We’re sixth out of nine halfway through the season, but two of our three wins came in the last two matches of the year so perhaps we’re just getting into our stride …
Home to Olton C in our first fixture, we lost 0.5 – 2.5 but our measly half point was earned by a result anything but measly: Tom Bridson drawing with an opponent 22 grading points higher. Then we drew with Stratford E (the current table-toppers), Reg’s well-deserved win being balanced by Peter’s defeat. So much for the Captain leading by example.
Our third match was away to Solihull E who won 2 – 1, our point won by Mark Armitage on top board. But next came a team victory, at last, over Banbury D, thanks to solid wins by Reg and Peter.
Perhaps success went to our heads: the following two matches were lost to Stratford D and Daventry C respectively. Our 0.5 – 2.5 defeat by Stratford echoed the Olton result, but this time the half-point came from Mark. In the 1 – 2 defeat by Daventry our point came from Tom, whose opponent was again graded more highly, though this time only by 4 points.
Then we beat Kenilworth D away, 2 – 1: Richard and Reg both drew and Peter managed a win (only his second of the season for the team). And finally, exuding Christmas goodwill, we crushed Solihull F by 2.5 – 0.5. Richard and Peter were the two Scrooges. Reg, being more of a gentleman, allowed his opponent a draw.
Away to Solihull D, 14/9/11
1 Ravenscroft, Phil (-) 1 – 0 Greenland, Guy (113)
2 Akel, Simon (-) 1 – 0 Leggett, Peter (91)
3 Wood, Penny (113) 0 – 1 Warnes, Reg (91)
With Simon away on a business trip to Huddersfield, several other members of the squad also unavailable and a dearth of drivers, I had to borrow heavily from the C squad. Our opponents fielded a couple of strong newcomers on the top two boards, while their board 3 had a grade equal to our board 1.
Guy (tired, hungry and still convalescent from flu) had a good game until he blundered a piece and felt obliged to resign. He wasn’t making any excuses, despite the reasons I’ve cited why he might justifiably have done so.
I faced Bird’s Opening for the first time in my career but kidded myself that I was neutralising all threats then, when White started trading men, I suddenly realised that recapturing with Q would enable a bishop pin of Q to K – when the dust settled I was the exchange and two pawns down. However, two of his pawns were doubled and isolated and a third isolated while my bishop and rook (on the second rank) were better coordinated than his two rooks. Then I hallucinated a tactic that wasn’t there, gave away a pawn gratis and in the process he undoubled the aforementioned pawns and reconnected them with the third isolani. The rest was painful…
Reg, manfully resisting both the strength and the charm of his opponent, had a splendidly wily win, the only one of the evening.
Away to Kenilworth D, 19/9/11
1 Mike Whatson (92) 0 – 1 Simon Harris (104)
2 Tony King (76) 1 – 0 Reg Warnes (91)
3 Steve Payne (51) 0 – 1 Andy Collins (-)
Despite Simon’s availability I still had some difficulty in fielding a team from within my own squad, partly because I was on holiday in Kent. Obviously I wasn’t missed.