In R8, and for the 2nd successive match, Avengers 1 were defeated by a narrow 1.5-2.5 margin. This time by Grischuk Grizzlies.
Paul got us off to a promising start with a comfortable win as Black against Michael Green’s Reti – making it an outstanding 7 out of 7 for The Panzer!
Our other Black player, Panagiotis, looked in difficulties against FM Arno Steck’s Mora Gambit. Yet Panagiotis defended a lost position with remarkable composure, even missing winning opportunities on moves 33 & 35 before a draw by repetition was reached on move 36.
The Avengers were less successful with the White pieces. Martin could find very little with which to trouble IM Nikola Nikolovski in a Sicilian Moscow. Eventually, the IM broke out with an interesting exchange sacrifice for 2 pawns, which provided Martin with insurmountable practical challenges.
Ultimately, the match was decided on B3. Andy’s venturesome queen snaffled Maarten De Vleeschawers b-pawn in a Slav Exchange Variation. But Andy soon regretted it, quickly losing a, b, and f-pawns, to allow the Belgium a comfortable win.
We are still 3rd place in Division 1 / Group B, and 2 points adrift of 2nd place Wood Green Monarchs (who also lost in R8). However, Gonzaga (who drew in R8) have now caught up with us.
Surbiton 1 will certainly take one of the qualifying places in Division 1/ Group B. The 1st team’s main rival for the 2nd qualifying place, Wood Green Monarchs, will be awarded a 4-0 walkover in R9 against Northumbria Vikings, after the latter’s withdrawal from the competition.
The 1st team therefore have almost negligible chances of qualifying. But the only possible route to this unlikely destination involves us winning (preferably by a huge margin) in both R9 & R10.
A great line from “Clockwise” (the 1986 John Cleese film) comes to mind:
“It’s not the despair…I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.”
See: 4NCL Online: Division 1 Tables