Thu 28 Oct. Division One
Uni of St Andrews A ½-3½ Dundee A
1. 1908 Sam Herring 0-1 Jacques Ophoff 2257
2. 1642 Stuart Ballantyne 0-1 David Findlay 2150
3. 1688 Alexandre Kings ½–½ Stephen Hogg 2027
4. u/g Ash Curry-Machado 0-1 Ed Spencer 2016
An apparently comfortable win and a fine scoreline for the defending champions, now on a quest for our own ‘nine in a row’! Not quite as comfortable as the scoreline suggests though.
Ed’s game was a complex affair, and Stockfish flags up a series of errors rather too subtle for most of us to discern. It was finally decided when Ed’s opponent fell into an elementary double attack to lose his rook, one that even I spotted!
David’s win was a bit more straightforward, as he sprung from his customary Philidor-esque cocoon to overwhelm his opponent with a decisive counterattack.
Jacques opponent’s pawn advances from his Dutch stronghold left just too many holes, and he broke through in impressive fashion with Queen, Rook and Pawn combining in a stirring attack.
A rash of middlegame complications left Stephen in quite a state, at one point three pawns down, and an opposing pawn on the 7th. It wasn’t looking good. But a staunch rearguard action eliminated the potential new Queen, and Stephen managed to get the deficit down to a single pawn, and then steer into a drawn ending. A fine rescue, and the history of this event has shown that every half can count.
The grading difference may have suggested that such a scoreline was on the cards, but delivering the result is a different matter. An excellent start to the title defence guys.