The line-up for this match, played at the Dyvels on Dec 11th, was
1. Bruce Reed (121) v Jeff bentham (135)
2. Phil Taylor (126) v Jeff Baird (127)
3. Karl Skowronski (u) v Dave Turner (119)
4. Peter Booker (77) v Steve Bowey (110)
5. Dave Foster jr (82) v Phil Walker (95)
Dave jr had come in on board 5 to replace Dave sr (board 2), who was in too much pain to play, and Phil had come in at the last minute for Malcolm Reid, who failed to show up, so the Reivers had a fairly long tail and were comprehensively outgraded to boot.
First to finish was Karl, who played a long (71 moves) and aggressive game, but who couldn’t overcome the handicap of a bishop blundered on move 18. 0-1
Next Peter, with an exposed king, fell foul of a neat centre of the board mate when there were still plenty of active pieces about. 0-2
Bruce, who had been adamant he wanted a crack at Jeff on board 1, played a fine game and was a pawn up in the rook and 5 pawns v rook and 4 ending, but could find no way of making that slight advantage tell. 0.5-2.5.
Phil had an excellent game against Jeff Baird and gives the following account: “My standard Queen’s Gambit declined soon morphed into a Tarrasch defence but I took black’s c pawn and chased his bishop back with b4 and c5. This gave me quite a lot of space. By move 10 we were out of book and the only game I’ve found that was similar was Wallace v Crane, Sydney 1893, where white won. The game was evenly balanced until I pushed my e-pawn on move 19. Jeff took and this gave my bishop and queen a strong position on the h1a8 diagonal. It led to my winning black’s b pawn and his black-squared bishop. After that, and with black short on time, it was simply a matter of not making a silly move (easier said than done). Fortunately this time I managed to avoid all the traps and pitfalls until black resigned with 1 second left on his clock on move 48.” 1.5-2.5.
So it was all down to board 5, where Phil had gifted Dave a bishop early on in the proceedings. Further pressure by Dave increased that advantage to a rook, but later Dave’s advantage was down to just a pawn. Eventually it came down to Dave’s king and rook versus Phil’s king and pawn. The won ending eluded Dave and the game was drawn. 2-3.
So the match was lost, but there had been plenty of good play along the way against opponents who were often on significantly higher grades.
Next day news came through that Newcastle University were defaulting the Reivers’ next match, due to be played in January.