Hendon A celebrate their first LOCL win!

By Hendon LOCL captain Andrew Medworth
Wednesday 28 October, 2020

This evening, Hendon A and B were both in action again, for the second week of the inaugural season of the London Online Chess League!

I was pessimistic before the evening started, as we were heavily outgraded in both matches. While Hendon B did fall to defeat in the U1825 division, Hendon A overcame the odds to win a famous victory!

Hendon A Petts Wood & Orpington A
1
Rob Willmoth
2200 1 - 0
John Merriman
2328
2
Alex Leslie
2088 0 - 1
Daniel Lindner
2208
3
Jason Covey
1990 ½ - ½
Mikey Watson
2155
4
David Amior
1900 1 - 0
Shlok Verma
1945
2½ - 1½

The evening started well, with David Amior winning from a very drawish-looking position after an inexplicable blunder by his opponent, who threw away all his pawns despite being under no real time pressure:

[Event "London Online Chess League - Open"] [Date "2020.10.28"] [Round "2.2.4"] [White "Shlok Verma"] [Black "David Amior"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D30"] [FEN "6k1/2R2p2/4pp1p/7P/r3PPPK/8/8/8 w - - 1 44"] [SetUp "1"] { White is losing a pawn here, but there was no need to throw in another couple for free: } 44.g5 $4 ( 44.f5 Rxe4 45.fxe6 fxe6 46.Kg3 Re3+ 47.Kf4 Ra3 48.Re7 $10 { White has enough activity to hold this quite comfortably. } ) 44...fxg5+ 45.fxg5 Rxe4+ 46.Kg3 hxg5 { And the h-pawn soon fell too. White played on to the bitter death (move 78!) but the win was never in doubt. } 0-1

Our opponents evened the score on Board 2, before Jason Covey held his opponent to a solid draw on Board 3, leaving the match hanging on a truly nerve-jangling time scramble on Board 1:

[Event "London Online Chess League - Open"] [Date "2020.10.28"] [Round "2.2.1"] [White "Willmoth, Robert"] [Black "Merriman, John"] [Result "1-0"] [FEN "5r1k/qb3pp1/8/1P6/2Bbp3/8/P1Q3PP/2R1K2R b K - 1 30"] [SetUp "1"] { White is the exchange up but his king is stranded in the middle, and Black's bishop pair looks very dangerous. Thankfully for us, Black was very low on time, already below two minutes. } 30...e3 $2 { Tempting but overly hasty. } ( 30...Qc5 $1 $17 { or similar, building up more slowly, was better. The queen threatens to move in multiple directions, such as b4 or g5. } ) 31.Rf1 $1 { The threats against f7 give White the advantage now } ( 31.Qe2 $2 { does not enable White to castle } 31...Qa5+ $1 32.Kf1 Kg8 $17 { White is still in a dreadful tangle. } ) 31...Qa5+ $2 ( 31...g6 32.Rf4 Be5 33.Rxf7 Rxf7 34.Bxf7 Qd4 35.Bxg6 Qb4+ { seems to give good drawing chances, typical for queen endings where it's very hard for either side to get a safe king, though of course White is still for choice } ) ( 31...Kg8 $2 { doesn't stop the threat } 32.Rxf7 $1 ( 32.Qg6 $4 Qa5+ { mates } ) 32...Rxf7 33.Qf5 Qa5+ 34.Kf1 Qc7 35.Bxf7+ Qxf7 36.Qxf7+ Kxf7 37.Rc7+ $18 ) 32.Ke2 $1 { Rob keeps finding good moves, despite having little time himself! } ( 32.Kd1 $2 Be4 $1 33.Bd3 Bxd3 34.Qxd3 Rd8 $19 ) 32...Bxg2 33.Rf4 { Threatening Rh4+ and Qh7# } 33...Bf6 34.Rg1 ( 34.Rd1 $1 { seems slightly stronger, with the simple threat of Rdd4 } 34...Bh3 35.Rdd4 Rd8 ( 35...Bxd4 36.Rh4+ Kg8 37.Qh7# ) 36.Rxd8+ Qxd8 37.Qd3 $18 { White is just consolidating the extra material. } ) 34...Rd8 35.Bd3 ( 35.Rd1 $1 Rxd1 36.Kxd1 Qc7 37.Qf5 Qd6+ 38.Kc2 Qd2+ 39.Kb3 Qd1+ 40.Qc2 $1 $18 ) 35...Bb7 ( 35...Qa8 $10 { and Stockfish just gives 0.00, but clearly no human can play such a crazy position so accurately! } ) 36.Rg3 $1 Rc8 ( 36...Qb6 ) 37.Rh3+ Kg8 38.Bc4 $1 { Now a series of accurate moves from Rob ends the game } 38...Bd5 39.Qh7+ Kf8 40.Qh8+ Ke7 41.Rxe3+ Kd7 42.Qh3+ $1 { An elegant switchback to finish! Black is losing further material, along with his attacking chances. } ( 42.Qh3+ Kd8 ( 42...Kc7 43.Bxd5 Kb8 44.Qg3 Rc2+ 45.Kf3 $18 ) 43.Rd3 $18 { With d5 falling, it's all over } ) 1-0

A great win from Rob completed a famous win against the odds - congratulations to the team!

As mentioned, Hendon B’s match unfortunately went more according to the form book; we could do with one or two of our players in the 1700-1900 range to play on the top boards of this team in order to make the match-ups more competitive.

Hendon B Charlton Chess Nuts
1
Anthony Kent
1750 ½ - ½
John Lewin
1855
2
David Lewis
1465 0 - 1
Humphrey Jones
1623
3
Tony Artman
1400 0 - 1
David Rogers
1600
4
Stanley Jacobs
1390 0 - 1
Ciaran Brightley-Davies
1593
½ - 3½

Many thanks to everyone for playing!

The next match for both teams is next Wednesday, 4th November. 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.