With this being 10 boards, there were 2 challenges to overcome before a pawn was pushed forward;
1. Get a full team in order to avoid any defaults.
2. Make sure we set everything up in the room in good time before the start of the match.
I’m pleased to say that we achieved both objectives – thanks to everyone who replied confirming their availability or non–availability. Also thanks to Richard Dunn for helping set everything up in the room and to Barry David for bringing along a couple of fold–up chairs due to there being less than 20 chairs available.
Now onto the match – on paper Lewisham outgraded us on all boards except for the top one but I was hoping to grind out a positive result for us. We got off to a bad start when Neil on board 2 overlooked losing a bishop and decided to resign straightaway. At least we saw a novelty – Neil and his opponent turned the kitchen into an analysis room! We were soon 2–0 down when Gian on board 10 did get off to a good start when he kept his position solid, but he lost later on.
Some respectability was restored to our score when Richard D. on board 5 and Robert on board 6 both drew their games to make it 1–3 so far. The match was slipping out of our hands when David lost on board 9 where he found it difficult to recover after arriving late and his opponent, graded more than 60 points above him, was too strong for him. We got a boost on board 8 when Raimundas played quickly and confidently to beat his opponent convincingly but it went from 2–4 to 2–5 just as quickly when Mike on board 7 lost so ruining his drawing reputation already this early in the season!
This left Barry, Chris and me needing to win our games to make it 5–5. Alas, it was not to be. On board 1 Chris played brilliantly to emerge 2 pawns up out of a complex opening but this came with a cost with large chunks of time lost (his bus being late didn’t help as well!). So Chris had to blitz out the remaining moves and was the exchange up until he lost that rook to a knight fork but it was either that or lose on time (it was a quickplay finish). Just before then on board 3 I faced the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Nadjorf so plenty of head scratching there to remember the theory where I only face this opening about once every 5 years (!). I had plenty of compensation for my sacrificed pawn with better development and just when it was getting interesting where a draw was looking the most likely outcome, my opponent suddenly blundered away a bishop and resigned a couple of moves later.
So the match finished 3–6 on the night when Barry on board 4 adjourned his game. He had a good position earlier on but a single bad move changed everything where Barry was on the ropes a pawn down. At home after analysis, Barry decided to resign by email. So the match ended LDCC 3–7 Lewisham, worse than expected but we need to forget about this and just focus on the next match – this league is a marathon not a 100m sprint as we have 11 matches to go!
Alasdair MacLeod, LDCC Captain