Our second A team match of the season saw us facing a strong Ealing Juniors team. There wasn’t a lot to choose between the teams on ratings, and, given that our opponents were improving juniors, a close match appeared to be in prospect.
But that’s not what happened.
- Rajat Makkar (2308) ½:½ Gavin Wall (2284)
- Alfie Onslow (2255) 0:1 Mike Healey (2267)
- Christopher Tombolis (2035) 0:1 Bertie Barlow (2006)
- Sagnik Chatterjee (1735) 0:1 Ian McLeod (1908)
- Xavier Cowan (1900) 0:1 Raghu Kamath (1885)
- Yad Rahman (1720) 0:1 Maks Gajowniczek (1750)
On boards 1 and 5 we had two Dutches from Gavin and Raghu of slightly differing styles…Gavin’s position was super solid and quickly reached a position where if either player refused to repeat moves, they went onto the backfoot. Comfortable draw: by no means a bad result against a strong junior with Black (even if it did ruin the wipeout!). Raghu played true to his own sense of the Dutch, somehow repeatedly finding tactics where none seemed available. He held his nerve and brought home the point.
Otherwise it was an evening for central pawns. I wound up in a Fantasy Caro with doubled e pawns, which eventually won through. Bertie played a truly gorgeous game, the key move being d5-d4!!, cutting off a Bishop on b2 and completely ruining White’s coordination. If Bertie can be coaxed, one for Richard to look over for sure.
Ian’s opponent seemed to have an ominous central pawn mass AND two bishops. Undermining a la Fischer-Spassky game 6 seemed unlikely – however his opponent then committed positional hari-kari with e6-e5?? blocking in his own bishop on g7. Ian’s positional mastery was unleashed, and the result of good knight versus bad bishop never looked in doubt.
Maks meanwhile played a very calm game, before whipping off an enemy e4 pawn with a tictac. He ended up in a rook and pawn endgame where he found an excellent rook retreat to f4 to seal a winning position. Time being called the youngster resigned rather than instigate paperwork. Hurrah!
An amazing result – congratulations to everyone! Good to see the players who’ve been getting practice in our regular online lichess.org arenas doing so well. If you’re not already a member, do come and join our team!