Monthly Archives: December 2022

Kingston pummel Richmond B in Thames Valley clash

Thames Valley League division 1 match played at the Willoughby Arms, Kingston, on 28 November 2022

In the chess leagues we play in there are many matches which could qualify as derbies – for instance, Kingston versus Surbiton and Kingston versus Wimbledon, to name just two. Matches against Richmond teams are another example and, having recently played their A team, here we took on their B team (both Thames Valley League matches) and next week will play Richmond again in the Thames Valley Knockout. It’s good to play opponents we know well and are friends with, even though the rivalry is real.

Another aspect of this is that it sometimes happens that players face opponents who might be on their side in another league. Last night, for the second time this season against a Richmond team, Peter Lalić faced an opponent, Jon Eckert, who also plays for Kingston in other competitions. This didn’t incline Peter to be pacific; using yet another original opening line (1. Nc3 e6; 2. h4!? – Peter might disagree with the annotation!) he won in 18 moves.

Peter was on board one as David Maycock was tied up moving house (though in any case their ECF ratings are now so close as to make them almost interchangeable at the top of the Kingston order), but Alan Scrimgour kindly stepped in at short notice to make sure we had a full team. It was also good to have Will Taylor playing, having journeyed down from North London.

Kingston chair stepped in as a late substitute and won with his favourite Sicilian Taimanov

The final score of the match reflected the large difference in ratings (on average, just over 220 points). However, as usual the games were generally competitive, and one or two might have ended differently. I’m thinking specifically here of my own game, in which, facing a line of the Italian which I play myself, I managed to end up in an inferior position. Fortunately, this encouraged my opponent to attack on the kingside too quickly, and I was able to exploit the holes this created. In Will’s game the turnaround was different: having won the exchange neatly against Bertie Barlow, Will lost it again in time trouble and was unable to win the resulting theoretically drawn rook ending.

Julian Way played an unusual line against Sampson Low’s French Defence and emerged from complications two pieces up. On board two, Vladimir Li fatally destroyed his opponent’s king’s pawn cover, and on board six Alan, playing his favourite Sicilian Taimanov, won a pawn and eventually the game, on time.

A very satisfying evening for Kingston A. In our first two Thames Valley Division 1 matches this season we have a record of 10.5 for and 1.5 against, all versus Richmond teams, who may not feel it’s such a friendly derby. Now we need to show the same form in the Surrey League: next up Coulsdon CCF on 12 December, a tough challenge.

David Rowson, Kingston first-team captain

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