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
1892 TERRY WHITTON 1-0  RAHUL GHOSE 1929  b
1855 PHIL STANILAND  0-1 NEVILLE TWITCHELL 1905
1804    PAUL BARCLAY  0-1 VENKATESH SUBRAMANIAN 1801
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
1-0

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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

Return D3 match against Thurrock

Essex D3 match – Thurrock 2 v Ilford 2 – Wednesday 4 January 2023.
5 board match, G80 + 10
Tom Barton, captain.

With none of the juniors playing we had a stronger team for this return match against Thurrock. Average grades of 1435 to 1599 suggested we should win the match but not without resistance.

A quick win for Muhammad with his opponent blundering his queen in the middle-game saw us an early point up. Jef made it two up with a checkmate against his junior opponent. They had gone for opposite side castling in a Caro-Kann that had morphed into a Sicilian type setup when Jef’s opponent strayed. See the diagram for the final moves:

24 g6?  – from here Jef (Black to move) grabbed the mate in two.

Taha was a passed pawn down which if his opponent could liquidate the queen and rooks would be winning so a difficult position and that pressure told and he lost.

Adhar started mopping up pawns in his game and Biel reached a very interesting middle-game. Adhar won to secure the match. Biel’s game was see-sawing but eventually he went pawns up and also won – a bit of a grind with opportunities missed to conclude the game more quickly. So the final score was a 4-1 win to start 2023.

1 (W)     1522      Baig, Huzaifa                     0 – 1               Page, Jeffrey      1644
2 (B)       1550      Waszkielewicz, Mariusz 1 – 0               Undre, Taha       1575
3 (W)     1589      Lawrence, Drew               0 – 1               Jaiswal, Adhar    1556
4 (B)       1411      Sandu, Silviu                      0 – 1               Obiols, Biel         1618
5 (W)     1100 Waszkielewicz, Oscar       0 – 1               Faheem, Muhammad     1600L

Full details on the LMS here: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/125103

End of year tight match against Thurrock

Essex D3 match – Ilford 2 v Thurrock 2 – Monday 19 December 2022.
5 board match, G80 + 10
Tom Barton, captain.

Three of the Thurrock players had difficulty finding our venue and were late but father and son, Mariusz and Oscar, started on time. Euan took an opportunity to win a piece in the middle game and went into the endgame a piece up. Dan won quickly and so the match was looking good for us however, Muhammed got out-played on board 2. Euan converted his advantage to a win without trouble so at that stage we were ahead. Adhar dropped a piece and his game putting the scores equal and leaving the match hanging on Rayyan’s game which had a Caro-Kann opening. A fairly even middlegame had been reached although Rayyan’s pawn structure was inferior. With the Queens off, Rayyan got his King into the fray but it became a target and he dropped a piece and the game. So a loss by 2-3.

I give Euan’s game below.

Full result details are on the LMS

We have a chance for revenge with the return fixture at Thurrock on Wednesday 4th January.

Waszkielewicz,Oscar (1100) v O’Connell,Euan (1100) [D07]

Queen’s Gambit: Chigorin Defence 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 dxc4 4.e3 Bf5 5.Bxc4 e6 6.Nf3 Nf6 7.0-0 Bb4 8.a3 Ba5 9.Re1 0-0 10.b4 Bb6 11.Na4 a5 12.Nxb6 cxb6 13.Bd2 Ne4= 14.Bd3?

Position after 14 Bd3 ?

it’s been an equal game so far but Euan now exploits the mistake 14…Nxd2
[14…Nxf2 15.Kxf2 Bxd3 was a better way to gain the piece]
15.Bxf5? [15.Qxd2=] 15…Nxf3+ 16.Qxf3 exf5-+ a piece up and Black converts for a win 17.Qxf5 axb4 18.axb4 Rxa1 19.Rxa1 Nxb4 20.Qb5 Nc6 21.Rb1 Re8 22.Qxb6 Qxb6 23.Rxb6 Nxd4 24.Rxb7 Ra8 25.g3 Ne6 0-1

London League drubbing

A bit of a drubbing to finish the year. Despite being heavily out graded initially things were going reasonably well and it looked as though we would challenge East Ham.  Jef got a reasonably easy draw against Colin Ramage who swapped down to a very drawish endgame. However, after that thing started running against us and apart from Rahul’s excellent win on board 2 against a 2125 (Rahul is in fine form) the rest of the games were lost. Last to finish were Neville and myself. I got to a levelish endgame against Dave Sands but dropped a pawn and in the time pressure the game went away from me. Neville, a pawn down, looked to have found a way to draw a rook and opposite coloured bishop endgame but also under time pressure blundered. Full match details on the LL website.

Neville playing the endgame

Thanks to all who played and got there despite the icy pavements and rail strike.

Board                                 East Ham 1                                       Ilford 1 

1 (B)       2246        Sands, David A                  1 – 0       Barton, Tom A   1935
2 (W)     2125         Nikolaienko, Dmytro    0 – 1       Ghose, Rahul      1929
3 (B)       2025        Fleming, Nigel D             1 – 0       Twitchell, Neville H         1965
4 (W)     1990        Jaszkiwskyj, Peter  1 – 0     Subramanian, Venkatesh               1801
5 (B)       1900        Ramage, Colin R               ½ – ½      Page, Jeffrey      1644
6 (W)     1890        Figueroa, Edison               1 – 0       Undre, Taha       1575
7 (B)       1804        Naumov, Igor                    1 – 0       Jaiswal, Adhar    1556
8 (W)     1761         Berkley, Stephen W         1 – 0       Obiols, Biel         1618
Average  1968                                      6½ – 1½ Average               1753

Tight London League match

Wanstead & Woodford 1 v Ilford 1, Wednesday 7 December 2022.
8 board match, G75 + 10
Tom Barton, captain.

With the Wanstead board 1 failing to show we went a point up. An hour in Jef had won a pawn against Mark Murrell with a neat tactic and most boards were even, however, Rahul took a pawn in his Najdorf Sicilian opening which left him badly behind in development against Ashley Freeman and Ashley’s knight sac crashed through Rahul’s position with devastating effect so we were back to even on the night. Anthony and Ian Hunnable reached an interesting position where Anthony avoided a swap in the centre of the board and offered a pawn but Ian had to weaken his rook position to take it, he declined to do so and it was a draw by repetition. I give the board position here and the game on Lichess

Kent v Hunnable
Position after 22 ….. Be5. Anthony played 23 Bh6 and Ian went for a draw by repetition with Bg7 24 Bf4 Be5 etc

There then followed a cascade of draws following solid play by the team and it all fell to Neville’s game against Vladimir Parols where Neville was a pawn down with rook and knight against rook and bishop. Neville managed to win a pawn back but it left his knight at the edge of the board with Vladimir starting to roll a pawn majority forward on the other side of the board which proved terminal.

So we lost the match 4.5 – 3.5. A second tight loss in a week against Wanstead which is disappointing but on the plus side the team made a very credible effort as we were conceding 100 plus points on most boards and we were most unfortunate not to get something. Full match score details on the LL website: https://www.londonchess.org.uk/main.php

The team in play
Twitchell v Parols
Neville about to win the a pawn, but Black’s kingside pawns marched forward to win

Essex D3 Loss

Essex D3 match – Ilford 2 v Upminster 3 – Monday 5 December 2022.
5 board match, G80 + 10
Tom Barton, captain.

A match that started well but went away from us. Both Jiayi and Euan came through the opening well and both had very encouraging positions at that point. Adhar took control of his game where his opponent tried to block the position with pushing many pawns forward but only ended up creating weaknesses which Adhar exploited well to win. After that nothing went our way. Mahammed found the experienced Mustapha too difficult and lost his way and both Jiayi and Euan’s games went away from them in the middle game to lose. Last to finish was Rayyan who went for the attack but didn’t have enough and was left with a king in a very exposed position which proved terminal. So a 4-1 loss.

The full match score and grades are here: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/125079

Close NCCL match at Wanstead

Wanstead A v Ilford 2, Tuesday 29 November 2022.
8 board match, G80 + 10
Jef Page, captain.

 NORTH CIRCULAR CHESS LEAGUE   Division A  

                    WANSTEAD I 3½ – 2½ ILFORD
2073        JOHN CAWDERY   ½   TOM BARTON 1921   b
2029                STEVEN RIX  0-1  RAHUL GHOSE 1915  w
2000   ASHLEY  FREEMAN  1-0  NEVILLE TWITCHELL 1947
1906        IAN HUNNABLE  0-1   JEF PAGE 1666
1863      PHIL STANILAND 1-0   TAHA UNDRE 1585
1867      MARK MURRELL 1-0   BIEL OBIOLS* 1571

Wanstead won the toss- White on odd boards.
Detailed result here: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/124520

A much closer match result than I expected fearing the worst. Although we were outgraded on every board by a very strong Wanted team we did well.

Taha was overwhelmed by Phil’s neat play to swamp the board with a massive pawn advance and his Kn threatened to wipe out Undre’s pawns whilst Biel was doing well holding up Mark’s attack until he missed a B fork on his R & Kn.          It was a match of two contrasting Alekhine openings. Rahul crushed the life out of Rix’s Alekhine stopping him from developing his pieces and invading his K-side position with his Kn. Neville meanwhile had a more open game to defend but his Alekhine saw him drop pawns and the advance of Freeman’s c and d pawns overwhelmed Nev. Rahul has had a very good season so far – see his game and the puzzle like board position below.

Hunnable built up a good position but then I took the opportunity to break open the centre and get in a counter-attack. Ian made a real blunder which cost him a Kn and when I forced off his Queen in the ending he quickly resigned. The match hinged on Tom’s game and he also had trouble defending as Cawdrey’s a & b pawns tried to storm up the board to win a R&P endgame.  But neat counter play saw Tom exchange off all the other pawns on the board, win Steven’s extra pawn gaining an unlikely draw which was very good but not quite enough to save the match.

Puzzle like position after 19 … c6?
What did White play to win? Game score and solution below.

Rahul Ghose – Steven Rix
1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. c4 Nb6 4. d4 d6 5. f4 g6 6. Nf3 Bg7 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Be3 Be6 9. b3 Bg4 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Qxf3 Nc6 12. Rd1 dxe5 13. dxe5 Qc8 14. c5 Nd7 15. Bb5 Ndb8 16. O-O e6 17. Ne4 Ne7 18. Nf6+ Kh8 19. Qf2 c6 20. Qh4 h6 21. f5 Nxf5 22. Rxf5 exf5 23. Bxh6 Qe6 24. Bxg7+ *

Barking grab a win despite a default

Ilford 2 v Barking 3, Monday 28 November 2022.
5 board match, G80 + 10
Tom Barton, captain.

Having conceded home advantage Barking returned to Ilford last night for the second match in Essex Division 3. Having lost 3-2 first time around Ilford were looking to improve and Barking arrived with only four players gifting a default point start to Ilford.

On board four, Euan played the London system against another junior, Raj, who countered using the Kings Indian defence and Euan was doing fine but on move 9 missed the only equality move (Bg5) and instead fell for a trap, dropping a bishop, which proved terminal.

Position after 8 c3 e5 when White has to play 9 Bg5 to avoid dropping a piece. White played 9 exd5

Dan was getting outgunned on board one by Barking’s strong Igor and so we were a point down. Biel played the opening to gain a better position but then disaster struck as he blundered a piece. Rayyan, who is in fine form for the second team, restored respectability to the result with a good win over Vladimir and now has 4 wins from 4 appearances!

The final score was once again 3-2 to Barking. Full match details here: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/125111

Long Distance Win

Witham v Ilford 1, Wednesday 16 November 2022.
Essex D2, 6 board match, G80 + 10, Ilford won the toss: White on odd boards
Jef Page, captain.

WITHAM  1½  –  4½  ILFORD
1865        JAMES STEELE   0-1 TOM BARTON 1935
1829  NATHAN BARNES  1-0  RAHUL GHOSE 1929
1582          LYN STIFFELL  0-1  NEVILLE TWITCHELL 1965
1566       SIMON WHITE  0-1  VENKATESH SUBRAMANIAN 1801
1561       BARRIE WHITE  0-1  JEF PAGE 1644
1278 MICAEL HARRISON  ½  ADHAR JAISWAL 1556 
1605                             Av grade:                           1805

Full details see the ECF LMS: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/125086

On an awful windswept, sodden rainy night we traveled to our most distant venue this season. Ilford’s players made it in good time to pull off a valuable away win against a weaker than expected Witham. Newcomers to the Essex League, they’re trying to provide more competitive games for their members. But Ilford were in no mood to be generous.

I rearranged the board order a bit to promote Rahul who has done well this season. It didn’t quite work out as Barnes won pawns and held his K-side together as Ghose strived to put in an attack but when Queens were about to be forcibly traded the game ended. Neville meanwhile benefited. Witham’s Captain Lyn Stiffell’s French Defence got nowhere as he was never able to develop his pieces properly. Quin completely missed the point of my attack as I picked off an undefended Knight and then upgraded that to go a Rook up. Adhar won a pawn but in an opposite colour Bishop ending he couldn’t quite force the win. On top board Steele was reduced to having a Knight languishing on a8 as Tom threw up his King and Queen-side pawns, went a vital pawn up, and then was able to mount the coup-de-gras threatening mate.

Thanks to everyone who made the journey to play. We are currently top on 3/3, but we have the strongest teams in division 2 to play next year.