Wednesday 6th March saw Daventry chess club at home vs Olton B in division one of the Leamington League. We had drawn 2-2 with them in the away match and so it was time to lay this ghost and also the ghost of the Leamington disaster to rest.
As captain, for me, it was very important that we didn't lose this match. Olton B were below us in the league and in a relegation scrap. Having recently lost to Leamington, I did not want us re-joining the relegation party so for me, a draw would have been a satisfactory result.
Bore them to death and take another giant stride to maintaining our division one status.
Fortunately for us, it seemed like Olton had turned up with a similar strategy because two fairly quick draws were agreed on boards two and four.
This left Chris on board one with what looked like a good position and me on board three with what looked like a not so good position. I was certain at this stage that the match would be drawn and I would be the patsy, chalking up another loss from yet another promising position.
I was pretty disappointed because my usual abysmal post Christmas form has improved slightly this season, partly due to a better attitude and partly due to (I hope) an improvement in my own play. Despite having lost a fortnight ago and also having lost in the 4NCL I have remained positive because in both of those games, I had the opporunity to do better than the final results.
To my dismay, however, the game last week did not go according to plan as my opponent manouvered me into a Blackmar-Diemar Gambit. I had a slight issue with this last season in the 4NCL and it didn't really look like I'd leanred my lesson as, despite some slight improvements, I found my centre disintegrating.
At one stage, Fritz had me around 4.5 pawns down in a position of King, Queen, Rook, Knight and five pawns against King, Queen, Rook, Bishop and six pawns. Positionally I was lost and materially I was down. I then played a catastrophically bad move which put me 10 pawns down on Fritz's analysis. The move played, however much of a bluff, did make my opponent step back and play one or two "loose" moves.
The end result was a draw and, frankly, it's about time I got something out of a game I was losing instead of losing a game that I was winning! I was not bemoaning my fortunes at all!
This gave us 1.5 points out of three games played with just Chris left on board one. As usual, Chris converted and that mean we won the match 2.5 - 1.5.
We march on to 12 points and are back into 4th position in the league. With five teams below us, we are looking a safe bet to stay up this season and there might even be more good news to follow for the plucky Daventry team so stay tuned!
There are an awful lot of permutations with regards to the teams below us and whether we can afford to lose our final three matches. In fact, relegation is still a possibility (albeit remote - a LOT of results would have to go against us and we'd have to lose our final three matches into the bargain) even after our win against Olton B.
Next up are Solihull who are bottom of the division but, as ever, by no means a pushover. I am certain they will bring their strongest possible side to us next week so we will probably have our backs against the wall again but what's new?!
May the chess Gods keep smiling upon us!