Hendon 2 ties with Harrow Juniors in thriller!

By Andrew Medworth, Hendon Club Captain
Sunday 10 March, 2024

Last Thursday, Hendon 2 visited Harrow to play their juniors team. Harrow’s junior setup has attracted much attention in recent years, as they have produced some very strong young players.

One of their star players is Bodhana Sivanandan, who won the World Junior Championship in 2023 in the under-8 girls category, and even more impressively, won the prize for top female player at the all-ages European Blitz Championship. This latter achievement was extensively covered in the press: for example, see this article on the BBC News website.

It says something that Bodhana is often not even top board for Harrow Juniors 1, as their squad also includes Manmay Chopra, who turns 17 this year and is already rated 2242 ECF!

Regular appearances from these two ensure that the team had scored 17½/27 on the top three boards so far this season. However, lower down the board order they are not quite so competitive, having scored 8½/27 on boards 4–6 prior to this match.

It therefore always looked likely to be “a match of two halves”. We were significantly out-rated down to Board 4, but had comparable ratings on 5 and 6, so I had to hope we would score well lower down and pick up a surprise result somewhere else. In the end, this is exactly what happened!

I faced young wunderkind Bodhana on Board 2, who dispatched me with great ease. She was very polite and friendly after the game as well, and I certainly left the match with great admiration for this remarkable young woman. Anyone with an interest in the future of English chess must hope she continues to play for many years to come. If they start a fan club, they can sign me up!

Chris suffered a similar fate next to me against Manmay Chopra, and Jonathan Samuel lost from a promising position on Board 3, so we suffered a clean sweep in the top half of the match.

However, Sundip had won fairly early on Board 6, and Benjamin and Stephen had promising positions on Boards 4 and 5, so we still had hopes of a tie. In the end, they both came through tense endgames to score the full point.

This meant we escaped from the lion cubs’ den with a 3–3 draw, which must count as something of an achievement!

Harrow Juniors 1 Harrow Juniors 1 Hendon 2 Hendon 2
Chopra, Manmay
2242 1 - 0
Rogal, Chris
Sivanandan, Bodhana
2137 1 - 0
Medworth, Andrew
Jayakumar, Bharath
1780 1 - 0
Samuel, Jonathan
Evans, Daniel
1758 0 - 1
Horspool, Benjamin
Cann, Arthur
1576 0 - 1
Pride, Stephen
Horwood, Alexander
1469 0 - 1
Tailor, Sundip
3 - 3

Hendon 2 are now second from bottom in Division 2, but have played fewer games than teams around them. Forthcoming matches against Muswell Hill 2 and Hammersmith 2 will be crucial.

Many thanks to all who played!