It’s not easy being a team captain. Not only do you need to find 16 players for a full team, but then you have to play your own games at the same time as keeping a watchful eye on the progress of the rest of your team. Full credit, then, to Ian Wallis for winning both his games last Sunday!
He reached the following position in his second game, against David Martinez Villena (173) of Bedfordshire (White to play):
11. Nxf7?! Kxf7 12. f5. Looks dangerous and the complications are immense. However I have not done anything wrong in the preceding play so I tried to convince myself that everything would be OK. The difficulty was finding the right path.
12. … Rf8 13. Qg4 (13. fxe6, 13. Qh5 and 13. Rf1 were other possibilities).
13. …Kg8 (13. … Nxe5! was even better. After 14. fxe6 dxe6 15. Qf4+ Kg8 16. Qxe5 was all I had seen, but now 16. … Qh4+ wins).
14. Bh6 (one of the few moves that I did anticipate. I also looked at 14. f6 and planned to answer this with the same game move but 14. … d5 would have been even stronger, the point being 15. exd6 Qxf6 retains the piece). Relatively best was 14. Bg5 when Nxe5 again saves the day. 15. fxe6 dxe6 (15. … Nxg4 16. e7+ d5 17. exd8=Q Rxd8 18. Bxd8 dxc4 is still winning but why give up material when it is not necessary). 16. Bxd8 Nxg4 17. Bxc7 and the pawn deficit is a minor problem compared to the lack of development and exposed K.
14. … Rf7. Now the N is now longer pinned. My opponent hadn’t seen this defence. 14. … Qe7 was also possible: 15. fxe6 dxe6 16. Bf4 h5! and e5 will fall again (17. Qg3 Nxe5 18. Bxe5 Bf2+ 19. Qxf2 Rxf2 20. Kxf2 Qh4+ etc).
15. fxe6 dxe6 16. Bg5 Nxe5! By now this should be no surprise.
17. Qg3 (17. Bxd8 Nxg4 with two pawns to the good was my expected continuation but White didn’t fancy this. His continuation was less challenging).
17. … Bf2+ 18. Qxf2 Qxg5 19. Qd2 (19. Qe2 Nxc4 was no better).
19. … Qh4+ 20. Kd1 Nxc4. Although White continued for another ten moves the result was no longer in doubt. 0 – 1.