Ealing 2 – Hackney 4

On a cold Monday night, 4 December, we welcomed Middlesex champions, Hackney, to the Actonians. In terms of playing strength across the 6 boards, the teams were equally matched so a tight encounter was anticipated.

In chess I’m always reluctant to provide excuses for losing. That said, Alan shivering  at the board could not have helped his powers of cognition. He writes: “I was White and the opening was the Tarrasch Variation of the Queen’s Gambit. Black had an isolated queen’s pawn (IQP) with active piece development as compensation, which is typical for this variation. I developed my king’s bishop by e3 and Be2 rather than the more normal g3 and Bg2. After some thematic moves by both sides I created play against his kingside with Bb2 and Nf5 threatening his pawn on g7 and with Qe2-g4 to follow. If I had calculated the variations correctly I would have emerged with a small advantage. Instead I made a bad oversight which handed Black a big advantage and I wasn’t able to save a minor piece ending a pawn down against his excellent play.”

On top board Martin had a tough game against an International Master. He comments: “I was White in a c3 Sicilian and as my centre came under pressure I gave it up in exchange for some piece activity.  My opponent played well to neutralise my activity and eventually liquidated to an endgame where his better pawn structure proved decisive.”

The highlight of the evening was Andrew’s performance. He notes: “I picked up my fifth win in a row as Black in a French Tarrasch. My opponent ambitiously played knights to f3-d4-b5 and d2-f3-e5 before castling, allowing me to gain the initiative with …Rd8-d5 which didn’t win one of those knights but did gain the two bishops and control of the d-file, and then place a rook on d2 and eventually win first one pawn and then more.” It was pleasing to observe Andrew’s sixth consecutive victory the following evening against Richmond. Long may this run continue!

John had a difficult prospect in store with the black pieces against Hackney captain, FM Bob Eames. Reflecting on the game, John writes: “I failed to find a good plan in a Closed Sicilian and found myself in a poor position. My opponent had 3 promising options for increasing his advantage but fortunately for me chose the one where I could play an intermediate move and wriggle out into a level position. A draw was agreed after we exchanged into an equal B V N  endgame with 3 pawns each.”

Playing against the Grunfeld I obtained a slight initiative out of the opening but failed to develop it into anything meaningful. After 26 moves and in a level position, we agreed to split the point. 

Offering his observations on a fluctuating game, Mark states: “I played the Old Indian as Black, and had the better of the opening…until, with a rook on d2 and his king on c7 white could play Nd5+ and win the d2 rook for the knight and a pawn. I thought it was worse for me, but in fact the computer assesses it as equal. A few moves later  I found a nice resource which either gained a pawn (not chosen, assessed as equal on the computer) or a riskier line leaving material equal but giving him doubled pawns (chosen, leaving White slightly better). Later he exchanged his rook for a bishop and pawn; I again thought he had the advantage but the computer assesses it as dead equal. At the end I thought he’d fallen into a trap where I could win his bishop, but I’d fallen into the trap and in winning the bishop my g7 pawn couldn’t defend both his pawns on f6 and h6, he pushed one and the other queened. A lot of mistakes.”

Overall, this 4-2 defeat represented a slightly disappointing result but, with 10 fixtures still to play, there is plenty of opportunity to get back on track.

Ealing RatingResultHackneyRating
Martin Smith 2235 0-1IM Richard Bates2383
John Quinn 21820.5-0.5FM Bob Eames2272
Alan Perkins 21580-1John Tennyson1999
FM Andrew Harley 21461-0Adam Robinson1987
Simon Healeas 19080.5-0.5Ben Cullen1947
Mark Winterbotham 18530-1Emyr Jones1885
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