Atticus 1 travelled last night to Aigburth 1 in what promised to be a hard-fought match with Atticus1 seeking to regain the League top spot (in the tight three-team battle with Atticus 2 and a re-energised Liverpool team) and Aigburth trying to keep clear of another relegation battle as the season approaches the final quarter.
The match was all that and much more with excitement and surprise from the start to the conclusion.
Just as the Team sheets were being exchanged at 7:30 Aigburth suddenly confirmed that Andreas Vogt (who was expected later as a spectator only) was able to play and was inserted as a super-sub strengthening the Aigburth line-up considerably. 
I will report as the results unfolded.
Board 2:- Andreas Vogt v Charlie Kennaugh. Andreas has been brilliant in his time in the MCA and I think has only ever lost once in it. He played his usual Queen's Gambit and Charlie played the Accepted line getting a tenable but slightly weaker pawn structure. Unfortunately Charlie made a mistake and a clever Queen move saw Charlie losing a rook or being back-rank mated and we were quickly 1-0 down.
Board 7:- John Lambert v Brendan Kane saw John playing a London system and he seemed to have full control and a slight edge when Brendan blundered and the score was now one-all.
Board 5:- James Rothwell v Daniel Rowlandson. Daniel played a calm French and while James had well placed pieces, Daniel was super solid and as Queens and pieces came off there was no way James could get an advantage and the draw was agreed.
Board 6:- Sanjoy Banerjee v Dave Eisen. Dave played the English which Sanjoy met with the solid Symmetrical system. Dave's knight was not well placed on F4 and Sanjoy pushed his F pawn creating a dynamic position. Both had play but it seemed equal-ish. I am told Sanjoy won material but the game concluded in a well fought draw...Match still level and balanced.
Board 3:- Dave James v Gerry Cohen. Gerry met Dave's QP with the Bf5 Slav and chased Dave's Queen with an intetesting manouvre. Once Queens were off it looked level but Gerry over-extended and lost a central pawn. When Dave had 2 Bishops and pawns v Gerry's Knight and Bishop and one less pawn I think Dave was winning. Unfortunately the Queen-side pawns became blocked and Dave eventually took Gerry's draw offer...Match still level.
Board 1. John Redmond v Roger Williamson. I am not sure what Q-pawn opening this was but John got double F pawns and Roger seemed to have a lot of play and a lot of pressure. John took the b-pawn and I missed the culmination which I am told was Roger achieving a smothered mate and we were now 3.5-2.5 down with just my game to finish.
Board 4:- Nick Martin v Steve Lee. 
A battle to rival Tyson Fury v Denontay Wilder's with similar conclusion !! 
I played my trusted but now jaded Caro-Kan against Steve who played the Exchange variation. Black is usually very solid in this but has limited counterplay. Steve played quite aggressively and as I re-grouped he played an unexpected Queen move with threats and as I defended Steve sacced a piece giving a strong attack. Though I defended this I ran short of time finding the only defence. I got 2 pieces for a rook and we both made errors, and as the clock drew low I won further material and with both of us having less than a minute I now had a rook, a bishop and pawns against Steve's lone King and pawns but no time for me to deliver mate. We were hammering out moves furiously , oblivious that my flag had fallen and Steve had 10 seconds till his flag would fall too when an Aigburth player next to Steve loudly stated "Clock" at which point Steve claimed the win on time ! This would have been a dismal end particularly as Steve had no chance of saving the game otherwise , and I pointed out that this outside interference was expressly forbidden under the Laws of Chess and particularly by a co-team member and that  it had alerted Steve that my flag had fallen as his was about to do so too and therefore had a direct impact on the claimed win.
By way of compromise Steve indicated he would accept the game as a draw and though I would have won had I just 30 seconds more it seemed a pragmatic outcome between Steve and I.
Sadly it meant Atticus 1 had lost narrowly by 4-3 and were unable to regain top spot in the league and Aigburth's unexpected victory gives them much better prospect of remaining in Division One. 
A fascinating if bruising encounter. Well done to Aigburth    REPORT NICK MARTIN 


12th February 2020 19:30
Aigburth 1
171 4.0 : 3.0 Atticus 1 171
1 - 0
1 - 0
0.5 - 0.5
0.5 - 0.5
0.5 - 0.5
0.5 - 0.5
0 - 1

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