Hammersmith A v Richmond A TVL Div 1 Report

Maks reports on last month’s match against Hammersmith.

BoardHome playerResultAway playerRating
difference (Δ)
oneAli Hill s2230AAli Hill had the black pieces0-1IM Gavin Wall s2281AIM Gavin Wall had the white pieces-51
twoThomas Bonn s2246AThomas Bonn had the white pieces1-0Michael W Healey s2205AMichael W Healey had the black pieces+41
threeCarsten Pedersen s2214ACarsten Pedersen had the black pieces1-0Andrew Hebron s1958KAndrew Hebron had the white pieces+256
fourChristopher Skulte s2115KChristopher Skulte had the white pieces1-0Bertrand Barlow s1899ABertrand Barlow had the black pieces+216
fiveBajrush Kelmendi s2088ABajrush Kelmendi had the black pieces1-0Maks Gajowniczek s1821KMaks Gajowniczek had the white pieces+267
sixTom Townsend s1969ATom Townsend had the white pieces1/2-1/2Sampson ED Low s1828KSampson ED Low had the black pieces+141
Mean ratingHome team: 2143.7 Away team: 1998.7Δ = 145

With our boards 3 to 6 being heavily out graded, the result of 1.5 – 4.5 wasn’t altogether unexpected. Our disadvantage was also compounded not only by it being an away match, but also it being a day when there were train strikes.

A heroic effort was made by Andrew, giving a lift to literally half the team, as well as Bertie having to take several buses.

We won the coin toss, so it was white on odd boards for us. Since it is quite a while ago, I’ve decided to write this match report to include more diagrams so it is easier to skim read it. Out of the 6 games it featured 3 french defences, and 3 more unusual openings. Through the kindness of the team, I obtained scoresheet records for 4 of the games.

Board 1(white): French defence 

I didn’t see much of Gavin’s game but during post-analysis; it appeared that Gavin was both a pawn-up and had superior piece placement. It seems Gavin used his space advantage nicely keeping lots of pieces on the board and outplaying his opponent. Congratulations to him for defeating his high-rated opponent.

Board 2(black): Polish defence

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 b5 3. Bg5 Bb7 4. e3 a6 5.Nbd2 d6

Mike was trying a rare line for black called the polish defence, perhaps complimenting his knowledge of what he sometimes plays for white 1.b4; the polish/orangutan opening. 

2.. b5 is one way to avoid mainlines where white follows the Nf3+d4 setup with c4.  Interestingly if white follows with 3.g3 then ..3. e6 transposes into a known anti-Catalan setup. Instead, his opponent goes for the main way to tackle to polish defence with Bg5 giving the opening a trompowski flavour. Mike follows with a d6 setup, which is riskier but more dynamic than e6.

On move 9, there was a bit of a lapse of judgement for Mike. Instead of preparing g5 with either Rg8 or h6, he plays it directly. His follow-up of ..e5, Nf3 ..Be7 just loses two pawns.

Later in the middle-game after a complex fight Mike was on the verge of recovering to some extent,using his play on the open lines.

Mike had set an interesting trap here. How does white deal with the mate threat and pressure on h2? Best is g3, Rgh1 h4!, gxh6  and instead of white having to defend a kingside attack, they have instead been gifted with an umbrella pawn. Admittedly those kinds of pawn sacrifices for king safety or piece activity in an unfamiliar position can be quite hard to see during an actual game. 

The trap his opponent could have potentially fallen for was e5 Qxd5, Qxh6 Bb7 an exchange sac where black is winning.

Instead, his opponent continued Qg3 Rgh1!, Qxd6 exd6, f4.   Mike should have delayed winning one h-pawn back immediately with Rxh2 and play gxf (e.p) first which would have prevented a pawn majority of the e and f files. After a few moves, this would have resulted in white only being up one b-pawn with a balanced position otherwise for both sides. Not easy, but perhaps defendable.

Unfortunately Mikes’s opponent was too solid material up and went on to win in a blitz finish.

Board 3(white): French Defence, Advanced variation

Andrew got caught in some opening prep and ended up losing an exchange. His opponent had sacrificed a kingside pawn and got good pressure against the kingside. The game went on but ultimately it was lost for white.

Board 4(black): Scandinavian Defence

1. e4 e5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. d3 c6

A rare set-up against the Scandinavian defense was played against Bertie. On the whole it was equal in the opening, better for white in the middlegame.

Later in the middlegame, Berties opponent went for a tactical shot.

c5 Qxc5, Ba4.

Bertie gave up hope, maybe trusting his opponent too much and played Red8? . He missed the counter threat …Rc7! I won’t go into detail but it’s basically equalizing for black.

Later his opponent also slipped up with Qd3. A rare case where a knight can perpetually attack a rook or win back an exchange.

It could have been a nice swindle for Bertie, but unfortunately, he missed it and went on to lose.

Board 5(white) : Hippo Defence

1. d4 g6 3. c4 Bg7 3. Nf3 b6 4. Nc3 Bb7 5.Bf4 d6

The game transposed into a Benoni pawn structure. On move 25 white is positionally winning, but slips up with the bad move Bh6.

A move that is tempting in blitz-chess, but here it just spoils the advantage.  In defence, both sides were quite low on clock time.

move 25: Bh6?

Opening the position with g4, or controlling the position with f4 were best.

After Bxh6 Qxh6 his previously useless knight on b4 could spin round to d4 (even though ..f4! was a much stronger move).

White went on to lose as the position opened up.

Board 6(black) : French Defence

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4 h6

A very well played game by Sampson. He emerged a pawn up after an interesting pawn sacrifice by his opponent, trying to utilise a lead in development. With queen’s off though, it looked quite favourable for black.

In the following position Sampson played Rxe1+ but perhaps Kf7 was an easier position to play.

Play continued, and white managed to utilise his lead in development to win back a pawn. Both knights were attacked at one point but his opponent had a desperado sacrifice leveling material. The game ended in a draw.

Definitely quite a few mistakes on our side. Hopefully good ones we can learn from. Congratulations to Sampson and Gavin for their results. Hammersmith remains a strong team, having been undefeated in the previous season. I round out this report with a quick update on the league table.

league table:

Kingston A65100279+185.5
Surbiton A740302417+741
Richmond & Twickenham A740302418+64
Hammersmith A640201719-24
Surbiton B10316026.532.5-63.51
Ealing A7304020.521.5-13
Richmond & Twickenham B710601032-221

On first inspection, it would appear that we are currently joint 2nd with Surbiton. 

If we take match wins – match losses for the top 5 teams we get:

1. Kingston  +5

2. Hammersmith +2

3= Surbiton A +1

3= Richmond A +1

5. Ealing  -1

There was a bit of a controversial match (or non-match) between Surbiton A and Hammersmith back in November. Surbiton claimed a 6-0 win after Hammersmith failed to put together a team. 

In short, we are performing about the 3rd best team in the league so far.