Durham Uni vs. Peterlee 28/1/14
Following on from our friendly against Darlington, we played a friendly against Peterlee, reputedly one of the strongest clubs in the area. It was about a 20 minute taxi journey out there, then probably an extra 5-10 as we drove up and down the road trying to find our location! (It was dark) A working men's club in North-East England was not the easiest place to identify as the location for a chess club from the outside! Still we found it eventually.
We only had 5 players for this match, of which I was the strongest, so was put on board 1, facing a 200 ECF (~2250 FIDE) player. Still feeling a little queasy from the taxi journey (travel sickness) the first game was perhaps not the best I've ever played - although I put up better resistance than I thought I did at the time. Facing really strong players, you have to fight off the feeling that, if it's going badly, you're just wasting their time playing on, and continue to fight to find the best moves.
Time controls (in both games) were 40 minutes a side.
Well, after that disappointing effort, I was more determined than ever to redeem myself in the second game! And it was a very interesting one - I played quite strongly and at one point had a chance to secure a clear advantage. I spurned it in favour of something which I thought was equally good - but my opponent found an incredible idea and in the end, I crumbled in severe time pressure.
That second game was definitely a lot better for me and I'm gutted that I missed my chance of coming up with a win against one of the strongest players in the region! Turns out it would have tied the match as well as Peterlee won the friendly overall, 6-4. We lost both games on the top two boards - their strongest players were just too strong for us. Enjoyable match though and far better to get beat up on 2-0 by a stronger player than to beat up on a weak player 2-0! (The same principle isn't transferable into fighting!)
Thanks for reading!