Once again University A were lucky to have their away game at Clevedon early enough in the season that the new players don’t yet know of the ordeal in getting there. Zachary stepped up to board 1 while Kevin joined the team for his first game. Getting to Clevedon is supposed to be the easy part. I made my own way to there and still had to wait 45 minutes for a bus while the rest of the team had to get an Uber after their bus decided not to exist, which is relatable. Despite all this, we had another strong team all at the cricket club before the start time, which doesn’t always happen.
Kevin was first to finish keeping up his Blitz form from the weekend. His opponent felt obliged to sacrifice an exchange to justify his Smith-Morra gambit and Kevin wrapped up the win using just 20 minutes of his own time. My own game was the second to finish with me using almost all my time and my opponent playing quickly. It proved to be a good investment as the attack flew like an arrow.
18.h4 cxd4 19.hxg5 dxc3 20.gxh6 cxd2 The string of pawn captures were not the best by Black but strangely we got into a capturing rhythm. 21.Rxc8 Qxc8 22.hxg7 Rd8 If Black keeps up the capturing with 22…Kxg7 he gets mated after 23.Qg4+. 23.Qh5 f5 I had missed this resource when playing my 18th move but found a nice way to conclude the attack.
24.Bxf5 There was a more forcing win available with 24.Qh8+ Kf7 25.Qh7 Rg8, I got this far but missed the finish 26.Qh5+ Kxg7 27.Bh6+ Kh7 28.Bf8 mate. 24…exf5 25.e6! A quieter move when two pieces down but it creates big threats. 25…Kxg7 26.Qf7+ Kh8 27.Qxe7 and Black was quickly mated.
Kevin and I began our journey home without realising that the bus timetable had changed from last year; a bad sign for things to come. However, the match continued to go well with Dan and Jonas both picking up wins sealing the match for the university, the latter finding a neat tactic to win a piece due to a knight fork. Tom won shortly after and while Zachary tried his best for a clean sweep, Clevedon finally managed to get something on the board with a lone draw.
Now the real match began. The remaining four players tried to get their own Uber to get them home, but nobody was willing to drive that far out despite boasting Pier of the Year 2021. With no other option, they began the 4.5 hour walk back to Bristol with only the encouragement of beeping cars responding to their positive thumbs-up attitude.
You had to be there to get the full story, or at least sat in a pub analysing your game checking how they were getting on. I recommend speaking to one of the players at the Saturday social for more information. The short story is that they were eventually able to get an Uber to pick them up although their journey home was delayed by a police officer taking issue with the Uber driver flying over the top of the roundabout. We survived another trip to Clevedon but it seems to get more stressful every year.