Poole C 3 – 1 New Milton B

A season defining game? Perhaps. Along with the other 9 games of the season.

Looking at the league before the game shows that every team has been beaten, and every team has won. Poole C stands with a win and a draw, Wimborne head the table with 3 wins and a draw, and New Milton prop up the table with 1 win. Suddenly there’s more pressure. Lose the game and we end up bottom. Win the game and we’re one win away from Wimborne. We had a good team out so should be a breeze! Until you start playing the silly game of chess.

Simon Fox was playing Stephen Disney, lovely chap but we don’t run into the New Milton chaps that much so always a pleasure. I was playing Stephen Bown, a new player, first league game since playing in school! Estimated at 125 and that will go up with more…match fitness? Simon Patterson was playing John Belinger, and Mike Rutter was against John Beasant. Johns and Stephens? Come on New Milton, a bit more creativity on the names please! (says the captain of two Simons, from the club with more Chris’ than I can remember).

Half way through the match which we’d obviously steam roller (obviously! We’re outgrading every opponent and they’re bottom of the league! Spoiler: I eat my words), I look around and nobody is up on material. Not impressed. Mike Rutter is getting some good attacking steam and I’m preparing to castle opposite side and launch a huge attack with creative sacrifices and a Pawn storm. The other two boards look decidedly level. Guess it’s down to me and Mike!

My opponent doesn’t seem to be stopping my King side preparations, all good, but why are his pieces congregating around my King? Hmm…he can’t fork the Rooks as the Pawn is protected, nothing to worry about, push a Knight down his throat, it can be sacked if needs be, no problem.

Looking around and it still seems Mike is the only one doing anything, Queen and Bishop on a diagonal to the King, awkward looking Rook is the only defense, now a Rook challenging that, all looking good.

Hang on, why is there a Queen looking at my King with greedy eyes? That’s not in the script, he shouldn’t be…..attacking! That’s my role in this! Hang on….oh…so that’s how the Rooks are going to be forked. A solution! A Pawn to the rescue! Should allow an extra move to prevent those shenanigans, but decimates my King’s defense.

Mike has shaken hands! It’s….a draw. What?! Ah, open position, Queen able to check until the end of days, possible exchanges down to equality. Well defended John, well played both, it’s half a point so all good.

Except my position is looking decidedly shaky. Instead of giving me an extra move to prevent the fork, Stephen sacks a Bishop. My sort of player! So he eventually gets the fork in after the Queens have swapped off, but it’s boiled down to 1 Pawn and a Rook for two Knights. Computer likes it, but my head hurts. Not much coordination between the Pawns.

Black to move, which side would you prefer?

I’m sure the position would have been fine had I not blundered a Knight (got a Pawn out of it through! Yay! Pawn!). Computer thinks I should have exchanged off Pawns but instead pushed for a passed Pawn. I like Pawns, they can get very annoying. I like being annoying, just ask Chris (which Chris? I’ll let you guess). It’s also all I have left to cling to, lose the Pawn and I’ve just got a couple of Rooks whizzing round my head picking off survivors.

Looking round again and Simon Fox has a draw offer turned down, not a good sign. But Simon Patterson seems to have all the play and has isolated his opponent’s pieces. Hopefully his win will cancel out my diabolical position.

So, same game, lost a Knight for a Pawn, things looking bleak, but never underestimate the pressure a Pawn can provide as it peers at promotion! Somehow this turned into a win for White. I’m still not sure how (white to move):

So somehow a win for Poole.

By this point Simon Patterson has managed to push his opponent onto the side of the board with a Pawn pushing to become Royalty and a trapped Knight having no prospect of escape. Win for Simon (artists impression, may bear no similarity to actual position):

2.5 – 0.5 so far, quite how I’m not sure, but I’ll take it. Simon Fox soon finishes a tight game as a fair draw.

3-1 final score.

New Milton played really well and could easily have won the match, well done to both teams, and we’ll meet again in a month for the return fixture! I’m sure they’ll be out for revenge and hopefully we’ll have a full strength team to replicate the result.

League table suddenly looks a lot better. 3 points away from the bottom, 3rd place, a win away from Wimborne, suddenly we can start dreaming again…

December 22, 2017