London Division 2: Hammer v Hackney

07.11.18 – London League Division 2: Hammersmith v Hackney

Our second match of the season, versus Hackney 2 last Wednesday evening at the Citadines, ended in a convincing 7-3 victory. However, as is often the case, the win was not quite as comfortable as the final scoreline suggest.

On paper, a comfortable grading advantage of between fifteen and twenty-five points on most boards suggested a comfortable evening, and initially it all went to plan.

Carsten played a solid draw as black on top board, while Nadhmi (board 10) battled very hard and was unlucky not to break down his solid opponent.

Three wins in quick succession for myself (board 8), Sylvain (6) and Bajrush (3) put us in the driving seat. Impressively, Sylvain had arrived back from Paris just an hour before play began, and won neatly and without fuss. Bajrush played a smooth positional game against a tricky opponent.

Paul K (9) went down, but Marios (7) soon notched up the point to take us to 5 points. But then it got a little sticky!

Chris (5) was a piece up early on, but his opponent played resourcefully to conjure up some initiative, and playing to win, as sometimes happens, Chris’s King got caught in the crossfire. 5-3 and worse looked set to follow as Paul McK (4), having played a fine attack against the French Defence, went astray in time pressure. Meanwhile Thomas (2) was playing a fine game but the position remained complex as the time ticket away.

But there was no need for the captain to get nervous. Paul regained his composure, regrouped his remaining pieces into the attack and snap mated his opponent after a blunder. A rather poetical, even somewhat mythical, scoreline: as any old soccer ball fan will tell you, the greatest match every played also finished (Real) 7 – (Eintracht) 3!

So, two solid wins, sitting second in the table, and a really good spirit in the team. The captain is happy. Next up before Christmas is a tough away fixture at Imperial College.

I hope to persuade Bajrush and Marios to annotate their games. In the meantime, I offer you my own speculative hack. A scrappy game but tolerably entertaining if you like the 19th Century style.

I sensed that 10. Bxf7+ was an unnecessary punt (10. Qe1 is a crystal clear advantage) but had quickly assessed the critical piece sac 12…h6! 13. Nce4!? hxg5 14. Nxg5 Kd7! 15. Rxf4 as winning for white. But if you look a little further it’s clear that 15…Rxh2+! 16. Kxh2 Bd6 17. g3 Bxf4 18. Be6+ Kc6 19. Bxf4 Nbd5 is better for black. But in practice you have to do a fairly tricky calculation to get there!

Ater 12…e3?! 13. Rxf4 Qxf4 14. Be3 as played, black can equalise with the cold blooded 14…Bxg5! 15. Bxg5+ Kxf7. The greedy 14…Qf5 just loses. 16. Qg3+ is simpler than my 16.Qd2?!, but there are a zillion ways to win for white, including the line I chose. Long live the spirit of De La Bourdonnais, Morphy and Tchigorin!

And… The World Championship

In case you haven’t heard… the Chess World Championship match is taking place in London at the moment (check out Chess & Bridge Shop if you’re looking for somewhere to watch it in central London!)

Our good friend the Ginger GM (aka GM Simon Williams), is doing a frankly superb analysis of each game on his YouTube channel. It is well worth a watch – the GM-on-GM insight is something to behold and savour!

Link here and video below – enjoy!!!

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