Another disappointing evening, I’m afraid. Up to this point we’d won all our matches, while our opponents had lost all theirs, but last night they blew us off the board. I was there as non-playing captain and travelling reserve in case of any late Covid-related withdrawals.
No hard luck stories and no excuses: all their team played very well.
- Russell Granat (2260) 1:0 Bertie Barlow (2006)
- Tony Hughes (1945) ½:½ Julien Shepley (1971)
- Sean Ingle (1810) ½:½ Andrew Hebron (2020)
- Mike Williams (1788) ½:½ Chris Baker (1960)
- Shahvez Ali (1784) ½:½ Ian McLeod (1908)
- Alex Boitier (1705) 1:0 Maks Gajowniczek (1750)
Richmond won the toss, but Bertie chose to be black on top board. There were early queen exchanges on boards 1, 2 and 4. Julien’s game was quickly agreed drawn, and Chris reached a minor piece ending before sharing the point. It quickly became clear that we were likely to lose. Russell had played an unpretentious opening (a Four Knights with 4. d3) but he is exceptionally strong in this sort of position and Bertie soon went wrong, losing a couple of pawns. He struggled on to the end but his opponent was never going to make a mistake. Maks had blundered a piece and his opponent managed to avoid the traps. That left boards 3 and 5 to provide the evening’s excitement, but both Andrew and Ian were in cramped positions from the opening. Ian ended up with two rooks against a queen and a couple of pawns in a position where one side or the other would give perpetual check. Andrew seemed to be in trouble after neglecting to castle at the start of the game, but did very well to complicate matters in his opponent’s time trouble. He bravely turned down a draw in the interests of the team, but, once the match had been decided, accepted the second offer in a position where he was going to find himself in a bad ending but where Sean had virtually no time left. A fair result, I think.
Thanks to all for playing, and to Andrew for the lift. Thanks to Wimbledon for their hospitality and congratulations on an excellent performance.
Our next match is away to Hammersmith on Monday 31 January, by which time the mask mandate will no longer be in place.