Battersea 3 top table after clean sweep on bottom boards, writes TIM WELLS

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

Battersea 3 are off the mark in the London Chess League‘s division 3… and topping the table, for some reason.

Not for long, I suspect, but we will enjoy it while it lasts, writes team captain TIM WELLS.

Bouncing back from our season-opening drubbing at the hands of the mighty powerhouse that is Battersea 2, we scored a fine victory over last year’s division 4 winners and fellow promotees Wanstead & Woodford 2, by the score of 5.5-3.5, with one game adjourned from which we are likely to nab another half point.

A fantastic result, as we were outgraded on all ten boards by an average of 15 points, and the score could have been much higher in our favour, as at least one of our two losses was very much against the run of play.

Battersea 3 Vs Wanstead & Woodford
Battersea 3 Vs Wanstead & Woodford

I was again the first to shake hands, another Grandmaster draw after 18 moves and a dead-equal
position.

I think there are players who lose interest if they aren’t winning out of the opening; in any case I was content to be offered the draw as Black against a higher-graded player.

Joe Skielnik on board one built up a massive position, Black cowering in defensive posture with his Queen’s Rook stuck on a7 guarding the weak b7 Pawn – how desperate is that?

But I think Joe waited too long to cash in the spatial advantage, and Black freed himself. Short on time, Joe ran into some tactics and that was the game.

Bill on board three found himself dead equal with Queens, Rooks, and five Pawns each still on the board.

Next time I looked however he was a Pawn down and about to lose another, and he spent the rest of the evening wondering where it went wrong.

Boards four through six saw us grind out hard-fought draws. Ben is adjourned on four, having survived a frantic mutual time scramble in a double-edged position. I think a draw will be the
outcome.

Gary Smith on five continued his solid run for Battersea 3: I think he had the advantage for most of the game in a very spiky position, but the split point was probably the correct result.

Tim Valentine on six once again trotted out his Centre Counter defense, and negotiated the ensuing complicated position to secure the draw.

The real heroics of the evening were on boards seven through ten, four wins out of four to the Battersea, our players giving away an average of 18 grading points on these boards.

Steve Barry‘s opponent on seven disregarded his King’s safety, and having allowed a Knight fork which lost the exchange at least, he decided to call it a night.

Arnold Hunt on eight demonstrated his usual tenacity, having lost a piece earlier he activated both Rooks to devastating effect, culminating in an
unavoidable checkmate.

Tim Allen on board nine ground down to a Rook and Pawn endgame which was only going to have one winner when the Rooks came off, but he displayed fine technique to bring home the point.

On board ten, Richard Murphy notched up his first win for Battersea in fine fashion.

After an unfortunate loss of the exchange early on, he kept his cool and consolidated, his opponent dithering somewhat, until the chance came to pounce: Richard offered a series of exchanges in front of White’s somewhat exposed King, easily declinable, but White bought the dummy, Black’s Queen invaded, and off came White’s Knight, a Pawn, a Rook, and finally a mate in one.

A great result, and hopefully we can build on this performance against the several eminently beatable sides in the Division.

Next match is October 30 at Athenaeum.

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