On 12 June we welcomed Hackney to the Actonians. This was an important match for them, as a win or draw would give them the first division title. On paper there was little between the teams with both sides averaging a shade under 2100 on each board. 

On board two, Andrew writes: “My opponent played a trendy new GM gambit line improving the old Milner-Barry Gambit in the French Advance by not taking back on d4. I had been aware of this new idea and had been meaning to look at it – well I have now! I inevitably spent quite a long time on the clock and came up with a poor plan of …f5 and …h6 which allowed him to break with g4. I gave the pawn back with …f4 which stopped gxf5 but not Bf5! I put up a bit of a fight and managed to swap queens into a rook and knight ending a pawn up but his pieces were well-placed to force his e-pawn through straight away.”

On the neighbouring board, Alan continued to impress. He writes: “I was White and it was a Nimzo-Indian with 4.e3 b6 played. My opponent misplayed the opening and after 15 moves I felt I had a winning position. My engine confirms this. I had possibilities to expose his king and to win material.  I started to falter and even thought I had completely lost control of the game and was lucky when he lost on time on move 29. According to my engine I was still winning ‘easily’ in the final position but it was complicated. Whether I would have clinched the win if the game had continued we will never know.”

It was a pleasure to welcome Jonathan White to the team.  He observes: “The first 8 moves of the game were symmetrical, and in a manoeuvring game I built a steady advantage. We reached a rook and minor piece endgame where I was pawn up with good winning chances.  But I was low on time and couldn’t see the way through; it’s hard enough to see now with the aid of the computer. We settled for a draw.” My own feeling is that had Jonathan had more time he would have enjoyed excellent winning chances: the extra pawn, the opponent’s weakened pawn structure, and the advantage of bishop over knight with activity on both sides of the board all conspired to yield a definite advantage.

Tony’s game did not go according to plan. He states: “I employed an irregular response to White’s 1.d4 and was probably struggling slightly from early on. I had a promising pawn storm against his kingside, but after mistakenly castling queenside, his pawn breakthrough against my king bore fruit sooner. A continuous sequence of checks forced my king from b8 to brief sanctuary on h6, but too many pawns had been nabbed in the process and I lost soon afterwards.” I too went down. Following an equal opening, I lost a couple of pawns and was unable to hold the ending. 

The final game to finish was Martin on board one. He comments: “After misplaying the White side of a c3 Sicilian I was under lots of middlegame pressure.  I gave up a pawn to free my pieces and was able to liquidate down to a drawn rook ending.”

So disappointingly a 4-2 home defeat but, in fairness, Hackney played better. Hearty congratulations to their captain, Bob Eames, and the team for winning the Middlesex title.

Martin Smith 22910.5-0.5FM Richard Britton2201
FM Andrew Harley21530 – 1FM Bob Eames2197
Alan Perkins2170  1 – 0Zoltan Kovacs2130
Tony Wells2098 0 – 1Frank Chin2077
Jonathan White 19740.5-0.5Adam Robinson2001
Simon Healeas 1903 0 – 1Marcel Ciesielski1946
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