Look Sharp everybody and join the Joyride, we're ALMOST there!
No, it's not the fact that I'm off to a Roxette concert in July (exciting though that is!).
Last night, the troops saw off Leamington B in Division 2 of the Leamington League.
Yours truly led the way, producing my usual get out of jail free card by offering a draw a pawn down after 17 moves having just forced my opponent to play a move that he probably really didn't want to have to play if he wanted to hang onto his extra pawn. This psychological move seemed to work.
On board 2, Andy Foulds continued his excellent form with a controlled win despite his opponent throwing an Albin Counter Gambit his way.
Board 3 was the last game to finish where Rob Stevens had a lone rook against rook and two connected (knight and rook file) pawns. Luckily, his opponent was short on time and Rob managed to draw the game.
On board 4, Kevin Bowman also continued his excellent form, winning an exchange and converting the full point.
What does this mean? Well, you can view the league table here:
Basically, we are two points clear at the top with one match to play against our main rivals, Solihull. In order to win the division, Solihull must come to our place in a fortnight and win 4-0. Even if we manage just one draw out of our four games, the title will be ours!
Of course, we are not even contemplating a whitewash (unless it's a whitewash of our own of course!). Team instructions are to just go out and play your own game. The opposition are the ones who have to make something happen here and that might provide opportunities over the board so, whilst it's not over yet, I have complete belief in the team to do what's required!
Match card from last night:
My own game was against Ben Graff who is also a teammate in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).
I managed my usual catastrophic blunder instead of just playing nice and safe but on analysing with Ben afterwards, there did not appear to be any real concrete wins for him after 11. e5!
You may have noticed that I am not putting so much analysis with my own games as I was doing. That's not to say that I have stopped analysing more that I don't want to give too much away about my own thought process at this time or about my "opening repertoire".
We played the first 9 moves fairly quickly in about 5 minutes each but our next 8 moves we spent around 40 minutes on each I believe so although it's a short game, a lot of thought went into the position after the opening by both players!
Before I print the game, a big thanks goes to Ben and to the other team captains in Division 2 for agreeing to rearrange some of our matches this season. We rearranged so that our regular board 2, Andy Foulds, could play and are grateful for the excellent sportsmanship shown by our colleagues. Without disrespecting any of our reserves, Andy makes a big difference to our side. He's board one quality and must have made life easier for Rob and Kevin over the season by providing that "buffer". Of course, the whole team have done very well this season but there's still one push left for the league title and a small matter of a cup final next week, so stay tuned!
Here's my game from last night: