After coasting to victory last week in Round 6, SGVCC needed heroic efforts in our match versus the Club from Ayer, Massachusetts. It all came down to the final two games on Boards 2 and 3, where Chris Stychinsky and Richard Reid had to overcome very difficult potions to help us win 4.5 to 3.5, by just a single game.
It seemed we were coming from behind the entire match. First, John Wright on Board 1 went down quickly losing both games. But then @Capital2 on Board 4 got us back even with strong play, taking both games. Chris had lost his first game and Richard had won his, so the match was tied at 3 points each going into the last two games.
But no sooner did we get a reprieve we were fighting for our lives again. Richard was Black against the London System and White had broken through on the Kingside, first by sacrificing a piece, then getting the piece back plus all three of Black’s Kingside pawns! Chris was White against the Black Lion Defense and the “Lion” was roaring! Our opponents meet at a pool hall and it looked like they were going to run the table! Later computer evaluations have both our hero’s lost, but it’s people–not machines–that finish chess games.
In a time scramble Richard was able to create his own passed pawn and the players agreed to a draw with seconds remaining. At that point, the match was still tied and it was all up to Chris. Appropriately, we have made this our featured game this week:
If you look at White’s position after Black played #33…Rh8, it is hard to see how White avoids getting checkmated in short order. Chris’s solution on move #34 seemed to rattle Black, who was still winning, but likely frustrated by White’s stubborn resistance. And “Nimzotech” was starting to make some threats of his own too. Sure enough, five moves later Black dropped a piece and the Lion had been tamed!