On 28 April we played Metropolitan at the Artisan Centre near Liverpool Street Station. The heartbeat of the club is John Kitchen who has been a team captain since the 1985/86 season and chairman since the 1989/90 season. He is also president and auditor. It is because of the sterling efforts of such individuals that chess continues to flourish in this country and something for which we should all be grateful.

As regards playing chess, John is a notoriously difficult opponent to beat but, nevertheless, Alex managed to win against him. Playing a Benoni (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5), our board six quickly built up central pressure and created threats. Although a powerful continuation was missed (17…Nxf2!), the weakened dark squares around the white king led to mating threats and resignation after a mere 21 moves. A truly turbocharged performance by Alex which set us on the road to victory.

This season Andrew has been a most welcome addition to the team. He writes “Playing White in an Open Lopez, I allowed Black to consolidate, then tried a pawn sacrifice with Bb3-c2 to attack the king, which would have given good chances if Black had played …h6 but after …g6 there was nothing better than capturing on g6 and taking a perpetual.”

In his seminal book “Think Like a Grandmaster” (1971), Alexander Kotov refers glowingly to the way in which “creeping moves” can dramatically and instantaneously change the direction of a game. Such moves are characterised by their apparently innocuous, elegant, and unexpected nature. Spassky’s Qc6 to Qb6 in the 7th game of his 1968 Candidates match against Korchnoi is cited as an example. Similarly, Tony’s game was transformed by a “creeping move” involving the short movement of his most powerful piece. He writes “I was on the black side of a Queen’s Gambit Accepted that quickly progressed to an equal middle game. After repeating moves twice, with my opponent repeating thrice, a one-square shift from my queen created a forced win of a pawn whose defender had become pinned. But my opponent missed the pin, lost a whole bishop, then resigned.”

On board 2, John demonstrated once again how dangerous he can be when playing his trademark King’s Indian. On this occasion, it was met with the Sӓmisch variation (5.f3). He writes “White left his king in the centre and I developed an initiative by sacrificing a pawn to open up the queen side. A nice tactic exchanging a bishop and knight for rook and 2 pawns opened the position further for the black rooks. White exchanged queens to try and reduce the pressure but Black was able to double rooks on the 7th with decisive effect.”

Playing against the Dutch, in a level position I unnecessarily lost the exchange and subsequently the game.

Last to finish was Alfie who, as White, faced the Scandinavian Defence (1.e4 d5) which gave rise to an unbalanced position. This ultimately percolated down into a tense rook and pawn ending in which it was difficult to predict the outcome. With both players short of time in a guillotine finish, a threefold repetition led to splitting of the point.

Winning away at Metropolitan was a good result which gives us 4 points out of 7. With 3 matches remaining, we can still entertain hopes of a top 2 finish.

Ian Calvert19790.5 – 0.5Alfie Onslow2286
Petr Vachtfeidl1940 0 – 1John Quinn2194
Jeremy Law19610.5 – 0.5Andrew Harley2165
Jan Lepetun1846 0 – 1Tony Wells2002
Adam Squibbs1957 1 – 0Simon Healeas1849
John Kitchen1730      0 – 1Alex Lushpa1629
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