Curtain Raiser

Sep 4, 2012, 3:38 PM |

So, welcome everyone to a brand new season of scrummy chess!

The Leamington League got off to a flying start last night at The Clarendon Arms in Kenilworth with the annual Jamboree tournament.

Just like last year, yours truly hardly smothered himself in glory but still managed two wins, one draw and one loss. All games could easily have been lost but with a time control (apparently it's called a "Bronstein" method) of 7 minutes plus 3 seconds per move (you can never have more than 7 minutes remaining) it became quite obvious that a lot of players (myself included) had ignored the 3 second bonus per move rule.

Anyway, game one started well, tailed off badly but ended in victory. A curious affair with my opponent cheekily capturing two pieces that were on offer whilst taking his King for a stroll all on his own into my half of the board. Actually, this was a sound tactic since I had no real threats, other than those manufactured by my opponent. Several moves later he had managed to lose his Queen and a couple more pieces and then made an illegal move when I promptly hacked his King off the board. I still don't know whether this was legal but we both agreed that I had won the game!

Game two saw me up against an old adversary, Rod Webb. Rod's a decent player but probably "too nice". He was so nice that, instead of playing the clearly winning Qxc3+ (most likely with a mating attack) he politely moved his Queen away and allowed me to capture a Rook free of charge. Not satisfied with this slight "faux pas", Rod then decided to give up his Queen for... erm... nothing! He valiantly played on until, pinned down by two Rooks, he realised he could not move anything apart from shuffling his King backwards and forwards. Instead of going for the "quick kill" I decided to start marching a spare pawn (and there were several to choose from by this point!) down the board. When Rod realised what was going to happen, he threw in the towel! At this point, me and my partner for the evening, Roy Watson, were joint leaders in the competition, despite our combined ratings making us 5th ranked out of the 6 teams. Not bad going! Okay, we had already also benefitted from having a bye each as well....

Round three didn't quite go according to plan and I was scuppered in a King and Pawn ending after playing some "safety first" chess. Shame I didn't take this philosophy into the endgame. Instead, my philosophy of "it's okay for me to give a pawn up because I might win two back" proved to be slightly inaccurate.... resignation ensued...

The last round was against the highest rated player at the competition (though not by much it has to be said!). An interesting game could have occurred but this was me playing and therefore it was pretty boring but I held what I considered to be a slight advantage before blundering completely. Fortunately, my opponent failed to see the easy win of a pawn and we went on to draw the game..... which meant that they won the tournament....

Still, it was only a £2 entry fee and we got some free food. Oh, and £2.50 back each for finishing second! So, to quote Charlie Sheen... WINNING!

Tomorrow night (Weds 5th) sees us play our first game in the top division in the Leamington League against Olton A (generally considered the strongest side in the league). It's a good job we're not taking it too seriously this year!

The saga will continue.....