Fifth Team Fight the Elements to Face Haywards Heath

Thursday 2nd November, 2023. This was a day of extreme weather, with heavy rainfall and exceptionally high winds battering the south coast. Captain Pete Finch did a superb job getting our 5th team to Haywards Heath and back safely through the terrible storm and floods.

The match was equally as turbulent, with tough contests on all boards. On board one, John Wright had the white pieces against Jaco Klue. A Caro-Kann Advanced Variation saw both players castle kingside, with white establishing a strong attack using a bishop and queen focused on an advanced pawn on h6.

According to post-game analysis, white should have sacrificed the bishop for the two pawns protecting the black king. Instead, both players swapped pieces to reach an endgame with white having knight against bishop.

White thought that by ensuring that all his pieces were on the opposite colour to the bishop, that bishop would be neutralised and the knight would reign supreme. However, it did not quite work out, and black managed to promote a pawn. White resigned after 57 moves.

Board 2 saw Peter Holdstock play black against Jonathan Bedingham. An ordinary Ruy Lopez developed into an interesting middle game where Peter had an opportunity to capture a central pawn. However, in the subsequent exchange of pieces he missed a saving check, which would result in white being a piece for a pawn up. Peter was unable to recover from this mistake and resigned after 43 moves.

On board 3, Pete Finch drew with the white pieces against Phil Morris. A strong opening from Pete secured a rook for bishop exchange in his favour, but stout defending from Phil led to an agreed draw after 28 moves. A fair result, as subsequent analysis by Stockfish showed a final position evaluation of 0.00.

Keith Osborne played black on board 4 against Alan Davey. An early mistake by Keith in the opening saw his game go downhill for the first hour, and he eventually lost the exchange. Keith fought his way back into the game, and mounted an assertive counter-attack, rebuffing white by taking advantage of their exposed king. Keith was able to force a draw on move 31, while still the exchange down.  

Despite losing the match 3-1 it was an enjoyable evening, even with the adverse weather and travel conditions. Thank you to the Haywards Heath for their welcome and hospitality.

John Wright, Peter Holdstock and Keith Osborne playing away for Eastbourne 5

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