24.10.18 – London Division 2: Hammersmith vs. East Ham
Hammersmith’s keenly anticipated London League Division 2 odyssey got off to an encouraging start with a comfortable 7.5-2.5 win over East Ham. Every member of the team looked focused and played with great determination to squeeze the maximum from every move. In the end our greater strength in depth prevailed.
I was delighted to have Alexander and Nadhmi debuting on the lower boards. Both played excellent games and looked like seasoned veterans. The future of the club is in good hands with young guys like this coming through.
Carsten has kindly provided some excellent notes to his fine win on top board, which is well worth serious study – see below.
Thomas and Bajrush seemed to win very comfortably on 2 and 3. Paul rose from his sickbed to force his opponent to defend doggedly for the three hours to secure a draw on board 4.
Unfortunately a last minute emergency at work meant Chris had to pull out, but Neil sportingly stepped in on board 5, 40 mins down on the clock and out graded by some 80 points, he put up a tremendous battle and just missed a deserved draw at the end.
Marios, on 6, played a King’s Indian Defence with panache, his king side attack breaking through neatly. I played an enjoyable hack on 7, though Stockfish was quick to point out various improvements for both players.
Paul K faced a particularly solid opponent on board 8, finally wending his way through a tricky endgame to secure a draw.
On 9, Alexander played a very well controlled, positionally strong game to down his experienced opponent. On 10, Nadhmi did likewise to secure a well earned draw with a higher rated opponent.
It will be a long hard season ahead, no doubt with many ups and downs, but if the team battles like this all season, hopefully we won’t be too far away in the battle for the coveted promotion spots to Division 1.
Carsten Pedersen vs. Peter Jaszkiewsky
“The setup with h3 & Be3 is recommended by John Shaw in his recent 1. e4 repertoire book, and I’d resolved that if I got the chance I’d play it with white, as I’m likely to sooner or later get it with black!
However, when we actually got there I realised I couldn’t remember anything about it! Shows recommendation is based on playing 14. Re1 but instead we followed the old mainline for a few moves until blacks 16…h6? (Berg* continues: 16….Bh5 17. Nf3, Bxf3 =, on Paul K’s preferred 14… Rae8 (“the old move”) he suggests 15. a3 with a small white advantage).
Black’s h6 is a serious positional mistake, with e6 covered the Knights job on g5 is done and it needs to be redirected to e5 anyway, so spending a tempo on chasing it there does not make sense, especially as it also seriously weakens the b1-h7 diagonal. Essentially the rest of the game centres around white trying to exploit this, assisted by black misplacing his pieces in a failed attempt to put pressure on f4 & g3 with Nh5 and Qh4.
29. Qxg7 was played with the flag hanging only because I’d seen 30. Bh4, when I expected 30… Qxh4 31. Rxd7+!, Kxd7 32. Qxf7+, Qe7, when I assumed there would be something. While my opponent was thinking I noticed 33. Ba2 and white picks up a second pawn. After Ke8 – which I had not considered at all – I had to make sure I’d not messed up. Stockfish points out the incredible 31. Qh8+ Rf8 32. fxe6 Rxh8 33. exd7# which I was nowhere near seeing.
Fortunately what I played is more than good enough, the point is that black can’t take on f5 after the Queenswap (exf5, gxf5 Nxf5, Rxd7 Kxd7, Bxf5+ is deadly and taking with the bishop just loses a piece after Rxf7), in the finish he’d obviously overlooked Be1 but there was no defence anyway.”
*Emmanuel Berg, in vol.3 of his quality chess series on the French.