A double-header of match reports for you this evening, chess fans! Read on…
12.01.17 – London League 5: Battersea v Hammersmith
In round 5 of Division 5, Battersea were at home to Hammersmith, where a prognostication of a close match couldn’t have been more wrong. It was a depressing night that started off with snow showers and blistery cold wind, which had us shivering outside in the dark in huddled masses, whilst the door key man was yet to show!
Illness was to reduce Battersea to an absent Captain, and nearly took out the Hammersmith captain too, who had himself a long weekend bout with a sore throat and other flu-like symptoms.
The first to finish was Chris Moore on board 4. Chris with the White pieces opened with the Scotch Game, a very double-edged opening that can reward the attacking chess style. It was soon apparent that White was positionally secure with good attacking possibilities. Chris pressed home his attack and his opponent was lost. Congratulations to Chris on a cracking win!
Next up was Robin Lee on board 3 who had the Black pieces. After a quiet opening a small inaccuracy by White afforded a tiny crack in his fortress. Black launched his Bishop on a hapless h3 pawn, but the Bishop couldn’t be retaken due to a fork of King and Queen by Blacks Knight on e4. This opened up the King to attack and reoffered the same Bishop for another pawn sacrifice (technically it had nowhere to fall back to), Black obtained a dangerous edge.
The game reduced to an endgame with Black having two extra pawns & active pieces on both sides, and White having loose, isolated pawns. After a Knight fork of the White King and Bishop, White gave up.
David Lambert with the White pieces on board 2 had a quiet game that eventually reduced down to an endgame position of two pawn islands of 3 and 3 for David, against 3 and 2 for Black, both with supporting Kings in the middle. The Kingside pawns were mirror images of each other.
It was a textbook finish, with David pushing the majority 3 pawns on the Queenside and creating a passed pawn on the a-file. This was then sacrificed at the opportune moment and David’s King walked over to munch 2 pawns at leisure. Black had no choice but to resign.
A classic win by David a la Steinitz School of chess – beautiful structure with incremental advantages being gained slowly. I remember watching rugby and seeing the ball being passed along with an overlap on the attacking wing – beautiful to watch as the extra man scores! I’ll have to ask David if he played rugby. Yes, chess mirrors rugby!!
On board 1 Brian had a very dangerous attack going on an unshielded King in the corner with open files and ranks, it looked like a clear win for Brian, with his opponent’s Queen and King seemingly skewered by a Rook. Analysis will have the last word, but a draw was agreed, the match being already won.
Result: Battersea 0.5 – 3.5 Hammersmith
Happy New Year Indeed!!
12.01.17 – Middlesex League: Harrow 2 v Hammersmith
Fresh off the back of their decisive victory against the first team, Hammersmith were back in West London for the second week running to play Harrow 2.
Our team had changed considerably – with Carsten, Bajrush, Paul and Pavel all rested, Jeremy was promoted to Board 1 and Ken Kwabiah made his debut on Board 7.
Although we weren’t expecting our opponents to put up too much resistance, it was somewhat disappointing that they weren’t able to field a team anywhere near as strong as the team they sent to us in October. With the bottom three boards ungraded and only one board over ECF100, it was plain sailing for the most part.
Jeremy trapped his opponent’s Queen in the opening, forcing an early resignation. Orial obtained a dominant position early on, and squeezed his opponent positionally into concession.
Congratulations to new members David, Ken and Matt on boards 6, 7 and 8, all of whom made easy work of their young challengers.
Adam made a pig’s ear of his winning Kingside attack, and wouldn’t have won if it wasn’t for a lucky piece-winning tactic as his opponent broke through on the Queenside.
John Wooley had a slow start, getting nothing out of the opening, but after his rival blundered a pawn he smoothly simplified to a won endgame.
The only disappointing result of the night was John Ryan’s loss on Board 5. John was pressing for a win a pawn up, when out of nowhere his opponent’s Knight landed on e4. On this square it became a monster, threatening checks, forks and material gains in all directions. John had no choice but to give up his own Knight for a pawn, promptly succumbing under the multiple threats from Sir Lancelot.
Result: Harrow 1 – 7 Hammersmith
We now have a long wait until our next game against Harrow 1 on 27th February at home, where a win would all but seal a promotion spot.
Ken became the 23rd different player to play for the team so far this season, and joins a group of 12 players on 100%!