The e2e4.org.uk second team stumbled to a loss in round 3 of the 4NCL against Cambridge University 3. Although the margin of defeat was the narrowest possible (2.5 – 3.5), something seemed to go wrong in most of our games, and perhaps we were lucky not to suffer a heavier loss.
The only decisive game was on bottom board, where David Coates went down in flames againt Alexander Gordon-Brown. Alan Byron conceded a draw by repetition in the early middle game against an opponent 250 points weaker. Philip Horspool’s opponent missed a made in two at one point, and he was fortunate to be able to hold the draw. Both Andy Talbot and Richard Almond were also unable to get the better of their opponents.
My game also ended in a draw, in somewhat unfortunate circumstances for both me and the team. I failed to get anything out of the opening, and my king gradually came under pressure on the queenside in the queen-less middlegame. With both players running very short of time, I managed to defend successfully, and indeed won a pawn when my opponent managed to get his pieces in a tangle. Having negotiated my way to the time control, and having turned down a draw offer in the process, I then rather impulsively offered a draw myself, forgetting that I was still a pawn up in a rook and pawn endgame. Admittedly it was by no means clear that I had a substantial or even decisive advantage, but I should have at least played on for a little while, given the match situation.