2023-24 Results Bulletin (5)

Last week’s results in the Thames Valley League.

Our C team had a hard fought match against a Surbiton C team who matched us closely on most boards. An excellent win for Jack gave us a draw.

Also in Division 3 on the same evening, Richmond D were, not unexpectedly, beaten comprehensively by a strong Wimbledon B team who look like the strongest in the division.

Wimbledon beat us again on Thursday when, headed by an IM, they scored a narrow victory against our A team.

Maks reports:

A very close match. Wimbledon turned up with a strong team, with the majority of their players around 2000 or higher and also with a higher team-average grading. Fortunately boards 3 to 6 were fairly evenly matched with rating differences of about 40 or less. Ashley, up for the challenge of playing on the top board, was the only one facing against a large rating plus of over 200 points.

The match started and although many of us arrived 10 minutes or so late, the board positions developed nicely within the first 40 minutes. Chris on Board 5 was playing against an Alekhine defence and already had a nice initiative with Q-side castling and an open g-file against his opponents’ opposite-side castling kingside. Andrew on Board 4 also had a very interesting position from the Pirc. From the opening, his opponent had traded his queen for three minor pieces but had also lost two central pawns giving Andrew a bit of an edge. Ashley on board 1 was also fairing nicely with a symmetrical English opening and typical a3+b4 plans. Maks’s and John’s position looked at least equal and Mike’s position was experiencing a bit of a hic-cup, after a miscalculation defending against a closed Sicilian.

Towards the end of the night, results started coming in, and as expected Andrew and Chris both won.  Maks on board 6 had a very playable position, in a closed benko/benoni position but with only 8 minutes for each side and less than half the game played out decided to agree on a draw. John’s result followed shortly afterward, he had lost after losing control of his 2nd rank to heavy pieces, although he was a pawn up and perhaps winning right before his last blunder. Mike also lost on board 2. He had managed to get two minor pieces, a rook, and queen against two rooks and a queen, but his opponent had several pawns in compensation. 

Lastly, Ashley who was quite pleased to get somewhat of an edge against his International Master opponent, tried to go for the win, but unfortunately got tricked along the way and ended up in a lost endgame, and lost.

Statically the close loss of  2½- 3½, isn’t too surprising and was also a very respectable score especially given their strength and the fact it was an away match. Many thanks to those who played.

Congratulations to Chris and Andrew for their wins.