Ealing Juniors A v Richmond A 06-01-20

Our first match of 2020 was the return encounter against Ealing Juniors

Mike Healey reports:

Another tough night for Richmond against the kiddies. In some ways, the exact same story as at home. Opposite colours this time, but same score, with the same top five boards matched up.

Last time 2 of our 2.5 points were from black. This time all 2.5 points were from black! Possibly Richmond are trying to demonstrate that white is in zugzwang?

One more coincidence saw myself and Raghu face the exact same line of the Scotch, although we parted ways early enough that removal of one board to the bar was unnecessary. Both of us held, as did Bertie (yet again seeming to gain a superior endgame).

Maks went down after a few funny moves, Richard and Gavin both lost long games.

Our two heroes on the night were Chris and the unknown quantity Conor! Chris played an attack so swish that the ghost of Frank Marshall seemed to be inhabiting our board 3 (or at least his leg brace). Unfortunately his young opponent calculated the way through various variations, the black king moving at full speed from g8 to a7. Still, a welcome return to fun Chris games!

Conor played an even more romantic game on board 8 (pawns and castling not for this man) with more skill in bar analysis than I had appreciated at the time. Maybe not the most accurate game, but certainly an impressive victory to save all our blushes!

Thanks to Richard and Huw for getting us a full team, and to Maks and Conor for playing at the last minute.

Ealing Juniors A Richmond A
1 Viktor Stoyanov 220 1:0 Gavin Wall 224
2 Alfie Onslow 208 ½:½ Mike Healey 217
3 Rajat Makkar 197 1:0 Chris White 180
4 Jacob Yoon 190 ½:½ Bertie Barlow 167
5 Christopher Tombolis 187 1:0 Richard James 167
6 Nishchal Thatte 170 ½:½ Raghu Kamath 157
7 Teddy Onslow 154 1:0 Maks Gajowniczek 139
8 Xavier Cowan 157 0:1 Conor Murray-Playfair –

Another disappointing result, but we were facing strong opponents so really can’t complain. We really need to get some points on the board – and to recruit some 170-200 strength players for the middle order. My opponent played an excellent positional game against me, prevailing in a rook ending. I’ve never been convinced by the theory that juniors are good at tactics but less good in the ending.

Chris has sent some comments about the opening of his game which I hope to post later.


Chess Puzzle of the Week (63): Solution


On Boxing Day I left you with a choice of captures on c5. Which one will enable you to share the point with amateur heavyweight boxing champ and future world chess champion Max Euwe? His opponent, Jacques Davidson, made the wrong choice. I hope you did better.

Black has to play bxc5 here. You might want to avoid creating isolated pawns by taking with the queen. It’s a natural enough choice to make but to play chess well you have to ask the Magic Question “If I play that move what will happen next?”.

So we look at White’s Checks, Captures, Threats and Violent moves (CCTV) and find: 1… Qxc5? 2. Qd8+ Kg7 3. Qxf6+! Kxf6 (sacrificing to decoy the king onto a square where he’ll get forked) 4. Nxe4+ and White, with a modicum of care, will win the pawn ending.


Chess Puzzle of the Week (63)


Last week I left you with two related mate in 3 problems.

The Speckmann solves by 1. Rh6 (threatening Rg6 & Rg1#) 1… Nd6 2. Rxd6 Kxh2 3. Rh6#




In the Lipton problem Rh6 now fails to Ne7 so White has to use a different mating idea: 1. Rd3 (threatening h4 and the switchback Rh3#). Again 1… Nd6 is met by 2. Rxd6 Kxh2 3. Rh6#

I’ll leave it to you to work out why other moves fail in both problems.


Today is Boxing Day so I expect most of you are at the gym practising your pugilistic skills. You may not be aware that mild-mannered Dutchman Max Euwe, the first (and last) amateur to hold the title of World Champion, achieved success as a heavyweight boxer in his youth.


This position comes from the first game of a 1924 match between Max Euwe and Jacques Davidson. Black has to decide which way to recapture on c5. Which (if either) recapture would you choose, and why?

Richmond A v Ealing Juniors A 19-12-19

The last match of the year saw us up against a full strength Ealing Juniors team, featuring several of the country’s highest graded young players.

Mike Healey reports:

Another loss, but a fairly decent performance against a team of very active young juniors.

I did not see too much of the other games, being a bit under the weather and trying quite hard to destroy my own game, but from what I can remember:

Sampson, Eamon and myself all set out to prove that white has the early disadvantage in chess (I think my own game can be best summed up by playing Nb1 – twice).

The other white however was Bertie, who continues to impress this season. A very well played game (I particularly liked Be3, exchanging dark squared bishops to produce an isolated pawn but weaken black’s queenside defence). The crowd in the bar thought he missed a finesse right at the death, but overall a very good performance against a much higher rated player.

Gavin held his up-and-coming young rival with black (although things looked slightly dicey at times?). Richard produced a fun game (g5! by black always good), which, as often happens with fun games, ended up in perpetual.

Chris probably should have been a fourth draw, having played a ‘super-Benko’, going a bit wrong but ending up in a drawish rook and pawn endgame. Unfortunately, with time creeping up on him and having batted off many little tricks, he fell at the last. Still, a massive position to get against a young prodigy who did so well at this year’s classic.

Our hero however was the returning Max! E grade beating out A. Max held on in a slightly terrifying position where nearly all white’s pieces seemed to be aiming at a lonely king, defended calmly, swapped off and won the endgame. Excellent work Max!

Richmond A Ealing Juniors A
1 Gavin Wall 224 ½:½ Viktor Stoyanov 220
2 Mike Healey 217 0:1 Alfie Onslow 208
3 Chris White 180 0:1 Rajat Makkar 197
4 Bertie Barlow 167 ½:½ Jacob Yoon 190
5 Richard James 167 ½:½ Christopher Tombolis 187
6 Sampson Low 155 0:1 Haotian Wu 178
7 Max Wood-Robinson 163 1:0 Nishchal Thatte 170
8 Eamon Rashid-Farokhi 144 0:1 Teddy Onslow 154

This was very much a Richmond Junior Club reunion. Apart from myself, six of our team were former RJCC members, Chris being the only exception. Three of our opponents (B2, 7, 8) were regular members of RJCC, two others (B5, 6) I believe came at least a few times, and their B1’s brother has also been to RJCC.

You can see my game here. Stockfish thought the tempting 9… g5 deserved a ? rather than a !, thinking Christopher should have played Rh6, which hadn’t occurred to me at all, on move 15 or 16. After that I was doing fine, and might have stood better if I’d found 23… Qe6. At the end it was just a question of who would play their perp first.



Chess Puzzle of the Week (62)


Last week I left you with this position, asking you whether Black had anything better than Rxh8.

You’ll notice that the black rook is looking at the white queen, but that there are rather a lot of pieces between them at present.

As several Facebook solvers spotted, Black can now play 1… e4 2. dxe4 Nxf3+ 3. gxf3 Bg3+ and, as if by magic, they’ve all disappeared. Now 4. hxg3 Rxd1+ 5. Kxd1 when White seems to have more than enough plastic for the queen, but then comes 5… Bxf3+ 6. Be2 Bxh1 7. Nd2 Bxe4 when material looks about level but White’s army is hopelessly uncordinated with his knight on h8 still stranded. Black is clearly winning here.


Santa arrived early this week, bringing the November 2019 issue of The Problemist (highly recommended for all fans of chess compositions).

As it’s Christmas and I’m feeling generous, this week I’m offering you two problems for the price of one. Just the thing for solving after the roast turkey and Christmas pudding while enjoying a glass of port.


This is a mate in 3 composed by Werner Speckmann, who specialized in miniatures, published in Frei Presse in 1972 where it was awarded a commendation.

When you’ve solved it, have a look at this.


This is again a mate in 3: a version of the above problem, composed by Michael Lipton, and published in the May edition of The Problemist Supplement. What’s the difference, and why?


Richmond B v Wimbledon B 17-12-19

It was another tough night for Richmond B, this time up against Wimbledon B, not helped by a default.

There was another excellent win from Andrew, along with a draw from Adrian, but not much Christmas cheer for the rest of the team, I’m afraid.

Richmond B Wimbledon B
1 Bertie Barlow 167 0:1 Tony Hughes 164
2 Andrew Hebron 161 1:0 Stephen Carpenter 160
3 Sampson Low 155 0:1 Yasser Tello 159
4 Adrian Waldock 146 ½:½ Angel Silva Pena 154
5 Default 0:1 Gordon Rennie 147
6 Paul Evans – 0:1 Michael Williams 135
7 Lewis Low 94 0:1 Pawel Slonczuk 133

Congratulations to Wimbledon B on a convincing victory and good luck to them for the rest of the season.

Thanks to all who played, and to all who have played for Richmond B so far this season, and best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.