The B team has moved towards touching distance of promotion to Division 1 after our 4.5-0.5 win over already relegated Church Stretton B. We are now 3 points clear of our 2 nearest rivals with 2 matches left. A forgone conclusion you might think, yet it could still all go horribly wrong (forever the optimist!) as we face the very strong Ludlow A and then Telepost B in our last match. The match between Telepost B and Newport B could even see us promoted without even playing, should Telepost win. Even a draw should do it for us because of our superior board count difference but, as every football manager will tell you, you can’t rely on other results (especially if you’re a Shrewsbury Town fan!) It’s also looking likely that we will only have 3 players available for our last game but I’m working on it! Would be a real shame if that was the case AND we needed to win or draw.
I got the ball rolling after my opponent (who played the opening really well) dropped a piece (pin) and then later another piece (misread the position). I tried to mate him with Rook, Bishop and Knight on an open board and so nearly did (it’s quite difficult) until he resigned. Ile proved too strong for his opponent on 1 and then Tony got a draw on 5 after reaching a totally blocked position against his opponent who was making his comeback in chess after 30 years!
Performance of the night must go to the vastly improved Shane Sweeney who took Norman all the way to an endgame position where I’m sure he could have held out for a highly creditable draw, but just a couple of tiny errors and Norman was in to promote his pawn and Shane resigned. Mark had a highly tactical position in his match towards the end with pins and potential sacrifices abounding. After cleverly building up overwhelming pressure against his opponent’s King a neat manoeuvre forced the win of the Queen or mate. I always enjoy watching these sort of games as I stand there thinking what I would do only to see the players find a much better move (so unfair). It’s almost like a form of tactical training.
So crunch week is nearly upon us and we will certainly give it our best shot. Fingers crossed, watch this space!
Ian Davies, B Team Captain