Sharks harpooned by Kings Head 2

Wednesday 12 August, 2009

In a very tight match, our rapidplay team lost 4½-3½ to our closest rivals Kings Head 2, leaving us needing to win or draw our last match to become league champions.

Hendon Kings Head 2
1
Raoof, Adam N
172 0 - 1
Wittmann, Jochen
188s
2
Ellis, Daniel
148 0 - 1
Fleming, Nigel D
159s
3
Bennett, Michael K
- ½ - ½
Bourke, Alex
141s
4
Pepe, Salvatore
118 1 - 0
Macdonald, John R
115
1½ - 2½
Hendon Kings Head 2
1
Raoof, Adam N
172 0 - 1
Wittmann, Jochen
188s
2
Ellis, Daniel
148 0 - 1
Fleming, Nigel D
159s
3
Bennett, Michael K
- 1 - 0
Bourke, Alex
141s
4
Pepe, Salvatore
118 1 - 0
Macdonald, John R
115
2 - 2

Match report by Daniel Ellis

The Sharks sat down to play this match brimming with confidence after nine straight match wins in the rapidplay league. There had been some scares along the way but somehow we had always held it together to pull out the win. We had managed this even in the last couple of weeks when our talismanic captain, Raoof was away at the British Championships. But this night was destined to be different. As we approached the Golden Lane Community Centre to play Kings Head 2 – one of our closest rivals – a bitter Barbican wind was blowing.

On board 2, Ellis lost two straight games in fine style. In game one, he was outplayed from move two onwards, failing to react properly to the Petroff and drifting into an inferior position. In game two, he was again outplayed from move 2, this time his lack of knowledge being exposed in normal lines of the Trompowsky attack. His opponent brought both games to a logical, swift and lethal conclusion, seemingly with little effort.

On board 1, Raoof faced the recent winner of the August blitz at Hendon – Jochen Wittmann. Despite managing to execute a plan prepared beforehand, his opponent with white held the centre and the better ground, grinding out the win with sound piece placement and favourable exchanges. Things got no better in the second game, and with four losses on the top two boards – it is impossible to win a match!

So despite Salvatore Pepe putting in his usual great performance on board 4 with two wins out of two, and the DHT’s very creditable 1.5/2 score on board 3, the match was lost.

The Sharks now face a considerable psychological challenge going into the last match. Having stuttered at the finish line, the Sharks need to take at least half a point in the final match to win the Championship and the glory of Rapidplay Champions of London 2009. Facing a competitive Dulwich side next week, the Sharks – Raoof and Ellis in particular – need to regroup and perhaps put their teeth back in. (no more shark jokes please, until we we’ve won! – Ed)

Elsewhere at Golden Lane, Athenaeum lost to Mushrooms and so are now out of the running for first place. This leaves Kings Head 2 as our only rivals for the top spot.

Standings

  • Hendon: 9/10 (55)
  • Kings Head 2: 8.5/10 (47.5)
  • Athenaeum: 7.5/10 (50.5)
  • Cavendish: 6/10 (48.5)
  • Kings Head 1: 5.5/10 (42)
  • Mushrooms: 5/10 (42.5)
  • Albany: 4.5/10 (38)
  • Hackney: 3.5/10 (35.5), Dulwich: 3.5/10 (33.5)
  • Battersea: 3/10 (29)
  • Metropolitan: 2/10 (28), Hammersmith: 2/10 (27)