Two LOCL defeats to open 2021

By Hendon LOCL captain Andrew Medworth
Wednesday 6 January, 2021

Happy New Year to our members, and to the chess community in London and worldwide! I hope all our readers managed to make the best of the holiday period, despite the very difficult circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I wish you all health and peace in the year ahead.

Both Hendon teams lost their first match of 2021 in the London Online Chess League.

Hendon A Wimbledon A
Sacha Brozel
2260 0 - 1
Russell Granat
Rob Willmoth
2200 1 - 0
Peter Hasson
Alex Leslie
2088 ½ - ½
Ian Heppell
Alex Funk
1878 0 - 1
Stephen Carpenter
1½ - 2½

In the Open Division, the A team got off to a bad start when Alex Funk walked into a mate in two on move 13.

Rob Willmoth pulled one back when he delivered a miniature of his own, but unfortunately Sacha went wrong in the opening, and his opponent calmly fended off his counterplay attempts to reel in the full point.

This meant our only hope of drawing the match was for Alex to win on Board 3. He was a pawn up from early in the ending, but his opponent won it back, and the game appeared to be heading for a draw - until, on move 56, his opponent hung his rook with a mouse-slip!

The Wimbledon player called the arbiter, who said the move would had to stand unless Alex agreed to a take-back - which he very sportingly did. Alex won a pawn again, and the game continued for over 60 more moves, with Alex trying many brave winning attempts, but he never succeeded in bringing a mistake out of his opponent. Alex was even lost for a single move, which thankfully the Wimbledon player could not exploit!

The game eventually ended in a draw, meaning that we sadly lost this match.

See below for a few game excerpts which I found interesting and instructive.

[Event "London Online Chess League - Open"] [Date "2021.01.06"] [Round "8.5.2"] [White "Hasson, Peter"] [Black "Willmoth, Robert"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A10"] [FEN "r1b2rk1/ppn1b1pp/3q4/2Nppp2/5Pn1/PP1PP1P1/1B2N1BP/2RQ1RK1 w - - 1 17"] [SetUp "1"] { Here White should have simply defended e3, and was swiftly punished for not doing so. } 17.fxe5 $2 ( 17.Qd2 $14 { would have left White with a quite nice position. } 17...Qh6 $2 { would lead to nothing after } 18.h3 $18 { and e5 falls next. } ) 17...Qh6 $1 { I can only assume that White forgot that Rob didn't have to recapture on e5! } 18.Rf4 { Shedding heavy material at once, but there was no defence for White. } ( 18.h3 Bxc5 19.Rxc5 Qxe3+ 20.Kh1 Qxc5 $19 ) 18...Qxh2+ 19.Kf1 Nxe3+ 0-1 [Event "London Online Chess League - Open"] [Date "2021.01.06"] [Round "8.5.4"] [White "Carpenter, Stephen"] [Black "Funk, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A57"] [FEN "rnbqkb1r/4pp1p/3p1np1/1NpP4/1p2PB2/8/PP3PPP/R2QKBNR w KQkq - 0 9"] [SetUp "1"] 9.e5 Nh5 $1 ( 9...dxe5 $2 10.Bxe5 Na6 11.d6 $16 { and the d6 pawn would be a bone in Black's throat } ) 10.exd6 exd6 11.Qe2+ Kd7 { Black's king is awkwardly placed here, but it shouldn't be too big a problem. } 12.g3 $2 ( 12.Be3 Ra5 13.a4 bxa3 14.bxa3 Bg7 15.Rb1 $14 { White is probably for choice here, but Black should still have chances. } ) 12...Nxf4 13.gxf4 { Now disaster struck. } ( 13.Qg4+ Ne6 14.dxe6+ fxe6 $17 ) 13...Bg7 $4 ( 13...Qe7 { would have given Black a big advantage, as e6 is covered and d8 is freed for the king. White can't avoid the exchange of queens, and his structure is shot, with Black having the two bishops to boot. } 14.Bh3+ f5 $19 ) 14.Bh3+ { And sadly, Alex had to resign, as mate on e6 is next. } 1-0 [Event "London Online Chess League - Open"] [Date "2021.01.06"] [Round "8.5.3"] [White "Leslie, Alex"] [Black "Heppell, Ian"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [FEN "4K3/5pk1/8/5Pp1/6P1/4RP2/8/r7 w - - 51 83"] [SetUp "1"] 83.Re7 Ra8+ 84.Kd7 Ra7+ 85.Kd6 Ra3 86.Kd7 Ra7+ ( 86...Rxf3 $2 { was rightly avoided by Black } 87.Ke8 $18 ) 87.Kd6 Ra3 ( 87...Rxe7 $4 88.Kxe7 $18 { Of course Black should not trade rooks here. } ) 88.f4 $5 { A courageous winning attempt by Alex, though it could easily have led to defeat! } 88...gxf4 89.g5 $2 ( 89.Re4 $1 { is actually the only move here } 89...f3 90.g5 $1 f2 91.Rf4 Ra2 $10 ) 89...Rd3+ $2 { Missing the opportunity. } ( 89...Ra5 $1 90.f6+ Kg6 { wins for Black, e.g. } 91.Rc7 f3 92.Rc3 f2 93.Rf3 Rf5 $19 ) 90.Kc5 Kf8 91.f6 Re3 92.Ra7 f3 93.Kd4 { Now White rounds up the f3 pawn thanks to the back rank mate threats, but unfortunately it's still a fairly easy draw for Black. } 93...Re8 94.Ra2 Kg8 95.Rf2 Kh7 96.Rxf3 Kg6 97.Rg3 Re1 { All Black needs to do is keep his rook on this file in order to keep the White king out. (It's not clear that even this is necessary, but it's a very straightforward way to ensure the draw.) } 98.Kd5 Re8 99.Kd6 Re1 100.Rg4 Re2 101.Kd5 Re1 102.Kd4 Re2 103.Kd5 Re1 104.Kd6 Re2 105.Kd7 Re1 106.Kd8 Re2 107.Rg3 Re5 108.Kd7 Re1 109.Rg2 Re3 110.Kd6 Re6+ 111.Kd5 Re1 112.Kd4 Re8 113.Kd5 Re1 114.Kd4 Re8 115.Kd5 Re1 116.Kd4 Re8 117.Kd5 Re1 118.Kd4 Re8 119.Kd5 Re1 120.Kd4 Re8 1/2-1/2

In the U1825 division, the B team was outgraded, and sadly, we were not able to overcome this disparity.

Petts Wood & Orpington B Hendon B
John Cook
1825 0 - 1
Nick Murphy
Roy Parsons
1750 1 - 0
Gul Kapur
Orla Dorman
1758 1 - 0
David Lewis
Tony Langley
1578 1 - 0
Dev Ranka
3 - 1

The one bright spot was Nick Murphy’s 20-move win on top board, with his opponent spontaneously self-destructing, admittedly in a position where Nick was already much better.

[Event "London Online Chess League - U1825"] [Date "2021.01.06"] [Round "10.16.1"] [White "Cook, John"] [Black "Murphy, Nick"] [Result "0-1"] [BlackElo "1488"] [ECO "A20"] [FEN "r1b1qrk1/p6p/2p2p2/5p2/2P2P2/P1NQ1p2/1P3P1P/R2R2K1 b - - 0 19"] [SetUp "1"] { Black is doing excellently here, but nonetheless, the game finished more abruptly than either Nick or I expected! } 19...Qg6+ 20.Kh1 $6 { It's hard to believe White didn't see this was mate in 1, so I can only assume he thought the other legal move was also mate, or just effectively wanted to resign. } ( 20.Kf1 { surely had to be tried, though Black is still doing very well } 20...Qg2+ 21.Ke1 Ba6 { But at least it's not immediate mate, and White can hope. } ) 20...Qg2# 0-1

Thanks everyone for playing! Our next match is next Wednesday, 13th January, with both teams in action every week from now until February 10th. Full schedule here.

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