Dropped match in Essex League Opener

Essex Chess League  – Division 2
Redbridge Social Centre,  28 October 2019
Report by Jef Page

ILFORD  3½ – 4½  THURROCK

Tom BARTON   ½  Ian WOODWARD 150
Neville TWITCHELL  ½  B SHEPPARD           155
Syd KALINSKY 0-1 Mike BRADFORD  119
Venkatesh SUBRAMANIIAN 0-1  Andy OFFORD      119
Jef PAGE  ½   Malcolm CRANE 105
Lavanan AINKARAN 1-0  D REYNOLDS         102
Taha UNDRE 1-0  Les GROOMBRIDGE  97
default  0-1 B AKINOSOYE

Thurrock won the toss, White on odd boards.

A welcome return to the easier, lower pastures of the Essex League division 2 as it’s clear we’re not going to scale the heights of the North Circular Chess League, division A, however, problems of lack of players and defaults are raising their head early. This turned into a dismal evening as we threw away the chance to win or draw the match,  snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The worst culprit was me.

We did OK on the top boards as Neville lost a pawn against Sheppard’s French Defence opening and could never make progress but held for a draw, whilst Tom did enough to hold his favourite Leningrad Dutch Defence together also for a draw. But the middle boards were grim for us as Syd and Venkatesh made errors in good positions which allowed Bradford and Offord to pick up wins.

For once we cleaned up the lower boards. Lavanan played well, won a pawn and nursed it home with a strong, active King & Knight against Reynold’s King and weak Bishop. Taha developed out of a cramped opening and congested board to beat Groombridge. So the match hinged on my result and as usual I broke out of a poor Dutch Defence opening, finally freeing my pieces but at the cost of Crane having 2 advanced g and h pawns. But as my 2 Bishops & Knight began to work together I chased Crane’s almost trapped Queen around and then won a Rook- which should have been that. But.. I left my Q ‘en prise’ and Crane generously offered a draw- so they could win the match- which I had no choice but to accept. It felt like a loss.

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