Kingston C top Div X after home win against Surbiton

Thames Valley League division X match played at the Willoughby Arms, Kingston on 13 February 2023

Revenge was sweet with this win against Surbiton D, who beat us earlier in the season. The 2.5-1.5 victory was an unexpected one as we were outrated, and it took Kingston C top of division X of the Thames Valley League, though the chasing teams have games in hand. Optimistically, I have started to enquire whether there is a trophy for the team finishing first. (Spoiler: it appears that the prize is a clock.)

Colin Lyle succumbed on board 1 against Surbiton’s Colin Li – the battle of the Colins! – after a vibrant to-ing and fro-ing game. This is by no means discouraging for the Kingston Colin as the Surbiton Colin is far stronger than his rating of 1608 suggests. Greg Heath overturned a positional disadvantage on board 2 and accepted a draw from his opponent. Josh Lea, in his long-awaited debut for the club, beat his opponent with an aggressive game to level the score at 1.5 apiece. A terrific start to competitive chess for Josh.

So it was now all down to me. I had left Kingston A&E at 6.30pm following the diagnosis of a fractured shoulder. An hour later, I was lining up on board 3 against a player rated 1462. I had the black pieces. No pressure. White played a passive queen pawn opening, so I seized the initiative with a kingside attack which proved to be potent. White’s king fled but two pawns were lost in the process, creating two potential passed pawns for me on the kingside. My opponent resigned as my h-pawn headed for the queening square. For a brief moment, I even managed to forget the pain from my shoulder. The healing power of chess.

Stephen Daines, Kingston third-team captain