Hatch End A 1.5 Ealing B 3.5

Plate KO Tue 27th Feb 2024 

Ealing B notched an excellent win over Hatch End’s A team in the Hillingdon KO Plate with a tremendous team effort

BoardHomeHatch End AEaling BAway
1 (B) 1907Breed, Greg J0 – 1Cowan, Xavier1902
2 (W) 1854Jhooti, Sab½ – ½Healeas, Simon1864
3 (B) 1861Hayali, Laith0 – 1Obihara, Jason1755
4 (W) 1783Jabbari, A0 – 1Braine, Anthony1617
5 (B) 1684Cross, Ian K1 – 0Johnstone, AG1581
Total90891½ – 3½Total8719

In truth, the two teams were not miles apart in rating terms but the Ealing players, with the exception of yours truly, all delivered.

Sat alongside Tony, I was able to witness his aplomb in resisting the hyperactive style of his opponent. Tony played Black in a Scandinavian but, as Tony reports, “sadly my opponent went off book after just three moves and I had to start thinking for myself. This was not what I wanted against a very aggressive and quick player. However I held my own and eventually swapped down to a RR+6P each endgame, equal but with a lot of play in it. I stayed patient, White less so pushing for a win which probably wasn’t there. His king advanced too far allowing me to promote a pawn one move ahead of him queening. So we both had queens but I could check first. He made a mistake in moving his king out of check by taking my undefended a-pawn, allowing me to force a queen exchange and then shoulder his king away from his g and h pawns which I then hoovered up and promoted my h pawn.

in my own game (Alastair), I faced a familiar opponent and was soon plying well-trodden paths in a French Defence. I chose a setup with opposite side castling and looked to push my kingside pawns to challenge Black’s defences. Ian accurately countered my threats while developing some of his own and by the late middlegame, the position remained level. I then ‘sacrificed’ a couple of pawns in the interests of an attack. As it transpired the second of these sacs was poisonous and left me with a path to a win. Unfortunately, I failed to find the critical move order (see below) and, although he had to give up the exchange Ian went into the endgame with N+5P vs. my R+1P. Even then it appears I could have forced a draw but I failed to find the right path and so suffered another dispiriting loss.

Jason enjoyed yet another success on the White side of a Bird opening finding a combination to skewer his opponent’s queen and king after only seven moves which resulted in Jason winning the exchange. After further exchanges Jason’s material advantage increased even further and facing an endgame with N+P vs. Jason’s R+3P Black resigned. A fine win from an in-form Jason.

The match result was secured when Xavier sealed won on top board. As Xavier reports: “I had the white pieces in a Queens Gambit opening. Black exchanged pawns in the centre quite early on to give me the IQP and went on to cement a knight on d5. Greg then presented me with a pawn winning sequence but at the cost of having opposite coloured bishops and likely loss of my d4 pawn soon after. I chose to take this option since I felt I had good attacking opportunities, and this turned out to be the case. I forcibly won a couple of pawns in front of his king due to my mating threats and shortly after the exchange as well. From here I could trade off pieces and slowly but surely convert my Rook and pawn vs Bishop ending.“

With the match result now decided, a result was soon agreed in the one remaining game, Simon’s. As Black, I countered the English opening with a King’s Indian set-up. Thematically White attacked on the queenside; Black, the kingside. Neither of us made any tangible progress and with the prospect of a level bishop and 5 pawns ending, a draw was agreed.

Our reward for this superb result is a place in the KO Plate final where we will face Hatch End B. The date and venue for this showdown is yet to be agreed.