Everything was going well until we tried to exit the M60 and Princess Parkway was at a standstill. We stayed on the motorway and someone remembered United were at home, chaos! Each exit was the same and we found ourselves on the 602. A trip round a housing estate didn't help; we knew there was a reason no one else tried it. We eventually arrived just after 8pm to find Paul well into his game and our clocks running. About twelve minutes gone I think.
Anyway we got on with it. I sat down to play against Alan Beresford (130, although he wrote 138 on my scoresheet) who asked me my grade. He asked me again when I ignored him. I was quite happy to tell him (100) in the hope he would think he was in for an easy night. Anyway I managed to play a very reasonable Bb5+ opening and get a decent position. I had a space advantage with all Alan's pieces on the back two ranks. As the game went on though Alan gradually freed his position and built an attack on the f-file which saw him win an exchange and a pawn. So I went into a fairly hopeless endgame but managed to hold on and find a couple of resources which frustrated his rooks. A fairly feeble attempt at a trick saw me check with his rook forked by my bishop, but protected by one of my pawns. I tried to find the right time to move my pawn but when I did Alan only had to move his rook. He didn't leaving me with bishop and pawn against three pawns which were going nowhere. A draw was soon agreed. In Tony's words "a great fightback".
Next to me, board three was looking a bit bare and Tony Kay (132) seemed in trouble. His game with Daniel Otto (126) finished early so I shoved a message in front of him "Report please". So the following comments are his. He had blundered in the middle game, losing a piece and the position.
Paul (149) and Paul Harnett (134) had a knife-edge position in the late middle game but the Chorlton Paul got a passed-pawn and was about to force a queen sacrifice or pawn promotion when the game ended,
On board 2 Chris Baker (137) had a tough battle with Graham Phythian (129) but Graham's strong pawn centre forced the win. Meanwhile David Preen (109) ha an interesting end-game with Hooman Eskandari (127). With the black pieces David had connected passed pawns and knight, while Hooman had 3 isolated pawns and Bishop. Good play by both players ended with the game drawn.
On board 6, Tony Doust (89) faced Howard Hughes (125) and Tony lost a piece in a tough endgame. Howard's two bishops won the day.
So a six one defeat left us free to go and join the even more unhappy United supporters now clogging the roads of Chorlton once more.