Both Hendon teams beaten in the LOCL

By Hendon LOCL captain Andrew Medworth
Wednesday 2 December, 2020

Two weeks ago both Hendon teams won; last week both drew; tonight we unfortunately completed the pattern, with both Hendon A and Hendon B losing.

In the open division, Hendon A suffered a very painful wipeout against our perennial rivals from the Middlesex League, Hackney. On paper the teams weren’t too unevenly matched, but the final result was as lop-sided as you can get!

Hendon A Hendon A Hackney Thirsty Hackney Thirsty
Rob Willmoth
2200 0 - 1
Bob Eames
Alex Leslie
2088 0 - 1
Dominic Mackle
David Amior
1900 0 - 1
Lucasz Domanski
Alex Funk
1878 0 - 1
Paul Conway
0 - 4

The chess-fan part of me quite enjoyed some of the games played in this match, even if the Hendon-captain part of me did not! The first game to finish was David Amior’s, where his opponent wiped him out with a sacrificial attack, though David did miss some opportunities to hold.

Rob Willmoth’s position did not look good, so any hopes we had lay in our two games with the black pieces. Unfortunately Alex Leslie fell victim to a rather attractive king march in a queen-and-minor-piece ending, reminiscent of the famous Short-Timman game from Tilburg 1991. Alex Funk went down too, after missing a complicated middlegame tactic, dropping the exchange when he could have won a pawn.

Meanwhile, Rob’s game sadly also ended in defeat; his opponent left his king in the middle in the opening, but Rob lost a pawn on d4. His efforts to complicate and open the game by sacrificing a knight only made things worse, and he was eventually mated.

Let’s try to focus on the chess rather than the score, as some of these games were really quite pretty and instructive! All four are well worth looking at, and we really just have to congratulate the Hackney players today. The games were all hard-fought, but I have to say there was not much of an element of luck in any of their wins, and the scoreline does not flatter them.

[Event "London Online Chess League - Open"] [Date "2020.12.02"] [Round "6.4.3"] [White "Amior, David"] [Black "Domanski, Lukasz"] [Result "0-1"] [FEN "2rq1rk1/pp2bbpp/5p2/4pP2/n2pP1PP/3B4/PPPQNB2/1K4RR b - - 2 20"] [SetUp "1"] [WhiteElo "1612"] { Black's queenside attack is a little faster than White's on the kingside. Here David's opponent uncorked the nice move } 20...Nc3+ $1 21.bxc3 ( 21.Nxc3 dxc3 22.Qe1 { may have been the lesser evil, as after } 22...cxb2 { the White king is at least shielded by the enemy pawn. But after } 23.g5 Qd6 { White must guard against the very strong threat of ...Qa4xa2 } 24.Qa5 b6 25.Qa6 { Now the White queen is way offside, meaning the kingside attack can't succeed. } 25...Rc3 26.gxf6 Bxf6 27.Rd1 Qc7 $19 { Black should win this. } ) 21...dxc3 22.Qe1 ( 22.Nxc3 Qa5 23.Be1 Bb4 $19 ) 22...Ba3 $2 { This really surprised me actually. } ( 22...Qa5 $1 { was what I expected, when it's all over more or less at once } 23.Kc1 { The only way to keep the game going, really, but obviously this is tantamount to resignation } ( 23.Nc1 Qa3 $19 ) 23...Rfd8 24.Rg3 Qxa2 25.Nxc3 Qa3+ 26.Kd2 Rxc3 $19 ) 23.Nc1 $1 Qa5 ( 23...Be7 { Stockfish wants to go back like this, with a level position } ) 24.Nb3 $1 Qb4 $2 { Understandable, but this gives White the crucial time needed to press the kingside attack through. } ( 24...Bxb3 25.cxb3 ( 25.axb3 $2 Bb2 $19 { ...Qa1# is unstoppable. } ) 25...Rfd8 26.Bc2 Bb2 27.g5 Rc6 { Now Stockfish points out some crazy tactics! } 28.b4 $1 ( 28.gxf6 $2 Qxa2+ 29.Kxa2 Ra6+ 30.Kb1 Ra1# ) 28...Qxb4 29.gxf6 Rxf6 30.Rxg7+ $5 Kh8 ( 30...Kxg7 31.Qg1+ Kh8 32.Bc5 Qb5 33.a4 Qc6 34.Be7 $16 ) 31.Rc7 Ba3+ 32.Bb3 Rd1+ $1 33.Qxd1 Qxe4+ 34.Bc2 Qb4+ 35.Bb3 Qe4+ $10 ) 25.Bxa7 $2 { Greed is suicidal in a sharp position with opposite-wing attacks like this! } ( 25.g5 { White could have won with this kingside counterattack } 25...Kh8 26.Qe3 Bxb3 27.cxb3 Qe7 28.h5 c2+ 29.Bxc2 fxg5 30.Qxg5 $18 ) 25...Rfd8 26.Rh3 Bxb3 27.cxb3 ( 27.axb3 Bb2 $19 { with ...Qa3-a1# coming as before } ) 27...Rxd3 $1 { Very nice. } 28.Rxd3 c2+ 29.Ka1 Qxe1+ 30.Rxe1 c1=Q+ 31.Rxc1 Rxc1# { Ouch! } 0-1 [Event "London Online Chess League - Open"] [Date "2020.12.02"] [Round "6.4.2"] [White "Mackle, Dominic"] [Black "Leslie, Alex"] [Result "1-0"] [FEN "8/q4pk1/1p1Np1p1/p2bP1Q1/5P2/P7/1P4P1/6K1 b - - 1 34"] [SetUp "1"] 34...Qd7 $2 { Staying passive was not the answer here - Black had to take emergency measures to prevent what comes next. } ( 34...b5+ $1 35.Kh2 Qf2 36.Kh3 Kg8 37.Qd8+ Kh7 38.Qh4+ Qxh4+ 39.Kxh4 Bxg2 40.Nxf7 Kg7 41.Ng5 Bd5 { is probably a holdable endgame for Black. } ) 35.Qf6+ Kg8 { The White pieces are obviously well-placed, but at first glance, things might not look so bad for Black. Unfortunately, there is a rather strong plan available for White... } 36.Kh2 $1 { Shades of the famous game Short - Timman, Tilburg 1991! The White king is marching to h6, and Black can't stop it without losing f7 and the game. } 36...Ba2 37.Kh3 Bb1 38.Kh4 Bf5 39.Kg5 Kh7 ( 39...Bd3 40.Kh6 Kf8 41.Qh8+ Ke7 { Even running away to the centre does not save Black: } 42.Nc8+ $18 { Ouch! } ) 40.Nxf7 Qe8 41.g4 Qf8 42.gxf5 1-0 [Event "London Online Chess League - Open"] [Date "2020.12.02"] [Round "6.4.4"] [White "Conway, Paul"] [Black "Funk, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [BlackElo "1624"] [FEN "3r2k1/2q1bp1p/4p1p1/2prPn2/p1N5/3nBN1P/PP1R1PP1/1Q1R2K1 b - - 17 28"] [SetUp "1"] 28...Nxe3 $2 ( 28...Nxe5 $1 { would have won a pawn: the point is that ...Nf3 is check and ...Nxe3 will give the knight a route to recapture on d5. } 29.Nfxe5 ( 29.Rxd5 Nxf3+ $19 ) 29...Nxe3 $1 30.Rxd5 ( 30.fxe3 Rxd2 31.Rxd2 Rxd2 32.Nxd2 Qxe5 $17 ) 30...Nxd5 $17 ) 29.Nxe3 Nxe5 $6 ( 29...c4 30.Nxd5 Rxd5 31.Qc2 Qa7 { was the best chance: White is tied down as } 32.Qxc4 $6 Nxf2 33.Rxd5 Nxd1+ 34.Rd4 Bc5 35.b4 axb3 36.axb3 $10 { is level. } ) 30.Nxd5 Nxf3+ 31.gxf3 exd5 32.Rxd5 $18 { and having won the exchange, White eventually took the game. } 1-0 [Event "London Online Chess League - Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2020.12.02"] [Round "6.4.1"] [White "Willmoth, Robert"] [Black "Eames, Bob"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A46"] 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.c3 e6 4.Bg5 d5 5.Nbd2 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.e4 cxd4 8.exd5 exd5 9.Nxd4 Bc5 10.Bb5+ Nc6 11.Qe2+ Kd8 { A slightly surprising decision, but the king is actually remarkably hard to attack here! } 12.O-O Re8 13.Qd1 Bd7 14.Qb3 $6 { White doesn't get fully adequate compensation for the pawn here. } ( 14.N2b3 { solidifying d4 was the way to go, with a balanced game. } ) 14...Bxd4 15.Bxc6 bxc6 16.cxd4 Qxd4 17.Nf3 Qb6 $17 18.Qc3 f6 19.Rfe1 c5 { This is a bit loosening. } 20.Rac1 ( 20.Qd3 Qd6 21.Qh7 Rb8 22.b3 Rxe1+ 23.Rxe1 g5 $10 { This looks a lot less clear, but Stockfish says 0.00. } ) 20...Rc8 21.Rxe8+ { Stockfish is not a fan of White's last two moves. Exchanging major pieces makes Black's passed d-pawn start to look strong. } 21...Kxe8 22.Qd3 Be6 23.Re1 Kf7 24.Nh4 Kg8 25.Nf5 Rc7 26.Nxh6+ { This sacrifice had an air of desperation about it; White's only chance is to complicate the position, and in the game he does get some chances to hold - but objectively White does not get enough for the piece. } 26...gxh6 27.Qg6+ Kf8 28.Qxh6+ ( 28.Qxf6+ Bf7 29.Qh8+ Bg8 $19 { White has no sensible checks. } ) 28...Ke8 ( 28...Rg7 { was also sufficient } 29.Qxf6+ Bf7 30.Qe7+ Kg8 $19 ) 29.Qxf6 Re7 30.h4 Kd7 31.h5 c4 32.h6 Rf7 33.Qh4 Bf5 $2 { A mistake, but the players were very short of time by now } 34.g4 $2 ( 34.Re5 $1 { was a saving move, based on promotion tricks } 34...Qd6 ( 34...Be4 $2 35.Rxe4 dxe4 36.h7 $18 ) 35.Rxf5 $1 Rxf5 36.h7 Rf8 37.h8=Q Rxh8 38.Qxh8 d4 $10 ) 34...Qg6 35.f3 Be6 36.Qf2 Ke8 $2 { Walking into this pin throws away the advantage. } ( 36...Kc6 $1 37.Qe2 ( 37.Qe3 Bxg4 $1 38.fxg4 Qxg4+ 39.Kh2 Qh5+ 40.Kg2 Qg6+ 41.Kh2 Rf6 $19 ) 37...Bd7 38.b3 Rf4 39.bxc4 Rxc4 $17 ) 37.Qe3 $1 Re7 38.g5 d4 39.Qe5 d3 40.f4 $2 { This weakening of the light squares has fatal consequences. } ( 40.Kf2 $1 d2 41.Rd1 Qc2 42.Qb8+ Kf7 43.Qf4+ Qf5 44.Qxf5+ Bxf5 45.Rxd2 $10 ) 40...d2 41.Rd1 Qd3 $19 42.Kf2 Bg4 43.Qb8+ Kf7 44.g6+ Qxg6 45.Rxd2 Qe4 46.Kg3 Qf3+ 47.Kh2 Qh3+ 48.Kg1 Re1+ 49.Kf2 Qf1+ ( 49...Rf1# { Oops! :) } ) 50.Kg3 Qf3+ 51.Kh4 Qh3+ 52.Kg5 Qh5# 0-1

In the U1825 division, Hendon B faced a Battersea team looking to take revenge for our victory two weeks ago against their clubmates.

Battersea B Battersea B Hendon B Hendon B
Malcolm Dancy
1780 1 - 0
Nick Murphy
Stephen Welch
1503 0 - 1
Morris Jones
Emils Steiners
1443 ½ - ½
Gul Kapur
Ed Clark
1488 1 - 0
Tony Artman
2½ - 1½

This was a closer match. We went 2-0 down when Nick blundered away a very good position and Tony lost on Board 4, but Morris was clearly winning in his game, and Gul was doing very well too, with his opponent’s flag hanging, so I had high hopes of a tie.

Morris did indeed go on to take our only full point of this round, but unfortunately Gul wasn’t able to make his advantage count, and his opponent traded off his last pawn to secure a draw, and a match win for Battersea.

Thanks to everyone for playing! Things can only get better from here!

The next match will be next Wednesday, 9th December; this will be the last match night of 2020 where both teams are playing. The B team has one more match, on December 16th, before the League takes a two-week break over Christmas. Full schedule here.

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