Muswell Hill 3 – Ealing 3

On 21 November we travelled to Muswell Hill to play the Middlesex runners-up in our first match of the season. This was always going to be a tough encounter, although on paper our opponents only enjoyed an average rating advantage of 26 points across the 6 boards.

We got off to a good start with Andrew and Alan winning and drawing respectively. Andrew writes: “I was White in a Closed Ruy Lopez. After typical manoeuvres by both sides, Black responded to my d4-d5 attacking his knight on c6 with Qa8-a2 attacking my bishop on b2. I played d5xc6 judging the c6 pawn more a strength than a weakness; he thought the opposite. Fritz actually just about agrees with him but it is easier for White to play. A few moves later, he blundered with my queen on d1 and his rook on b8, playing …Qxb3 instead of …Rxb3 (when I would have been better but a long way to go), and I played c7 where the rook cannot defend both b3 and c8 and after …Qxd1, I would play cxb8=Q coming out a rook ahead – one move effectively gains a queen and a rook! So he resigned.”

On board 3, Alan notes: “I was Black and my opponent played the Trompowsky. After he played Nf3 we transposed to a Torre Attack. I went for a plan of exchanging bishop for knight enabling a central pawn break with …e5. This left him with a sickly looking isolated pawn on e3, but his pieces were active including doubled rooks on the f-file. When he advanced his e-pawn he created some serious threats and I was pleasantly surprised when he offered me a draw. The move he thought I could play was in fact a blunder. However, engine analysis shows that the position was equal in any case, if I had played the move I was intending.”

John recently gave an excellent talk at Ealing Chess Club. Commenting on his game he states: ”I stood better in the early middle game on the white side of a Nimzo-Indian. I chose a forcing line to try and breakthrough. However I missed a tactical resource and had to bail out to an ending where I was a pawn down with little compensation. A couple of inaccuracies from my opponent allowed me to gain sufficient activity to reach a position that was equal and a draw was agreed. If I had spent more time considering my final move I could have gained a small advantage even though I was still a pawn down but unfortunately I moved quickly as I was concerned about the clock.”

It was with great pleasure that earlier this year Martin returned to the club but this was not to be his night. He states: “I was Black in a Chigorin with active pieces as compensation for knights against bishops. White bravely castled queenside and I launched what should have been a winning pawn storm, but at the crucial moment missed a clear win.  My opponent defended well, and in a time scramble I overpressed and stumbled into a lost ending.” In my own game, I didn’t manage to survive to the ending. I mistakenly exchanged a bishop for knight followed by passively defending – or at least trying to  – a backward pawn on an open file. My opponent’s subsequent play exploited these errors to secure a relatively easy victory. 

With the match score poised at 3-2 to Muswell Hill, all eyes were on Jonathan who needed to demonstrate good technique to win whilst playing on increment. He comments: “I met my opponent’s English with the Dutch.  Around move 8 he offered to buy me a drink, which I misheard as a draw offer.  We played on, with drinks.  He made his way to a better middle game, but couldn’t find a way to make progress.  The game then turned fast in my favour, as I doubled up on the c-file and had direct threats on his king.  I had easier ways to win, but ultimately won it in a rook endgame.”

Muswell Hill’s venue is the Clissold Arms, a pub which proudly pays homage to local hero and Kinks frontman, Ray Davies. Our 3-all draw cannot be compared to the paradise of gazing at Waterloo sunset but nevertheless is a pleasing result which provides a solid start to the 23/24 campaign.

Muswell HillRatingResult EalingRating
Frankie Badasconyi2203 1 – 0Martin Smith2271
Simon Wilks21840.5 – 0.5John Quinn2178
Stanley Badasconyi22290.5 – 0.5Alan Perkins2159
Joel Bird2082 0 – 1FM Andrew Harley2127
Alexandros Ethelontis2060 0 – 1Jonathan White1980
Marc Fuhrmann2027 1 – 0Simon Healeas1916
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