Another good win for the Spitfires

By Hendon LOCL captain Andrew Medworth
Wednesday 23 June, 2021

In round three of the London Online Chess League, the Spitfires decisively defeated Cavendish B, but the Hurricanes and Harriers both lost, despite good wins on Board 1 in both cases.

Petts Wood & Orpington A Hendon Hurricanes
1
Aditya Verma
2305 0 - 1
Alex Leslie
2088
2
Daniel Lindner
2208 1 - 0
Kennan Kesterson
1983
3
Jean-Baptiste Jugand
2058 ½ - ½
David Amior
1900
4
James Merriman
2005 1 - 0
Chris Rogal
1803
2½ - 1½

In the Queens Division, the Hurricanes faced Petts Wood & Orpington A. We’d achieved some good results against this side in previous seasons, but unfortunately we had some key players missing tonight, while our opponents had a stronger lineup than the ones we’d faced before.

On Board 1, Alex achieved an excellent win against a very strong player. Alex got into a rook-and-bishop ending a pawn up, and despite his opponent getting his rooks active on the seventh rank, Alex won by pushing his a-pawn through. Congratulations to him!

Things didn’t go quite so smoothly further down though. On Board 2, Kennan, making his first appearance of season 3, shed a pawn in the early middlegame, and his opponent traded down into a rook ending and converted impressively.

On Board 3, David Amior took a hot pawn in the opening and came under heavy attack. He managed to survive to a queen ending, but he was two pawns down and the position looked grim. However, fortunately his opponent blundered his advantage and the players agreed a draw.

On Board 4, Chris lost a pawn in the opening, and while his opponent did go wrong in the early middlegame, Chris wasn’t able to take advantage of the complex tactical opportunity. His opponent briefly had an extra bishop, but wasn’t able to keep it, and the position remarkably went into a double rook ending with level material and a symmetrical pawn structure. However, Chris’s opponent managed to get his rooks into much more active positions, and this proved decisive: the Petts Wood player won a couple of pawns and converted.

A narrow defeat for the Hurricanes, but with some high points and a good effort from the whole team.

The round 3 games from the Queens Division are currently available here.

Cavendish B Hendon Spitfires
1
Michael Brown
2005 0 - 1
Anton Drel
1800
2
Ricardo Velasco
1765 ½ - ½
Morris Jones
1758
3
Diego Franco
1700 0 - 1
Nick Murphy
1750
4
Ben Finn
1578 0 - 1
Amirabbas Mehrafarin
1734
½ - 3½

In the Rooks Division, the Spitfires achieved our first win over a Cavendish team in any LOCL season! It was our first match against Cavendish B since season 1.

On Board 1, Anton aimed to hold onto the pawn in an Evans Gambit, and his strategy paid off as he escaped to the endgame a pawn up. His opponent, short of time, then shed further material, and Anton cleaned up nicely!

On Board 2, Morris appeared to have a bad position, losing two pawns going into a rook ending. He managed to queen his own pawn and force the win of the enemy rook, leaving a position where he had a rook against three pawns. His opponent had several opportunities to win this, but couldn’t take them, and the game finished in a draw – a lucky escape!

Board 3 saw Nick face off against Diego Franco, who is actually also a Hendon member, but decided to play for his other club Cavendish in season 3. This game also looked to be going Cavendish’s way when Nick lost a pawn and then the exchange. However, after a blunder-filled sequence from move 44 onwards, Nick came out on top after his opponent hung decisive material.

On Board 4, Amirabbas continued his impressive 100% record with a 23-move win, after his opponent miscalculated on move 10 and lost a piece. This was actually the first game to finish.

This was a closer match than the scoreline suggested, but nonetheless, well done Spitfires!

The round 3 games from the Rooks Division are currently available here.

Hendon Harriers GLCC B
1
James Baxter
1700 1 - 0
Paul Chantrell
1735
2
Julie Oh
1485 0 - 1
Cecil Sloan
1720
3
Matty Berenblut
1400 0 - 1
Peter Pickering
1540
4
Dev Ranka
1270 0 - 1
Roger Clarkson
1360
1 - 3

In the Bishops Division, we faced a side from the Greater London Chess Club for the first time in any LOCL season.

On Board 1, James wriggled out of trouble in the opening, and achieved what looked to be a fairly level ending. However, his opponent made an unwise decision to trade the rooks, leaving James with a bishop against a knight with pawns on both sides of the board. Black’s position should probably have been defensible, but James’s opponent wasn’t able to muster the accuracy required, and James was able to liquidate to a winning king-and-pawn ending.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to replicate this success on the remaining boards.

On Board 2, Julie dropped a pawn in the middlegame, and then some further material, leaving her a rook down, which her opponent was able to convert without too many problems.

On Board 3, Matty seemed to have a strong kingside attack, but unfortunately didn’t manage to find the right continuation, and dropped a vital pawn on g4. When a pawn-down rook-and-knight ending was reached, it looked like an uphill battle, but then Matty lost a piece to a rook fork, leaving the result in no doubt. Frustration for Matty, but he played well up to a certain stage and can take a lot of positives from the game.

On Board 4, Dev got into a bad position, as he didn’t manage to castle and his king got stuck in the centre. Just when it looked like he had survived the worst, he missed an opportunity to force a draw, lost several pawns, and succumbed to a kingside attack shortly afterwards.

The round 3 games from the Bishops Division are currently available here.

Many thanks to all who played!

You can find a list of all stories about season 3 of the London Online Chess League here.