It has been noticed that my blogs are becoming less accurate, as I pay less attention to games. Must do better.
A lateish call-off and another of my repeat pairings had seemed to resolve into a decent twelve-play-twelve. But Julien sent in a later call-off, missed by my email. Graeme turned up, and sportingly offered to try and play postponed game
I got a few bounce-games vs. newcomer James Gillespie (another prospect for next year… things are looking up), but at least my blog could include a detailed review of the game next to us where…why is Liam suddenly a piece down??
Elsewhere, Comrade Alex was doing OK until he (I am reliably informed) “chucked a rook”. Eric Martin showed Jim why he shouldn’t be so far down the table, while Kaveh’s unbeaten run came to an end vs. Danny. Brian Fitzpatrick was another early winner, against Andy - whose pressure-relieving exchange-sacrifice unfortunately also left a pinned knight hanging.
But the rest got really tight.
Bob Innes reached another multi-pawn endgame against a talented junior, but Ciara’s protected passed pawn excluded any smart King manoeuvring by his opponent this time. Tony and Gilbert drew (no further comment in case incorrect). Jim O’Neill eventually lost a piece in an extended exchange under pressure from Duncan, while an entertaining two-rooks-for-a-queen between Robert and Craig Anderson got even more interesting as Robert’s rooks won a clear material advantage, but a clear time deficit. He went for the tactical finish of a mate/win-the-queen plan which, after a couple of hiccups, won through.
The much-anticipated clash between Austin and Craig did not disappoint. Onlookers felt Austin had an early edge (Craig disagrees), but by the time this became a pawn advantage his own pawn structure was shot to bits. Craig countered the passed Rook pawn by developing one of his own (on the other side, Larry), and after tricksy play on both sides, where either slip could be disastrous, they finally (and reluctantly?) agreed a draw…
…By which time, Angus’ concentration of pieces defending his king were suddenly able to break through Jalal’s placed-for-attack army with a winning counter-attack.
So unpronounceable-email-address-man has now shocked both top seeds, carving open the Championship and leaving three, possibly four, candidates heading for the last round as joint leaders on 5 points.
You couldn’t make this up.