Before I go into the minutae of just what a superb, crushing victory this was, I have to emphasise that Olton are historically the strongest and best team in the Leamington and District Chess League. They have won the first division title on many occasions and are a very strong club with some excellent players.
Without our "Mr 100%", (still only Candidate Master though!) Chris Ross (who incidentally will also be representing England on board one at the Braille Chess Olympiad - as his club Manager, I have released him for international duty!) we lost to Olton A in our first match of the season but you will recall we were unlucky not to get anything out of the match.
How times have changed. We lost our first 5 matches of the season and after our 4th Match, I had managed to sign up Chris Ross. This is the equivalent of Margate FC (my non league home town club) signing Lionel Messi on a Free Transfer and on zero wages. Okay, it's not quite like that. Chris drinks beer at a rate that your average darts player would find intimidating. Also, Chris is so modest, not like your average footballer. For example, I have been told to state... sorry... I am here to state, with no prodding whatsoever, that Chris has now won 7 out of 7 for us. That's 100%. I didn't want to mention this before because he can only go downhill from here. He'll need to be at his best to finish the season on 12/12. That's the minimum return I expect from him so now he's been told and now you, the reader, have also been told!
Anyway, back to the match. We were awesome, Olton weren't. We won 2.5 - 1.5 and it should have been 3 - 1 but poor old Kevin decided to chuck away a totally drawn position (again). I know kevin and I know he'll dig in there next time because he knows he needs to start getting some results. I've got all manner of strong players banging on my door begging to get into the team for next season so myself, Kevin and Andy are probably going to be fighting over 1 or 2 places. You've been warned fellas!!! More on that later, back to the match...
Olton were (were being the operative word here!) favourites to win the league. That dubious honour now goes to Kenilworth who are top. So, they're a strong side and they took things seriously, fielding a strong side.
Here is the scorecard:
As you can see, the new grades are also out - so there have been some changes but league rules dictate that we use the ratings from the start of the season. In actual fact, we are still entitled to swap myself, Andy and Kevin around as much as we like simply because we are all within 10 points of each other. But as captain, I'm a stickler and if that means I get the "easy" game on board 4, so be it!
I chose to give myself black (again) and out of my 11 matches so far, all have been with black but my record of W 4 D6 L 1 is reasonably consistent. I think this has helped Kevin as well but don't be surprised if you see some interesting changes during our last five matches.
We are now 4th in the league and are hoping that Banbury make a real mess of things (for the bragging rights you understand) so that we can finish above them. This is a really tall order but we'll be giving it our best shot as always.
As for my own game last night, I decided to be a little more daring than normal and my opponent went into a line in the Scandanavian that can only be described as "good for Black". He accepted an Icelandic Gambit and got frozen out (see what I did there?)....
Enjoy what Fritz believes to be a reasonable game where, for once, I didn't blunder away my entire advantage although there were two clear points in the game where I failed to pick the "crushing" move. The moves played instead, however, were still more than adequate. That's why this game gets "Lawson's Unequivocal Chess Knighthood" or "LUCK" award....
Our next match sees us host Leamington A on 20th February. I hope our form holds out (especially mine!).
Oh, did I mention, Chris Ross is on 7/7 for us. That's 100%. Happy Chris?!