Cowley 1 v Wantage 1 (12 February 2018)

Cowley 1
Wantage 1
 Handley, Michael (196)
0.5 - 0.5
 Litwiniec, Miroslawa (151)
 Alizada, Eldar (192)
1 - 0
 Hemmings, Peter (153)
 Robdon, David (161)
0 - 1
 Piggott, Roly (147)
 Cole, Graham (159)
0 - 1
 Brown, Gordon (121)
 Waug, Bob (152)
1 - 0
 Spalding, George (119)
 Hameed, Asif (149)
0 - 1
 Morris, Stephen (118)
2.5 - 3.5
It has taken 11 matches, but finally , the First Team had a victory to savour in Division 1, following up their meritorious draw at Banbury.

Things started poorly with an abysmal effort by your writer, unable to cope with an unexpected line of the Sicilian Defence.  I had a lost game after a dozen moves.

Fortunately things began to turn more favourable soon.  Even before my resignation Mirka was able to secure an easy draw on top board in a short game.  This was to prove vital in the scheme of things.  We should not forget that she has been facing, on Boards 1 or 2, the very best of Division 1 players  all season.

Then we saw first division 1 wins this season, for Roly, Gordon and Stephen with some,fine attacking play.  
Stephen's comment on his game: "Playing Black, I faced the Sicilian Wing Gambit which took me by surprise.  I ended up with a constricted position but fortunately my opponent opened the centre and allowed me to get an attack down the c-file. A bad move by my opponent allowed me to win a rook by a tactical trick; after that it was just a matter of swapping off everything and not making any blunders. Having said that, my opponent held out to the bitter end, leading to my first checkmate in a league game in a very long while."

Finally , Peter was close to  holding a rook, bishop and pawn ending a pawn down.

I should add that all the wins were achieved by our players facing grading deficits averaging 30 or so.  It  looks as if the side is finding its feet in Division 1, albeit just too late.

Report by George Spalding/Stephen Morris