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:

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:

Close NCCL match at Wanstead

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


                    WANSTEAD I 3½ – 2½ ILFORD
2073        JOHN CAWDERY   ½   TOM BARTON 1921   b
2029                STEVEN RIX  0-1  RAHUL GHOSE 1915  w
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:

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:

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
1582          LYN STIFFELL  0-1  NEVILLE TWITCHELL 1965
1561       BARRIE WHITE  0-1  JEF PAGE 1644
1605                             Av grade:                           1805

Full details see the ECF LMS:

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.

Banger Match in Essex

Ilford 1 v Thurrock 1, Monday 24 October 2022.
6 board match, G80 + 10
Jef Page, captain.

              ILFORD I  4½ – 1½ THURROCK I
1.  1930   TOM BARTON     ½    BARRY SHEPPARD 1810
3.  1644  JEF PAGE  1-0  JIM ARBUCKLE        1733
4. 1556  ADHAR JAISWAL   ½   MATHEW WILSON   1530
5. 1575 TAHA UNDRE  1-0  MALCOLM CRANE   1488
1713                                  Average grade                             1653

Toss won by Ilford, White on odd boards.

On one of the worst nights for quiet and concentration in chess matches with bangers & rockets going off overhead during Diwali (the other is Guy Fawkes night) the last thing you want is a player dropping out at 7pm. So a quick text from Tom brought an answer from Faheem who made his instant debut for Ilford and rapid promotion for the bottom 3 players who were instantly promoted. Muhammed got into trouble, as he dropped pawns facing Van Litsenborgh’s Queen & Rook, but he completely outplayed Rudi in the ending to force a queen promotion. With Taha winning a Knight we soon went 2-nil up but the other games were much closer.

I played a very passive and restrained (for me) 3-N‘s opening but after fiddling around trying o develop my pieces I decided I’d had enough of that, gambled, and attacked. It paid off when I won a N, only to blunder it back minutes later in the time scramble, but when I offered Arbuckle an exchange of Q’s (who declined a draw offer) he made another move and I picked off his Q for nothing. Neville strong opening yielded a N for 2 pawns but as Woodard’s pawns dangerously advanced down the board Nev thought it best to return the bit and a draw was agreed. On top board Tom had the attack out of a Dragon Sicilian opening but couldn’t quite find the winning combination to break through Sheppard’s K-side.  So we race to the top of the table. Let’s hope we can stay there. Thanks to everyone who played.

Essex D3 – Close fought match

Ilford 2 v Wanstead 3, Monday 17 October 2022.
5 board match, G80 + 10
Tom Barton, captain.

This was a tight match won by Wanstead 3-2.

Euan opened up the centre before castling and rapidly ran into trouble which lost his queen. Jiayi reached a level middle game with opposite side castling but when his opponent sent pawns down the board to attack his king Jiayi didn’t get counterplay going on the opposite wing which left him under pressure. So we went two down but then both Dan and Rayyan played nice attacking chess using pressure to create mistakes and win, this levelled the match up at 2-2. So the match result hung on Biel’s game. He’d gone a pawn up with a slightly better position but his opponent gained pawn activity and pressure that proved decisive.

Given the Wanstead team were very experienced and out-graded us heavily this was a good showing.

Thanks to David and Krish on the Wanstead boards 4 and 5 who went through some game analysis with Euan and Jiayi.

Full details of the result are on the ECF LMS here

Essex D3 Opener Win!

Ilford 2 v Southend 2, Monday 3 October 2022.
5 board match, G80 + 10
Tom Barton, captain.

This was the second team’s first game of the 2022-23 season. I lost the toss so over this five board match we had two whites and three blacks which was not a disadvantage as apart from the draw on board two all the games were won by black!

The three juniors in the team all played well. Euan played calmly to claim a pawn out of the opening with a piece development advantage, this turned quickly into a greater advantage as he won his opponent’s queen with a simple tactic and he went on to win. Jiayi played quick development against his opponent’s Sicilian defense but then his co-ordination became a bit loose and the weakening move g3 led eventually to pressure on his rooks and with his opponent’s bishops invading his position he lost an exchange and the game went away from him. So one point each at this stage.

Rayyan had a very complex middle-game position against his opponent’s London opening. In the critical position Rayyan found better moves than his opponent to go the exchange up in the endgame and win.

Adhar’s game on board two went into an extremely closed position with the pawns locked together across the board and not surprisingly ended with a draw as neither side’s king and bishop could make any progress.

So the match now hung on the result of Dan’s game. He played a very tricky open position well and although an exchange down had his bishop pair aiming at his opponent’s king creating more pressure than his opponent’s bishop pair which were doing the same. Dan was well up on the clock and created complications. His final rook move was excellent and struggling for a response his opponent’s flag fell. A win for Dan and a win for the team 3.5 – 1.5

Well played all! Thanks to Southend for travelling to us.

Match result details and league tables are on the ECF LMS. See the match result here:

Essex Knockout Plate Final – a Trophy!

Thurrock v Ilford – Plate Final 21 September 2022
5 board match, time control G20+10
Jef Page, 22 September

The winning team with Plate and prize clock

Championes, Championes’.. the champagne was sprayed around, we’ve booked the open-topped bus… For winning the event Ilford holds the silver Plate for a year and a new additional chess clock.

The match was played at Thurrock who were due a home venue. I won the toss & Ilford were white on odd boards in round 1. Our agreed starting time was 7.45 and Thurrock’s captain Malcolm Crane generously agreed to wait till 8pm for Venkatesh to arrive.

For the 1st time in over 20 years Ilford appeared in a final: true, just a rapidplay Plate event for 1st round losers, but still a long overdue resurrection of our fortunes and the first time I’ve led a team to victory. We heavily outgraded Thurrock and for once our stronger members played to their standard as Tom, Neville and Rahul each won both games. The match was won in the 1st round as Ilford achieved a rare 5-nil clean sweep towards victory. Ilford went into an early lead in round 1 when Rahul came up with a sweet Bishop move that won him the exchange and I wriggled out of Van LItsenborgh’s tricky French Opening to demolish his qeenside and followed that up by forking his King & Queen.

Round 2 was a bit closer at 3-2. Neville won a nice Rook and pawn endgame but I lost a pawn in the opening and was always playing catch-up. Venkatesh got caught when his King was surrounded by Omoruyi’s Queen, R & Bishop.

We played just 3 matches: losing to Barking A 4-6, just getting past Wanstead B 5½-4½ and beat Thurrock 8-2. Best individual score was: Rahul 5/6; Tom 4½/6, Neville 3½/6, myself 2/4, Venkatesh 1½/2, Asif Ryan 1/2, Daniel Lowe 0/2.

Match score on the ECF LMS here.

On the ECL website there is a report and another photo of our winning team which was presented by the organiser Ian Hunnable, Essex League Controller. See here

Thank you to everyone who played and took part.