Our first match of the 2016-17 season started with a bang. Quite literally, the heavens opened and the Midlands witnessed an almighty thunderstorm, yet this didn't deter Rushall from playing.
Board 2 Rob Fell v Steve Wilcox. This game never started for Rob, struggled to have any counter-play. His opponent can be formidable and tonight was no exception, Rob resigned.
Board 6 Mike Page v Shane Cooksey. This familiar pairing always leads to an interesting match, Mike looked to have more space yet couldn't seem to capitalize on it. Shane played well and got his knight on a dominant square, and the end was nigh for Mike.
Board 5 Tony Meakin v Keith Butler. Tony looked rather comfortable in his game despite forgetting he had a match on tonight, he held his position and offered a draw which was accepted.
Board 4 Bob Edgar v Alexander Jarvis. Bob dominated this game throughout, yet the young opponent forced Bob to think, eating away precious time, there was a point where Bob either needed to defend some advancing pawns or play a little more aggressively, he took the former approach and regretted it.
Board 1 Matt Carr v Manpreet Sangha. This was always going to be a tough challenge for Matt, and battled hard to stay in the game. Matt gave it his best shot (as usual) but had to admit defeat by a higher-graded opponent in the end.
Board 3 Catherine Hiley v Rich Wiltshir. My game wasn't dissimilar to Mike's, in that I had all the space, but couldn't seem to get an attack going. I managed to break down white's king-side defence, but at a timely expense, and with 14 seconds remaining, I blundered away my queen and resigned before my opponent managed to capture her.
A really tough debut match, where we were out-graded on every board by 20 or more points on 5/6 boards. Still Rushall had to play well to get those points, it was closer than the result suggests.
Catherine Hiley, Wolverhampton League Division 2