Ealing A v Richmond A 29-11-21

The match currently stands at 3-2 in favour of the good guys, with one game for adjudication!

  1. John Quinn (2193) 0:1 Gavin Wall (2284)
  2. Simon Healeas (1863) ½:½ Mike Healey (2267)
  3. Mark Winterbotham (1885) ½:½ Bertie Barlow (2006)
  4. Jason Obihara (1765) Adjudication Ian McLeod (1908)
  5. Hristo Colov (1758) 1:0 Raghu Kamath (1885)
  6. Alastair Johnstone (1640) 0:1 Maks Gajowniczek (1750)

Mike Healey reports:

Well, it *might* be a win…not exactly a smooth one. I guess the sign of good teams is winning even when they play terribly?!

Our star performer was undoubtedly Gavin, who put away a class player in John Q. Although there didn’t seem too much in it, after Ba7!? and a few tactics it was over before the 2nd column of the scoresheet. 

The rest of us struggled. There were many stodgy games (blocked up by pawns, but also just plain grim).

Raghu reacted to his blocked position with a speculative piece sac (or possible miscalculation?!). Whilst White got some pawns and activity, the piece eventually told. I managed to block up the entire board, producing one of the worst Bishops in history, then realised it was coming up to move 35 and my opponent would just go home and be content with a draw. A speculative pawn sac meant I was then probably lost, although Simon kindly (and matchwise inadvisedly) offered a draw as time was called.

Bertie had a pretty standard Maroczy bind against a Philidor (is this called something else with the Sicilian c-pawn on e? Philly bind?). He seemed well on his way to a gradual positional win, but a few errors and White was left with an unwinnable Bishop and a-pawn v Knight endgame. Maks was also playing a smooth game, as Black in a Dragon, reaching a slightly better endgame. Pieces came off and just kings and pawns were left. Our resident IM dismissed the game as drawn, but Maks (and possibly his opponent) found a way for Black to score an important win. 

Finally we got to time called on Ian’s board, another slowplay – which is going to ADJUDICATION. What fun we’ve missed over lockdown!! Both players seemed determined they were winning. Having put the position into Stockfish, if anyone Black (Ian) is slightly better (despite White’s nominal pawn advantage). We must hope that whoever is adjudicating TVL these days sees further than material concerns, and has access to an engine!

Whilst Richmond were reacquainting themselves with the joys of TVL slowplay chess, across the way Hammersmith and Ealing Juniors were having their own fun with quickplay. This seemed to involve chaotic blitz finishes and noisy arguments. Real life chess in all its questionable glory.

So *hopefully* another win! Thanks to those who played, and I will try and let you know – when I know – what’s happening with our next game!? Possibly that is it for 2021 though!?

Richmond are having a meet up to test a new venue tomorrow evening. ‘A’ team players please go test in my place!

Chess Tomorrow and Other News

Investigations into possible future venues are still continuing, and, again, the Committee welcome any constructive suggestions.

One place we’re considering is The Adelaide (website) in Park Road, Teddington. We’re going to hold a social chess evening there tomorrow, Tuesday 30 November (Tuesday is the only evening they can offer us), from 7:30 onwards. Do try to look in if you can!

We have another Thames Valley League result to report: Richmond D were narrowly defeated by a strong, but incomplete, Maidenhead B team last Tuesday.


  1. Alex Shard (1720) 1:0 Paul Janota (1855)
  2. Richard Sleep (1615) 0:1 Majid Mashayekh (1855)
  3. Barry Sutton (1600) 0:1 William Castaneda (1728)
  4. Dan Donohoe (1533) 0:1 Yuri Krylov (-)
  5. George Dokic (1338) ½:½ Keith Trower (1518)
  6. Ken Broadley (1075) 1:0 Default

A great win for Alex – well done!

Finally, I’ve recently published some more articles about members of Twickenham Chess Club in the 1880s:

Wallace and Bashley Britten, who had a surname in common, but were not related.

Arthur Sabin and Randulph Lewis Coward, who were related – and Arthur had a very famous son.

I hope you enjoy them!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (158): Solution

Eberhard Schulze
The Problemist May 2021
Helpmate in 6 (b) c1=WN

Last week’s helpmate solves like this (don’t forget that Black’s moves are recorded first in helpmate solutions):

1. Kb3 Bd2 2. c1N Kb1 3. Ka3 Kc2 4. Ka2 Bxb4 5. Ka1 Ba3 6. Na2 Bb2#

The second part, with the bishop on c1 replaced by a white knight

1. b3 Ne2 2. c1R+ Kb2 3. Ra1 Kc3 4. Ka3 Kc4 5. Ka2 Kb4 6. b2 Nc3#

Maidenhead A v Richmond B 22-11-21

Richmond B made the long journey west to face a strong and experienced Maidenhead team, and were delighted to come away with an excellent win.

Here are the details:

  1. Charles Bullock (1960) ½:½ Bertie Barlow (2006)
  2. Tony Milnes (1971) 0:1 Julien Shepley (1971)
  3. Nigel Smith (1960) ½:½ Ieuan Fenton (-)
  4. Nigel Dennis (1885) ½:½ Pablo Soriano (-)
  5. Majid Mashayekh (1855) 1:0 Roger Scowen (1681)
  6. William Castaneda (1728) 0:1 Rob Hunter (1540)

Which, according to my calculations, makes it 3½:2½ in our favour.

Sampson Low reports:

“While we search for a new venue interest in playing for our teams remains strong, which is good news. Captain Sampson Low was able to go to Maidenhead as a non playing reserve and watched the team claim a victory that looked unlikely at times. Julien Shepley chalked up a quick win on the white side of the French in half an hour when his opponent lost a piece. After that it looked hard going on the other five boards. Two down on material, four down on time and three in worse positions.
But as the dust settled in the final two matches Ieuan Fenton took a draw in a rook ending he was a pawn up but both players had under one minute on the clock. Rob Hunter scored the decisive result, winning on time in a game that swung wildly in the final stages and had kept every piece on the board to about move 25.” 

Well played everyone, especially Julien for a quick win against an opponent with many decades’ experience with the French Defence, and Rob, for sealing the match for us against a much higher rated opponent.

Our results so far this season have been outstanding: it’s clear the players who have been honing their skills online during the pandemic are demonstrating excellent form.

Let’s hope we’ll soon be able to resume our home matches. We’re currently discussing several possible venues and will keep you in touch both here and elsewhere.

In other news, Pablo lost his adjournment in the C team match against Hounslow B, leaving the result a 3-3 draw.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (158)

Eberhard Schulze
The Problemist May 2021
Helpmate in 6 (b) c1=WN

Another position with only a few pieces this week.

This is a helpmate in 6: Black plays the first move and both sides co-operate to reach a position after White’s 6th move where Black is checkmated.

When you’ve done that, you have to replace the white bishop on c1 with a white knight and do the same thing again.

You’ve got all week to do it: have fun!

If you enjoyed this, do visit the website of the British Chess Problem Society, publishers of The Problemist.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (157): Solution

Steffen Slumstrup Nielsen/Martin Minski
7th Prize Chess Artistry Competition 2021
White to play and win

Last week’s endgame study solves as follows (main line only: you can work out the other variations for yourself):

1. h7! d2 2. h8Q d1Q 3. Qc3+! Ka6 4. Qb2! Bb5 5. Qf6+ Ka5 6. Qc3+ Ka6 7. Bd4! Qb1 8. Bb6!! Kxb6 9. Qc7+ Ka6 10. Qa7#

Congratulations to everyone who found the solution!

Tombolis (Ealing Juniors A) – Barlow (Richmond A)

I’m pleased to be able to demonstrate a game from Monday’s match between Richmond A and Ealing Juniors A.

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 c5
4. e3

Looks passive to lock in c1 Bishop (BB). This is a move for White, just a very solid one (MH)

4… Nf6
5. Nf3 Nc6
6. cxd5 exd5
7. Bb5 Bd6
8. dxc5 Bxc5
9. Nd4 Qd6
10. a3

I was expecting 0-0 (BB). This does indeed seem an overly ambitious loss of tempo (MH).

10… O-O
11. Bxc6

Didn’t expect him to give up the two bishops (BB)

11… bxc6
12. b4 Bb6

White is investing time to chase the bishop to a more threatening square – c7. The queenside pawns are also potentially vulnerable to pawn breaks. (MH)

13. Bb2 a5

I considered Ba6, when he would have to place a knight passively on e2 for 0-0 to be eventually feasible. (BB)

14. Na4 Bc7
15. b5

I didn’t expect this, but if he allowed me to exchange a pawn on b4 I like Black’s position (BB) (15. Bc3 Ne4) (15. Qb3 Re8 White’s forces are not well coordinated, and Black can start thinking about attacking (MH)

15… c5
16. Nc6

This is an outpost, but not a particularly useful one. The knight is a liability more than anything. (MH)

16… d4!

A pawn sacrifice to stop the threat of Be5. (BB) A really excellent move! (MH)

17. exd4 Re8+
18. Kf1 c4

Black understands that White’s bishop on b2 is locked in by the d4-pawn. (MH)

19. Ne5

19. d5 is the move White would like to play, opening up the b2-bishop, but Black has no reason to take yet. (MH)

19… Bf5
20. b6 Bd3+
21. Kg1 Nxd5
22. bxc7 Nf4

The ‘fishbone bishop’ on d3 puts that white knight on c6 to shame – a proper outpost! (MH)

19… Bb7
20. f3 Bd5

Sealing its rival on b2’s fate. (MH)

21. Rc1 Qe6
22. Nc5

This could be criticised in view of the sequel, but it’s difficult to suggest anything good. With the White King position, Black’s two bishops and the offside a4 knight I think Black has more than enough for the pawn. (BB)

22… Qb6
23. a4

A mistake in a difficult position. Again difficult to suggest moves but after 23. Kg1 Bxe5 24. dxe5 Qxc5+ 25. Bd4 White can capture on f6 next move (BB)

23… Bxe5
24. dxe5 Qxc5
25. exf6 c3

Takes advantage of the opening of the e-file and wins material (BB). A lovely little move – good positions breed tactics. (MH)

26. Rxc3 Bc4+
27. Rxc4 Qxc4+
28. Kf2 Rad8
29. Re1 Qc5+

29… Qh4+ 30. Kf1 (30. g3 Qxh2+ 31. Kf1 Rxd1 32. Rxd1 Qh1+ 33. Kf2 Qxd1) (30. Kg1 Rxe1+ 31. Qxe1 Qxe1# (MH)

30. Qd4

30. Kg3 was the only chance. I then can’t see anything better than Qg5+ followed by gxf6. I think Black is much better then, but it does not look an easy win. (BB) After 30. Kg3 Stockfish tells me Black can play 30… Qc7+ 31. Kf2 Qa7+ 32. Kg3 Qb8+ (RJ)

30… Qxd4+
31. Bxd4 Rxe1
32. Bb6 Rde8
33. Bxa5 Ra1

And with Black having two rooks against a bishop the game is over (BB) Eventually 0-1 (MH)

You can play through this game here.

If you’ve played any interesting games recently do feel free to submit them for publication here.

Ealing Juniors A v Richmond A 15-11-21

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.

  1. Rajat Makkar (2308) ½:½ Gavin Wall (2284)
  2. Alfie Onslow (2255) 0:1 Mike Healey (2267)
  3. Christopher Tombolis (2035) 0:1 Bertie Barlow (2006)
  4. Sagnik Chatterjee (1735) 0:1 Ian McLeod (1908)
  5. Xavier Cowan (1900) 0:1 Raghu Kamath (1885)
  6. Yad Rahman (1720) 0:1 Maks Gajowniczek (1750)

Mike reports:

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!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (157)

Steffen Slumstrup Nielsen/Martin Minski
7th Prize Chess Artistry Competition 2021
White to play and win

Many experts now agree that solving endgame studies on a regular basis is an important tool for chess improvement. In her column in New in Chess 2021#7, Judit Polgar tells how she’s been solving studies since the age of 6. She organised a Chess Artistry Competition in memory of Pal Benko (John Nunn acted as judge) and demonstrates two of the prizewinners.

If you reached this position in a game you might be tempted to agree a draw, but in fact White can win with an accurate sequence. Can you find it?