13.02.17 – Thames Valley League: Hammersmith v Richmond
Remember the date – 13th February
Remember the place – Lytton Hall
Remember the opponents – Richmond A
Savour the result: 4.5-2.5 in favour of Hammer TV with one game adjourned.
Earlier in the season in the away leg against our esteemed opponents, we were trounced 7-1. This was our worst result of the season and we needed to vastly improve in the return leg.
Things were looking up though, with Hammer fielding our strongest team in recent history. Carsten, Tony and Bajrush: our top three boards are a formidable combination, and in support: Paul, Pavel, Jeremy, Sheikh and my good self. It says something about our team that Sheikh was playing board 8!
To the nitty gritty…
Carsten on board one played a heroic defensive tour de force. He held IM Gavin Wall to a draw with the black pieces in an advanced variation of the French Defence. Post-match he was absolutely convinced he was lost at one stage but in the end, he was able to force a perpetual. A superb rear guard action!
Tony had a tough and unlucky loss. Those of us who have watched Tony play know he is a very correct positional player with an eye for a tactical shot. Within seven moves of this game there was chaos on the board, induced by his opponent. It was unfathomably complicated and in the end Tony, who had been on the edge for most of the game, could not hold it. A real no-holds-barred contest.
Bajrush’s game on board 3 was the second to finish. I was so tied up in my own game I had no chance to see what was happening. However, our Chairman’s skill at creating fire on the board and emerging the victor is unrivalled – especially post-Christmas – and he won in great style.
On board 4 Paul has the advantage in a middle-game that resulted in an off-beat version of the Sicilian Defence. The game is finely poised with Paul having latent pressure against f2. Hopefully he can convert and extend our winning advantage. Hostilities are resumed in three weeks time.
On board 5 Pavel had his first win in the TV League for Hammer. Playing in fine style he forced his pawn through to the eighth rank, sacking a Rook on the way to ensure victory. A great win.
On boards 6 and 7, Jeremy and I had solid draws. I was particularly pleased to draw with my opponent who crushed me in a Schliemann variation last season. Playing against an f4 version of the Sicilian (ed: Najdorf Amsterdam variation?) I was able to negotiate my way through to a level ending.
Jeremy had one of those games where the pawns get stuck, the pieces then get stuck and no progress can be made. We have all had games like that, possibly with the exception of Bajrush, and prudence dictates the draw is the only result.
Finally, to board 8 and Sheikh in fine form and fettle. Playing the white pieces against a Modern Defence he gradually increased his control over the position. Picking up material at the right moment he was able to cruise to victory. Thus, securing Hammer’s victory and a real step on the road to consolidation in Division 1 of the TV League.
A real moral-boosting win and real credit to all our Hammer Heroes on the night!