Yet again a new season is upon us, and yet again the Division One opening match v Glastonbury is upon us. As multiple champions of all we survey (well the Somerset Division One Chess league…), we were keen to make sure our unbeaten, golden, historic, all-conquering record continues. MikeR is now the captain officially this season (after unofficially doing a good job last season), and he efficiently arranged the team – in fact our strongest team. After having an embarrassing defeat to Glastonbury a few years back, this time we felt quietly confident in the days leading up to the match.
But, and its a big but, on the day before the match was due to start, Paul Moody of Glastonbury politely phoned Nick to check we were ready and that they’d be coming to play the next day. “Yeah, ok. See you tomorrow.” said Nick. But then Paul added “Oh… I’m not playing, and our team is a bit weak…”.
What kind of Neiderhofferesque mind game is this?? Has he not witnessed Victor’s multiple squash victories by feigning injury, only to turn up the wick when opponents least expect it, having already dropped their guard? Nice try, but we weren’t fazed by this obvious ploy, and awaited the match night, fully expecting a GM, some new wunderkid Miffies, a Sedgemoor player and maybe a token Glastonbury player or two. We weren’t letting our guard down, no sir!!
But come the evening, we glanced at the match player sheet and the level of our paranoia became clear – Paul had been telling the truth – Glastonbury were fielding a low rated team, no GMs (some sort of international chess federation scandal preventing play we hear..?), and, well, low ratings everywhere. Looking through the sheet, the closest grade gap was 22 points (in our favour) and the largest was a massive 47 point (in our favour). Surely a 6-0 whitewash was on the cards? No! Wait, we’ve been overconfident before and its ended horribly.
The games finished in this order –
Board 6: Nick Wilson 1 v Martin Willis 0
Somehow, in trying to play an open Blackmar Deimer gambit, Nick ended up facing a line in the French that he didn’t like. Anyway, Nick continued the only way he knows – stick to the plan of rapid development, throw pawns away and try to get some initiative. Luckily, black missed the best line a couple of times, allowing Nick to catch his king in the centre and press a winning attack.
Next to finish was another nice attacking game –
Board 4: Mike Richardt 1 v Tim Wallis 0
Mike had a lovely game throughout, and simply put, from late opening onwards never looked like losing. He’d arrived late, due to work, but moved quickly and soon had a winning attack. Tim tried shedding some material to stem the attack, and even play for initiative, but there was nothing, and in the end he either was losing his queen or being mated. (UPDATE – now Mike has now added comments/variations to the game score below)
Could all this excitement be continued? Well, next to finish was Dave…
Board 3: C Keen 0.5 v Dave Littlejohns 0.5
There is a concern that many people are relying too much on benzodiazepines. Medics are searching for natural alternatives to these slowly addictive drugs. Well they can stop searching. Looking for a fool-proof, drug free, holistic route to comatosic slumber? Just play through this Dave masterpeice of soporific benzodiazepinic hibernation.
And, not to be out-done by Dave, Ben produced this –
Board 1: Nikita Ayvazyan 0.5 v Ben Edgell 0.5
Ben is our star, 200-rated player, who.. er… what’s that… only rated 199? Really? Oh, ok.. er..right, ok, so…. Ben is our star, er, strongly rated player, who tonight was up against a very promising junior. As any strong player knows, when playing a promising junior, it is vital to win, or face the sniggering of fellow teammates…!
After this, the match score was Taunton leading by 3-1. Just need to cross the line. Terry was next –
Board 1: George Galliano 0 v Terry Stuttard 1
This was an opposite castling pawn storm game. White had a strong looking attack, but was material down, so the attack had to work. It looked dangerous, but Terry defended well, and the attack fortunately petered out, leaving Terry miles ahead in material.
This was the result we needed – Taunton win the match.
Last to finish, was now slightly anti-climatic, Mark
Board 2: Mark Hassall 1/2 v Neville Senior 1/2
Mark seemed to have a strong opening and the general discussion amongst observers was that he was looking likely to be victorious. But Neville consolidated his position and in the end a draw was a good result
Final score – Taunton Win by 4.5 to 1.5!!
A fantastic start to the season. Well played everyone!