24.05.18 – London League 5: Cavendish v Hammersmith
Welcome to our new campaigner, Aditya – or Adi – who debuts this time out.
As we settled in with White on top board, I had high hopes for our last match this season.
An hour passed and then, on board 3, John Ryan got up and as I glanced over at him, he gave me a rueful look and downward thumb, and I saw him go.
Shortly thereafter Wyatt on board 4 and Adi on board 1 filed out also. I got up and saw the scoresheet 0-3, I felt like I had to make the effort and stop the great rout from Moscow.
After putting pressure on my opponent in the middle game, things got swapped off, and I had emerged with 2 bishops against my opponent’s bishop and hobbled knight. I was tempted to offer a draw having, I judged, barely a minuscule advantage and 5 minutes more on the clock.
I watched carefully as my opponent seemed to be panicking as I increased the pace and kept up the pins and fork threats in the endgame. Finally forced off the knight for a bishop and somehow got a passed pawn on my a-file. With Bishops of opposite colour, was it drawn?
There were two sets of linked and blocked pawns each on the h and g-files, but my king could get behind them possible, but only if his bishop could be pried out of the corner. In the last 2 minutes, my king got to c2 and the bishop was displaced from the corner by zugzwang, and after 99.Bc4 Kg2, the white bishop at c4 couldn’t protect his pawn at g3, so White resigned.
Match lost 1-3
Later, Wyatt told me it was an equal looking endgame that was his undoing. Sharp tactics and cruel endings are common.