Often during a match, you have to make an assessment of the match position and likely outcome and decide if you should stay on and play on for a win or play safely and go and accept a draw. Last night no such decision could be made as most of the games were even and all outcomes likely. At about 10.05, the dust settled and would you believe it, we had either won or were winning every game. Who saw that coming!
The only game where one side held an advantage for most of the time was board 3 where Bernard was playing Frank Jimenez. The advanced French by transposition had left Bernard with a good position in an unusual line of this defence and he quite quickly won an exchange as a result of a tatical oversight. The position became a little bogged down but eventually black broke through on the kingside. When white lost a knight he resigned and Bernard got the early bus!
Dave on board 4 was playing a new Shirley player Ken Mycock. Playing white he faced a Ruy Lopez berlin defence and as usual with this defence black gets a slightly cramped but solid position. With neither side interested in a draw, play continued right up until the time control. When both sides were down to about two minutes and a few moves still to play, black opted to try and infiltrate whites queen side with his queen and win the a pawn. With the black queen offside, white attacked in the centre and unfortunately black missed a mating threat at the end of a short sequence. Black resigned when mate was inevitable.
Mike was playing white against Jon Freeman on baord 2. Another transpositional game that produced a sound line of the Bogo-Indian. Black allowed white to expand his queen side, essentially blocking in his pieces by preventing the freeing move c5 and allowing white full reign in the center. Whilst black remarshaled his forces white attention turned to the king side and his resulting king side attacks ultimately proved conclusive.
Ben was playing Dave Thomas on top board and a long queens pawn game ensued with the advantage shifting back and forth. The resulting ending left white with a bad bishop and black with a severely penned in bishop of the same colour. White's refusal of blacks draw offer was probably a mistake in hindsight and was made as a result of the match position rather this his game position. Sometimes you just have to go! Playing on in an inferior ending is often risky and black was able to create a a passed centre pawn which proved decisive as white had to give up his bishop for it. When black queened a pawn for the second time, white had to concede.