Shortly after our recent victory against Denton we hosted the rematch. Could we get a second victory and give ourselves a chance of staying up?
1. Steve 0.5 - 0.5 S Thestrup (211)
Steve played an aggressive Dutch defence, throwing pawns forward towards his opponent's King and making him use a lot of time on the clock. Eventually an endgame was reached where Steve had three pawns for a piece. A draw was agreed rather than play the time trouble lottery.
2. John 0.5 - 0.5 P Lopez (188)
John played a super sharp Four Pawns Attack against the King's Indian, gambiting a pawn to get his own pawn on d6. John seemed to have to better of the complications but his opponent fought tooth and nail and eventually John agreed a draw rather than risk a worse result.
3. Phil 0 - 1 K Celinski (153 est)
I was playing the same opponent as two weeks ago with the same colours. I didn't want to just repeat the opening so instead played a Modern Defence but wasn't totally familiar with the themes. My opponent castled Queenside and threw his Kingside pawns at me. I responded rather slowly and although I eventually created some counterplay it was too little, too late and I got splattered. Note to Caïssa - if one of my opponents could make a blunder this season that would be helpful as I could really use a win!
4. Geoff B 1 - 0 T Hilton (168)
Geoff played solidly against Tim's Dutch and when Tim sacrificed a pawn Geoff calmly took it and consolidated his position. In the end Tim blundered a piece as he sought complications.
5. Kieran 0.5 - 0.5 D Holt (133)
Kieran got a nice solid position out of the opening but didn't find a way to seriously trouble his opponent.
6. Dave N 1 - 0 I Urwin (111)
This game was poetic justice for Dave's defeat in the dying seconds of his game at Chorlton last season. In Dave's words:
The final result will certainly not reflect the drama of my game. My opponent (graded only 117) played some odd looking knight moves in the opening but he may be related to Fritz which pronounced that the moves were all sound. I pressed throughout the middle game, falling 20 mins behind on the clock eventually ending up in ending where we both had 2 bishops and 4 pawns each. I remember looking at the clock and thinking that if only he had 5 mins left and I had 25 I might be able blitz him in the endgame but of course in reality the 5 minutes were mine. Then the fun really started. I was playing quickly and as often happens when one has a lot of time on the clock he was playing slower and slower as we manoeuvred our bishops and kings around the board each trying to make something of a dead ending. Eventually he offered a draw so I consulted Phil who said yes I could accept a draw. A quick glance at John's board suggested that was drawn and by now we were both down to 2 minutes. I still felt like I had some winning chances so I declined and tried to apply more pressure. Eventually his flag fell (don't ask me what was happening on the board because I honestly couldn't tell you!). Stephen thought I had lost on time (a perfectly reasonable assumption given my past history) and Kieran suggested in no uncertain terms that I was the luckiest man alive. As I pointed out to him "the more I practice the luckier I get"!
So another victory. If we can get something out of our matches against Chorlton we have a chance of staying up!