|Posted on March 4, 2015 at 9:00 PM|
The final match of the season for the Brewood B team was away to Rushall B on Monday 23rd February 2015. The team won 3-2 meaning we have secured safety in division 3 of the Wolverhampton & District Chess League for another season. Details of how we did it follow in the match report but first here is the matchcard:
Board 1: Richard Wiltshir (UG) ½ - ½ Paul Wright (126)
Board 2: Alexander Jarvis (121) 1-0 David Blower (103)
Board 3: David Jarvis (116) ½ - ½ Mark Binfield (109)
Board 4: Josh Hennion (96) 0-1 Peter Crozet (106)
Board 5: Peter Greenwood 78 0-1 Stephen Bird (103)
Total: Rushall B 2-3 Brewood B
NB: The board order was based on the July 2014 grades but the results that will be counted for grading are based on the more recent January 2015 grades which are the numbers beside each of the player's names on the matchcard shown above.
The Brewood B team secured a 5th successive season in division 3 by completing the double over relegation rivals Rushall. The result left Rushall, Stafford, Lichfield and Mercia to fight it out to avoid relegation although since this result Stafford have secured safety. Although we were in danger of relegation before the match, the result moves us up into 4th place in the league.
Non playing team captain John Fenby was understandably nervous before the match began: "If you have looked at the league table and recent/remaining fixtures for those teams around us we are in danger of relegation. This means that our last match is very important indeed – away to Rushall on Monday 23rd February."
The whole team knew the situation going into the match that a win would keep us up. It was in many ways a similar situation to that which faced the team two seasons ago when we had to win against Halesowen B to keep us in division 3. On that occassion their bottom board outgraded our top board and we came away with a 3-2 win.
Whilst Rushall do not have as highly graded players in their team as Halesowen did we got the result required with the same scoreline winning 3-2 having being behind 2-1 earlier on in the evening. Whilst the Halesowen match two seasons ago was perhaps a more impressive win given grading differences this was a good victory given the context of the match.
Coming into the Rushall Olympic football club car park where Rushall chess club is based the car park was unusually busy.
David Blower: "I didn't know Rushall chess club was this popular!!"
Stephen Bird: "I think the team are training." Stephen obviously meant that the football team was training, which they were.
David Blower: "The chess team! I hope we're not required for training at Brewood!" Although possibly after this result, I might be!
The football team training led to an unusual start to the evening as the chess players had to enter via the turnstiles and then get into the chess club via the terrace. Rushall had even got into the spirit of things by organising segregation of the two sets of players with the players from Rushall and from Brewood sitting on opposite sides of the table!
The team would be doing their best to win but as we all know nothing could ever be guaranteed. So what happened on the boards then? Here is the board by board match report:
Board 1: Richard Wiltshir ½ - ½ Paul Wright. This was a rematch from a week ago when the Brewood A team travelled to Rushall to play against Rushall A in the Wolverhampton & District Chess League division 2 match between the sides. Then they were both on board 5 for their respective A teams. Richard won the match then as black and this time Richard was also black.
Paul Wright commented: "I was determined to do better this time. We played Larsen's opening Indian variation (b3 Nf6) and drew the game, which helped to secure the team's victory - if I had lost again the match would have been tied."
As I looked across from my own board as the draw was agreed it looked fair enough. It was equal on material with a bogged down pawn structure for both sides with each player having plenty of pawns left on the board. Paul had a bishop and Richard had a knight left. This was the first game to finish.
Paul has had an excellent season for the Brewood B team on top board for us. The stats prove it. Paul had played 8 games, winning 2, drawing 5 and only losing once for the B team, gaining 4½ board points and in the process contributing 4 league table points to the team. Not only that but he has often being playing against players higher graded than himself.
Mark Binfield commented: "Paul has been exceptional on Board 1 this year."
Andrew Davies commented: "We’ve enjoyed the development of players like Paul Wright who have had success on board 1."
David Blower commented: "The stats prove how good Paul Wright has been this season for the B team. He has done really well."
Board 2: Alexander Jarvis 1-0 David Blower. At the time this put us 1½ - ½ down with it being the 2nd game to finish. The opening in this game was: C55: Italian Game: Anti-Fried Liver Defence. Both our bishops were exchanged by move 12 with Alex having doubled up pawns on the e file as a result of this. I had a trapped rook.
Alex was running short on time and with material level I offered a draw. The draw offer was rejected and soon enough I was then running short on time. In a desperate time scramble I started to make some mistakes. By move 25 Alex had two attacks on me at the same time and I could defend one of them but not both of them. As a result of this Alex went a pawn up.
On move 30 Alex played a check on me. I moved my king to an illegal square still leaving it in check, went to press the clock, realised that I had made an illegal move so had to move my king again this time to a legal square and then pressed the clock. Unfortunately in the process of me doing this the flag dropped.
It is unknown whether the slight delay contributed to the loss on time but it was gutting to lose the match in that fashion. The last few moves had being made in a rush and whilst I knew I was running short on time I had not took exact notice of the clock as I had to make the moves 28-30 moreorless as quickly as I could physically make the moves.
Alex and I discussed the match afterwards. Alex had a checkmate attack on my king anyway and would have won normally within a few moves. It was not as if I had a won match which I lost on time. It was a consolation that Alex would have won on the board anyway and he certainly outplayed me during the match. This did leave the rest of the team with plenty to do though.
Board 3: David Jarvis ½ - ½ Mark Binfield. How on earth did Mark Binfield not win this game might have remained the greatest chess mystery of all time had Mark Binfield not emailed me to explain how!! As it is even with this match report it could still be considered within the top Brewood chess mystery of all time!!
Mark had gone two pawns down at the start but then had a stunning attack going with his queen and rook and bishop and knight all working together. It was the kind of attack that you love having as an attacking player and if you are defending you have to find desperate defensive moves. David managed this though. He had to move his king leaving himself unable to castle.
Mark then played a series of moves which sent David's king for a march around the board meaning Mark got the pawns back. David found all the defensive moves that he required despite being under intense pressure.
Mark Binfield commented: "Mark's pawn sacrifice against the Sicilian led to good attacking opportunities with David's King sent scurrying around the board. However, David defended resolutely and managed to force material off via exchanges resulting in a drawn game." This was the 3rd game to finish and with us 2-1 down, 2 wins on the lowest 2 boards were required.
Board 4: Josh Hennion 0-1 Peter Crozet. Peter Crozet won on time. A detailed board match report is unavailable at the moment. Peter came into the board room where Alex and I were discussing our match to explain that he had won, that it was now 2-2 and that it was all going to go down to the last board.
Board 5: Peter Greenwood 0-1 Stephen Bird. With all 5 boards finishing in order from the top board to the bottom this was the last board to finish and would decide the fate of the whole season. With Peter Crozet and myself having finished we had come back into the chess room to watch. Stephen had already gone an exchange up by the time we were watching.
Peter was running short on time which had being a recurring theme of the evening. He seemed unable to do anything about Stephen's advantage. In fact pieces were being exchanged off but it was Peter forcing the exchanges which is unusual to do when you are behind in material. There were lots of pawns still on the board so a win was not going to be simple for Stephen.
Peter was shaking his head. He had no answer to anything Stephen could throw at him and when Peter tried to do any attack it was stopped quite easily. Eventually Peter lost on time giving us the 3-2 victory and safety.
Of course the Brewood B team surviving relegation is not the be all and end all of this club. The club would survive if we got relegated to division 4, although it would mean 4 board matches instead of 5 board matches which no one at the club wants. However it clearly did mean a lot to the team as we celebrated our win at Rushall.
Mark Binfield commented: "I have being thinking about the chess all day."
There was also praise for the team captain John Fenby from both Mark Binfield and David Blower the next day via email:
Mark Binfield: "Congratulations to John also."
David Blower: "As Mark has already said well done to yourself as well John."
Roger Grainger also praised the team via email: "Well done. What a win!!"
David Blower also thanked the team later on in the week: "Well done for winning at Rushall (particularly as I lost) to help keep us up."
With the 2014-2015 season over with for the Brewood B team it remains to be seen which two teams will eventually get relegated but it will not involve us.
David Blower: "I suppose the relegation battle is still interesting. However it will not involve us!" This was said to a few smiles in the car to Peter Crozet and Paul Wright as we travelled back home together.
Next season will be interesting as it looks likely with the overall strength of our club that the Brewood B team will be in a relegation battle next season. Coming home from Rushall none of that mattered though as the team celebrated victory. It may not have been as much of a high quality win as the Halesowen match two seasons ago but it was as equally as important.