I’m delighted to report that on Thursday, Hendon 2 defeated Kings Head 2 by a 4½–1½ margin despite being out-rated on all but one board!
I didn’t have high expectations going into the match, as Kings Head had only lost once all season, against Division 2 leaders Albany.
We’re at a stage of the season where many clubs’ second team squads are getting a bit thinner due to players moving up to the first team, so strange things can happen, but given that Kings Head had an over 100-point rating advantage on boards 1–4, it seemed hard to hope for much from the match.
Things started well for us, with relatively quick draws on Boards 1 and 4, and we were better on 2 and 3 as well. Philippe defeated his unrated opponent in a rook ending, and Salvatore drew, so we were one up with two still playing.
Mark was material up on Board 3, but was low on time; the queens were still on and Mark’s king wasn’t fully safe. Thankfully he held his nerve and managed to queen a pawn and bring home the full point. Alex was even lower on time, but had a winning position the exchange and a pawn up. Thankfully his time situation became irrelevant when his opponent pushed his king up the board and was mated!
|Hendon 2||Hendon 2||Kings Head 2||Kings Head 2|
|1||Amior, David||1902||½ - ½||Mackenzie, Colin||2040|
|2||Funk, Alexander||1859||1 - 0||Arnold, Simon D||1962|
|3||Hutchinson, Mark||1800||1 - 0||Anderson, Peter F||1903|
|4||Rogal, Chris||1752||½ - ½||Bourke, Alex||1876|
|5||Pepe, Salvatore||1723||½ - ½||Diffey, William||1776|
|6||Gelin, Philippe||1607||1 - 0||Mackenzie, Daniel|
|4½ - 1½|
A score of +3 undefeated is well above par for a match like this, so congratulations to the team!
This leaves Hendon 2 momentarily in second place in Division 2, which would be sufficient for promotion, though I still think a third-place finish is the most likely outcome given that Kings Head have a match in hand and are only half a point behind, and Hendon 2’s final two matches are against Albany (the league leaders) and away to Harrow.
Many thanks to everyone who played, particularly those who helped with setting up beforehand and clearing away afterwards!