We made the short journey to Gambit’s city centre lair and came away with the spoils against Gambit 3, getting Central’s new season off to the best possible start.
Alan and Steve on the top two boards produced dominating displays to give us a great platform on which to build. Alan was never in any danger against John Huthwaite and once he went material up converted with the minimum of fuss.
Steve’s participation was in doubt until a day or two beforehand due to a serious back injury but he played through the pain barrier to notch a very nice victory against Charlie Grainger. A pawn up in the middlegame, he gradually reduced Charlie’s queen and rooks to total passivity before delivering the killer blow.
Mark was lucky to escape with a draw on board 3 but that meant we could not lose the match, just needing another half point to win.
Andrew was holding his own on bottom board, pressurising his opponent without finding a way to win and eventually ending up with a drawn king and pawn endgame. Drawn that is until Andy blundered with Ke3 instead of Ke2, allowing his opponent, Peter Gorecka-Marshall, to take the opposition and the game. A “schoolboy error” as Andy lamented afterwards.
So, the match came down to Graham against Gary Hopkinson. Graham sacrificed the exchange early on and then produced a typically Petrosian-esque performance to squeeze out the required draw. Cue a round of cheers from the small Central area of the pub.