Resilient Kingston 4 pipped by Epsom 3

Kingston 4 v Epsom 3, Surrey League division 2 match played at the Willoughby Arms, Kingston on 18 March 2024

There was drama at the start of this Minor Trophy match when one of the Kingston players, Mark Sheridan, didn’t show up for the 7.30pm start and couldn’t be contacted. Kingston 4 captain Stephen Daines, nothing if not decisive, hauled new member Rob Taylor out of the bar where he was playing some social chess and subbed him in against Epsom captain David Flewellen on board 3, which was tough on Mark, who was driving to the venue and arrived shortly afterwards.

But every cloud and all that. Rob played really well in a hair-raising encounter and got a draw in what was the final game to finish. He actually had what looked a winning rook and pawn endgame, but went wrong under time pressure and allowed stalemate. Still, great performance and great debut.

Epsom were stronger than us on the top boards, and Sean Tay and Josh Lea went down to fighting defeats. Greg Heath missed a tactic that cost him a piece on board 4 and resigned on the spot. But Ergo Nobel continued his fine run of form with a win on board 6, and the fast-improving junior Jaden Mistry won on board 5 with some very astute and powerful play against Anthony Hunter’s Caro-Kann. A very good and well-contested match which ended 3.5-2.5 to Epsom. Mark will be miffed to have missed it, but the upside was that Kingston has another solid competition player in Rob Taylor.

Stephen Moss