15.01.2020

The Cobras Strike


Tuesday 14th January

Board

Home East Grinstead Bookshop
Crowborough
Away
1 (B) 084R
Appleton, Toby 0 - 1 Velayudham,Suriya 105R
2 (W) 078R
Nagy, Cillian ½ - ½ Martin, Thomas W 102R
3 (B) 034R
Tagg, Ann 0 - 1 Pearce, Benjamin 053L
4 (W) 015R
Grace, Niamh 1 - 0 Jithendra, Risha 052R
Average 53
1½-2½ Average 78

On a filthy night with wind and rain causing chaos not only on the roads but amidst power cuts and squealing Bank alarms the Crowborough team travelled to East Grinstead.

The first game to finish was on board 4 and was probably the best played opening of the night. Trevor would have been proud of the players with a very sensible London System answered with a classical Queen's pawn game setup. Niamh threatened a checkmate on h7 which Risha noticed but thought OK as she had a knight on f6 but unfortunately after BxN NxN NxN+ BxN Qxh7mt followed.

Niamh produced a very neat scoresheet allowing me to play through the game with her but I noticed that under team next to Risha's name she had misheard the answer and written COBRA. Hence the title of this news item.

If the result of the next three games is anything to go by then 2020 is going to be a very luck year for Crowborough players.

Suriya thought he saw a tactic in the opening removing his opponent's knight from c6 and capturing the undefended pawn on e5 with his knight. However he had completely overlooked Qd4+ winning a piece but then again so did Toby. To be fair Suriya after 'winning' this pawn converted the advantage into a full point in some style.

Benjamin had an exciting game and after using his time carefully decided correctly to swap down into an ending with two Rooks and pawns against a Queen and pawns.
The key features though was his passed pawn on f6 and his exposed king. This position required a lot of patience with the correct tactic from Benjamin's point of view being to protect everything and then look to promote this pawn. However Benjamin tried to force the pawn home quickly but with his two rooks undefended Ann's queen caused more havoc on the board than the weather outside.

Ann won one of the rooks but all was still not clear as her Queen had to fly to f8 to block the pawn on f7 and with Benjamin's Rook on f3 this Queen was stuck. Now it was the turn for Ann to be patient but with Benjamin's king out in the open it was very tempting to try and checkmate him. She allowed the pawn to promote and was one move away from checkmating Benjamin when the rook played a fateful pin and all was over for Ann. A very exciting game to watch.

So with the match finely poised at 2-1 we turned our attention to board 2. Where after some thoughtful and careful play we had arrived at a Rook + 6 pawns vs Rook + 6 pawns but Cillian's rook was far more active and before long it was Rook + 3 pawns vs Rook + 1 pawn and when the chance occurred I expected Thomas to swap pawns and to try and defend the not easy to win Rook + 2 pawns vs Rook.

However Thomas decided to try some speculative rook checks which his opponent parried with ease and then after two hours play Cillian had pawns on b7 and e7 and it looked all over. There followed b8=Q and RxQ and RxR and with an air of resignation Thomas played his king to c7 attacking the rook. Then the Goddess Caissa showed her cruel face and Cillian with only a couple of minutes left on his clock after playing a wonderfully careful and thoughtful game played a move for the first time in two hours without thinking e8=Q and due to his king covering the d6 square this is stalemate.

So the lucky Cobras won the match 2½-1½.