Castlehill D 1½ -2 ½ Dundee A
1 Cosmo Bobak 1547 ½-½ David Findlay 2150
2 Andrew Rowe 1518 0-1 Ed Spencer 2016
3 Baillie Armstrong 1490e D-1 Alastair Dawson 1734
4 Ognyan Dimchev Kolev 1481 1-0 James Anderson 1577
What looked on paper a straightforward task for the champions turned out anything but. A disappointing start as Alastair’s opponent failed to show. At least we were a point ahead, but Jim blundered horribly after a solid start to hand Oggy a free queen and level the scores.
There followed a strange sequence for us spectators as Ed’s game with Andy apparently ended in an extraordinarily tame 11 move draw, but more was to come on that. David struggled initially to make much inroads into Cosmo’s sicilian, but a misplayed middlegame allowed him to establish a clear and winning advantage. An uncommon slip dissipated much of that, but David still held a clear pawn plus and seemed certain to nurture it to a win. But with Cosmo defending stubbornly and David unable to find a clear plan, the game slid away into an eventual repetition. Apparently the match had ended in a shock draw.
But, at first unknown to your correspondent, Ed and Andy had resumed hostilities! It seemed they had initially been playing at the wrong time control. They drew/cancelled the original game, and after replaying the first 11 moves began proceedings anew. But though he established a small but clear edge from the early skirmishes, it seemed Ed was going to struggle to bring home the needed point. And then a big slip looked as though he had gifted Andy the win, which 38.Bc7 would surely have settled. Happily from a Dundee point of view, Andy missed his chance, and further endgame errors decided the contest in our favour.
A remarkable fight from Castlehill D, particularly after a default start, could easily have seen them score a real coupon buster. As it is, the champions live to continue their title defence, but they will hope there aren’t any scarier bumps in the road ahead!