The last match of the season, with us looking for a good win to try to sneak into second place, but mostly just looking forward to getting the season over with. The University only had five players, and Dunc decided to have the evening off.
Igor was first to finish. Playing black in a Sicilian, the game briefly threatened to get interesting with opposite castling, but Ravi forced the queens off, and there wasn’t much going on after that.
Since there was nothing riding on the match I decided to have a few beers and just attack. It was probably all nonsense, but at least had the advantage of making Philipp think. We ended up in a position with just the heavy pieces left, and I managed to get a kingside bind which was hard to escape. The unstoppable advance of my h pawn sealed the game.
Bogdan essayed the Scotch gambit against James. This sort of thing is never a bad idea against good players, indeed I vaguely remember James doing the same thing against Mickey Adams in the 4NCL many years ago. The trouble with these openings is that black can usually just give the pawn back, and James did that, leaving an endgame that I thought was a bit better for James, while he thought it was much better for him. Whatever, James knows what to do in these positions, and despite Bogdan’s stubborn defence he brought home the point.
David played the Kings Indian against Morris’ London system, and while he gained a nice centre there didn’t seem much that either of them could do. Fair play to them, they shuffled bits late into the session, then agreed a draw just before time trouble randomised it.
Finally, Gareth was making stuff up against Denis’ Lundin defence (look it up). It seemed Gareth was getting behind in development early on, but he held it together and had much the better of the middlegame. He got into an endgame a pawn up, but as many times before this season had spent too long getting there, and his clock fell. Luckily, again, Denis had no bits left by then, so a draw.
So, the end of another season. We didn’t manage a repeat of our unexpected success of last year; there were some good games, and good matches, but overall we were much too inconsistent to challenge for top spot.