The Richmond Mission – Impossible…?

24.11.16 – Thames Valley League: Richmond & Twickenham v Hammersmith

This past Thursday saw your TV Hammer (a cooler version of MC) take the journey down to Teddington, to take on a strong Richmond team in Division 1 of the Thames Valley League.

Not only a tough task at the best of times, but with travel woes on top and the closure of Teddington High St due to turning on the Christmas lights, it was taking on the mantle of Herculean proportions! Fortunately the Hammer team are made of stern stuff in the “getting to where I’m going” department and our team duly assembled at the designated time and place – Christchurch Hall, Teddington.

The team was already missing two of our strongest players in Carsten and Tony, and this helped exacerbate the grading difference between the teams. Although overall it probably would not have made much difference.

TV Hammer were out graded by an average of 31 points per board, with Bajrush facing a 52 point deficit on top board!

Tom using Stockfish for his post-game analysis

You probably realise by now that things did not turn out well…

The roll of honour in defeat reads as follows – Bajrush, Paul, Jeremy, Adam, Orial and Alex.

This was hard to take, especially Adam’s loss where a blunder in a position where he had both material and positional advantage after using his London opening to great effect against a Queen Indian style setup, cost him dearly. A smart tactic netted him his opponents Queen for a Rook and Minor piece. Unfortunately an oversight lead to the loss.

Bajrush, Hammer’s on WOSF (Wily Old Silver Fox) was totally outplayed by an IM and really I could truthfully say there was nothing he could have done.

Paul also had an edge after an extremely complicated middle game against a 213-rated opponent, but he just faltered at a critical moment and the loss became inevitable.

Jeremy’s game I did not see, but again he gave his all for the team.

Orial had a brilliant game with chances for both sides, indeed in the critical position I think he had the advantage. Sadly, he could not consolidate and another victory appeared on the Richmond side of the scoreboard.

Alex was forced into a speculative attack which left his King naked. This was duly exploited by his opponent and Alex joined the ever-lengthening list of casualties. It was starting to resemble a day on the Somme – would TV Hammer succumb to an 8-0 drubbing?

This did not happen thanks to an amazing escape deliberately and cold-bloodily played for by Sheikh, and your over-cautious reporter. Ours were the last two games to finish.

I had the advantage when a draw was agreed. Indeed, looking at the position a win for me was more than probable. However, knowing my unrivalled ability to blow such positions and the match result already decided, I took the easy option. A draw against a 170 opponent was enough on the night.

Sheikh’s ending was lost both from a positional and material viewpoint. However, in mutual time pressure he spotted a stalemate combination that his opponent walked straight into. Clear thinking under time pressure is a great quality that Sheikh has and the final position was totally original. Despite being a Queen, Rook and Bishop down he had no legal move. A brilliant save!!

So in the end it was Mission Impossible, and to be honest even with the addition of Carsten and Tony I doubt the result would have been any different.

TV Hammer have now played the top four teams in the league, a tough opening to our schedule of matches. Hopefully we can now get some points on the board and cement our position in Division 1 this season.

Keep the faith, go TV Hammer and cue the soundtrack to “U Can’t Touch This“…. till my next dispatch from the TV front, farewell!


Result: Richmond & Twickenham 7 – 1 Hammersmith

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