University A came into this match with strong hopes to enhance our lead over the competition after three straight wins in the season thus far. We had a rocky start after Jonas, again stepping up last minute, showed exceptional opening knowledge until around move 7 when it started going south. Jonas found great form in a similar structure when he held GM Nick Pert to a draw in April, however on this occasion it wasn’t meant to be. Kevin also showed tough resistance against an unusually high rated opponent, but the initiative against his king proved too much, leaving the team 2-0 down going into the last hour.
James Clarke again put up a strong defence with a draw on Board 1, but since he made me swear on pain of death not to reveal any of his preparation, I can’t unveil any positions here. I’ve probably said too much already, but it’s safe to assume that the [opening name redacted] lives to fight another day!
Squad newbee Zachary put in a fantastic technical performance, doing what 6 powerless Downend players could not during a simul in August by taking down Oli Stubbs. In the position below Black is looking to stabilise by cementing a knight on c5, but Zachary anticipated this with the energetic 21. c5!
Black should probably take back with the knight, but he struggled to activate his pieces after 21… bxc5 22. Nb3 Bf8 23. Rbc1 f6 24. a4 c6 25. Nxc5 Nxc5 26. Bxc5 Qf7 27. bxc6 Rac8 28. cxb7 Rxc5 29. Qb2. At the end of this series of trades White has kept control, and the extra pawn combined with an exposed enemy king would later prove decisive.
That left two boards remaining to decide the final score. Captain Dan Savidge had been pressing a positional advantage, but he unfortunately blundered a knight fork in the last few minutes of play. Chess is a brutal game, and we hope that our trip to Barrelhouse afterwards set him on the road to recovery! With the match tied up, President extraordinaire and all-round legend Tom Shepherd (no bias attached) managed to scrape a win in another thrilling snoozefest when his opponent misfired in time trouble.
Congrats to Downend B on a well-deserved victory, and we look forward to welcoming back an almost identical Downend A team in December.
University 2.5 – Downend B 3.5