|1||Piotr Zielinski (109)||1||0||Tiiu Loog (109)|
|2||Johhny Zeng (90)||0||1||Phil Lawson (111)|
|3||Kana Balasubramaniam (73)||0.5||0.5||James Stanley (85)|
|4||Scott White (UNG)||0.5||0.5||Anthony Carver (119)|
|5||Soumil Saha (UNG)||0||1||Barry Davies (101)|
|6||John Wass (UNG||1||0||Kevin Marshall (88)|
|Horfield D||3||3||Hanham A|
Since Christmas we have pleasingly had a number of new players regularly turning up to play friendly chess at the club; Mikey was the first to dip his toe into the world of league chess and last night we had three more debutants.
Soumil’s game against Barry finished very early. He moved very quickly, left material hanging, and unfortunately didn’t detain Barry for very long. The rest of the games however were competitive.
Piotr and Tiiu, in a North-East (European) derby, had settled into the kind of game Piotr likes; exchange of pieces and possible forward outposts for knights. It looked drawish, but there was plenty of scope for positional manoeuvring. On board 2 Johnny and Phil were playing a slightly more open game. Phil won the exchange for a pawn and the question was whether he could do anything with his isolated but passed c pawn. Kana was struggling a little against a London set-up from James but it didn’t seem obviously terminal. Scott has opened in a very solid manner against Anthony denying him the open lines and fluid centre he likes and into the middle game won Anthony’s d-pawn. On six John had the early advantage of more space but there didn’t seem to be much in it.
It was a while before the second result of the night came in. There wasn’t an obvious route through for Phil and whilst he tried to get his king active it became exposed and a target for spoiling checks blocking its progress. However, with both players down to less than five minutes Johnny didn’t manage to block up an open file with his bishop and allowed Phil to swap the c-pawn for Johnny’s a-pawn and with more space begin to roll his newly passed a-pawn with the help of his rooks. There wasn’t any timely counterplay and Phil pushed the pawn through and won the game. From this point, the match got better for us.
Piotr’s game was now knights and queen vs knights and queen and Piotr’s knights were much more active and he had managed to move his pieces close to Tiiu’s queen. However on board three Kana was struggling in a rook vs knight ending, Kana’s only consolation was the pawns were all on one side of the board. Scott was still a pawn up with three isolated pawns versus two isolate pawns with a rook apiece; the kind of position where technical ending know-how is a massive plus. John had won material and with asymmetrical pawns a result was on the cards.
John finished next; he joined his rooks up, won a pawn, and swapped off a rook meaning he had two central passed pawns Kevin couldn’t stop with his knight. A great win with solid chess in his first outing for the club! Scott was unable to progress his pawns and Anthony’s pawn was further advanced and his rook more active which forced further simplification and a draw was agreed. Certainly there were winning chances but it was an excellent effort from Scott to never be under pressure against a strong opponent.
Two matches left. James should have won his K+P vs K ending but his technique let him down allowing Kana to secure a hard-fought draw. So 3-2 to Hanham with one to go. Piotr’s alliterative positional probing provoked a miscalculation from Tiiu allowing him to swarm into the kingside; and with Tiiu’s pieces in each other’s way Piotr was able to win the white queen and then shortly afterwards the game meaning the match was drawn. A lovely controlled game from Piotr whose grading performance since Christmas is over 150 and he is getting the rewards for the hard work he has put in.
A drawn match with three debutants. Not saying I’ll need to get shades because of the brightness of the future but pretty pleased with how it went.