Peter Lalić (Kingston) v Chris Howell (Coulsdon)

Kingston v CCF (Coulsdon), Alexander Cup semi-final, Willoughby Arms, Kingston, 30 May 2022

This was the board 3 game in the semi-final of the Alexander Cup, Surrey’s premier knockout competition, which pitted a strong Kingston side against a Coulsdon team that was slightly weaker on paper but had a good blend of experience and youth and fought very hard on the night. Kingston won 7-3, but the scoreline masked some tense individual battles, including this one, which was level for most of the evening. This was the game which took Kingston past the magical five-point mark, and Peter Lalić shows both his endgame skill and customary steeliness in a time scramble. His exploitation of his opponents’ hanging pawns is particularly instructive. As ever, his annotations capture the excitement and uncertainty of the moment. Peter never pretends omniscience; he tells you what it is really like to be there at the chessboard with all its boundless possibility … and potential for pain.

Peter Lalić v Chris Howell