6.i.2020

 

MCA Div 2

 

 

Prescot & Knotty Ash 1

 

3-3

 

Atticus 3

Kevin Sartain (B)

159

1-0

149

Dave Stuttard (W)

David Owens (W)

156

1-0

148

Brian Ewart (B)

Mike O’Mahony (B)

145

1-0

145

John Lambert (W)

Michael Delaney (W)

141

0-1

131

Ben Ellington (B)

David Al-Daini (B)

131

0-1

129

Sanjoy Banerjee (W)

Bob Amos (W)

115

0-1

121

Steve Burge (B)

 

“Is it weakness of intellect, birdie?" I cried

"Or a rather tough worm in your little inside"

With a shake of his poor little head, he replied

"Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!"

 

After a tough baptism this season, Atticus 3 are now able to approach games with some optimism and what is a rather more settled squad.  We were without Martin for this fixture, which enabled me to slip back into an otherwise unchanged team from our win against Skelmersdale, yet I have always found Prescot a tough venue to play at. 

The early signs were that the “Alder Road hoodoo” was in full grip as Dave blundered early and was compelled to resign on the spot.  Matters look bleak when Brian and John both succumbed to kingside attacks in what looked to be textbook like games from their opponent. 

Three to zip and I was beginning to wonder if we were about to begin the new decade with dark chapter, but resilience is the watchword for this team.  Steve has been unbeaten for us this season, yet recognised that only a full point would do, navigated his way through an ultra-tactical skirmish in the French Defence to emerge the exchange ahead and duly convert the endgame. 

L’arme secret seemed to be in a more subdued mood that I am accustomed to seeing, deploying his pieces in a quasi-hedgehog, with the familiar demilitarised zone of the fifth rank, and waiting for white to over-extend.  The last I witnessed of this game, Ben was wiggling his finger calculating an exchange that was winning, before playing the devasting Nxb4+ 

But by such a time, my own game was entering its final stages.  My opponent played the intriguingly named “Siesta Variation” of the Ruy Lopez Deferred Steinitz, which is essentially like the Schliemann with d6.  In any case, I was not caught napping (!) and gained a free pawn.  Enough is as good a feast, and helping myself to seconds on b7 was a mistake and led to a long period on the back-foot, but managing to trade dark-squared bishops and the queen for two rooks, resulting in a Q+Kt+5P v 2R+B+3P endgame, where I was always comfortable. 

It was only after my opponent resigned that I learnt Ben had also duly converted and we had climbed our Everest.  We are now unbeaten in four matches, and reach halfway comfortably mid-table, having played every fixture as underdogs.  A great team effort in the first half of the season, and leaving me with much optimism for the second half!

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