We had two Thames Valley League matches on Tuesday. Our B team opened its 2023-24 campaign against last season’s other relegated team, Surbiton B. We were a long way short of full strength, and, with Pablo dropping out that afternoon due to illness (get well soon!) I was forced out of retirement, which at least strengthened our team. It was good to welcome John back after a few years’ absence, and to welcome Alastair after 30+ years away from the board. On paper there was little to choose between the teams, although half our players were short of recent match practice.
Andrii scored an excellent win over a solid opponent, and there were solid draws on the top two boards, but with defeats on boards 4 and 5 we were left with Sampson playing against an opponent he’d lost to twice recently. This time he was successful in an exciting game, so we were able to draw the match.
The return Division 3 match between our C and D teams at the Twickenham Club resulted in another win for the C team, this time by 4 games to 2. Well done to all the winners on both sides, especially to the fast improving George.
On Thursday our London League team started the season with a match against one of our rivals for second place, Cavendish 1. We were very far from full strength, but still scored an excellent 4½-3½ win despite being outrated. Welcome back to Ashley Stewart, the new player on Board 2, congratulations to both Ashley and Andreas for their draws against much higher rated opponents, and to Caspar and John for their wins. (Details here).
Thanks to all who played in this week’s matches, and especially to the captains who organised the teams.