Spitfires uphold Hendon pride in round 2

By Hendon LOCL captain Andrew Medworth
Wednesday 10 March, 2021

The second round of season 2 of the London Online Chess League took place on Tornelo this evening. The Hurricanes and Harriers went down to heavy defeats, but the Spitfires gave us something to smile about with a fine victory in the Bishops Division!

Starting with the Queens Division, the Hurricanes were facing a strong Cavendish A side, but the draw we achieved against them in season 1 gave us hope.

Hendon Hurricanes Hendon Hurricanes Cavendish A Cavendish A
CM Rob Willmoth
2200 ½ - ½
IM John Cox
Alex Leslie
2088 0 - 1
Jeff Goldberg
Kennan Kesterson
1983 0 - 1
FM David Friedgood
Alex Funk
1878 0 - 1
Michael Brown
½ - 3½

Regrettably, while all the games went the distance, this time we went down to a heavy defeat.

Alex Leslie wasn’t able to replicate his fantastic draw against an FM from that match; here he faced a slightly weaker (though still formidable) opponent, but was worse out of the opening, and felt he had to go for a sacrificial kingside attack that sadly never looked like succeeding.

It was great to see Kennan Kesterson return to the Hendon squad, having played for the London Terminators in season 1 (drawing with Rob Willmoth in the match we played against them). Unfortunately, today he ended up positionally worse against another ex-Hendon player, FM David Friedgood (who co-wrote one of my favourite chess books, Secrets of Spectacular Chess). Down a couple of pawns, Kennan felt he had to go for a desperate attack, but his experienced opponent successfully fended it off, leaving him empty-handed.

On Board 4, Alex Funk seemed to be holding his own into the middlegame, but then dropped a pawn, and more critically, left the light squares around his king very weak, with his opponent having a light-squared bishop against a knight. Alex was duly mated.

The only bright spot was that Rob Willmoth held the draw against his IM opponent, preserving a 1½/2 score against him over the two seasons! Rob was somewhat fortunate, as he committed a mouse slip trying to recapture a piece on b3, but his opponent graciously allowed him to retract it after Rob called the arbiter, and the game went into a drawn ending.

The round 2 games from the Queens Division are currently available here if you want to check them out.

In the Bishops Division, the Hendon Spitfires faced season 2 newcomers the Wanstead Wolves, and this match finished on a much better note for us!

Wanstead Wolves Wanstead Wolves Hendon Spitfires Hendon Spitfires
Ian Reynolds
1915 0 - 1
Eugenia Karas
Keith Jones
1840 0 - 1
Chris Rogal
Matthias Lataille
1511 1 - 0
Nick Murphy
Laurence Duffy
1312 0 - 1
Anton Drel
1 - 3

It was the bottom two boards that looked most likely to yield points for us on paper, but in the end those finished “honours even”, and it was the top two boards where we did the damage!

It was a great pleasure to see Eugenia Karas back in the team, and she celebrated her return with a 20-move victory, her opponent having dropped decisive material in a sharp position.

Chris Rogal also won quickly, his opponent only lasting until move 25. I believe Keith Jones, in non-pandemic times, is the Middlesex county captain, but in any case, in this game he neglected to castle and was mated.

The next game to finish was Board 4, where Anton Drel, promoted to the Spitfires after his fine performance for the Harriers last round, won convincingly after his opponent played a very strange opening. Anton sacrificed on f7, winning a pawn and exposing his opponent’s king, and converted very well, sealing the match victory.

We weren’t able to complete the clean sweep, as Nick Murphy allowed his opponent to safely liquidate in a King’s Gambit where Nick, on the Black side, managed to be the one sacrificing a pawn!

Nonetheless, a satisfying victory - well done Spitfires!

Further down the Bishops Division, the Harriers couldn’t do worse against Wimbledon B than we did last season, but unfortunately our opponents managed to repeat the 4-0 scoreline they achieved against Hendon B in season 1.

Hendon Harriers Hendon Harriers Wimbledon B Wimbledon B
Gul Kapur
1533 0 - 1
Mike Williams
David Lewis
1465 0 - 1
Georgi Velikov
Stanley Jacobs
1390 0 - 1
Andrew Blackburn
Tony Artman
1400 0 - 1
Mario Avendano
0 - 4

The match didn’t start well, with Tony Artman falling victim to a brutal tactic and having to resign after 18 moves.

On Board 3, Stanley Jacobs went a pawn down, and his opponent managed to queen it and win the ending.

The top two boards went the distance, but David Lewis eventually succumbed to a kingside attack, and Gul, having had a very decent position at one point, lost a pawn, and very low on time, couldn’t defend in a rook ending which may well have been lost anyway.

The round 2 games from the Bishops Division are currently available here.

Many thanks to everyone who played or acted as a reserve this evening!

You can find a list of all stories about season 2 of the London Online Chess League here.