We trekked out to Bingley expecting that only a win would keep us out of the relegation zone over Christmas.
Funny how things never work out as you expect.
First to finish were John Milnes and Kevin Winter, who blitzed through a Four Knights and shook hands at ten past eight. I assumed it must all have been theory, but, no, they were just playing really fast. Pete Rooney and Winston Williams had a very symmetrical position and soon agreed a draw too. Then it went a bit wrong…
I’ve been playing the Queen’s Gambit Declined for more than 30 years, with both colours, but managed to make it look as though I’d never seen the opening, or perhaps a chessboard, before in my life. When I dropped a pawn it always seemed likely that Bill Somerset would win the ending, and indeed he did. Three losses in eight days to end the year for me.
Perhaps Mark Crowther will write a book one day explaining how Black’s knight gets to g2, supported by a pawn on h3, by move 15 of the King’s Indian. Perhaps I will even buy it. Mark sacced the exchange to get rid of the monster horse, and claimed to have a stable position, but pushed for more and found that Darwin Ursal was wise to his tricks. Two down.
We’d managed to lock Peter Sammut Briffa in the car on arriving at Bingley, but he didn’t hold a grudge and indeed against Robert Pells was the only Polish player who looked like he had an advantage all the way through. Peter won a pawn and soon the game, so it was all on board 5.
After the usual mayhem, Paul Day established a nice advantage in a minor piece ending against Carlos Velosa. Paul then played some of the most immaculate chess I’ve ever seen, swinging his king first to the kingside to win a pawn, then back to the queenside to exchange off the minor pieces, than finally back to the kingside again to win by a tempo, and incidentally to save Polish’s season. Still, we expected to be in 7th place over Christmas, but hadn’t reckoned on Clayton Laners’ against the odds win over South Bradford A, which lifts us to 6th. Thanks guys!
Report by Phil Watson