|Dundee A||Castlehill A|
|1||2257||Jacques Ophoff||B||½ – ½||Richard Polaczek||W||2354|
|2||2150||David Findlay||W||1 – 0||Declan Shafi||B||2169|
|3||2016||Ed Spencer||B||1 – 0||Andre Babin||W||1883|
|4||1577||James Anderson||W||0 – 1||Richard Kynoch||B||1812|
|2½ – 1½||
An excellent and potentially critical result for the champions, against their likely closest challengers, who indeed outgraded us on three of the boards. All the games were as closely fought as you’d imagine.
The opening skirmishes left Jim struggling for space, but as previously mentioned, this doesn’t usually bother him overmuch! This time however Richard gradually turned the screw too tight, established a passed pawn on the sixth, and a final unwise rook exchange left Jim unable to stop the passer except by giving up his knight for a hopeless ending.
Jacques and Richard P matched each other blow for blow in a heavyweight Slav, and Jacques held firm to secure the vital draw with the IM.
Ed’s enterprising pawn charge from his new favourite Modern seemed to leave Andre as (Easily) Confused as his screen name. Was certainly confusing the heck out of me. A wild position ensued, recalling Tal’s dictum that “You must take your opponent into a deep, dark forest where 2+2=5 and the path leading out is only wide enough for one.” Andre cracked first and most to leave Ed with a clear material advantage, and a fine win.
David led Declan down a Viennese path for their latest encounter, and his early apparently awkward pawn formation belied the space advantage it enabled. David’s positional squeeze finally told on Declan, and he steered his material advantage home masterfully in the ensuing ending.
This could be the biggest step in the champions path to retaining the title.
|Thu, 9 Dec||Castlehill C||Dundee B|
|1||1570e||Rishi Vijayakumar||B||½ – ½||Sir Philip Cohen||W||1784|
|2||1569||Robert Jackson||W||1 – 0||Alastair Dawson||B||1734|
|3||1554||Leyton D Hackney||B||1 – 0||James Anderson||W||1577|
|4||1478||Agnijo Banerjee||W||0 – 1||Ray Flood||B||1411|
|2½ – 1½|
A disappointing reversal as this time we were the ones outgrading our opponents on three boards, but going down by the same result. Something of a pattern.
Agnijo I think has not been playing much since going down to Cambridge and was perhaps a little rusty. I suspect I also did not play it as accurately as I could have, but I gained a pawn, and the position held sufficiently for me to steer home the point.
Jim was playing his second game in as many nights, and it was just a moment of blindness that allowed the fork gifting Leyton the exchange, an advantage he never looked like letting go, and finished with a nice combination.
Rishi has made great strides in recent years, but his adventurous spirit seemed to get him into trouble early on against Phil, who looked to be getting there first in an opposie side castling race. But things got very complicated in the tactical battle, and Phil found his own king to be the one in greater trouble as both players made errors and dropped material and time, but Rishi seemed to have it sorted. But the right path was not easy, and under great time pressure, the young man was compelled to take the draw by repetition.
So 1½ – 1½ and all to play for. Alastair won a pawn handily against Robert, and settled down to nurse his advantage through to the ending. Easier said than done though, and Alastair later found his extra pawn backward, and difficult to nurse anywhere. In attempting to still squeeze something from the position, it all turned on its head and Alastair went from a pawn up to a pawn down in the ending. It moved onto a pure pawn ending with a passed pawn for Robert which proved hopeless.
So the third 2½ – 1½ loss out of three games for the B team. It’s been as unlucky as it reads, but we’ll be hoping to translate the might-have-beens into points soon.