An important battle between the top two teams in the division, although we were both propping up the table online due to it currently being sorted alphabetically. Either way, we wanted to close the gap on our opponents and one of our strongest teams for an away match braved my inevitable travel disaster. The bus was made easily in the end with only mild panic on my part and the bulk of the team headed to Thornbury.
Dan Varney was clearly in a rush to get home and drew his game after just 30 minutes meaning he spent four times longer on the bus than he did playing. A missed tactic changed what he thought was a pleasant endgame advantage into a dead draw.
After a bit more of a pause, Dan Savidge was next to finish after his opponent blundered in a position where Dan had good compensation for a sacrificed pawn in a Scandinavian.
22… Nd5? (22… Kf8 is my computer’s suggestion but White can shatter the king’s cover there with 23. Bxf6 or get the pawns rolling with 23. h3) 23. Bxd5 exd5 (23… Qxd5 allows a discovered attack with 24. Qg5+) 24. Qg5+ and the bishop cannot be saved. Dan won a few moves later.
Next to finish was Alex Belsley who bravely and unknowingly faced the Bird’s Opening so I didn’t have to.
My game was next to finish after surviving a draw by 3-fold repetition of draw offers because that isn’t a thing. Mainly I just wanted to keep playing after travelling for so long and there was no real danger of losing. In a complex queen endgame a pawn down, my opponent blundered in time pressure, which was enough to seal the match 3.5-0.5 with two games to go. This was good as it wasn’t obvious if any more points were coming our way. Ethan drew in a worse ending, but Alex Vaughan was unable to save a bishop ending. At least he finished in time so we could get the last bus home, which is sadly no consolation for him.
Most of the long distance away games are out of the way for the season and we are back at home next Thursday for what is, on back, our last game before Christmas, but I’ll get in touch with people about playing our postponed game between then too.
Thornbury 2-4 University A
Mike Townsend 0-1 Daniel Savidge
Lynda Smith 0-1 Alex Belsley
David Vaughan 0-1 Ian Gallagher
Andrew Borkowski 1-0 Alex Vaughan
Justin Yau 0.5-0.5 Dan Varney
TBC 0.5-0.5 Ethan Luc