22nd November 2021

It was with great pleasure that on Monday night Middlesex league chess returned to Actonians after a 20-month Covid break. Our visitors were Albany whose playing strength, like Ealing, has been weakened by the pandemic. Indeed, they defaulted on board six which gave us a slight edge.

On board one, John, as Black, was the first to finish. He writes: “White played a solid g3 line in the open Taimanov Sicilian. An early f4—f5 plan led to mass exchanges and a level rook and opposite-coloured bishop endgame was reached. This looked easier to play for White and offered Black virtually no winning chances so my opponent’s offer of a draw was accepted.”

Next to finish was Mark whose opponent essayed the slightly unusual Bird’s opening (1.f4). In response 1…e5 was played (the From Gambit) with the pawn not being taken and a subsequent position closely resembling the King’s Gambit declined. Our board three later won a pawn and by virtue of a bishop move with tempo, retained it. The ending was successfully converted. Well done to Mark for winning this game: our only over-the-board victory of the evening.

My own game never took off with neither player in any significant danger. There was almost a sense of inevitability about the drawn outcome.

The penultimate game to finish was Jason’s. Facing an anti-French (1.e4 e6 2.c4), he, in his own words, “came out with a good initiative.” However, following a problem with the clock – the increment did not kick in at move one – the final position ended with both players having doubled rooks on the seventh rank and a draw.

Finally, Harry, as White, became embroiled in a combative, hand-to-hand battle. The game started innocuously with a conventional Samisch being played against the King’s Indian. Rather than playing the usual 8….Rb8, his opponent uncorked 8…Na5 which is a lesser known sideline. The game remained even for sometime but around move 29, Black developed a number of powerful threats; specifically, a series of pins increased the temperature on the board and led to the winning of a knight. But at this point Harry fought back with great verve and vigour (I particularly liked his use of the king as a fighting piece). By playing boldly and actively, his opponent was never allowed to settle down and win the game. In the end, with Black’s rook versus White’s bishop and little time on either clock, a draw was sensibly agreed.

So, a 4-2 win for Ealing. But a tough encounter which presages many tight and difficult matches in the season ahead.

Ealing AGd.AlbanyGd.
John Quinn21930.5-0.5Vincent Sagues2058
Simon Healeas18630.5-0.5Robert Stern1943
Mark WInterbotham18851-0Chris Todd1906
Harry Symeonidis18280.5-0.5Howard Groves1833
Jason Obihara17650.5-0.5E Stewart1800 est
Hristo Colov17581-0Default
Match Card