On 13 June we hosted Hendon 2 in our final match of the season. To win the second division title (on board count), we needed to win 6 – 0. Five and half points would secure a share of the title; any other winning score would ensure the runners-up spot. Given the circumstances, all our players understood the need not to agree quick grandmaster draws.
On board 4, Joao writes: “As White, my opponent chose the exchange Slav, a solid variation offering little counterplay for Black. I shuffled my pieces to their optimal squares while my opponent made slow, improving moves, building up pressure on the c-file. I followed the policy of exchanging pieces when cramped for space and ended in a knight and bishop endgame with an equal number of pawns. Having survived the worst and with the prospect of playing a slightly inferior endgame, I offered a draw which was accepted. Analysis with the engine showed White made no mistakes, whereas Black made 2 inaccuracies. A well-played game, although not very exciting.”
About half way through the evening, I checked out how everybody was doing. At Tony’s board the decibel-level was high, as he was playing heavy metal chess. Tony observes: “On the black side of a Two Knights defence, I tried to heed Simon’s advice by playing as aggressively as possible, trying twice (in vain) to sacrifice material. But I soon had a strong attack with all of my major pieces bearing down on his kingside. After my opponent had conceded a couple of positional weaknesses, the pressure increased and a nice tactic sealed the win.”
On board one, Andrew, describes his game: “In a Closed Spanish, the queenside was blocked and I then launched an attack on the kingside with g4-g5 and h4-h5. An earlier Nf5 could have converted my advantage but by the time I played it, he was able to swap pieces and reach a blocked ending where he had an advantage but no time left other than the increment, so draw agreed.”
Chris demonstrated adaptability by successfully switching his opening. He comments: “I decided on a change with White and reverted to 1.Nf3 with a view to playing an opening in the style of the King’s Indian Attack. My opponent copied moves, so we entered a symmetrical English. Nevertheless I found myself in a favourable position with pawns on c4 and e4, characteristic of a Maroczy Bind. The bind works well only with extremely accurate play but one weak move allowed my opponent to gain an advantage. At this point he used a lot of time searching for a clear winning continuation but fell for a trap which gave me an equal game. Short of time, my opponent attempted to simplify the position by trading pieces, but in doing so lost a rook and the game.”
As White, Mark’s game did not turn out as he would have hoped. He states: “I got into early trouble in a Vienna where I slept walked in the opening, lost a pawn, held on grimly, and got half a hope that I might survive an opposite-coloured bishops ending, still a pawn down. But my hopes were dashed, as my opponent made his advantage count.”
As White, my opponent played the Advance variation of the Caro-Kann. This yielded a spatial advantage at the cost of a fixed d4-pawn which Black targeted. For the most part the game remained level. However, at move 44 and with a slightly worse position, my opponent’s flag fell.
Overall, this 4-2 victory was a good end-of-season performance which ensured we were runners-up in the second division. Congratulations to Hammersmith 2 on their success in winning the title.
|FM Andrew Harley||2176||0.5-0.5||Gautam Jain||2026|
|Tony Wells||2021||1 – 0||Jonathan Rubeck||1909|
|Chris Greenshields||2005||1 – 0||Alexander Funk||1914|
|Joao Santos||1979||0.5-0.5||Eric F. Eedle||1883|
|Mark Winterbotham||1899||0 – 1||Harry J. Croasdale||1832|
|Simon Healeas||1840||1 – 0||Barry David||1676|
|4 – 2|