Martyn next to finish Board 3 v John Jeremiah who played his unusual opening e4 b4 against Martyn’s Sicilian which triumphed in a previous encounter. White had the better of the opening Blacks defence held.
Momentum changed move 22 White missed a tactic Black sacrificing a Rook for the pair of Bishops, Whites attack nullified. 2-1.
Arnold board 1 v A.Walker played superbly White having no answers to Blacks attacking play. Move 14 Ng4 trapping Whites Black squared Bishop was missed by his opponent and was the turning point of the game. A piece and Pawn up there was only going to be one winner. With precise play Black won comfortably. 3-1.
Game on web site press Shift F keys to flip board to view game from Arnolds perspective.
Well, we got there eventually. There was a lot of traffic on the A370 into Weston; probably carnival traffic parking up for the next day we were told.
Arnold had kindly agreed to be our top board and he was evenly matched with Ollie Isaac. David (100) was playing Malcolm Dinham (106) so fairly even there too. Both Mike Ward and Vic were outgraded by 20 points or so (against John Parsons and A Keen) but I was quietly confident. Last year we came away with a victory against similar grades.
David finished first; an absolute disaster. How can anyone allow an h7 mate after 17 moves. Well you’re just going to have to guess because I’m too embarrassed to put the game up on the website.
Mike succumbed to a mass of pawns (and pieces) bearing down on his King which had nowhere to go but into danger.
Vic looked to have a reasonable chance and his opponent’s King was well exposed, but after Queens were exchanged he was playing with 2 Rooks against 2 Rooks and a Knight. And then that nasty Knight was threatening to fork Rooks and the King and he bravely capitulated.
Arnold finished last and it was an evenly and fiercely fought contest. It eventually came down to a Rook and pawn ending, an isolated white pawn on a5 which black had to defend with his Rook allowing Arnold to win a pawn on the other side of the board and leaving him, eventually, with King and Pawn against King. No slipping up and allowing a stalemate and Black resigned. Well played, Arnold.
A disappointing 3-1 loss. Damp squibs and other firework metaphors are wholly inappropriate. Hope springs eternal though, so we’re back in December against Wellington.
Wells had postponed our original scheduled meeting as they had a few players off sick. They emailed me details of their likely team but when they turned up on Tuesday last the composition of their team was different. Conspiracy theorists suspected an attempt to make us field a weaker team but I had already decided on the team anyway. I innocently believed their excuse.
A full house at the club with a new junior meant that we started a little late as I had to call for silence.
Off we went. I think Mike Ward finished first, falling to a Knight smothered mate in the corner. Surely he’s old and ugly enough not to fall prey to that sort of checkmate, I hear you say. Sadly no. 0-1.
Phil finished next and lost reasonably quickly. His believable excuse was that he had been having exhaust problems on his car and was thinking more about the return journey to Minehead than the really important matter at hand. 0-2.
David was next to finish playing White. His queen got chased round a bit, his King got out of position and didn’t castle. Queens were exchanged, and rooks, and pawns. With 4 pawns and a rook each left, a draw was agreed. Well done David for not losing on time this week. 1/2 – 2 1/2.
Jerry, playing black and I think he said an advanced French, seemed to be a bit cramped but with Rooks bearing down on the King side with White’s King well advanced. After the King retreated to safety neither player seemed to be able to or want to risk making a breakthrough and potentially weakening their position so a draw was agreed. 1-3.
A fair result but a bit disappointing. I think we could have done better. Maybe next time.
The first of the matches between the two Taunton teams took place on Tuesday 22nd Oct. As usual the Knights outgraded the Bishops but the Bishops were quietly confident, a bit like Wales against South Africa in the Rugby world cup. And so it was.
The only win from the Bishops was Jerry against Chris. Phil seemed to be alright against Arnold but more pawns won the day. Vic McAndrew played a blinder against Martyn (grades 78 v 119) but unfortunately Martyn wriggled his way out of defeat with a (sneaky) perpetual check.
David was in a strong position against Stan but didn’t pick the right moves to force a win. And then lost on time (again).
So the Knights won 2.5 to 1.5. Well done and may your luck run out for our next match.
I don’t think White ever got going