Wanstead 1 6 – 2 Ilford 1, 21 December 2010


Following a closer match than it should have been at Ilford four weeks previously the return match quickly followed.  It did not fall victim to the snow, the thaw arriving just in time with the predicted snow the night before turning out to be no more than a light flurry, justifying the decision to play the match if we reasonably could.  Ilford arrived in good time and were comfortably ensconced in the Wanstead House lounge well before the match room was prepared.  They fielded a genuine club side and once again were missing their superstars though this was offset by the unavailability of David Spearman and Gerry Hayes.  Over all 8 boards the Wanstead players had a grading advantage on paper at least but as Paul discovered last season that may not necessarily mean very much especially in a local derby.

The toss was lost but that appeared to suit the pre-chosen board order.  At first all did not go to plan when Paul managed to play a combination backwards and lost a pawn in the process.  However the Ilford captain gifted a pawn to Ian with no effective counter-play.  An early tea was provided, whereafter the games began to hot up.  Paul gamely persevered and Ian was presented with a further pawn which his opponent hoped would generate play but failed to do so, leading to an early resignation.  Meanwhile Larry had allowed his opponent to march a pawn to an ominous f6 presenting a lone attacker against the black King but in return had created an exposed white king position.  This proved fatal as a clever rook sacrifice on f8 (to that ever threatening pawn of course) led to a forced mating sequence against the white King to give Wanstead an early two point lead from which Ilford were unable to recover, with Terry W next to finish with not quite a grandmaster draw against Syd.

Paul was still battling to save his bacon, Steve and John appeared to have established an advantage whilst Philip and Terry D had established a time advantage and were looking for more.  Paul’s opponent conceded a draw fearful of running out of time, Steve was attacking his opponent’s King side and John, having turned down a belated draw offer, had established a powerful passed A pawn.  Philip was level but looked to have the positional edge until he dropped a crucial pawn as both Steve and John were looking to finish off their opponents.

Jeff Page had to surrender a bishop for that mighty A pawn but was then faced with a text book ending from John creating two unstoppable connected passed pawns on the kingside meanwhile Steve had driven his opponent’s King over to the queenside where he established a mating net carefully watching his opponent’s back rank mate threats as he did so.

Terry D looking for his promised win managed to gain a pawn but at the cost of opposite coloured bishops, which was enough for Jason to hold for the draw, whilst Philip’s opponent went astray in the ending presenting Philip with a dangerous passed pawn which was enough for the rook and pawn ending to fizzle out to the fourth draw of the night.

A clinical undefeated performance of 4 wins and 4 draws improved upon the away performance to do the double and to set up the challenges of the New Year against Basildon and Writtle sides who are also undefeated and Barking and Upminster sides who will no doubt be looking for revenge.

4 wins out of 4 is an excellent start to the 2010/2011 campaign.

Mark Murrell, Captain Essex League One

Click here for the 2010/11 Essex League page

About johnu175
I am John Philpott, a keen chess player, belonging to Wanstead & Woodford and Insurance Chess Clubs, and a former long-standing match captain of the Essex U175/U180 team and the Wanstead National Club team. I also hold many administrative posts, including ECF Company Secretary and Financial Controller, although I am looking to wind these down following my retirement to Mersea Island.

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