Sitting proudly at the top of the league, I took my Wigston 5 team to do battle with our friends over at the Heathcote Arms. All of my players had arrived before me - the captain not setting a good example. Double standards sprung to mind as I'd pressed home to them the importance of turning up early. As my players converged to take the michael out of me for being late, I spotted Santa Claus. After thinking to myself whether I'd been a good boy or not, I soon cottoned on to the fact that it wasn't Santa. It was Haka Dave. I immediately decided that I'd been a bad boy for not noticing that the man in the woolly jumper was Haka Dave. His excuse was that he wanted to use his beard to shield his eyes in case I turned up in brilliant white clothing again. Touche!
After scrawling down teams and exchanging respectful handshakes, battle commenced. I note here that Raymondov was not playing, his car is probably quite grateful. Charles Eastlake played against The Grinder on board 1, (slightly surprised to see John playing, but I was reminded that this was within the rules, which I knew), nice to see John all the same though. The Grinder managed to get me to dabble in the raffle for the brand new posh chess set, valued at £200. I somehow think I won't win that! Nice to see initiatives like this to generate funds for the chess club. It's only £3. I digress. Board 2 consisted of Haka Dave against the comrade from Bulgaria Nikola Chalashkanov - almost impossible to say when you've had a few. Haka Dave wrote Nikola C on his scoresheet, must remember that for future reference. Board 3 was young Drew Harbidge against Paul Winterton and board 4 was myself against the in-form Gordon Milner.
It is worth noting that there was a cat roaming around the bowling alley, quite amusing as it meiowed randomly to break the silence and decided that it wanted to jump on Charles's knee from time to time. It was here that I heard about the legendary Red Admiral butterfly that appeared mysteriously against Red Admiral of all teams. I was trying not to make referrals to myself and any words relating to a cat beginning with p.
First to moan / groan was Gordon on my board, who moved a Knight to defend a pawn, leaving his c3 Knight en prise with check. We opened with a sharp variation of the French, which eventually transposed to an advanced French. That's where the knowledge ends. Moving the same Knight that defended the pawn to block the check, allowed me to win the e5 pawn with check aswell. Our game finished soon after with Gordon moving his Queen in front of his King on a diaganol, with a pawn advance discovering the pin. Gordon resigned. I apologise to Gordon for stopping his good run.
Shortly after, Paul and Drew finished. Having looked initially like Drew had a passed a pawn and back rank mating threats, these were all neutralised by the wily Paul Winterton. In the end, Paul had 2 Queens (well, one queen and an upside down rook) on the board and mated on the back rank with the 'lawn mower' mate. Drew looks like he could be a very good player very soon. I should mention at this point that I had pointed out to Drew that he didn't need to write his moves down as he had less than 5 minutes on the clock. He said 'I haven't'. At which point I realised that he might have over an hour left. Whoops. Engage brain before mouth Ben.
Nik and Santa, sorry Nik and Haka Dave finished next, a dangerous advanced and passed g pawn was Haka Dave's achilles heel. It had advanced to g3 and there was no way to stop it without saccing material, unfortunately. Haka Dave did try and hang on, but resigned saying that 'Enough was enough'.
Finally The Grinder lived up to his name with a monster attack on Charles' King, eventually forcing Charles to resign.
A 3-1 victory for Wigston and a very hard fought victory at that. I shook hands with Haka Dave, who fondly described mine and his (ahem) relationship as 'Love - hate, Ben loves me and I hate him'. I think that he doesn't mean that really. I think. References to shark city Arizona were made in light of John and Nik playing, an estimated 110 ahead of a 112 with reference to me putting Nik ahead of Paul Winterton on board order. All slightly tongue in cheek I guess.
I now look forward to being a spectator at the Wigston 4 v HA2 match tonight.
Great to see you guys as always.
Wigston Chess Club