I’m delighted to report that the Hendon’s first Middlesex League match since March 2020 took place over-the-board last night at the Holly Bush!
Our junior team Barnet Knights faced Hendon 3 in an internal match; despite being significantly outgraded, the valiant Knights ran them close, and only just lost in the end.
|Hendon 3||Hendon 3||Hendon Barnet Knights||Hendon Barnet Knights|
|1||Daniel Duma||1952||½ - ½||Eric Eedle||1822|
|2||David Amior||1900||0 - 1||Gregor Sanfey||1690|
|3||Salvatore Pepe||1735||1 - 0||Arjun Dharan||1368|
|4||Domenico Napolitano||1705||1 - 0||Ben Rowland||1258|
|5||Julie Oh||1572||1 - 0||Harry Bryant||1250|
|6||Evelina Engelaitytė||~1000||0 - 1||Thomas Page||~1167|
|3½ - 2½|
On paper Hendon 3 were strong favourites here, but given how stale the official grades are now, and how quickly juniors improve, nothing could be taken for granted!
Indeed, Barnet Knights got off to a storming start, scoring wins on Boards 2 and 6 to take a shock 2–0 lead! However, Hendon 3 had excellent positions on Boards 3 and 4, and indeed, eventually scored the full point in both, leaving the match in the balance.
On Board 1, Daniel seemed to have a strong position, with an excellent knight against a bad bishop, but couldn’t find a way to break through, and the game was eventually agreed drawn.
Thus it all came down to a thriller on Board 5, where the advantage changed hands several times, but in the end, Black made a fatal decision to exchange down to a king-and-pawn ending which was lost.
White promoted first, and had a textbook ending with a queen against a d-pawn one square from promotion. At first it looked like Julie was unfamiliar with the winning technique, but to her enormous credit, she worked it out over the board with very little time and checkmated her opponent, winning the match for Hendon 3!
Great to see the Middlesex League return: let’s hope all the matches are as exciting as this one!
You can find a list of all stories about this competition here.