Kingston C come close against Staines

Thames Valley division X match played at the Willoughby Arms, Kingston on 29 January 2024

Kingston C really deserved to win this match against Staines B, but were denied at the end in unfortunate circumstances when Sean Tay allowed the fact that his opponent had stopped recording under the five-minute rule to affect his play, in a game he was winning with some comfort up to that point.

Jaden Mistry got the match off to the best possible start with a quickfire victory against Martin Conlon on board 4. Martin’s Sicilian had given him a slight edge in the opening, but he omitted to castle and his position rapidly went downhill when White’s queen and rook launched an assault that led to mate.

Ergo Nobel blundered on board 1 to allow Ye Kyaw to equalise for Staines, but Colin Lyle played an excellent game on board 3 to go into a rook v knight endgame which, in the nature of such endgames, favoured the more mobile piece. 2-1 to Kingston and, with Sean well on top, victory in the match looked inevitable. But when his opponent stopped scoring (as he is allowed to) with just five minutes on the clock, the dynamic of the game changed and poor Sean blundered into a lost rook endgame. He tried hard to save it, but with his king offside it couldn’t be done.

So 2-2 at the end of a very good match, and lots of lessons learned. Most important: if you still have time and your opponent is playing on the increment, don’t try to blitz him. Play good moves that pose (hopefully insurmountable) problems. Don’t let your opponent’s time trouble affect your own play, and don’t worry about the fact that you are scoring and he isn’t. Just play your game. This was one that got away, but if that lesson is learned it will be positive in the end.

Stephen Moss