Played last night at Braunstone:
1 Colburn, Paul J 157 1-0 161 Watkinson, Phil
2 Oliver, John 159 0-1 154 Dodds, Iain
3 Salisbury, Mike 159 1-0 150 Wells, Jeremy (Jez)
4 Robinson, Tony 139 1-0 141 Daniel, John
5 Young, Gavin 136 0-1 138 Turland, Pete
--------------------- 3-2 ------------------------
This turned out to be a close match - we had our chances but failed to take advantage of them.
We welcomed Jez Wells to the team with his new, shiny grade of 150 by pitting him against Mike Salisbury. The fact there is only 9 points between Mike and Jez, and that Mike, the strongest player in the room, was playing on Board 3 shows that it will be a couple of years before the new grading system is representative of player strength.
Braunstone's 2nd board did not appear, so John Oliver stepped in to make up their team.
Jez's game finished first; losing a bishop in complications and Mike converting the win in efficient fashion. Meanwhile, on the bottom board, Peter was a pawn down in a slightly worse position, but later managed to win a piece and then the game.
All square, then, and with Iain's and Paul's game looking drawish, the decider was going to be the top board game. Paul Colburn had done his homework for the game and opened with a sharp line in the f3 Benko. Mike, glancing over to the game, commented "Someone's had a new book for Christmas" (he had); John Daniel, obvoiusly bemused with the strange opening, replied "I can guarantee that our game won't look like that!".
The game was close, and very interesting, with my opponent gambitting 3 pawns in a typical Benko strategy to obtain two powerful bishops against my uncastled king. I missed two tactical opportunities to win the game, and lost.
Iain pressed on with his game, converting a drawn position in the endgame to a win, unfortunately John lost on Board 4 also in the endgame. So the match result followed the outcome of the top board, with the Braunstone winning 3-2.
The next match is on Wednesday 21st Jan, away at Market Harboro'.