Our first online league match night!

By Hendon LOCL captain Andrew Medworth
Wednesday 21 October, 2020

This evening, the first match night of the new London Online Chess League took place, with both Hendon teams in action!

In the Open division, Hendon A tied their match with Hammersmith Firsts, which is a very decent result given that we were outgraded on three out of four boards.

Hammersmith Firsts Hammersmith Firsts Hendon A Hendon A
Mark Kvetny
2425 0 - 1
Rob Willmoth
Chris Skulte
2140 ½ - ½
Alex Leslie
Christof Brixel
2088 1 - 0
David Amior
Jonathan Hoong
1713 ½ - ½
Eugenia Karas
2 - 2

Rob Willmoth won quickly with Black against a player graded over 2400, which got us off to a flying start, and Alex Leslie drew fairly uneventfully. However, David Amior was toiling away in a worse position, with a bad bishop against a good knight, and his attempt to sacrifice the exchange unfortunately only accelerated his defeat.

We were very fortunate at the end, because in Eugenia’s game on Board 4, her opponent had a completely winning position, and the only thing that saved us was the Hammersmith player’s time trouble. In the following position, amazingly, Black played 36…Bd7 and offered a draw, when the simple 36…Nc1 would have forked the White rooks, leaving a fairly straightforward conversion:

Karas - Hoong, Board 4 (View on Lichess)

Black had less than two minutes left, but with a 15-second increment, this should really have been enough, and in his shoes I’d be kicking myself!

In the under-1825 division, Hendon B were unfortunately quite heavily outgraded, and the match largely went according to expectations, although Stanley gave us all something to cheer by defeating his much higher-graded opponent, so congratulations to him! We lost 3-1.

Streatham & Brixton B Streatham & Brixton B Hendon B Hendon B
Angus French
1975 1 - 0
Gul Kapur
Kostya Titorenko
1923 1 - 0
David Lewis
Paul Ritchie
1653 0 - 1
Stanley Jacobs
Ruairi Isaacs
1465 1 - 0
Dev Ranka
3 - 1

I’m pleased to say that we’ve had quite a number of new members join us even in the last week or two, with an interest in playing in this League, so I’m hoping that we will be able to give people more evenly matched pairings in future rounds.

I’d like to thank all the players for taking this step into cyberspace with us! It’s really great to be playing league chess again, having not had any matches at all since the lockdown back in March. Congratulations to the London League, and Hendon member and legendary organiser Adam Raoof, for getting this competition together!

The technology mostly worked very well, I thought, although quite a lot of players signed up very late, leaving poor Adam scrambling to pair everyone and get the games going at the last minute! Hopefully this will happen much less on future match nights, since most people will have signed up and entered already.

Matches come thick and fast in this league - the second match night is just a week away, next Wednesday 28th October - and I’m already looking forward to it! The full schedule may be found on our website here and also in the League rules, which are the place to go if you want to find out more about this competition.

You can find a list of all stories about the London Online Chess League here.