Poor Martin. As captain of our Div2 side, he had the task of rounding up six players to venture out in the freezing cold rain and journey up to Weston in the darkness for our next Div2 match. Of course, most people had pre-prepared excuses for when he called asking if they could play – “No, I’m working nights”, “Sorry got guests”, “Hello?.. Hello?… sorry… line’s gone dead…. “. Click. Brrrrrrrrrr. Etc.. Etc..
I had my excuse all lined up, that being “No, Hunted is on BBC1 on Thursdays with the very pouty Melissa George and the randomly un-comprehensible plot-line (but who cares when she just pouts her way through all of it, totally unconcerned)”, but when asked I suddenly remembered that the last episode was already shown, and therefore I had to come up with something fast…. i came up with “er.. Yes, I’ll play”. D’oh!!
I can only assume there must be six Melissa George fanciers in Taunton as Martin managed to locate them all, who suddenly having no excuse to hand, were drafted in to play. Oh, did I mention, Martin wasn’t playing. Yes, he’d used the “Sorry, I’m working nights” excuse…
So off we went, armed with a postcode of the new venue and vague descriptions of it – a bowling club of some sort… Now, many veterans of the Taunton club will fondly remember Arthur Mansfield. Once when driving us back from Yeovil, he took us on a ‘shortcut’, only for us to get horribly lost in an Asda car park. All very amusing, and recounted many times, until horror of horrors, years later Nick somehow managed to do the exact same thing – much to the amusement of everyone else in the car! Don’t let anyone ever tell you that Karma doesn’t exist!
Well Karma came and bit Nick on the backside again, this time en-route to the bowling club. Somehow, we ended up in a Tesco car park, and to make matters worse, we couldn’t find a way out. “Please Mr Karma”, Nick begged, “I’ll not poke fun at Arthur’s shortcuts ever again. Just let me out of this revolving hell….”. And then it happened. By some Karmic magic, right before us was the exit. We were free! “Hmmm… I spose this means I really can’t recount the Arthur Mansfield shortcut story ever again..” mussed Nick. (Hmmm… I do see the irony here – immediately recounting it the very next day on this website to billions round the world… Mr Karma, just so we are clear, this doesn’t count. Ok?).
We eventually arrived. Our team was Nick, Stan, Robin, Jorge, Roger and, wait… who?? Roger?? Yes, Roger, doing a Michael Schumacher, was brought out of retirement to play. MikeW made up the six.
Taunton are currently unbeaten on 3/3 in Div2, so important for us to continue this winning streak. The games started and finished like this –
Board 3: Robin Challenor 1 v M Cooper 0
Robin emerged from the opening with a lovely position. Opposite castling, with all sorts of lines and about-to-open lines for his Rooks, Bishops and Queen, all bearing down on Black’s king. Sure enough it wasn’t long until a tactic presented itself, and Robin quickly won.
Taunton lead 1-0. Next was Roger –
Board 5: Roger Waters 1 v J Parsons 0
Roger played a nice tactic to emerge an exchange up after the opening and skilfully used this extra material to press for more advantage and then the win.
Great – Taunton now lead 2-0!
Next was Mike with this –
Board 6: K Kyriacou 1 v Mike Ward 0
I glanced over at Mike’s game and got a fright – Mike had a draughty King, all exposed with all his major pieces elsewhere, whereas Whites heavy material was all looking to gang up on the lone King. Oooeeer – didn’t look good. I glanced again a bit later and saw Mike’s King, now on the sixth rank – it was more advanced than his Queen or Rook – never good to see that! Sure enough, a bit later he was lost.
Weston Super Mare start to comeback – now Taunton lead 2-1
Next to finish was Jorge –
Board 4: M Dinham 1 v Jorge Pineda-Langford 0
Jorge made a slip in the late opening and found himself a piece down, but with an extra pawn or two and some pressure. He played on and for a while it looked like a Jorge swindle was on the cards, but sadly, for Taunton, ’twas not to be. The game had a few more moves after those listed, but the scoresheet didn’t make sense… Black is lost anyway.
So, now all square at 2-2. Nick and Stan were left.
Nick was next –
Board 1: Nick Wilson 1 v Peter Chaplin 0
Peter is a strong player and Nick has an overall 1-2 deficit in playing him. The game, while short, hinged on how Black captres on f5 on move 12. The move played seems to lose quickly for black, but an interesting variation was with the knight, which whilst both losing a knight for two pawns, and letting White’s Queen in on f7, would have given Black strong counterplay down the h file. Post match analysis was wildly inconclusive of this line, but in full agreement that the played line loses.
Taunton now lead 3-2, with just Stan left.
Some interesting facts for you –
FACT: As of now, all 5 games completed thus far have been wins for White.
FACT: Taunton need 0.5 or 1 point to win he match.
FACT: Our last player has, er.. oh dear.. – Black!
So, can Stan do it and avert the tide of White wins –
Board 1: D Gough 1/2 v Stan Wojcik 1/2
Stan from the opening onwards always seemed to be on the back-foot slightly in this game, always responding to whites (relatively harmless) pressure. By the middle game White’s pressure had won a pawn, but Stan played the latter game accurately (EDIT – well maybe not quite 100% true – see MikeR’s comment below) and his strong King allowed him to force the draw. Well played Stan!
Final score – Taunton Win by 3.5 to 2.5!!
A great result keeping our 100% record. Well played Taunton!