Saturday night and Sunday mourning for CSC/Kingston 3

Decidedly mixed fortunes for CSC/Kingston 3 at the team’s second 4NCL weekend, held in Telford, with a 6-0 win followed by a 5.5-0.5 loss

This was the ultimate weekend of two halves. On Saturday CSC/Kingston 3 whitewashed a team of juniors from Barnet Knights – apologies to the youngsters, best treat it as a learning experience. But the following day – and we really weren’t celebrating too late into the night – we got a taste of our own medicine, suffering a 5.5-0.5 hammering at the hands of Ashfield 3.

The latter was a very disappointing result because on paper the teams looked fairly evenly matched. The drive back to south-west London from Telford, in Shropshire, is already extremely long, but on this occasion it seemed to last forever. Well done to Mike Cresswell for saving us from what in tennis is called being bagelled – that horrible 6-0 drubbing.

The one saving grace for me is that I found my Sunday loss to Robert Taylor very instructive. I have always struggled against the Colle System and loathe the position we reached here after White’s 10. Qf3.

Clearly, something has gone wrong, and my “bad” bishop on b7 is a nightmare. I played 10. Nxe5 here and then retreated the knight to d7, giving myself a horrible game. Capturing the knight on e5 is fine, but the black knight must then be placed on e4. After bishops are exchanged, White can’t win a pawn because of the check from the black queen on h4. With best play, White still has a small advantage, but nothing like the plus he had in the game where I was on the back foot throughout, consumed outrageous amounts of time and eventually collapsed in a heap. A horrible day at the office.

Let’s hope CSC/Kingston 1 and CSC2/Kingston 2 fare better this weekend at Warwick in the second phase of these rounds (3 and 4) of the 4NCL. The divisions and weekends are split because 4NCL has not been able to find a venue large enough to accommodate everyone at once. There may also be issues with recruiting enough officials. It is very unfortunate that the players are split up in this way because it gives the people overseeing the teams more logistical headaches and robs the weekend of the sense of occasion it would have if everyone was gathered in the same place on a single weekend. One day perhaps.

Stephen Moss