Ouch! After a fantastic start to the season with a win against Chorlton, ECA were brought back down to earth with a bump against a very strong Holmes Chapel team. Boxing with the big guys ain't easy.
1. J Blackburn (UG) 1 - 0 John
In John's words: "Depressed. Completely outplayed J Blackburn. Gave up a pawn for huge position. Won back the pawn with won game. Missed a cheapo as time got short. Also clock was misbehaving."
2. J Turner (181) 1 - 0 Phil
Despite losing another game I did actually enjoy the latter stages of this one. My opponent had a slight pull out of the opening and I ended up giving up a pawn to get a playable position. However I managed to activate my pieces and ended up in a Bishop ending where my Bishop was more active. However I was still a pawn down and moved rather too quickly in the mutual time trouble, missing a simple draw.
3. P Bennett (173) 0.5 - 0.5 Tudor
Tudor seemed to be under pressure against the King's Indian but has lots of experience in these types of positions and managed to hold the draw.
4. M Hancock (178) 1 - 0 David T
David seemed to survive the opening with a solid French Defence but eventually succumbed to the persistent pressure.
5. A Raeburn (160) 1 - 0 Alan
Alan's solid London System achieved a playable middlegame but eventually his opponent's strength told.
6. I Bates (160) 1 - 0 Bill
Here is Bill's report:
"I lost in severe time pressure which is as fair a way as any, having used so much of my time defending.
As Black I used the Caro-Kann defence and my opponent allowed the exchange variation bringing his Queen out very early on to f3 which I hadn't encountered before. This allowed him a strong attack from the outset; however I successfully defended this (using up most of my time) and then counter attacked surprisingly strongly in the middle game. He attacked my KNP on my Kingside where my King was as I simultaneously attacked his QBP on his Queenside where his King was. Mine proved stronger and he abandoned his attack - temporarily!
This changed the game and led to exchanges from where a draw seemed likely. Being much more adventurous now I saw an opportunity to surprise him by exchanging my Bishop for 4 of his Pawns.
This left an end/middle game of 2 Rooks each with 6 Pawns to me v Knight + 2 Pawns to White. Unfortunately my Pawns were only on the 2nd or 3rd rank which wasn't an immediate help, however they were all linked.
He renewed his attack on my KNP which I thought was going to fall and didn't defend it well enough the 2nd time.
Without losing any material I was down to 1 min and in perpetual check. I still naively was thinking of victory when with 10sec on my clock I moved my King out of check deliberately onto a square - which then allowed an immediate checkmate. I didn't even see it when he moved!
Well done to my opponent how persevered with his own attack without offering me a draw.
Had I stayed in perpetual check I think he would have accepted that.
Moral: Fischer time doesn't allow thinking time - it only allows a continuous rapidplay."
So a tough match out of the way. There will be slightly easier matches ahead (hopefully!)