With a little spare time at Frankfurt Airport I thought I’d let you all know what’s been happening in the Bundesliga this season. After Remagen were relegated – too many 3.5-4.5 upsets, not that my 10 draws and 1 loss helped particularly, I switched to Solingen this season. Solingen came 3rd last year and with Werder Bremen giving some of their youngsters a try we’d really like to finish in the top two.
On the 19th October I flew into Nuremberg and then got a taxi to the town of Forchheim for the first weekend The season started well with two victories over newly promoted Forchheim and Schachfreunde Berlin. Forchheim don’t seem to have strengthened and look like they’ll really struggle in the top tier. I defeated a young FM, Seyb on board three and the team won very convincingly. Against Berlin I was in a lot of trouble against the high rated IM Schneider but he let me off the hook and I escaped with a draw. Again the team won by a wide margin and we finished the first weekend on 100% and in 2nd place behind the big favourites Baden Baden on game points.
To some extent this weekend mirrored the first. Yesterday we played Wiesbaden, the strongest team to get promoted and the one with the most realistic chances of staying up. They were missing their top player and I found myself playing GM Palac without any time to prepare. I decided to try the English but was out of book pretty early. However the game was interesting; a sacked a pawn for a structural advantage and attacking chances on the kingside and finished off the game with a neat little tactic. The computer might not be totally convinced but I was happy with how I played,. It felt like a spark of form has emerged for the first time since before the Olympiad and is certainly much needed! The team raced to a 5-1 lead and, despite Daniel Stellwagen being ground down on board two we still managed a fantastic 5.5-2.5 victory.
Today we were playing yet another newly promoted team in the shape of Griesheim. They are stronger than Forchheim but are likely to struggle and indeed are still on 0 match points. On my customary board three I played IM Murdzia, who apparently has won the World Problem Solving Championships on a few occasions. The game was a Fianchetto Kings Indian and I thought I had taken the upperhand but with a couple of careless moves I was in a lot of trouble. I had to sacrifice a pawn and went into dismal rook and bishop endgame. Another pawn went west and I must have been completely lost but I defended tenaciously as always and was rewarded when Murdzia erred and I managed to hold.
When I left there were a couple of games still going with Jan Smeets and Erwin L’Ami both pressing in slightly better endgames without risk. Therefore the team should win at least 4.5-3.5 and stay on 100% – my half point may prove very important! Baden Baden comfortably won both matches this weekend and will be top but I think we’ll be the only other team joining them on 8/8 (2 match points for a win) after 4 games. Let’s hope we can build on this good start.