In round 2 of the LOCL, the Spitfires and Harriers both got their first wins of season 3 against decent opposition! Unfortunately the Hurricanes went down hard to season 1 winners Streatham & Brixton A.
|Hendon Hurricanes||Streatham & Brixton A|
|1||Rob Willmoth||2200||0 - 1||Venkat Tiruchirapalli||2328|
|2||Alex Leslie||2088||0 - 1||John Carlin||2275|
|3||David Amior||1900||0 - 1||John Hodgson||2103|
|4||Chris Rogal||1803||½ - ½||Andrew Stone||2155|
|½ - 3½|
Three of the four pairings had already been seen in both those previous meetings! Rob had drawn twice with the same FM-strength opponent, Alex had beaten his opponent twice before, and David Amior was on 50% against his, so there were grounds for optimism.
Unfortunately all three of those games were lost today, with our only half-point coming from Hurricanes stand-in Chris Rogal!
The Queens Division games from round 2 are currently available here.
|Hendon Spitfires||East Ham Eagles|
|1||Anton Drel||1800||1 - 0||Harry Zheng||1915|
|2||Gideon Vecht||1795||0 - 1||Edison Figueroa||1908|
|3||Morris Jones||1758||1 - 0||Jack Sheard||1855|
|4||Amirabbas Mehrafarin||1734||1 - 0||David Edney||1833|
|3 - 1|
The Spitfires match started really badly, with Gideon losing in 14 moves, but thankfully the rest of the games went really well!
Morris was gifted an exchange in bizarre fashion, in what I can only assume was a mouse slip by his opponent. Morris did a very nice job of converting from there.
Amirabbas had an excellent attacking position, also an exchange up, and while the conversion didn’t go quite as smoothly as in Morris’s game, Amirabbas still prevailed in the end!
This meant we just needed a draw from the top board clash between talented juniors Anton Drel and Harry Zheng. Anton had an absolutely barn-storming season 2, playing far in excess of his official grade of 1510, and the League Secretary agreed to my request to increase his grade to 1800 for LOCL purposes for season 3.
Anton’s opponent went wrong in the early middlegame, allowing Anton to give up his queen for a rook and two knights. This is a very unusual material balance, but it looked favourable for Anton, provided he could find a way to coordinate his pieces. This he was able to do, and he played the game out beautifully, finishing with a rather pretty and unusual checkmate!
Congratulations to the whole team on the victory!
The Rooks Division games from round 2 are currently available here.
|Streatham & Brixton B||Hendon Harriers|
|1||Martin Smith||1960||½ - ½||James Baxter||1700|
|2||Michael Chung||1630||0 - 1||Julie Oh||1485|
|3||Alan Romeril||1638||0 - 1||Marcel Berenblut||1450|
|4||Alex Spencer||1413||1 - 0||Dev Ranka||1270|
|1½ - 2½|
There was good news in the Harriers match as well, where we faced another Streatham & Brixton side, who fielded a much weaker lineup here than they generally did in season 2, where they won the Bishops Division.
James was somewhat fortunate to draw, having appeared to get himself into trouble with his king under attack through the middle, but his opponent didn’t find the most accurate way, and James was able to complete another of his great escapes!
Dev unfortunately lost from what looked like a really promising position when he let his f5 pawn go. The resulting double-rook ending with opposite-coloured bishops should probably have been drawn, even a pawn down, but Dev’s opponent managed to liquidate favourably, and prove that even with all rooks traded, a “pure” opposite-coloured bishops ending is by no means automatically drawn.
From there it was all sweetness and light, though! Marcel Berenblut scored a very smooth win with the Black pieces after winning a pawn early in the game. Last but by no means least, I was delighted to see Julie Oh win her first game for the club! Her opponent mouse-slipped horribly on move 7, but played on and on, and Julie remained admirably calm to close out the victory.
Well done to the Harriers!
The round 2 games from the Bishops Division are currently available here.
Many thanks to everyone who played tonight!
You can find a list of all stories about season 3 of the London Online Chess League here.