Lions win at Muswell Hill

Thursday 18 November, 2010

In a tense match which could quite easily have gone the other way, our 1st team returned to winning ways with a 5½-2½ victory over neighbouring side Muswell Hill. With 2/3 match points, we move up to 4th place in Division 1 of the Middlesex League.

Muswell Hill 1 Muswell Hill 1 Hendon 1 Hendon 1
Gavriel, Tryfon C
199 0 - 1
Mures, Cristian
Russell, Christopher
187 1 - 0
Eden, Tomer
Makepeace, Philip J
185 ½ - ½
Willmoth, Robert F
Ethelontis, Alexandros N
186 0 - 1
Senior, Gary
Norcliffe-Brown, Dominic
153 0 - 1
Peiris, T Gayan M
House, Richard
162 ½ - ½
Raoof, Adam N
Stranger, Morris
141 0 - 1
Veit, Darlan Rodrigo
Wilks, Simon
149 ½ - ½
Sanders, Isaac B
2½ - 5½

Report by Mike Bennett & Adam Raoof

It was much, much closer than that though:

1st half:

  • Muswell Hill fielded 3 juniors on the lower boards: 5, 7 & 8. Our team’s average grade was 191 and theirs was 170.
  • Board 5: Gayan won fairly quickly with the French Defence, castling queenside and opening up the centre. Then a simple tactic decided the game. (1-0)
Gayan won with 21…Rxe3!, as 22.Qxe3 loses the queen to 22…Bc5. White resigned a few moves later. (View on Lichess)
  • Board 7: Darlan won a smooth game: hoovering up material and leaving all his pieces on the back rank where, it seemed, they were better placed than his opponents. (2-0)
  • Board 3: Rob – up against the Muswell Hill captain Phil Makepeace – looked to be under pressure, had what he thought was a certain advantage, but miscalculated and his opponent took a perpetual after sacrificing a piece (2.5-0.5)

2nd half:

  • Board 6: Adam, on patchy form, looked to have the worse of an ending, but his opponent exchanged more pieces and offered a draw. A quick nod from the Captain and the point was shared. (3-1)
  • Board 8: Isaac built up a classic Saemisch Nimzo attack with white, and really put some pressure on his opponent’s king, but once the queens came off the position was totally blocked (3.5-1.5)
  • Cristian had a better ending against Tryf, Gary was level, and Tomer was doing well.
Cristian (playing Black) seemed to have an advantage in the ending… (View on Lichess)

Worry time:

Suddenly things changed: Cristian was a piece down for no compensation, Gary lost a pawn horribly with a worse position and looked miserable (he was, he confessed later, totally lost), and Tomer missed something critical and looked to be getting mated on the spot. So we were heading for a 4.5-3.5 loss!

Next thing we knew Cristian’s game had transformed, and he was now a piece down… (View on Lichess)

Extra time:

  • Board 2: Tomer did indeed get mated (3.5-2.5)
  • Board 1: Cristian ‘Houdini’ Mures pulled ahead on time, somehow fashioned 2 connected passed pawns, and managed to win against Tryf’s rook, knight and pawn on the 6th! (4.5-2.5 – phew!)
Still a piece down, but with 2 strong passed pawns, Cristian found the crucial 63…Re3! and won after a few more moves! How does he do it!!?? (View on Lichess)

You can view Tryf’s entertaining take on this amazing game on YouTube: Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3

  • Board 4: Gary turned the tables, rearranged the pieces to suit himself whilst his opponent wasn’t looking (or so it seemed), outplayed his opponent in the quickplay finished, and won! (5.5-2.5)

So we have 2/3 match points so far this season, and we’re 4th in the league with a match in hand over Muswell Hill and King’s Head. Only Ealing remain unbeaten. The standings are below.

No more 1st team matches in 2010 unfortunately – we were late starting at the fixtures meeting, so other clubs were already booked up. But we start 2011 away against Hammersmith on 17th Jan, followed by the return match against Muswell Hill on 20th Jan. We’ll be back in the New Year, chess fans!

Division 1 Standings

  1. Kings Head 1 – 3/4 (22.5)
  2. Ealing 1 – 3/3 (18.5)
  3. Muswell Hill 1 – 2/4 (18)
  4. Hendon 1 – 2/3 (12.5)
  5. Hammersmith 1 – 1/4 (10)
  6. Metropolitan 1 – 1/3 (9)
  7. Hackney 1 – 1/2 (8)
  8. Willesden & Brent – 0/3 (5.5)