The League Knockout was won by Bath on
board count as the last half an hour of the match dramatically swung in
Boards 4 and 8 finished in early draws as Neil Dunlop and John Waterfield
found themselves in a completely drawn King and Pawn ending. With John
Curtis ( Board 5 ) and Dave Collier ( Board 6 ) and Duncan Grossett ( Board
7 ) holding the advantage in their games it seemed only a matter of time
before they would be converted into wins for Clifton, the pressure was on
the top 3 boards for Bath to deliver.
Duncan Grossett was first to cement a win with a pretty smothered mate !
James Cobb seemed to be holding the advantage on top board but gave David
Buckley a route back into the game after a temporary exchange sacrifice went
wrong and left James facing an ending a pawn down and he resigned.
All the focus now was on Boards Two and Three with both Bath players
needing to win and in time trouble. James Sherwin on board three was a
piece up for 3 pawns but in a healthy position with Gareth Morris having
Pawn weaknesses. Andy Pickering was holding a slight advantage on board two
as Peter Poobalasingam's clock time was disappearing fast. A number
of tactical exchanges forced the game into a Queen and Rook ending that
appeared to look drawn and it was a surprise to me when Peter turned down
Andy's offer of a draw but Bath needed wins and draws were no good.
Meanwhile Dave Collier and John Curtis converted their advantages into wins
making the overall score 4-2 in favour of Clifton.
All eyes on boards 2 and 3 again as things were looking good for James Sherwin
as he had a passed 'a' pawn and knights linking up well. Peter Poobalasingam was applying pressure and after White blundered
his Queen for a Rook it was simply a question whether the
seconds left on Peter's clock would hold out. Peter delivered mate with
his flag poised to drop ! James Sherwin ( last to finish ) made no
mistake in mopping up Blacks army of pawns as his knights held out to the
finish to record a memorable win for Bath.