Jack Buckley (Ashtead) v Ljubica Lazarevic (Kingston)

Ashtead 1 v Kingston 2, Surrey League division 2, Peace Memorial Hall, Ashtead, 25 October 2022

Ljubica Lazarevic

I had been rather apprehensive about our away match to Ashtead. I’ve discovered of late that evening league matches are somewhat disagreeable with me – a match seems to guarantee no sleep that evening, leaving a less than bouncy and cheerful Lju come the morning. I’m also rather, dare I even say it, rusty, chess-wise. Whilst a very reasonable commute from Kingston, I also had the additional (irrational) fear that the car wouldn’t start having not touched it for a month. Graciously, I had made my peace with what fate the universe held for me, and off I went.

Jumping into my trusty Jazz as it purred away down an unusually quiet route down to Peace Memorial Hall, everything was looking better than I feared, that is, until I discovered I was up against a junior. I reminded myself that I had made my peace with the situation, and sat down and got ready to play at the specially issued “junior”-sized chess board on the #7 slot.

Onlookers may have been somewhat surprised to have seen that not only had board 1 migrated next door to my young opponent and me, but also leading out the determined Ashtead team was a certain Kingston stalwart in the shape of Peter Lalić. Surrey Chess Association rules specify that you must nominate your strongest players for your first team, which was the case with Peter, and it was nice to see him supporting a very ambitious Ashtead eyeing up promotion. And ambitious they were. The victors of the evening, scooping up an impressive 4.5 points across the seven boards. Kudos to them, and they will certainly be a team to watch this season, along with frenemies Epsom.

As the lone Kingston victor from the match, I was kindly volunteered to submit my game. I must admit, despite the win, I enjoyed this game. It had been a long while since I’ve played and had a pretty good understanding of what was going on, and being able to come up with (sometimes wanting) plans. My junior opponent also had opportunities too – a youngster who has only recently obtained a rating and will undoubtedly only get stronger. I can claim the bragging rights from the first scalp.

On to the game! For those of you who value the finer points of chess, you may want to avert your gaze now…