1 Jex, Alan 141 Drawn 134 Dodds, IainHaving beaten Loughboro 2 in the first match of the season at home, we knew that the return match would be a lot tougher. And so it proved, with Phil Harlow's game finishing first with a loss, with all the other games looking very close, or in my game with Otto, a little worst. Iain then agreed a draw with Alan Jex; Iain was a pawn up, but Alan had plenty of compensation due to Iain's exposed king position. My game with Otto was bordering on a loss at this stage; it was only after Andrew's win on board 5 that I felt able to offer a draw, and I was much relieved when it was accepted.
2 Dawkins, John 142 1-0 130 Harlow, Phil
3 Glover, John 139 0-1 129 Smith, Stephen
4 Hardy, Otto 131 Drawn 123 Watkinson, Phil
5 Beauquel, Julien 123 0-1 112 Pike, Andrew
So, it was all down to Stephen's game with John Glover, which was very drawish - both sides had queen, rook, knight and five pawns; Stephen's backward pawn was attacked by queen and knight and I wouldn't see any way that Stephen could make any progress. In fact, I was worried that if he did attack he could easily over-reach and go down in flames. But attack he did, leaving his backward pawn to its fate, grabbing control of an open file which would allow a back rank check, but one which would be useless. Then a cheeky knight move by Stephen, which his opponent couldn't take, suddenly gave opportunities and John had to defend. I, along with the rest of the onlookers, could not see any way forward, but Stephen banged out the next three moves - a check, a queen swop, followed by a killer knight fork of king and rook! I tell no lie to say that there was a gasp from the crowd.
Equally entertaining was Stephen's wrapping up of the game in mutual time trouble; and a successful outcome of the evening was achieved. Man of the match was awarded to Stephen by both team captains; and a good contender for game of the season.
Wigston 3 play next Thursday, at home, against Scraptoft Valley 1.