Fulham Juniors – Round II

15.11.16 – Fulham Juniors v Hammersmith (Rapidplay)

After the huge success of last year’s event, both clubs decided to go for a double repeat of the same format last night.

This time the match was played over 9 boards with the same time control of 20 minutes to start with, plus a 5 second increment per move. The match would pit each team member against their opponent twice – playing white in the first game and black in the second. Games were rated so players can get a rapid grade.

This was truly a brilliant evening with great fighting chess and an unbelievable display of talent by the Juniors. The Hammer All Stars triumphed in both matches but the result of the second-round match was very much up in the air until the end.

At half-time, Fulham Juniors held a prize-giving in which Vigus Widdicombe-Gasson received the club’s Perpetual Shield for the next year, for the best results during the 2016 season. Xavier Cowan had run him very close.

The previous year’s winner, Thomas Le Rendu, received a small trophy to keep, in compensation for having to hand in the Perpetual Shield.

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The Fulham Juniors are a credit to their coach, Paul McKeown, and were only “Trumped”  by the steely determination of the Hammer All Stars. The Hammer All Stars were relentless and ruthless but that did not mean they were not sailing close to the edge at times.

Our boards 1, 2 and 3 in the form of Orial, Dave and Robin all achieved 2-0 results but not without the odd critical moment. All games were keenly contested and both Robin and David had a wobbly moment in the second games. Orial’s games were unbelievably complicated and great credit for that goes to Xavier his opponent. In the end Skill, technique and experience triumphed.

Matt and Hammersmith debutant David were also 2-0 winners – great to have them in the club! I thank them for volunteering last night and also not been fazed by the sight of an eight-year old boy whizzing pieces around the board!

The critical games occurred on boards 4, 5, 6 and 9.

On board 4 Chris had to default the first game due to a late arrival but thank fully made it for round 2. As is the way at these faster time limits – Chris achieved a clear edge but then time pressure began to enter the equation and Chris simply overlooked the overload on f2 and his young opponent Samuel smoothly converted.

Danny on board 6 played a really strong first round with the black pieces and duly notched up the point. The second game was the complete opposite with his opponent Hugo playing a great game and gaining a fully-deserved win to split the mini-match 1-1.

One of the most interesting games of the night was Andy’s encounter with young Wilfred. The first game ended in a draw as Andy could only force perpetual check due to Wilfred’s strong defending and under intense time pressure. In the second Andy’s experience in endgames triumphed. However, there was one stage of this game where young Wilfred displayed an uncanny understanding of black-square control that must be innate and caused Andy real technical difficulties at the board.

Finally, on board 9 – we have the tale of the best-dressed chess player in London (maybe in the world!)– Shaun. Shaun has only just started playing competitive chess over the board and his clock-handling is still something he has to come to terms with. He lost both games on time, despite being way ahead materially and positionally. Chess is very unfair sometimes. Fortunately, the administration of a post-match Glenmorangie helped soothe the pain!

The Hammer team “analyses” the result afterwards… alcohol incidental!

A great night and many thanks to the Fulham Juniors and Paul for their hospitality and the great spirit in which the match was played

Bring on the return !

Round 1: Fulham Juniors 2.5 – 7.5 Hammersmith
Round 2: Fulham Juniors 3 – 6 Hammersmith

Match Result: Hammersmith Win

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