Miracles happen at Harrow

Thursday 25 November, 2010
Harrow 1 Harrow 1 Hendon 2 Hendon 2
Crouch, Colin S
205 ½ - ½
Willmoth, Robert F
Qaderi, Habib
186 0 - 1
Peiris, T Gayan M
Walters, Peter D
179 1 - 0
Veit, Darlan Rodrigo
Chan, Nevil
176 ½ - ½
Ellis, Daniel
Artt, Daryll
- 1 - 0
Rogers, Tim E
Shah, Dipak K
148 0 - 1
Du Buf, Paul
Balaji, Eday
137 0 - 1
Dragomir, Ionica
Musiri Lakshminarayanan, Balaji
131 ½ - ½
Pepe, Salvatore
3½ - 4½

Match Report by Adam Raoof

On paper we were sure that this match would be at least 5-3 to Hendon, or even better on a good night. It wasn’t a good night! In the end all we could do was keep our fingers crossed and pray for a draw…

Our chances were boosted by the last minute recruitment of Rob Willmoth to face IM Colin Crouch on Board 1, and rather than drop another member of the team I decided to devote my evening to drinking coffee, taking photos, reading and spectating – oh, and being Captain! My first job was to win the toss, and give a surprised Harrow counterpart White on odds (all part of our game plan).

Paul was the first to finish – and not for the first time. His game is there for you to play through, but what I particularly like about his playing style is his willingness to engage in complications as early as possible. His opponent was at a slight disadvantage being Captain and playing, but got torn up badly all the same.

The threat of capturing on b7 proved stronger than the execution, as Paul’s 20. Rf5! set Black real problems. (View on Lichess)

Darlan finished soon after, facing a torrid time against a determined Peter Walters who won a crucial pawn early in the opening and then used it to divide black’s forces whilst he attacked the king. Ouch.

Ionica played a very smooth game, never looking as though he would let up his strategic stranglehold over his opponent.

Tim was the most unlucky player of the evening, falling into a devious mating net having done all the hard work to outplay his opponent.

Salvatore was advised by his captain before the game to bear in mind the team situation before refusing, offering or accepting a draw. However, in the heat of battle that advice was all ignored and, despite his opponent repeating moves several times, he drifted into what was a classic lost position as white against the Benko Gambit. Luckily his opponent’s ambitions never stretched beyond a draw and eventually he was forced to accept the half point!

Gayan was suffering with a cold, but still managed to pull well ahead on time, though his position was not without problems. Dan was losing, and we’d written off his game after his opponent managed to safely negotiate a tactical minefield and make the time control with seconds to spare and a few extra pawns.

By this stage it looked as though we were going to have to rely on Rob to draw his game to draw the match, and that was no certainty.

What can I say? Miracles really do happen! Colin offered Rob a draw rather than adjourn the game (all the other games were QPF) though he could have tortured Rob for another 50 moves with B v N and better pawns. That gave us a safe 4 points.

Then Dan managed to sac a piece for several of Nevil’s disconnected dangerous pawns and threaten to queen his a-pawn with the help of the king. I tactfully put the match sheet under his nose, in case he was curious. His opponent, under the impression that they had already lost the match, accepted the draw offer and we snuck onto 4.5 points and victory!

Photos on Flickr »

[Site "London, UK"] [Date "2011.03.08"] [Round "6"] [White "Du Buf, Paul"] [Black "Shah, Dipak K"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO ""] [WhiteElo "170"] [BlackElo "148"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2011.03.08"] 1. e4 e5 2. f4 Nc6 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bc4 Bg4 5. O-O Nf6 6. h3 Bxf3 7. Qxf3 Nd4 8. Qd3 c6 9. a4 Qb6 10. a5 Qc7 11. c3 d5 12. exd5 cxd5 13. Bb5+ Nc6 14. Qf5 e4 15. Qe5+ Qxe5 16. fxe5 Nd7 17. a6 Bc5+ 18. Kh1 Ndxe5 19. c4 d4 20. Rf5 Ke7 21. axb7 Rad8 22. Bxc6 Ke6 23. Bxe4 g6 24. Ra6+ Bb6 25. Rf1 Nxc4 26. d3 1-0