Kingston B earn bragging rights at Surbiton

Thames Valley League division 2 match played at Fircroft, Surbiton on 10 January 2024

It’s always nice to start the New Year with a victory, especially one that takes you top of the league. And it was a convincing one at that, not dropping a game in a 4-2 victory over neighbours Surbiton B.

We were favourites on the top three boards and underdogs on the bottom three, so it was set to be an interesting encounter. Nick Grey was first to finish, with a peaceful draw against Surrey county team-mate Graham Alcock. Nick faced Graham’s time-honoured Scandinavian, but after carefully assessing the other games around him he felt we had an advantage and opted to offer a draw.

Stephen Moss also secured another half-point against Andrew Boughen, in a game that Stephen described as “boring – nothing really happened”. But an important result with the black pieces against his higher-rated opponent. Another draw was then agreed on board 2, where fresh from his heroics of saving a completely lost game against Kingston in the Surrey League the week previously, promising junior Joshua Pirgon secured another half-point against John Foley. So far, all square at 1.5-1.5.

It was Kingston stalwart Alan Scrimgour who drew first blood, defeating another one of Surbiton’s young stars, Joseph Morrison. Joseph has been a frequent prize-winner at the Kingston Blitz Series, but time wasn’t on his side on this occasion, as Alan managed to transpose a Caro-Kann into a c3 Sicilian, an opening with which Alan is very familiar. This allowed him to build a massive time advantage and, after sustained pressure, he broke through to put the first full point on the board.

On board 6, I managed to successfully dodge the many traps set by yet another talented Surbiton junior, Conrad Bredenoord. Conrad pushed g4 in front of his castled king, offering up a pawn sac that looked to lead to a tactical mêlée. I tanked for about 25 minutes, trying to calculate whether it was poisoned or not. Normally, I would take the easy way out and just leave it hanging, but I thought I could get away with it, and to my relief I was right. The extra pawn was then followed by the win of an exchange, a dilution of pieces, and a simple endgame victory to clinch the match.

David Rowson was the last to finish on the top board, playing what feels like his weekly game against Liam Bayly. This encounter ended in a draw, making it 4-2 to Kingston and taking us to top spot in Thames Valley division 2. But how long will we stay at the summit, given that we have tricky away trips to Hounslow and Maidenhead to follow this month? 

Gregor Smith, Kingston B captain in Thames Valley division 2