Matches are coming thick and fast for University A while we play catch up with the rest of the league, but fortunately another home game as we find our feet. This game welcomed our third new player to the squad, Tom Shepherd. It was the perfect introduction winning quickly with a Greek gift tactic to give us an early lead against both our opponents, Horfield & Redland A.
Next up, Dan Varney did what he does best; destroying people from the White side of the Pirc, going two for two so far this season. His opponent was too slow in the opening trying to play two common ideas when there was only time for one and had to give up a piece. Dan finished in style with an attack too brutal to show here. Dorian Schiefer played his first game back for University A, making it 3-0, albeit after some interesting play by his opponent.
27.Rg6!? A brave rook sacrifice. 27…hxg6 28.Rxg6? Sadly, for Horfield and/or Redfield, this move is met by an unexpected response. 28.hxg6 was best, although finding 28…Rfc7 29.Rg5! is not easy, and not totally winning yet. 28…Rf6! This must have been missed. The rook is immune due to back rank mates. If Black had to move the queen, then 29.e6 would be winning. White played a few more mores a rook down but the result was no longer in doubt.
With three games still to play, only half a point was needed for the win. A promising looking endgame for me (after summoning alumni Denis Fradkin for the opening) proved to not be all that, so I dangled a repetition in front of my opponent testing if he would push for more. Fortunately for us both, Dan Savidge won his game before the draw mattered.
Dan had lost some control allowing counterplay against his king, but the position is still winning. 32.Nc6+ Kc7 33.Nd5+ Kxc6? Black walks into a mate in four, which Dan puts away. 33…Kd6 is much trickier. The point is that White can still go wrong, for example 34.Rd1?? Qg3+!! 35.Rxg3 Rh1# and Black mates! 34.Ra6+ Kd7 35.Qe6+ Ke8 36.Nxf6+ Kd8 27.Qd7#
With the match won, I gave up trying to play on and take the threefold repetition. James Clarke after his monstrous promotion to Board 1 sadly loses a tough game, where the computer calmly finds a complete refutation of White’s dangerous looking attack, which was a kick in the teeth. Despite that another good match win for University A back in the top division; University A 4.5-1.5 Horland & Redfield A.