For Sunday’s game I was again not sure who my opponent would be, so I looked up the games of Holmes Chapel’s bottom three boards, all of whom could have been put on board 5. I focused mainly on the games of David Bennion (rated 2014), Saturday’s board 5, and initially felt like I was trying to prepare for Vasily Ivanchuk. ‘Chucky’ plays just about every opening in existence, and David Bennion plays both 1. e4 and 1. d4 quite regularly, which is unusual at club level. Fortunately a more thorough look through his games revealed that he does play e4 significantly more often, and after 1… e5 he usually goes for the Bishop’s Opening, so this is what I was expecting.
When I arrived at the venue I found that I was indeed paired with David Bennion, but he surprised me on move 2 with Nf3, and we went into a Giuoco Piano. At 5. c3 my book knowledge came to a sudden end, but I vaguely remembered seeing a game of his where he had played like this against a strong opponent, and my memory of that game helped me to play the next two moves. He soon seemed to be on unfamiliar ground too (the disadvantage of playing a wide variety of openings), and I think with 9. Rxe4 he made a mistake (though I’ve yet to run it through the computer). Here’s the game:
With that a successful weekend for both me and for the team (who won both matches) was concluded. Thanks to Malcolm Armstrong for analysing the game afterwards with me, and thanks to Simon Edwards for inviting me to be on the team.