Last Monday evening we played a home match against a stronger Harrow B team, Although we held our opponents on boards 1, 2 and 3 to a draw, we lost on board 4 and lost the match 2.5 – 1.5.
On board 4 Neville playing white was the first to finish. He wrote “Mentally I was quite exhausted before the game had even started as I was heavily involved in ECC’s first cadet coaching session just beforehand (a poor excuse, I know). After opening with d4, white was quite dominant for most of the game. In fact, white thought he was going to have an easy victory. Unfortunately, white made a fatal blunder at Move 25 allowing his queen to be trapped and taken on the queenside. Despite losing his queen, White soldiered on and there was a good possibility that he would be able to promote his c pawn. White unfortunately concentrated on promoting the pawn rather than defence. Black took advantage of this and ended the game with the threat of checkmate in two moves, when white resigned”.
David playing black on board 3 faced Ponziani’s opening (e4,e5, Nf3,Nc6, c3). Not being familiar with it he allowed the queen exchange, recapturing with the black king and thus losing the ability to castle. This hampered black’s development, but he was able to exchange rooks on the open d file and eventually develop his kingside rook. Although white had more space he was unable to capitalise on his advantage. Pieces were exchanged on either side of the board and a pawn and king ending ensued with strong pawn structures on both sides of the board preventing either king being able to break through. A draw was agreed after 48 moves.
On board 2 Tony playing white reported “Tony opened with b4 and obtained a nice initiative threatening incursion down the open c file together with a potential kingside destroying sacrifice on e6/f7. However the tactics were complicated and Tony missed his one moment to achieve a clearly winning advantage. He did gain a pawn but it wasn’t enough. Black played very solidly through the endgame and it ended in a draw”.
Alex played black on board 1. With a strong attack he went a pawn up, but white managed to hold the position and with an endgame of pawns and bishops of opposite colour, a draw was agreed as the time control was nearing.
With the loss unfortunately we are now bottom of Division 2, but with further home matches coming up.
David Housego, Hillingdon C team captain.