Surrey League division 4 match played at West Thornton Community Centre, Thornton Heath on 26 January 2023
A trip to South Norwood is never easy – and this was one of the harder ones. The logistics of the journey from Kingston to south-east London make it hard enough – campaign medals should be struck for all those who join the expedition – but here an inexperienced Kingston 3 team was up against a much stronger South Norwood 2 side. The result was never in doubt, and Kingston were on the wrong end of a 5-1 defeat.
The undoubted high spot was new recruit Mark Sheridan’s terrific draw with Black on board 2 against the highly rated Mohammad Sameer-Had. Mark played the Petrov Defence, equalised and, recognising the rating differential, sought to trade pieces to reach a drawn endgame. It was in fact Sameer-Had who, fearing the loss of a pawn, offered the draw, so a moral victory for Mark and a real coming-of-age result.
Promising youngster Shaurya Handu also secured a draw on board 5, but elsewhere thing went less well. The ultra-attacking Ron Harris had too much firepower for David Shalom on board 1; Sean Tay and captain Stephen Daines went down fighting on boards 3 and 4; and Jaden Mistry fell for a nasty trick that resulted in mate against the wily veteran Barry Miles. A learning curve for Jaden, but a bitter one. Young players don’t just have to learn chess; they have to learn to tap into their inner resilience too. The game has many knockbacks.