London League – decent team performance

London League D2 match – Wimbledon 1 v Ilford 1 – 12 May 2023.
8 board match, G75 + 15
Tom Barton, captain.

Board        Wimbledon 1                     Ilford 1            
1 (W)     2024      Dubey, Mark J                   ½ – ½               Barton, Tom A    1867
2 (B)       1998      Heppell, Ian N                   ½ – ½               Twitchell, Neville H          1954
3 (W)     1908      Hughes, Anthony              0 – 1               Subramanian, Venkatesh               1847
4 (B)       1858      Boyce, Mike A                   1 – 0               Page, Jeffrey       1706
5 (W)     1846      Carpenter, Stephen CD   0 – 1               Obiols, Biel         1610
6 (B)       1823      Fincham, Leon HJ             1 – 0               Undre, Taha        1605
7 (W)     1770      Rennie, Gordon                1 – 0               Faheem, Muhammad      1511P
8 (B)                      Not Named                        1 – 0               default

Once again we were out graded across all boards in a match and we also defaulted board 8. Given this, it was a good performance by the team for a 5-3 loss with a couple of smooth wins by Venkatesh (a Queen’s gambit declined into a Semi-Slav, Marshall Gambit variation with complications ) and Biel.

Taha had a very exciting and wild game that went away from him. Jef was put under positional pressure which eventually told. Neville had the better of his game and maybe shouldn’t have swapped Queens off to an opposite coloured bishop endgame. I had an even game until I started running low on time at which point my opponent played a poor move and gave me a real advantage with a passed pawn, unfortunately with less than 5 minutes on my clock I didn’t find the most accurate continuation and despite analysis showing a further opportunity to win I dropped into a Queen and pawn endgame on which I agreed a draw. Last to finish was Muhammed who had a good game but it went away from him in the final stage of a king and pawn endgame.

Games: for Hughes v Subramanian and Dubey v Barton can be found here:


Unbeaten Run Lost at Thurrock

Thurrock 1 v Ilford 1, 18 April 2023.
Essex D2, 6 board match, G80 + 10. Toss won by Thurrock –  White on odd boards.
Jef Page, captain / neville Twitchell

Jef: Unfortunately as Neville’s report below retells, our unbeaten division 2 Essex League run which I’d hoped we’d keep going till the end of the season, came to a dismal end when I caught Covid and had to isolate this week and Rahul Ghose, who should have been on board 1 for us, failed to make it.

Neville: All good things must come to an end and so has our winning run in the Essex League. We had defaulted the bottom board and then with Rahul failing to turn up we were 2-0 down. Then Muhammed lost in short order. He was a rook down when I last saw his position, after his center counter defence was met in an odd way with 1.e4 d5 2. Nf3?! dxe4 3 Ng5. So 3-0 down.

Then Daniel lost not long after that, though he seemed to have a defensible position in a queens gambit, slav defence, so it was 4-0 down.

But then Tony saved our honour by finding a sparkling combination to polish off his opponent in a Stonewall Dutch where he had looked to be under a lot of pressure for most of the game, but neatly tuned the tables.

Litsenburgh v Kent
20. Qd2 – c3 threatening check mate

Anthony Kent: In the diagram position white shocked me playing 20. Qd2 – c3 threatening check mate which I had missed! Black needs to sacrifice a knight or Bishop to block that mate. The computer tells me that 20….Be5!! is a brilliancy as if 21.fxB, 21….Nb4 wins as white’s queen is running out of squares. The computer also says Nd4!! is winning as if 21. exN, Bxf and white’s queen is again running out of squares.
I played 20…Ne5 to block mate.  Play went. 21. Bd1?? b4 22. Qxc Bb8 (..missed Nd3ch winning instantly). 23. Qxb?? Nd3ch forking king and queen. Game over.

So 4-1, with only my game left. I plugged away in a Ruy Lopez long after everyone else had left but succumbed in the ending after I lost a crucial queenside pawn. So the end of my unbeaten run in the Essex League as well.


Thurrock                                                            Ilford
1. Andrew Offord   (W)   1-0     Default (Rahul Ghose)
2. Jim Arbuckle    (B)   1-0     Neville Twitchell
3. Rudi Litsenburgh (W)  0-1     Tony Kent
4. Banky Akinyosoie (B)  1-0     Daniel Lowe
5. Sandu Silviu    (W)   1-0     Muhammed Faseem
6. Malcolm Crane   (B)   1-0     Default
Total                    5-1

Excellent draw against Wanstead

Ilford A v Wanstead A, 6 March 2023.
NCCL DivA, 6 board match, G80 + 10. Toss won by Ilford-  White on odd boards.
Jef Page, captain.

2057        DAVID SALAMI 1-0   JOHN  CAWDREY 2079
1915               TOM A BARTON 0-1   DAVID  SHERMAN 2067
1674          JEF PAGE 1-0  ASHLEY  FREEMAN 1998
1597                    TAHA UNDRE 0-1   IAN D HUNNABLE 1908
1779                   DANIEL LOWE 0-1  PHIL STANILAND     1901 

Adhar Jaiswal was down to play but had to drop out at the last minute due to an illness so as ‘supersub’ I stepped in; hopefully Adhar recovers soon. Missing a few regular players we had a new member David Salami on board one for a tough start to playing for Ilford. All of us were outgraded as you can see. We only narrowly lost to Wanstead in the away match so this was the return match.

Venkatesh arrived a  bit late, seemed to have a tricky game a pawn down but after Steve allowed a tactic he made short work of the rest of the game. Taha & Daniel were always under pressure. Ian managed to create a passed centre pawn backed up by his Rooks which proved decisive. Similarly Tom’s Dutch Defence got awkward, his queenside undeveloped, Sherman gained control of the middle game and finished decisively.

I found Freeman’s opening difficult to defend against- he isolated my weak d-pawn in a very open Caro-Kann, I gambled on causing difficult complications so attacked to break out. As I only had about 20 seconds remaining and with Ashley‘s Queen offside, I attacked it with a pawn thinking it would force him to retreat- only to find it was completely trapped!  The right move for the wrong reason but a happy result. The last game to finish was David’s and it’s always satisfying when you can put in a new member to make his debut and he wins, and makes the score all square. He put in a strong attack against John’s King which was beaten off and in the resulting endgame although John was pawns up, skilful play by David eliminated his advantage and trying to find a win, John lost on time.

Wanstead and Barking in the NCCL are tying for Division A top spot, 5 points each. Chingford and Ilford are fighting for bottom spot, 2 points each. See the table at:

D3 match – long trip to Southend.

Essex D3 match – Southend 2 v Ilford 2 – Friday 3 March 2023.
5 board match, G80 + 10
Tom Barton, captain.

A long trip to Southend is not conducive to playing a game of chess and it seemed to affect the Ilford players who didn’t get off to a good start. Muhammed dropped a piece coming out of the opening, Euan lost two queenside pawns after falling to a clever tactic coming out of the opening, and was under pressure, and Biel’s opponent gained a favourable position and took a tactical opportunity to win an exchange. Euan and Muhammed lost so we were two down.

Jef had the much better position against Mick Saunders French but couldn’t find a way to exploit the advantage and fell well behind on the clock. Taha had a complex position with interesting possibilities.

Biel fought back to get the exchange back and managed to hold the rook and pawn endgame for a draw. Jef launched an attack but he couldn’t find the right moves under time pressure and he lost on time trying. Taha and his opponent reached a position where neither was sure of having an advantage and agreed a draw. They analysed the position as given here

31. White to move
Lacey v Undre

It looked like White should play h4 to break up the pawns protecting Black’s King, and indeed computer analysis says this is the best move and that White has a clear advantage.

The final score was 4-1.

Result with latest OTB grades on LMS
Board                   Southend II                        Ilford II            
1 (B)       1671      Saunders, M. J.  1 – 0       Page, Jeffrey   1674
2 (W)     1657      Lacey, Nick J       ½ – ½      Undre, Taha      1597
3 (B)       1612      Clancy, Mark      ½ – ½               Obiols, Biel         1576
4 (W)     1536      Davis, Joshua     1 – 0               Faheem, Muhammad     1496
5 (B)       1528      Duke, Taylor       1 – 0               O’Connell, Euan 1233
                                                              4 – 1      

Essex D2 Win to put Ilford well top

Ilford 1 v Barking2, 27 February 2023.
Essex D2, 6 board match, G80 + 10. Toss won by Ilford-  White on odd boards.
Jef Page, captain.

The match started well when I refused to offer a draw and pounced on a disastrous pawn-move by Vladmir whose Kingside disintegrated with an offered Rook sac’ which he couldn’t take, and I mated him. So from here on we were always ahead.

Venkatesh forced his a-pawn up the board supported by both R’s & King. Neville got a pawn ahead of Clow but in an opposite colour Bishop ending it took a while. Neville targeted an isolated pawn, held his advantage as his R, B & K aimed for the pawn which Ken’s K tried to defend. Nev slowly advanced up the board and succeeded in not just threatening the pawn but checkmating Ken. Tom had the advantage over Robinson’s opening but with his time running out & unable to find the winning moves took a draw. The match finished when Adrian who had superior development against Blagianu- whose his K-side pawns had raced down the board- forced a fatal error against Mihaita who lost his Queen. 4 wins, 2 draws& no losses- very good- the advantage of a strong and reliable team.

A 7th straight win so we finish the 1st part of the season undefeated: who would have believed it possible at the start of the season. Still 3 matches to go to find out who’s won the division, trophy, and whether we can book the open-top bus for a victory parade around Ilford: Ilford 7/7 14 paints, Barking 4/7 8 points, Thurrock 8, Witham 7. So to win the division with a final accumulated score we need just 1 win and then we‘re uncatchable and can look upwards.

Another Essex D2 Win

Ilford 1 v Brentwood 1, 6 February 2023.
Essex D2, 6 board match, G80 + 10. Toss won by Ilford-  White on odd boards.
Jef Page, captain.

Time Control: 80 minutes + 10 seconds a move.

1935                   TOM BARTON    ½   MALCOLM KINGSLEY 1859
1929                   RAHUL GHOSE 0-1  ROB J DAVIES 1788
1965         NEVILLE TWITCHELL 1-0  MICHAEL MASON  1750 
1630                  ADRIAN JOSEPH 1-0  COLIN ELLIS  1875
1688              JEF PAGE  1-0  default
1818                             Average grade                 1413

The average grade shows Ilford were far stronger so it was no surprise we won the match. We started off 1-nil up as Brentwood arrived a man short which Captain Colin Ellis generously warned me about the night before. It was a match of 2 Rook for Knight sacrifices both of which worked in their different ways. Venkatesh looked to be having difficulty developing his pieces so gambling, and having control of the c-file, he sac’d his R for N & a pawn and suddenly it was Crossley under pressure. With Subramanian’s 2 knights hopping around the board the issue was settled with a lovely,sweet smothered mate.

Davies, who used to play for us, had a strong attack and sac’d his R for N to dominate the centre of the board. But Rahul fought back and invaded white’s position with Queen & Rook chasing Rob’s King out from g1 to the safety of h6 (!) and suddenly Ghose found he couldn’t mate Davies, and worse, Rahul couldn’t stop a 1-move mate.  Neville always had the advantage over Mason’s Caro-Kann opening, won his isolated Q-pawn and the minor-piece & pawns ending was never really in doubt. Tom on board 1 gained lots of space sending all his Q-side pawns up to the 4th rank, but unable to gain any real advantage over Kingsley with material level, accepted a draw. Adrian Joseph made a welcome return to Ilford and had Ellis in trouble right from the opening for whilst delaying his development Adrian controlled the board with his pawns. When his Q attacked the Q-side he won a Bishop & a N. Ellis fought back well to run a pawn dangerously down the board to the 2nd rank but pieces down, he lost control and once the pawn disappeared, the threat and game was over.

We are now unbeaten, 5/5. Nice to be top of the tree for the moment, for a change.

London League Pasting

London League D2 match – Dulwich 1 v Ilford 1 – 1 February 2023.
8 board match, G75 + 15
Tom Barton, captain.

Ryan Randall (b) 2229K                 1-0         Tom Barton (w) 1935K             +294
Andrew M Pridding (w) 2188K    1-0         Neville H Twitchell 1965K            +223
IM Petr Marusenko 2193K           1-0               Venkatesh Subramanian 1801K  +392
Haran Rasalingam 2043K              1-0         Jeffrey Page 1644K        +399
Peter A Andrews 2011K                1-0         Adhar Jaiswal 1556P    +455
Benjamin K Simpson 1915K         1-0         Daniel Lowe 1840P       +75
Walk Over           1-0         For Feit
Walk Over           1-0         For Feit
match result: 8 — 0

Dulwich pulled out their strongest team of the season so far and having defaulted the bottom two boards already (train strikes didn’t help) we were very heavily out graded (Mean rating Dulwich 2096, Ilford 1790: Δ = 306 !!) and looking for inspiration to get something out of the match. Venkatesh played an IM; Jef and Adhar had deltas of 399 point and 455 points respectively! Looking round the boards the team gave a good account of itself and no one rolled over. Jef had a very cramped French position which he managed to wriggle to a slightly better position. Neville had chances in his game and maybe should have traded Queens when he had the chance. Dan was well up on the clock but pawns down. The losses ticked in and at the death mine was the last game and I was trying to get something to avoid a complete rout. My opponent and I got down to under 5 minutes each; with a draw possible I cracked under the time pressure. My opponent provided the following feedback and link to the game:

“According to lichess (, Bxg7 was the only mistake/blunder in the game. A good quality game to that point, and I’d resigned myself to a likely draw if you’d played Kg1. (Ryan)”

So an 8-0 thrashing. We need to take the positives of getting to play chess against strong opposition – the only way to learn!

We are halfway through our LL season having played five of the ten matches and are at the bottom of the table.

Excellent Draw in NCCL

Ilford A v Barking A 30 January 2023.
North Circular Chess League   Divisions A , 6 board match, G80 + 10
Toss won by Barking- White on odd boards.
Jef Page, captain.

1927      TOM BARTON 0-1  JEFF GOLDBERG 2144 w
1537   sub M FAHEEM  0-1 ROMAN ISMAILOV 2005 b
1688           JEF PAGE 0-1  PETER JASZKIWSKJ 1978
1561       TAHA UNDRE 1-0  IGOR NAUMOV 1840  
1600     DANIEL LOWE 1-0  STEVE BERKLEY 1785                                                            

An excellent draw for Ilford considering we were missing some regular players and we were slaughtered by Barking 5-1 in their home match. A match of two halves- literally. I think it’s unfair as normally I wouldn’t get out of bed unless I play at least a 2000! Neville Twitchell was supposed to play on board 2 but with the M11 closed he never made it to Ilford in time though at least he arrived at the Club but after having been substituted.

Faheem offered to play immediately but being 40 minutes down on the clock saw him scrambling to make up time. Roman quickly got a grip on the opening to win pawns and the Rook & pawns ending was never in doubt. But even before that Berkeley had made a horrible mistake leaving a Rook en prise, Daniel quickly picked it off and Steve resigned. Adhar set up a very strong pawn chain that completely blocked in Ramage’s pieces and with Colin unable to break out- his R, Knight & Bishop never got into the game at all- Adhar opened up the KR file to threaten an unstoppable Queen & R mate. And to complete the triumvirate Taha looked to be losing as Igor dominated the middle game with Q & R to win pawns but Taha took his chance and invaded with his Q & R to settle the issue. So we were 3-1 up but couldn’t quite hold the top boards. I lost a pawn in a Queen’s Gambit Declined and although I made it hard for Peter I couldn’t generate a strong enough counter-attack as his R’s and KN commanded the open c file & he came up with a winning, threatening, N fork. 

The last game to finish, Tom and Jeff on board 1, have played many times against each other so they know each other’s style well. Tom elected to go back to his favourite Leningrad Dutch Defence which has served him well but Jeff wiped out Tom’s Q-side pawns, after having sac’d a B for 2 pawns, and the connected soldiers marched down the board backed up by a Rook.

An excellent and surprising result for us- the grade difference was around 270 in Barking’s favour- a massive advantage- as we are bottom of the strong NCCL division A table. But at least with a match point we are now on the score board.

Top of Essex D2!

Wanstead 2 v Ilford 1, Tuesday 17 January 2023.
Essex D2, 6 board match, G80 + 10
Jef Page, captain.

           WANSTEAD II  1½ – 4½  ILFORD I
1908  MARK MURRELL  ½   TOM BARTON  1935  w
1820      I KARACSONY  0-1  TONY KENT 1792
1688     ZOE VESELOW 0-1   ADHAR JAISWAL 1556
1828                      Average grade                       1830

Two evenly strong teams saw Ilford come up trumps though perhaps the score was a bit generous in our favour.

The match started quietly with Tom taking a quick grandmaster draw but from here on everything got better. Tony Kent said he might be late but made it in time to put in a powerful pawn-storm against Karacsony who castled O-O-O straight into trouble barely extricating his Queen. To escape cost him his Queen’s Rook and with no development his Kings Rook & Bishop made no moves and went straight back into the box. [see game below]

Teams in play

Rahul had a very tricky middle-game and was in difficulty but went into the endgame a Rook for Bishop and pawn up but Terry, with 2 connected passed pawns, sent them up the board to win. Venkatesh always had the better of Barclay and with his Rooks & Bishops commanding the c-file and swarming all round Paul’s King eventually the pressure told. Similarly Neville got a strong grip on Staniland’s position and when he got command of the 7th rank threatening checkmate, Phil couldn’t break out and it cost him his Queen. The one game that looked in doubt was Adhar’s whose Greco Counter-Gambit cost him doubled pawns and the loss of 2 pawns in the opening against Veselow. But as the game went on she allowed him to get both Rooks on the 7th rank and backed up by a Bishop, young Zoe blundered a Rook and the game.

We lead division 2 with 4/4 though we have Barking, 3/3, yet to play.

Kent v Karascony

B12 Caro-Kann Defense: Maróczy Variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 dxe4
Black is best not taking on e4 but playing something else, e.g. e6 or Qb6 and leaving White’s f3 pawn hindering development.

4. fxe4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Bg4 6. Be2 Bxe2 7. Ngxe2 Nbd7?
7…..e5 is much better for Black
8. O-O Qb6 9. e5 Ng4 10. Na4 Qa5 11. c4 O-O-O 12. b4 Qxb4

13. Qc2 f6 +- and now Black is under severe pressure and Anthony has a few ways to win and does so in style 14. Rb1 Qa5 15. Bd2 Qa6 16. e6 Nb6 17. Nxb6+ axb6 18. Rb4 Qa5 19. Ra4 Qh5 20. Bf4 Rd6 21. Ra8+ Kc7 22. c5 bxc5 23. dxc5 g5 24. cxd6+ exd6 25. Bg3 Ne3 26. Qd2 Nxf1 27. Qa5+ and with mate imminent Black finally concedes

London League Draw!

London League D2 match – Battersea 2 v Ilford 1 – Thursday 12 January 2023.
8 board match, G75 + 15
Tom Barton, captain.

A last minute unavailability saw us travel to the Mindsports centre a player down but with a stronger team on paper I was hopeful we would finally get a match point.

Venkatesh lost early and Taha drew so the rest of the team had work to do. Rahul and I won on the top boards so the final three needed to get a plus to take us to a win. Neville had struggled to get to the venue and started 30 minutes down on the clock. He achieved an endgame of two connected passed pawns and bishop pair against a rook and bishop which is winnable but by this stage he was playing on the 15 second increment making it hard to work out the correct plan; when a bishop pair got swapped off the game became drawn.

Jef had lost control of his position and pressure told with his clock running down as he sought to hold things together. There was then a tense finish in Anthony’s game. A draw was expected but Anthony kept playing and was rewarded when his opponent played a4?

Kent v Farahmandpour
… a4??

allowing Anthony to win.
So a drawn match 4-4 and a half point on the table.

Board                   Battersea 2                        Ilford 1         
1 (B)       1821      Muirhead, Samuel           0 – 1               Barton, Tom A   1935
2 (W)     1722      Wells, Tim                          0 – 1               Ghose, Rahul      1929
3 (B)       1702      Amabile, Domenico     ½ – ½      Twitchell, Neville H         1965
4 (W)     1726      Wessels, Hendrik        1 – 0     Subramanian, Venkatesh              1801
5 (B)       1637      Farahmandpour, Ehsan  0 – 1     Kent, Anthony R               1792
6 (W)     1588      Bassa, Hugo                       1 – 0               Page, Jeffrey      1644
7 (B)       1645      Riggs, Samuel                    ½ – ½               Undre, Taha       1575
8 (W)     1530      Tree, Djuna L                     1 – 0(def) Default