Exciting final round of LOCL season 1

By Hendon LOCL captain Andrew Medworth
Wednesday 10 February, 2021

This evening, the first season of the London Online Chess League came to an end on Tornelo.

The top of the Open Division went down to the wire, with the three leading teams (Streatham & Brixton A, Hackney Thirsty and Charlton Chess Addicks) all drawing their matches.

I understand that Streatham & Brixton have provisionally won the Open Division on tie break, so provisional congratulations to them! Hendon A can take pride in having inflicted an upset defeat on them a couple of weeks ago.

Tonight, Hendon A faced the London Terminators, who are not affiliated with an over-the-board chess club.

Hendon A Hendon A London Terminators London Terminators
Rob Willmoth
2200 ½ - ½
Kennan Kesterson
Alex Leslie
2088 0 - 1
Josu Tornay Gomez
Savas Marin Stoica
2043 1 - 0
Kevin Smyth
David Amior
1900 1 - 0
Rohan Theo Barbier-Ramaiah
2½ - 1½

Our opponents were unable to raise a full team, so the League found a player to fill in for them on Board 4. David Amior won there in the first game to finish.

The other games went the distance, with Rob Willmoth drawing against former Hendon junior Kennan Kesterson, and both sides scoring a win apiece on the middle boards. Therefore, we narrowly won the match!

[Event "LOCL Season 1"] [Site "Tornelo"] [Date "2021.02.10"] [White "Stoica, Savas Marin"] [Black "Smyth, Kevin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D52"] 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 Qa5 7.Nd2 Bb4 8.Rc1 Ne4 9.Ndxe4 dxe4 10.Bf4 O-O 11.a3 Bxc3+ 12.Rxc3 Nf6 13.Be2 c5 14.dxc5 Rd8 15.Bd6 { Black has got himself into quite a mess here! } 15...Ne8 16.O-O Nxd6 17.cxd6 Qc5 18.Qc2 f5 19.f3 exf3 20.Bxf3 Qxd6 21.Rd1 Qe7 22.Rxd8+ Qxd8 23.Rd3 Qf6 24.Qd2 { White's initiative has reached decisive proportions. } 24...e5 25.Rd8+ Kf7 26.Qd5+ ( 26.Rxc8 Rxc8 27.Qd7+ { would also have wrapped things up fairly smartly. } ) 26...Ke7 27.Qg8 ( 27.Rg8 { was a bit more clinical, when Qd8+ is a murderous threat. } ) 27...Qf7 28.Qxf7+ ( 28.Qh8 { would have been faster, when Black is collapsing on the back rank, though the ending Savas chose is also completely winning for White. } ) 28...Kxf7 29.Bd5+ Ke7 30.Rg8 Kf6 31.Rf8+ Ke7 32.Rf7+ Kd6 33.Rxg7 Bd7 34.Rxh7 Bc6 35.Rh6+ Kc7 36.Re6 Bxd5 37.cxd5 e4 38.Rf6 Rc8 39.Kf2 Kd7 40.Rf7+ Kd6 41.Rxb7 Rc2+ 42.Kg3 Kxd5 43.h4 f4+ 44.Kxf4 Rxg2 45.Rb5+ Kc6 46.Rb4 a5 47.Rc4+ Kb5 48.Rxe4 Rxb2 49.a4+ Kc6 50.h5 Rh2 51.Kg5 { A very nicely played game! } 1-0

Hendon B faced a tough end-of-season challenge against Hackney Hungry, though given we were heavily outgraded on three boards, we can be very proud of this result.

Hendon B Hendon B Hackney Hungry Hackney Hungry
Gul Kapur
1533 0 - 1
Marceli Ciesielski
Tony Artman
1400 0 - 1
Eduardo Cacares
Stanley Jacobs
1390 ½ - ½
Peter Burgoyne
Dev Ranka
1270 1 - 0
Bryan Ellis
1½ - 2½

Gul and Tony both lost to higher-graded opponents on the top boards, but Stanley achieved a very creditable draw on Board 3, and in the highlight of the round, I’m absolutely delighted to announce that Dev Ranka scored his first win for the club!

Dev is a model of persistence and courage; I’m sure he will continue to improve and that this will be the first of many career victories!

[Event "LOCL Season 1"] [Site "Tornelo"] [Date "2021.02.10"] [White "Ellis, Bryan T."] [Black "Ranka, Dev"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D10"] 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bf4 a6 7.e3 Bf5 8.Qb3 Ra7 ( 8...Na5 { is the normal way of defending against Qb3 by White in the Exchange Slav. One of the key ideas behind Black's ...a6 is to make sure that White doesn't have Qb5+ now. } 9.Qa4+ b5 10.Bxb5+ axb5 11.Nxb5 Bd7 12.Ne5 Bxb5 13.Qxb5+ Nd7 $10 ) 9.Be2 e6 10.Bg5 Nb4 { This was a bit too adventurous - it was better to focus on finishing kingside development first. } 11.Qa4+ b5 $2 { And this loses material, but thankfully White did not take advantage! } ( 11...Nc6 { is considered best by Stockfish, but this indicates that Black's last move was sub-optimal } ) 12.Nxb5 $2 ( 12.Bxb5+ $1 $18 { would have left Black in a real mess here. Black has no good way to get out of check, as taking on b5 drops the Ra7, blocking with the Nf6 would drop the queen, and ...Ke7 would drop the Nb4. } ) 12...Qd7 $1 13.Nc7+ $2 { The last real mistake of the game. } ( 13.Ne5 { would have given White quite a bit of compensation for the piece } 13...axb5 14.Qxb5 Qxb5 15.Bxb5+ Ke7 { White has two pawns for the piece and Black faces challenges developing the kingside. } ) 13...Rxc7 14.Qxd7+ Rxd7 { White has lost a knight for just one pawn; Dev does a good job of wrapping things up from here. } 15.O-O Rb7 16.a3 Nc2 17.Rac1 Rxb2 18.Bxa6 Be7 19.a4 O-O 20.Bb5 h6 21.Bf4 Ne4 22.Ne5 Nc3 23.Nd7 Rc8 24.Nc5 Nxb5 25.axb5 Rxb5 26.Rxc2 Bxc2 { A great first win for Dev - hopefully the first of many! } 0-1

Thank you to everyone who played for Hendon in the LOCL, tonight and throughout the season! A full report on season 1 will follow in due course, along with news of season 2.

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