Epsom’s posse of IMs too strong for Kingston 2

Surrey League division 2 match played at the Haywain Brewers Fayre, Epsom on 21 November 2022

Do not mess with Epsom – a division 1-strength side currently playing in division 2, and with aspirations to be the strongest club in Surrey under president Marcus Gosling’s inspired leadership. Having IMs on the top three boards certainly helps their cause, and for Kingston’s second team a 5.5-1.5 defeat was perfectly honourable.

The match was played at the excellent Haywain pub, to which Epsom have returned after a short interruption spent at other venues, and Kingston president John Foley, who played on board two against Graeme Buckley, reports that the Kingston team put up an excellent fight. “The match was tense throughout,” he says, “and halfway through the neutral observer would have put their money on Kingston.”

John’s game against IM Buckley was keenly fought, but Buckley took a risk in the endgame which worked in his favour. Peter Large made a classic exchange sacrifice v Be6 and strangled Julian Way, captain of the Kingston team. Alan Scrimgour drew with IM Susan Lalić, playing the same line against her as he did in their last game 10 years ago.

Gregor Smith stepped in for Peter Andrews, who had Covid, and was winning with an advanced passed pawn when he fell for a cruel tactic. “I blundered from a completely winning position,” said Gregor after the game. “Learn the hard way!” The hugely promising Maxim Selemir drew with Chris Wright on board five; Jon Eckert drew with Daniel Young on four; and the heavily outrated Ljubica Lazarevic was defeated by the Epsom president on six. Epsom, who got their promotion drive back on track with this victory after a surprise defeat to Surbiton 1 in October, sportingly said the final score flattered them.

Stephen Moss