St. Albans v Hendon

Sunday 23 January, 2011
St. Albans St. Albans Hendon Hendon
Fraser-Mitchell, Jeremy N
192 ½ - ½
Raoof, Adam N
Majer, Chris E
165 1 - 0
Kent, Anthony R
Bower, David E
164 1 - 0
Sanders, Isaac B
Cross, Ian K
141 ½ - ½
Rogers, Tim E
Leake, John A
130 ½ - ½
Rogal, Chris
3½ - 1½

Match report by Adam Raoof

Hendon entered a team in the National Club Championships this year, in the Major (average grade of the team should be Under 175) and in the preliminary, regional, heats were paired away against St Albans – a tough draw.

The grading average of each team (170 for Hendon and 160 for At Albans) seemed to suggest that Hendon had the advantage in this match, and if I were a betting man I would have said that we would win 3-2 on the bottom boards. However I am not, and that usually saves me money – for reasons that became clear very quickly!

Firstly, we lost the toss – in a five board match that gave our opponents a definite advantage. Secondly, I had recently been playing at well below my usual level. Thirdly, Isaac wasn’t feeling too good, and fourthly Chris and Anthony were drafted into the team at the last minute and hadn’t had time to prepare. And I’m not even going to go into fifthly and sixthly…

After half an hour I walked around the Centre and discovered that we had two very bad French positions, two bad King’s Indians and my game, which was just very bad.

  • Anthony dropped a piece against the new ECF Manager of Grading and Rating quite cheaply.
  • Chris played solidly and was never more than level.
  • Tim got a bad French, and dropped a pawn, and yet stayed in the game right to the end.
  • Isaac fought hard and probably played the best game of the day in a classic KID – white attacking on the queenside, and black furiously on the kingside. Just as I had him chalked up for a point his opponent found a way to catch his king in a mating net.
  • I defended an inferior position resolutely and my opponent drifted into time trouble; I missed a win the move after the time control, and kept my team mates waiting whilst I played a few more moves in a drawn ending.

So we got knocked out of the Championship at the first attempt – but we still in the Plate competition!