A tale of a zwischenzug: PAUL STOKES’s Battersea 1 Vs Battersea 2 match report

Central London Chess League update
Battersea Chess Club sponsored by Bishop's Move

As you all by now know, last Tuesday Battersea 1 beat Battersea 2 in a Central London League Division 1 match, writes PAUL STOKES.

It was the first time in living memory that two Battersea teams had played against each other in a competitive match so for the sake of its historical interest, if nothing else, I’m giving a board by board account of what occurred (or at least of what I think occurred).

Board 1 – Ali Hill v. Tommaso Penna

For the second match in a row Ali employed his surprise weapon – the French Defence – which after this will be a surprise no longer. Tommaso was doing well for a lot of the time. Ali’s King remained on e8 for the whole game, but Tommaso’s attempts to attack it came to nothing and eventually Ali got the upper hand and won.

Board 2 – Chis Beckett v. Aldo Camilleri

This encounter was already well into the middlegame before I saw anything of it. By then Chris, despite having tripled f pawns, stood much better. He had control of the g-file, his Knight was about to leap to e6 and he was attacking Aldo’s backward b-pawn. Pretty soon Aldo had to concede.

Board 3 – Adrian Somerfield v. Alan Palmer

Battersea 2 were heavily outgraded on all boards and it was on Board 3 where the grading difference was biggest. A whopping 36 points separated Adrian (192) from Alan (156). Alan played his usual, somewhat eccentric line against Adrian’s Caro Kann. The game proceeded along fairly quietly until Adrian spotted a tactic. He could sacrifice his Bishop for a Pawn, win Alan’s Bishop back immediately and so emerge a Pawn up. But Alan found a Zwischenzug. Instead of capturing the offered Bishop straightaway he attacked Adrian’s Queen with the result that Adrian’s tactic failed miserably – oh, dear, a win for Battersea 2 on this board.

Board 4 – Midhun Unnikrishnan v. Joe Skielnik

Joe attempted to combat Midhun’s Catalan system with a Reluctant Benoni, which Avrukh describes as “a respectable line for Black”. Well, whatever, the opening seemed to confuse both players. Joe could have won a Pawn but instead just got himself into bother, Midhun started to play very well and Joe joined me in the bar very early on.

Board 5 – Rafael del Valle Domenech v. Tim Wells

Rafa opted for Alekhine’s Defence and got a solid, if somewhat cramped, position. Tim tried to use his space advantage to build an attack but Rafa played very soundly and might have reached an advantageous ending if Tim had pressed too hard. A period of sensible play by both sides resulted in the draw being agreed.

So Alan was the man of the match. But for me the highlight of the evening was seeing the young lads on the other side of the room enjoying their chess and playing to a very good standard. Surely it won’t be too long before they’re in the teams.

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