The new season for Battersea’s newest team got underway last night with a notable success, Howard Groves reports.
Up against recently relegated TfL, and outgraded on every board, Battersea 3 started life in the Central London League Div. 2 with a fine & well-deserved 3-2 victory. A full scorecard is below.
TfL may play in an impressive-looking Grade I listed building, but the three Battersea players who successfully navigated the labyrinthine corridors before the scheduled start found a room where the lights flickered (and later gave up altogether, in patches!), the rain beat down on the windows & where our hosts warned against using the coffee mugs recently discarded from a trades union meeting.
Thankfully, we were soon joined by Ben & Malcolm, who quickly settled into the less than congenial surroundings, and who would proceed to be the match-winners.
Indeed, Malcolm dazzled his opponent into blundering a piece remarkably quickly, doubtless giving himself the welcome bonus of more time to mark homework!
Meanwhile, Ben & Tim had solid positions out of the opening with the black pieces, while on top board, Joe was showing the value of his diligent opening preparation: he confessed afterwards to having read several of opponent Matthew Lunn’s articles in Chess magazine, and duly essayed a line of the Semi-Slav called the Marshall Gambit.
I hope I am not alone in only just realising there was more than one Marshall Gambit…
As the match proceeded in increasingly gloomy conditions, I managed to achieve what seems to be the limit of my usual range nowadays, and escaped from a slightly dodgy opening to secure a draw.
Tim’s opponent also offered to split the point after making no progress in the middlegame.
Meanwhile, Joe’s opponent had managed to plonk a strong knight on d6, and although Joe battled away very gamely as the clock ran down – so much so that his opponent was definitely sweating when down to his last minute – his opponent managed to frantically regroup his forces and eventually converted the point.
Ben’s opponent was also virtually down to moving on the increment, and in his case, he was unable to sustain his middlegame solidity, allowing Ben to go into the endgame a pawn up.
With the match in the balance, Ben kept his nerve & was pushing enough pawns forward to have won, even without the concluding blunder from his harassed opponent. The celebratory drinks in the pub tasted very sweet, I can tell you!
Well played to all; the rematch with TfL is our next fixture – I’ll send a note about availability for that one soon.