Sharks edge past Athenaeum

Wednesday 29 July, 2009

By the narrowest of margins, our rapidplay team came out winners against close rivals Athenaeum, in the 9th round of the City of London Rapidplay League. As a result we remain front-runners in the league, with 3 matches still to play.

Athenaeum Hendon
1
Thorarinsson, Pall A.
2253Fs 1 - 0
Cannon, Richard J
173
2
Kay, Jonathan
148s ½ - ½
Ellis, Daniel
148
3
Millward, Kevin P
128 ½ - ½
Bennett, Michael K
-
4
McAleenan, Charles
109 0 - 1
Pepe, Salvatore
118
2 - 2
Athenaeum Hendon
1
Thorarinsson, Pall A.
2253Fs 1 - 0
Cannon, Richard J
173
2
Kay, Jonathan
148s 0 - 1
Ellis, Daniel
148
3
Millward, Kevin P
128 0 - 1
Bennett, Michael K
-
4
McAleenan, Charles
109 ½ - ½
Pepe, Salvatore
118
1½ - 2½

Report by Michael Bennett

We had always expected this to be a close match, as Athenaeum were one of the two teams only half a match point behind us.

With our usual top board players – Tomer Eden, Adam Raoof and Gary Senior – away in sunny Torquay at the British Championship, we were happy to have new recruit Richard Cannon playing on Board 1. However, Athenaeum took the opportunity to field Pall Thorarinsson, who has a FIDE-rating of over 2250, so we knew we were up against it right from the start.

In the first mini-match, Daniel’s opponent offered an early draw when a solid pawn up, which was quickly accepted.

Salvatore outplayed his opponent on board 4, sacrificing the exchange for strong pawns in a Dutch defence. His opponent was then forced to give back the exchange, leaving Salvatore not only 3 pawns up in the queen ending but also with a mating attack!

Richard put up a great fight as black on board 1 but eventually lost to his much stronger opponent.

After an interesting middlegame where I had some compensation for a sacrificed pawn, I managed to blunder a piece – but fortunately my opponent misplayed the ending and I was able to claim a draw under the 2-minute rule. Which I did.

The final position is drawn, as White can’t capture the h-pawn without losing the b-pawn (View on Lichess)

So, after the first mini-match, the score was level at 2-2. We’d never been in this position before, and found ourselves needing to win the return match to retain our lead in the league.

Richard again put up great resistance, but was eventually outplayed on board 1.

However, Dan had the better of the black side of a Kings Gambit, and gradually overran his opponent’s position, winning comfortably.

Salvatore was also doing well, but he finally had to agree a draw, as he couldn’t make any progress due to the presence of opposite colour bishops.

My game was quite eventful: in an unfamiliar opening, I managed to prevent my opponent from castling and built up pressure on the dark squares. A few pawn sacrifices later, my opponent ran into severe time trouble and went wrong to allow a simple mate.

So the final result was a win by 4½ to 3½, to stay at the top of the league. Elsewhere at Golden Lane, Kings Head 2 defeated Hackney, to remain just half a match point behind us with three matches to play!

Standings

  • Hendon: 8/8 (47)
  • Kings Head 2: 7.5/8 (40.5)
  • Athenaeum: 6.5/8 (42.5)
  • Cavendish: 5/8 (40)
  • Albany: 3.5/8 (31.5)
  • Kings Head 1: 3.5/8 (31.5)
  • Hackney: 3.5/8 (30)
  • Mushrooms: 3/8 (31.5)
  • Battersea: 3/8 (24.5)
  • Metropolitan: 2/8 (21)
  • Dulwich: 1.5/8 (23.5)
  • Hammersmith: 1/8 (17.5)