On Monday, 15 May we hosted Muswell Hill who are challenging to be Middlesex champions. Not surprisingly, we were out-graded on all boards. Nevertheless Alan, playing with the white pieces for only the second time in three years, got us off to a good start with an 18-move draw. On board 4, the 300-point plus rating difference between my opponent and me was evidenced from the start: his superior opening knowledge foreshadowed a comfortable and growing middlegame advantage which he easily converted.

Next to finish was Summit who was playing his first classical game in 8 years. Summit is known for his fearless attacking play and waited until move three before offering a pawn sacrifice. He writes: ”Neither of us had time to castle and I delayed developing my king’s knight to allow an early Qg4. A position developed in which we each infiltrated with neither side castling. The position was equal until I blundered by making a queen move which allowed my opponent a check that forked a rook. On reflection, I spent too little time on analysing this move; a big lesson on how blitz chess can ruin your patience!!”

On top board, Andrew faced a tough challenge against a player rated 2353. He writes: “As Black in an English, I allowed my c-pawns to be doubled and isolated in return for swapping off the g2-bishop for the knight on c6. White manoeuvred his knights patiently and eventually won a pawn. But a couple of inaccuracies while doing so allowed me to build up a strong kingside attack with rook, queen, bishop and h-pawn. White defended precisely and with only seconds remaining, there was a perpetual check.”

The hero of the night was Martin who, despite an absence from chess, seems to be stronger than ever. He writes: “I was Black in a closed Ruy Lopez with 5.d3. After struggling for equality for about 30 moves I eventually got some queenside counterplay and gave up a knight to create connected passed pawns. As these pawns advanced my opponent was forced to return the piece to stop them, and I was able to simplify down to a won king and pawn endgame.”

The final game to finish was Jason’s. Both he and his opponent were optimistic about their respective positions following the opening. My impression was that most of the game remained within the ‘drawing zone’ but in the final phase – a rook ending with passed pawns on opposite wings – Jason erred, thereby allowing his opponent a winning position. A shame really as Jason played well against a higher-rated adversary.

With four matches remaining, we require one more point to guarantee first division chess next season. I‘m sure we will do it.

EalingRatingResultMuswell HillRating
FM Andrew Harley21440.5 – 0.5FM Kim Yew Chan2353
Alan Perkins21660.5 – 0.5Peter Finn2273
Martin Smith2161 1 – 0Mike Healey2252
Simon Healeas1888 0 – 1Stanley Badacsonyi2199
Jason Obihara1771 0 – 1Alecos Ethelontis2032
Summit SarnaUnrated 0 – 1Alper Dilek1855
  2 – 4