The Hendon teams achieved superb results in round 4 of the London Online Chess League, with the Hurricanes drawing against the season 1 winners, and the Spitfires and Harriers defeating decent opposition!
|Hendon Hurricanes||Streatham & Brixton A|
|1||Rob Willmoth||2200||½ - ½||Venkat Tiruchirapalli||2328|
|2||Alex Leslie||2088||1 - 0||John Carlin||2275|
|3||Kennan Kesterson||1983||½ - ½||Andrew Stone||2155|
|4||David Amior||1900||0 - 1||John Hodgson||2103|
|2 - 2|
In the Queens Division, the Hurricanes faced a very strong Streatham and Brixton A side, who were looking to avenge their heavy defeat against us in season 1. We weren’t quite able to replicate that extraordinary result, but we did ourselves proud, achieving a match draw!
We didn’t get off to the best start, with David Amior going into the early middlegame with a broken pawn structure, that was sufficient for his opponent to achieve a winning rook ending.
However, Kennan made a draw on Board 3 against a strong opponent. It was a complicated back-and-forth game, with both kings in some danger, and the Streatham player somewhat surprised me by offering a draw in a position where there seemed to be plenty of play left. Both players were low on time though, and presumably Kennan’s opponent felt that playing on would be an unnecessary risk.
On Board 2, Alex proved his victory over the same opponent in season 1 was no accident! The game could have gone either way going into a rook and minor-piece ending, but the Streatham player went wrong, allowing Alex to win the exchange. The finish was exciting, with Alex’s opponent missing an opportunity to achieve a fortress, but Alex brought home the full point to tie up the match!
On Board 1, Rob had much the better of the game, but got very low on time, and decided to take a draw in a position with his king exposed in a major piece ending. Our opponents can count themselves very fortunate to have drawn this game to finish the match with level scores.
It would have been great to beat this strong team again, but to go two seasons unbeaten against them is still an excellent result. Well done Hurricanes!
You can currently find all round 4 Queen’s Division games here.
|King's Head Bishops||Hendon Spitfires|
|1||Colin Mackenzie||2013||0 - 1||Alex Funk||1878|
|2||Neil Tomkin||1735||0 - 1||Eugenia Karas||1803|
|3||Evan Beachley||1660||1 - 0||Nick Murphy||1750|
|4||Richard Balatoni||1698||0 - 1||Anton Drel||1510|
|1 - 3|
In the Bishops Division, the Spitfires were aiming to retain their position at the top of the table, by defeating the King’s Head Bishops. This they managed to do, replicating the 3-1 scoreline from our season 1 victory!
Anton got us off to a flying start by taking apart his opponent after the King’s Head player went wrong in a sharp Giuoco Piano – a dangerous opening to play if you don’t know the theory, as Anton demonstrated!
Eugenia also won fairly quickly, after her opponent blundered the exchange in a Catalan position, putting us on the brink of winning the match.
Nick’s position looked ropey, and Alex seemed to have forgotten to castle again, which made me worry for a short while that we might not cross the victory line, but Alex’s strong opponent inexplicably hung a piece, gifting us the point we needed!
Nick did end up being on the wrong end of a fairly “caveman-style” kingside hack in the London System, but it didn’t matter by that point.
Well done Spitfires – let’s try to keep this excellent run going!
|Hendon Harriers||Battersea Cats|
|1||Gul Kapur||1533||½ - ½||Steve Barry||1690|
|2||David Lewis||1465||0 - 1||Joel Morales||1600|
|3||Stanley Jacobs||1390||1 - 0||Chris Watt||1465|
|4||Dev Ranka||1270||1 - 0||Chris Rebbeck||1405|
|2½ - 1½|
The real drama, however, was saved for the Harriers match against the Battersea Cats! We were outgraded on all boards, so I had little hope of repeating our victory from season 1, where we had a much stronger team (though so did our opponents). However, the valiant Harriers had other ideas!
We didn’t get off to a good start, as David Lewis had something of an off-day, hanging a piece and then gifting his opponent an unusual mate. However, it was all uphill from there!
Dev Ranka proved how much he has improved over the two seasons by defeating an opponent of decent strength on bottom board! He was generally well in control throughout, and while he was helped by his opponent blundering a rook, it would have been possible to walk into a perpetual check in the resulting queen ending – but Dev showed good technique to close the game out, levelling the match! Well done!
Stanley then put us in a great position by winning a somewhat chaotic game where his opponent made the last mistake, dropping material.
On the scoreboard, we were on the brink of something special, but Gul appeared to be completely lost on top board, down two pawns in an ending, even when his opponent made his own life difficult by trading off all the rooks, leaving opposite-coloured bishops. It looked for all the world as if the Battersea player was going to tie the match.
However, extraordinarily, Gul’s opponent put all his pawns on dark squares, blocking the position and making it impossible for either his bishop or king to penetrate! Gul had an easy draw by moving his king between f3 and g4, which he duly took, winning us the match!
It’s great to see the Harriers get off the mark for the season! Congratulations to the team!
You can currently find all round 4 games in the Bishops Division here.
You can find a list of all stories about season 2 of the London Online Chess League here.