On Monday, 22 January we welcomed Hendon to the Actonians for a first division match. Pre-Covid, Hendon was in the habit of winning the Middlesex title but have suffered post-pandemic. This was reflected in the respective team sheets in which Ealing enjoyed an average 250+ points rating advantage across the six boards.  

That said, we did not get off to the most auspicious of starts with Martin losing on board one. However, four successive victories followed. Indeed, in-form Andrew delivered checkmate in a mere 24 moves. He writes: “My opponent played a very rare line in the Winawer which works well at online blitz. Luckily I had a vague memory of what to do and got a very nice position for the cost of a pawn. I wisely rejected some tempting Greek Gift sacrifices and just built up the pressure until breaking through.”

Regarding his game, John comments: “My game was a closed Sicilian. We quickly reached an endgame which was level or slightly better for me. My opponent then allowed me to advance my d-pawn into the heart of his position, winning a piece and establishing my two rooks on the 7th rank.”

According to Jonathan, “As White, the game began 1.f4 g6  2. Nf3 d6  3. e4 d5.  My opponent played this as a gambit, meeting 4 exd5 with Nf6  5. c4 Bg7   6. Nc3 0-0.  Probably this combination of the lost tempo and lost pawn is bad for Black. I kept the pawn and won the game in a pawn ending.”

Reflecting on his game, Alan notes: “I was Black and the game started with a delayed form of the c3 Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3). This is recommended by Christof Sielecki in his best-selling repertoire book, ‘Keep It Simple 1.e4’. I erred on move 10 by reluctantly exchanging queens because I wrongly thought my queen would be too exposed if I didn’t. I was left behind in development in an inferior position requiring careful defence. Not fancying this, I tried to be active and threatening but I soon found myself in a probably lost position. This improved slightly when he chose the wrong way to win a pawn. He ran short of time and further mistakes followed. My pieces became active, his king became exposed and I won quickly by forcing mate.”

My game was the last to finish: a draw in which I was told I missed a win in the endgame. Anyway, overall this was a solid team performance which got us off to a good start in 2024.

Ealing RatingResultHendonRating
Martin Smith 2229 0-1Eric Eedle1967
John Quinn 2184 1-0Jonathan Rubeck1941
Andrew Harley 2165 1-0Alexander Funk1854
Alan Perkins 2138 1-0Andrew Medworth1758
Jonathan White 1970 1-0Chris Rogal1756
Simon Healeas 19040.5-0.5Ben Horspool1582
   4.5 – 1.5