Match report: Horfield B – Clifton A

Date: 27/02/2017
Horfield B 2.5-3.5 Clifton A
Phil Nendick 0-1 James Cobb
John Richards 0.5-0.5 John Curtis
Peter Kirby 0-1 Gareth Morris
Michael Harris 1-0 Duncan Grossett
Mike Levine 0.5-0.5 Igor Doklestic
Jon Fisher 0.5-0.5 David Collier

There’s winning ugly, and then there’s this. I struggle to remember a match where we less deserved to win.

I excuse James from this: he soon established a dominating position, and despite Phil’s stubborn defence the game reached its logical conclusion.

My game was something else entirely. As black I found myself in a Giuoco Piano, an opening I haven’t played since I was about 8. I had a nice position, but then dropped a piece. It was worse than a blunder, I pretty much forced John to win it. I nearly resigned, but decided to hang in there and see if anything happened. It did eventually, John allowing me to complicate things, although it was still completely lost. One mistake from John and it turned around, leaving me a winning endgame, which I went on to play abysmally and drew. I’m perfectly happy with that though, the draw was undeserved and a win would have been outrageous. Neither John nor I will be including this effort in our best game collections.

Meanwhile, David looked to have a nice opening against Jon. He went for the win of a pawn, but in hindsight maybe that wasn’t the best idea. It looked to me like Jon could become seriously better, but fortunately it all liquidated into a drawn ending.

Igor was playing some Bird’s opening nonsense against Mike. I didn’t like Igor’s position much, but it all got a bit stodged up, and it was no surprise when they agreed a draw.

Dunc had me bamboozled. He had given up a pawn and exchanged queens by move 5, and he was probably already objectively lost. There were still lots of bits on the board, but Michael kept it all under control well, slowly moving forward. I missed the middle bit of the game, where apparently Dunc had conjured up good drawing chances from somewhere, but by the end Michael’s pieces had infiltrated and it was soon all over.

All sorts of stuff was going on on board 3, where Gareth and Peter were battling in a Samisch KI. It looked fairly normal to start with, but got rather odd in the ending. Both sides had passed pawns close to queening, and there were exposed kings too. I watched the last dozen moves or so, and it looked like both Gareth and Peter were trying their best to lose. Gareth seemed to be winning, then losing, then winning again, then losing again, and finally won with a nice tactic. He only had a couple of seconds left at the end, and the game could easily have gone either way. It was a lot of fun to watch.

So, we scraped a narrow win, but could have had no complaints if we’d lost heavily. Horfield B are not completely safe from relegation, and I hope this mishap doesn’t come back to haunt them.