Wallasey A
157 4.5 : 1.5 Atticus 3 132
Davies, Phil
Ewart, Brian R
Hughes, Greg
Lambert, John F
Coffey, Mike J
Blasczyk, Martin
Brine, Phil A
Banerjee, Sanjoy K
Latham, Chris
Wiseman, Jim K
Smiley, Stuart
Sleeman, Howard D

"The wandering earth herself may be
Only a sudden flaming word,
In clanging space a moment heard,
Troubling the endless reverie."

If you have a modicum of ambition, you want to pit yourself against the best, and at least far as Division 2 of the Merseyside League is concerned, Wallasey are it.  A model of consistency, they are in pole position to make a swift return to the top flight, and although we were without one or two key players for this match-up, I always felt we had enough about us to cause an upset if we were on top of our game.

Jim played impeccably against a Sicilian where 2…Nc6 seemed to yield to a tamer position that is usual, built a solid base and as his b-pawn gaily marched towards promotion, look poised to strike an early blow in the match  Yet, the hardest thing in chess is winning a won position, as the saying goes, and an almost scandalous piece of opportunism allowed his sharp-witted opponent to salvage a half-point.

My own game was next to finish.  After a dozen or so moves, I had a slight edge in a QGD Ragozin, yet in all honesty that was about as good as it got, as Phil comprehensively outplayed me from there on in, and duly wrapped up the point.

Martin looked to have a nice position from a Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation, yet his kingside pressure left holes behind for his opponent to exploit.  Mike emerged with a technically won endgame and duly converted.  John too succumbed to a clinical masterclass, as Greg subtly insinuated his way to a won endgame without ever seemingly breaking sweat.

Not for the first time this season, the performance of the night came from Brian on top board.  After a bout of flu, he had only declared himself fit 24 hours previously, yet in a Catalan, that began cagily, Brian exploited a premature queenside evacuation of the major pieces by his opponent to seize control in the centre, resulting in winning a piece.  Mate in four somehow came and went, yet Phil graciously threw in the towel realising there was nothing to be salvaged.

The final game to finish was Howard’s, who looked to be slowly suffocating from the opening, against an opponent who is a good deal stronger than board six would suggest.  Eventually, as material was traded, the position took on a sharp character, but in the tactical melee, there only looked to be one winner.

A deserved win and an all round display of excellence from the league leaders, but nothing to be ashamed of on our part.  We took on the best, and brought our best to bear.

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