I’m delighted to report that both Hendon teams got off the mark for 2021 by registering heavy victories!
We are now in one of the worst periods of the COVID-19 pandemic here in the UK, and I continue to hear stories of club members and their friends and family being affected, in ways large and small. Again, I wish everyone in the chess community health, strength and peace as we fight through.
On a happier note, pretty much everything went our way on the chessboard tonight, in a mirror image of last week!
In the Open Division, our A team significantly outgraded Athenaeum A, and defeated them by a wide margin.
|Athenaeum A||Hendon A|
|1||Tony D Wells||2088||0 - 1||Sacha Brozel||2260|
|2||Steve Madden||1803||½ - ½||Andrew Medworth||1788|
|3||David A Morgan||1645||0 - 1||Alex Leslie||2088|
|4||Martin Leanse||1668||0 - 1||David Amior||1900|
|½ - 3½|
Just like last week, the Board 4 game was over in a flash, but this time with a happier result for us: David Amior won out of the opening to get us off to a flying start!
Next came a minor setback: I had to substitute myself in on Board 2 five minutes before the default time. Psychologically unprepared for a competitive game, I played a fairly conservative opening, and found myself in a long grind. I won a pawn, and then a second, and had a clearly winning position in the rook ending, but low on time, I could not muster the calm technique required to consolidate the win, and only drew.
Thankfully, on Boards 1 and 3, our Barnet Knights graduates Sacha and Alex did the business with the Black pieces! Sacha was better out of the opening when his opponent tried a very odd move (4. Nh3?!) against his Winawer French; the White player later reached a tenable position, but mishandled Sacha’s passed pawn in a heavy piece ending, and Sacha brought home the full point.
Alex had a fairly level and blocked position for most of the game, but then his opponent blundered, and Alex duly took advantage.
A fine match win without defeat, that should probably have been a clean sweep! Here are a few interesting moments from the match.
In the U1825 division, our opponents from King’s Head had an unusual grading profile: their strong captain Colin Mackenzie on top board, but three lower-rated players further down.
|Hendon B||King's Head Bishops|
|1||Eric Eedle||1788||0 - 1||Colin Mackenzie||2013|
|2||Morris Jones||1758||1 - 0||Neil Tomkin||1735|
|3||Nick Murphy||1750||1 - 0||Evan Beachley||1660|
|4||Tony Artman||1400||1 - 0||Joseph Katsioloudes||~1500|
|3 - 1|
Board 1 always looked like a challenging match-up for us, especially when we lost Chris Rogal and had to bump Eric and Morris up one, but we had in-form players with competitive grades on the middle two boards, so a lot depended on what happened on Board 4, where Tony Artman faced a player with no official grade.
It was a see-saw encounter: Tony made the first major blunder, but thankfully his opponent blundered back a few moves later, allowing a back rank mate when a rook and knight ahead!
The middle two boards went our way, as I’d hoped. Two openings with a dull reputation - the Petroff and the Exchange Slav - but the games weren’t boring at all! Nick was winning out of the opening and rounded things off in 22 moves, while Morris tried an interesting and ultimately sound piece sacrifice. On paper his opponent should have been able to defend, but this proved beyond the King’s Head player in practice: Morris ended up with a rook and a shed-load of pawns against two knights, and showed good technique to win.
Board 1 did eventually go our opponents' way, but Eric did himself great credit in a very sharp line of the Nimzo-Indian. He was doing very well at times, but unfortunately the game washed out into an ending where his opponent had too many pawns for the piece. Nonetheless, a 3-1 win is very pleasing.
Thanks to everyone for playing, and many congratulations to both teams!
We play again next week! Full schedule here.
You can find a list of all stories about the London Online Chess League here.