At Wigston on Thursday, Ray & I played each other in the sixth round of the Minor Section. At the beginning of the evening, the situation was that I had 2/4 and Ray had 3/4 with two rounds to go. There was a chance that Ray could still catch Roy Lathwood who had a perfect record, but still has to play Ray.
I checked my games database and I hadn’t played Ray competitively, although we know each other well from casual games on club nights. When Ray and I met up to travel to Wigston, the sainted Mrs B. reminded us “boys” we shouldn’t fall out whatever the result.
Cue the music – Dum, dum, dummm…. Dum, dum, dummm. (That Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”, in case you can’t beat the intro.)
Slightly naughtily (and completely falsely), I had suggested to Raymondov on the way I had spent the day studying openings against e4, but he didn’t fall for that and opened e4 anyway. I tried playing the Silician, on the basis that a symmetrical game would be grist to Ray’s mill. As at the Swallow Inn last time out, this wasn’t frankly a success and in a handful of moves that fine judge Fritz has White more than a pawn up. Then Ray blundered on move 17 when he gifted me a bishop, although his move immediately follows a Black move that is also granted the imfamous??. At this point, an audience has assembled – there were only a very small number of games going on and Messrs Manger & Ross both appeared to watch how it isn’t done – I assume that they were in need of a laugh, and there was no comedy on the telly.
On move 22, Ray got the piece back as a result of him spotting my Bishop was overloaded. Following this, my King came under a serious assault, and the situation looks dire. (Evoke Churchillian rhetoric – We will never surrender…) Fortunately, once again, some scrambling defence allows me to hold out, and then on move 28 Ray blundered again and allowed me to skewer his Rook against his Queen with my Bishop. At that point Ray had some time left, but got so engrossed in trying to find a solution that he allowed his clock to run down, enabling a win on time to be claimed.
I think truthfully Ray had a bit of an off-night, and the chess maxim that the winner is the player who makes the second last blunder applied here in spades.
The result means that Roy Lathwood is the winner of the Minor section, as he now can’t be caught. Ray & Roy still have to play, and theoretically I need to arrange a game with the Elusive Mr. Wyld, who didn’t show up (again) for his game with Paul Martin.
Below is the game with Fritz added notation and comments, although I have removed some of the variations.
Beach, Ray - Ricketts, Dave [B50]Leicestershire County Championships Minor Section Rd 6 Wigston, 22.09.2011B50: Sicilian: 2...d6, Miscellaneous 1.e2-e4 c7-c5 2.Nb1-c3 d7-d6 3.Ng1-f3 g7-g6 “last book move” 4.Bf1-c4 e7-e6 5.0-0 Bf8-g7 6.d2-d4 Bc8-d7 7.Bc1-f4 Qd8-c7? At this point Fritz notes “Black is behind in development.” As Basil Fawlty would say this is a statement of the bleeding obvious! 8.Rf1-e1 c5xd4 9.Nc3-b5 Bd7xb5 10.Bc4xb5+ Nb8-c6 11.e4-e5 0-0-0 12.e5xd6+- Qc7-b6 13.Qd1-d3 Ng8-f6 14.Nf3-g5 Rh8-f8 15.a2-a4 h7-h6 16.Ng5-e4 g6-g5?? [16...Nf6xe4 17.Re1xe4 e6-e5+/=] 17.Bf4-e5?? “throws away the game [17.a4-a5 finishes off the opponent]” 17...Nc6xe5-+ 18.Qd3-a3 Nf6xe4 19.Re1xe4 Rd8xd6 [19...Qb6xd6 “seems even better” 20.Qa3-g3-+] 20.Ra1-d1 [20.Ra1-e1 “doesn't get the cat off the tree” – A real Fritzism (presumably this a a literal translation of a German phrase for getting out of the guano) 20...Ne5-g6-+] 20...a7-a5 [20...Rf8-d8!? “and Black can already relax”] 21.Rd1-e1 [21.c2-c4 “does not save the day” 21...Qb6-c7 22.b2-b4-+ ] 21...Rd6-d5 [21...Ne5-g6-+ “and Black takes home the point”] 22.Re4xe5-/+ Rd5xe5 23.Re1xe5 Qb6-d8 [23...Kc8-b8!?-/+] 24.Re5-c5+= Kc8-b8 25.Qa3-b3 [25.Qa3-g3+!? “should be investigated more closely” 25...Kb8-a8 26.Bb5-e2= ] 25...Qd8-b6=/+ 26.Qb3-c4?? [26.Qb3-g3+ “was a good chance to save the game”] 26...Rf8-d8-+ 27.b2-b4 a5xb4 28.Qc4xb4 [28.a4-a5 “the only chance to get some counterplay” 28...Qb6xa5 29.Qc4-d3-+] 28...Bg7-f8 [28...Bg7-f8 29.Rc5-c8+ Rd8xc8-+ ] 0-1
There won’t be a club night on Tuesday, as there is the League Presentation Evening and Charity Quick-Play on Wednesday night at Syston, where we are picking up two trophies, which I reckon is 18% of those presented to teams – a good result for a club of our size. It is a good night, and the Quick-Play (15 minute games) is a giant time scramble, but fun to take part in.
There will also be a reasonable contingent of Heathcote players at the Atkins Congress next weekend, so if you have a couple of hours to spare and you want to see some good players, come down and you can observe some very strong players in action at the top of the Open Section.
Then week-commencing 3rd October the new League season for 2011-12 starts.