We just played the semi-final of the Richardson on Feb. 17th, Saturday, at our club, although technically it was a home tie for Poly, our opponents. The result and most games were very close, and we take our hats off to Poly who were sporting and better opponents on the day.
Pavlos fought on doggedly on board one trying to hold the draw but had to opt for a (probably) losing endgame to fight off a dangerous attack, and could not prevent a pawn queening in the same-coloured bishop ending. Daniel who has been a great asset to the team, was unlucky to not find a win in a better endgame – but in analysis it was not clear there was one there despite optical promise. I didn’t see Guy’s game against the young Scandinavian, who seems a promising talent. Stephen who had been unwell had played very solidly and felt he could have held the draw in better circumstances and so was a bit unlucky. Nicolas dropped a pawn but did very well to recover the position and had a bishop vs knight in the ending which he played skilfully to make the draw against a fine player. John had a slightly better opening but after a set of exchanges there was nothing really to separate the players and a draw agreed. Myself I equalised from the Pirc opening, and then a pawn sacrifice along with the opponents minor pieces being offside led to a dangerous attack on the kingside which won material. The major pieces came off and White had to resign. Jim had to face down two connected central pawns but held them back well and achieved a draw without much difficulty.
A fine Cup run we could only have dreamed of at the start of the season, means we are directly through to next year’s Richardson to try again.
Thank you to Daniel for playing for us and being an enthusiastic team member. Many thanks to John whose preparation has been a big part of our success and kept us well fed with delicious buffet lunches each round :)
And well done to everyone, this year was the furthest the team has ever managed in this competition!
The official results page is here: https://www.chessscotland.com/grading-results/event2018/Richardson_Cup.html but the image below has the scores.