Ealing A took the road to our southernmost destination for this match. On arrival we found ourselves facing a steep challenge as our hosts out-graded us on all six boards. But Ealing teams like a fight and, although we were finally bested, we made a respectable fist of the contest.

We didn’t start well with Tony going down on Board 2 although I didn’t see what happened as I was focussing on my own game.  It became 0-2 when Mark, playing a closed Sicilian with the white pieces failed to get anything going. Although material was level until quite late on, his queen-side pawn majority had some doubled pawns and hence were static while his opponent made his three king-side pawns count against Mark’s two, with his knight far superior and Mark’s bishop tied down.

A third defeat came on Jason’s board. I saw a little of his game as it was alongside me. My impression was that Jason had built up a fair amount of pressure from his Dutch Defence set-up but in the end his opponent’s near 300-point rating edge told.

In my own game, I faced an even larger rating discrepancy – over 400 – but some of my opponent’s moves belied his supposed strength and, without any fundamental errors on his part or flashes of inspiration on mine, I was able to ratchet up an ever stronger hold on the position and, once Black’s attacking potential was rebuffed, it was a relatively trivial task to wrap up the win.  Nice to win a good one after so long in the doldrums, though.

A second Ealing win followed when John converted on top board. In John’s own words “My opponent played the Petrosian system against my King’s Indian,  built up some pressure and gained an advantage. Both of us ran short of time. I gave up an exchange for some counter play and after an inaccuracy from my opponent I missed the chance to get an advantage by sacrificing a second exchange. The position was level at the start of the quick play finish. He built up a clear advantage but then played his N to c4 when going to f5 would have been very strong. This let me get back on the game by pinning the N against his rook. He then missed a tactic when running short of time and I emerged from the exchanges with an extra piece and an easy winning endgame.”

The final game of the night ended in a draw for Simon. ” As White, my opponent played the main 11.Bd2 line against the Caro-Kann which led to an approximately equal middle-game. Despite several opportunities, Black failed to counter in the centre with the standard and freeing c5. The penalty was being subject to a king-side pawn storm which had to be defended against patiently. The game remained resolutely within the ‘drawing zone’ and, aside from the (understandably) missed temporary sacrifice 37. Rxf7!, the splitting of the point always looked the most natural outcome.”

So in the end Surbiton edged it by 3½-2½ but this score-line speaks of a gritty and courageous fight from our guys.

Board Colour Surbiton A Rating Result Ealing A Rating
1WMark Josse22600-1John Quinn2193
2BChris Briscoe21561-0Tony Wells2083
3WJasper Tambini2124½-½Simon Healeas1863
4BAltaf Chaudry20701-0Mark Winterbotham1885
5WDave Scott20581-0Jason Obihara1765
6BLiam Bayly20490-1Alastair Johnstone1640