Yes, although the TSToCPGs are no longer quite so god-like, and no longer causing fear and panic in Division One by mercilessly trampling and destroying hitherto respect-worthy opposition, there still flickers a flame somewhere, and thus we find ourselves in the Somerset Cup Semi Final.
And who dares challenge us? Who fancies their chances against a once great beast?
Glastonbury, that’s who. Well c’mon, lets see what you’ve got?
Actually that’s particularly pertinent with regards to Glastonbury. Regular readers will know pawnstar’s assessment (‘mocking’ – Ed) of that team. When combined with a full strength GM on board one (‘Er.. I’m only playing to make up the numbers…’ <coughs, rubs nose, tugs earlobe etc..>) and a small array of Miffy Wunderkinder with stratospherically accelerating grades, and padded out with Glasto journeymen, they are a force even the TSToCPGs would hesitate to stomp all over without first checking one’s foot placement – hard and to the groin normally works well, metaphorically of course…
So, we arrived at the club, and all the hens clucked about who exactly from Glastonbury would turn up. We’d already seen some WunderKs earlier this season, but that was a few weeks ago, and since then they could easily be 25-75BCF higher. But then a rumour started spreading. People started checking their diaries. Chins were rubbed and eyes squinted, pointing skywards. Yes. it is half-term week! All the little Wunders will be back home with their Mutters des Erfolgs and therefore it will be a regular (‘Pure’ – Roger Fenton) Glastonbury team. Time to put your best stomping boots on, and Glastonbury had better pray they are cupped properly – again metaphorically of course…
MikeR organised our team and we were at near full strength – players were MikeR, MarkH, JamesN, NickW, AlexC, MatinW, StanW and MartynM.
Glastonbury turned up and as now expected, were hopelessly out-graded throughout.
But two things are important to note. Our legendary over-confidence against Glastonbury caused a deep-scarring 5-1 loss many moons ago. Must.. stomp… carefully..
Secondly, we did not have our MikeW-on-board-8 secret weapon.
Surely these two omissions wouldn’t cause a problem?
We settled down to play and the gladiatorial arena looked like this –
It goes without saying there was a token coin toss to give some supporting evidence to the regardlessly inevitable colour choices. Nick had white, and everyone else settled in around that…
So, as match got underway and the results came along roughly in this order –
First was Stan –
Board Seven – Barry Thorney v Stan Wojcik
I remember first playing Stan back in the late ’80s. He’d normally turn up late (due to work presumably), dash across the room, still suited-n-booted, and then proceed to play dashingly, almost crushing a then baby-pawnstar with Sicilian dragons and Rc3 sacrifices. Little pawnstar would gasp, wide-eyed at Stan’s flamboyant aggression and style.
Unfortunately, tonight Stan didn’t play like that and instead took a leaf out of Robin’s book and succumbed to an embarrassing knight fork, ending the game.
We’d barely finished doing the laces on our DM’s and yet we are 1-0 down – ulp!
I think Alex was next –
Board Five – Roy Turner v Alex Conway
Alex had the edge throughout and won fairly quickly.
Scores level at 1-1.
Now Martin –
Board Six – Martin Worrall v Roger Fenton
Martin played a nice controlled game, winning a piece with a simple tactic, and then wrapped things up neatly.
Taunton edge ahead 2-1.
Next was Nick’s –
Board Four – Nick Wilson v Martin Willis
Nick was graded much higher and was expected to win. His comments – “Felt the game was going in the direction I wanted, but then became aware of people mocking, yes, mocking(!) my 19. Bg5 move. Of course I’d seen the alternative, Qg5, forcing Ng6, followed by Nxe6 and then picking up the g6 Knight, but Bg5 felt intuitively right. Stockfish agreed, saying +20, although I’ll admit I didn’t see the precise continuation after that. And a final thanks to Martin for allowing the mate!”
So Taunton press ahead 3-1. Next was Mike –
Board One – Roger Morgan v Mike Richardt
Mike won without ever being under any pressure – comments from him –
So Taunton lead 4-1. Just need to cross the line… (although any analyticals amongst us will know we’d already won as should Glastonbury get to 4-4 (yeah – right!?), then board 8 would be discounted and we’d then win 4-3. but lets ignore all this to keep the tension slightly longer….)
Oddly enough, the next game was on board 8, with Martyn making his Som Cup debut and bringing the overall count of Martins on the evening to 3-
Board Eight – Martyn Maber v Stuart Marsh
Martyn played a solid game and wrapped things up nicely with a well-played end-game.
So Taunton win, with an un-catchable 5-1 lead!
Still two games in play, both now dead rubbers as they say.
First was Mark –
Board Two – Mark Hassall v Chris Snook-Lumb
This was an exciting double-edged French Winawer game (white invades on K-side, black invades on q-side). Not sure anyone had an accurate take on who was best throughout, but near the end, black’s rooks infiltrated, White lost an exchange, and it was over. No game data here, sorry. (yes I know, we show all Taunton’s flashy wins, and yet losses strangely get discretely hidden…)
So now, Taunton lead 5-2
There was one game still to go – James’s.
Board Three – Tim Wallis v James Byrne
I don’t have the moves, but James was a pawn or two up through-out the middle game and looked likely to win. But towards the end, Tim had got to an equal-looking R+P v R+P ending (although the higher-graded among us would have placed some value on the relative king positions (James was better), it was surely a draw with best-play).
However, the game dragged on, and just like in the quarter-final, pawnstar got bored and went home. Hours later a text came through saying James had won, although I assume via a time-pressure-induced error from Tim.
So Taunton won convincingly, 6 to 2! Here is a photo of the scoresheet before boredom and the prospect of watching a DVRed new series of Happy Valley sent pawnstar dashing for the exit
Time to wipe clean the DMs and prepare for the final. No idea when it is, nor who we are playing.
Well done to all and plenty of time to hone our chess skills prior to the Final in the coming weeks!