The Chess Oracle - Hemel Hempstead Chess Club 2003-2004 Results


Team ResultsMatch ReportsIndividual Results


Team Results

6th October 2003 HH2 vs Letchworth 1 (H) 1½-3½   Loss
6th October 2003 HH4 vs Stevenage 3 (H) 3-2   WIN
7th October 2003 HH1 vs Welwyn & Hatfield 1 (A) 3-2   WIN
13th October 2003 HH3 vs Barnet Elizabethans 2 (H) 3½-1½   WIN
14th October 2003 HH2 vs Watford 2 (A) 1½-3½   Loss
20th October 2003 HH3 vs Hertford 4 (H) 3-2   WIN
20th October 2003 HH1 vs Hertford 1 (H) 3-2   WIN
22nd October 2003 HH4 vs Little Heath 2 (A) 3-1 1 Adj WIN
27th October 2003 HH3 vs Barnet Elizabethans 2 (A) 1½-3½   Loss
3rd November 2003 HH4 vs Barnet Elizabethans 4 (A) 3-2   WIN
3rd November 2003 HH Russell vs Hertford (H) 3½-2½   WIN
10th November 2003 HH2 vs Stevenage 1 (H) 2½-2½   Draw
10th November 2003 HH4 vs Watford 5 (H) 2-3   Loss
11th November 2003 HH1 vs Watford 1 (A) 1½-2½ 1 Adj  
17th November 2003 HH U-100 vs Royston U-100 (H) 3-1   WIN
17th November 2003 HH3 vs St Albans 5 (H) 3-2   WIN
24th November 2003 HH1 vs St Albans 1 (H) 1-4   Loss
27th November 2003 HH2 vs Hoddesdon 1 (A) 0-5   Loss
1st December 2003 HH1 vs Royston 1 (A) 1-4   Loss
1st December 2003 HH4 vs Letchworth 3 (H) ½-4½ 1 Adj Loss
3rd December 2003 HH3 vs Little Heath 1 (A) 0-5   Loss
15th December 2003 HH2 vs Royston 2 (A) 3½-1½   WIN
? 2003 HH Sharp vs Hoddesdon ? 2½-3½   Loss
5th January 2004 HH4 vs Letchworth 4 (A) ½-4½   Loss
5th January 2004 HH2 vs Letchworth 1 (A) 2-3   Loss
12th January 2004 HH U-100 vs Barnet U-100 (H) 1-3 1 Adj Loss
19th January 2004 HH2 vs St Albans 2 (H) 2-3   Loss
26th January 2004 HH3 vs Watford 4 (H) 3-2   WIN
? 2004 HH3 vs Letchworth 2 (A) 3½-1½   WIN
2nd February 2004 HH1 vs Welwyn & Hatfield 1 (H) 3-2   Loss
9th February 2004 HH1 vs Hertford 2 (H) 4-0 1 Adj WIN
9th February 2004 HH4 vs Stevenage 3 (A) 2-3   Loss
16th February 2004 HH4 vs Little Heath 2 (H) 2-3   Loss
16th February 2004 HH2 vs Watford 2 (H) ½-4½   Loss
17th February 2004 HH3 vs Hertford 4 (A) 1½-3½   Loss
17th February 2004 HH1 vs Hertford 1 (A) 2½-2½   Draw
1st March 2004 HH1 vs Watford 1 (H) 2½-2½   Draw
8th March 2004 HH2 vs Stevenage 1 (A) 2-3   Loss
9th March 2004 HH4 vs Watford 5 (A) ½-4½   Loss
15th March 2004 HH1 vs St Albans 1 (A) 3-2   WIN
15th March 2004 HH3 vs St Albans 5 (A) 2½-2½   Draw
22nd March 2004 HH2 vs Hoddesdon 1 (H) 1-4   Loss
22nd March 2004 HH4 vs Letchworth 3 (A) 3-2   WIN
5th April 2004 HH1 vs Royston 1 (H) 2½-2½   Draw
5th April 2004 HH3 vs Little Heath 1 (H) 0-5   Loss
19th April 2004 HH2 vs Royston 2 (H) 3-2   WIN
20th April 2004 HH1 vs Hertford 2 (A) 3-2   WIN
26th April 2004 HH2 vs St Albans 2 (A) 1½-1½ 2 Adj  
26th April 2004 HH4 vs Letchworth 4 (H) 5-0   WIN
4th May 2004 HH3 vs Watford 4 (A) 1-4   Loss
10th May 2004 HH3 vs Letchworth 2 (H) 2½-2½   Draw

Match Reports

HH3 vs Letchworth 2 (H) - 10th May 2004

Paul Sargent reports:

1. T Rixon (129)         1 - 0     M Harris (140)
2. I Hall (109)          1 - 0     M Pateman (124)
3. P Sargent (102)       ½ - ½     S Turner (119)
4. p Castledine (98)     0 - 1     D Parrot (113)
5. B Saunders (-)        0 - 1     D Cox (110)

HH3 vs Watford 4 (A) - 5th May 2004

Paul Sargent reports:

1. F Katumwa (-)         ½ - ½     T Rixon (129)
2. A Riley (138)         1 - 0     I Hall (109)
3. P Littlefair (127)    1 - 0     P Sargent (102)
4. C Russell (125)       ½ - ½     P Castledine (98)
5. B Concagh             1 - 0     A Walker (95)
                         4 - 1

HH4 vs Letchworth 4 (H) - 26th April 2004

Rob Johnson reports:

Hemel 4 end the season on a high with a whitewash victory against Letchworth 4. Only four opponents turned up on the night so no game for Marcus and the first point to Hemel.

Our energetic octogenarian Bob Forst got the second point of the night. In a queens gambit declined game both players threw caution to the wind and embarked on pawn storms. The centre of the board was awash with pawns when Bob was the first to spot a breakthrough, his pieces flooding through to the enemy king. His opponent was faced with imminent checkmate so resigned.

Rob embarked on a Ruy Lopez quickly winning a pawn in the opening. The black pieces got themselves into a bit of a muddle with the king stuck in the middle to boot. Further black pawns fell while the enemy king castled and his pieces got repositioned. When Rob forced an exchange of queens in the middle game, he was five pawns up so his opponent resigned.

Andy faced a queens pawn opening and employed a Nimzo Indian defence. The game developed into a highly tactical and complex affair with the centre of the board open and his opponent's king still in the middle. Andy looked to be in a bit of trouble when an enemy rook and bishop were bearing down on his castled kingside position but the danger was averted and it was the other king who quickly found himself in trouble. The exposed king was still uncastled when Andy's more active pieces delivered checkmate.

Barrie opened e4 and his opponent responded in a 'modern' manner, uncontesting the centre. Barrie fianchetto'd his queenside bishop and the game developed in a fairly cagey manner. One of the black knights got himself cramped though and soon found himself short of safe squares, Barrie ultimately winning it. This material advantage was carried through to the end game and Barrie converted the full point.

Hemel 4 finish the last two games of the season with 2 wins which may yet save them from relegation. Hemel 4 are third from bottom but the other two contenders for relegation each have a game in hand so it remains finely poised.

1. B Saunders (-)(W) 1 - 0     G Williams (81)
2. A Walker (95) (B) 1 - 0     T Walsh (88)
3. R Johnson (84)    1 - 0     T Mansford (80)
4. B Forst (86)      1 - 0     H Patterson (82)
5. M Chidwick (-)    1 - 0     Default
                     5 - 0

HH2 vs St Albans 2 (A) - 26th April 2004

Steve Law reports:

Yet another close match which we could have won, we started well not only did I win the toss, ok my reserve did, but I also got the pairings I wanted on all 5 boards.

After about an hour the indications looked good, we were much better on 1 and 4 completely even on 5 and ok on 2 and 3, worse case a drawn match. My opponent played what seemed to me to be a good move from which I was 'forced' to sacrifice a pawn, the response to this sacrifice was a rather dubious exchange sacrifice. From this point it was just a matter of keeping control of the position, to hurry matters along I was given a piece, 1-0.

Adrian's position was the most concern, although he had a reasonable position from the opening, it was much easier for white to play. I was never quite convinced about the position as it appeared that he may have problems in getting his pieces coordinated. Just as I was feeling we were on the way to victory I looked over and Adrian was in the process of losing a knight. The adjourned position looks absolutely lost and that's at the very best.

Rod decided to play a more cautious line in his standard, sorry only, opening as white. He even castled, not a common sight this season, I had the game down as draw from about move 10. I was just getting slightly worried that he may have been left with some weak queen side pawns, when his opponent blocked that side and a draw was never in doubt.

On board 4 Steve had a very nice game, his opponent had got a bad bishop and Steve had an easy Kings Indian f5 break, when this was played the position seemed even better, with no play for white. I thought that black could just put the pieces on the best squares and break though to attack the king. But there was just one slight weakness on the a-file which, along with the state of the match may have had an influence in Steve swapping queens. This meant that Steve had to take risks, whether he was better, worse or even. The weak queen side did eventually lead to an almost impossible position to defend, and a probable lost adjourned game.

This just leaves Hector, who as he put it, whereas normally it is me and Rod who take the risks and Hector plays the percentage, this time he had to sacrifice to justify his weak pawns. Although with lots of time and a bit more nerve it could have worked, the were too many variations to calculate and select from, and his opponent managed to wriggle out.

So the end of a very bad year, where we all played some good games but not on the same nights. I think we will end up scoring 14/28 with white and 6½/27 with black, plus a 0-5 default, as a percentage this should have given us 8 points instead we will get just 4. From my point of view 5½/6 with white and ½/5 with black made it difficult to win matches when I had black, this was not helped by no one else scoring more than 50% with either black or white.

We don't have much excuse only a single draw, not counting the win and draw against Royston who were by far the weakest team in the division.

1. M Lexton (160)        0 - 1     S Law (166)
2. D Bower (154)          ADJ      A Matthews (145)
3. I Gooding (152)       1 - 0     H Steen (145)
4. D Thomson (152)        ADJ      S Weston (135)
5. J Simmons (151)       ½ - ½     R Gibb (135)

HH1 vs Hertford 2 (A) - 20th April 2004

Philip Gregory reports:

Our last league match of the season, a comfortable win. John Sharp sacrificed a queen for mate, brilliantly he said. Andy Gilfillian outplayed his opponent in a slow English. Howard and Philip drew. I played for positional control and won a pawn, but blundered a piece away. Oh well!

1. P Lane (165)            0 - 1     J Sharp (179)
2. P Borman (166)          ½ - ½     H Tebbs (180)
3. G Davies (153)          ½ - ½     P Bonafont (173)
4. P Paxton-Doggett (154)  0 - 1     A Gilfillan (174)
5. A Du Boulay (153)       1 - 0     P Gregory (171)
                           2 - 3

HH2 vs Royston 2 (H) - 19th April 2004

Steve Law reports:

Another close match which we should have won, perhaps we were too defensive, outgrading our opponents on every board we should have been won easily.

Things started very well, in less than 30 minutes boards 2-4 all looked slightly better, board 1 unclear but ok. Steve Weston's opponent had by now run into the exact same trap as in the corresponding match a few months ago, this left Steve a piece up, he then spent the rest of the evening coasting to the win.

We then started to back off and banking on 4 draws and a win on 5. Hector had black and played it safe and headed for a drawn ending, this left boards 2 and 4 which were still looking good and board 1 which was still unclear. With about 30 minutes to the time control, Adrian's game had become blocked and without wishing to take any risks he agreed a draw.

This left my game which was starting to look a bit doubtful although my opponent was running down his clock, but he still kept finding good moves, after safely making both time controls at 35 and 42 I had to resign. This left Rod's game and even he had to admit that it was looking drawn.

So a point but this means we need a draw from the final game against St.Albans 2 and then hope that St.Albans can beat Royston, maybe we are leaving it a bit late.

Steve Law reports on the adjournment:

Well it appears that miracles can occur in the strangest places, Rod played his drawn (some said worse) position on and actually won in very quick time.

The position was as follows, with Rod as white (no guesses on the opening) and black had sealed.


the sealed move was

1/ ... Bd3 which was what we had predicted, a safe move with the threat of Be4. It looked as though d5 was best, but he had later convied himself that Qa7 would have been better which may explain his later moves. There then followed:

2/ Kh2 Qa7 already giving Rod chances to complicate the game

3/ Bd8 Be4 4/ Rg1 b5 5/ Qf6 Qf7 6/ Qh8+ Kd7?? a blunder, after 6/ ... Qf8 7/ Qxh7 Kxd8 8/ Qxg6 black can stop the h-pawn, but probably no more, although white still has plenty of chances.

7/ Bb6 Qe7 8/ Kh3 Bd3 9/ Bc5 Qf7 10/ Qb8 Qe8 11/ Qb7+ Kd8 12/ Bb6#

Well the season came down to just a few moves in an adjourned game which saved us and sent Royson 2 down. Maybe we will challenge for promotion next season, look there goes another flying pig.

1. S Law (166)           0 - 1     M Pinner (156)
2. A Matthews (145)      ½ - ½     A Mycroft (130)
3. H Steen (145)         ½ - ½     S Pride
4. R Gibb (135)          1 - 0     N Thompson (115)
5. S Weston (135)        1 - 0     S Cage (95)
                         3 - 2

HH3 vs Little Heath 1 (H) - 5th April 2004

Paul Sargent reports:

1. T Rixon (129)         0 - 1     A Hunter
2. I Hall (109)          0 - 1     M Likeman
3. P Sargent (102)       0 - 1     M Topham (137)
4. B Saunders (-)        0 - 1     P Williams (123)
5. R Johnson (84)        0 - 1     D House
                         0 - 5

HH1 vs Royston 1 (H) - 5th April 2004

Steve Law reports:

An interesting match for the spectators, and towards the end there were many. The match looked to be close on paper, as although Hemel were outgraded on the top 3 boards Hector on board 5 had a significant advantage. In fact Hector's opponent played quite well, but it was never quite enough and Hector was the first to finish. The board 3 game between Philip B and Kevin Clark always seemed to be even and towards the end of the game it looked even more of a draw, and peace was agreed at about 10.15.

This left 3 games, Philip G was getting very short of time although in what looked an even position, down to a few moves in a couple of minutes, this is when the first action really started. A swap of rooks left 2 moves in a minute, Philip then thought just a bit too long on the next move and ... his flag fell before he made his move. But no bother his opponent replied without checking the clock, another move was played and replied to, Philip had 'made' the time control with -1 minute left, he them casually put the clocks back the required 15 minutes.

Board 2 was now approaching the predictable time scramble, 7 moves to make in 5 minutes. I couldn't quite understand why they were still bashing out the moves, when they were way past 35, I was then told it was a quick play finish. Meanwhile, Matthew had been holding on against Lorin and by now just possibly had the edge, but they were also starting to bash out the moves, although in a simpler position to board 2. It was difficult to keep track of both games as the crowd was 2 deep around the boards, next time I looked at Andrew's game he was winning, the next time I looked he had blundered a piece and the next time it looked that maybe a Q v 2xQ could be a perpetual. Then both flags had fallen, I suspect Andrew's just first, but no one was watching and in any case the game was a draw.

At the same time on board 1 Matthew had won a piece but with no way to win without playing 15-20 moves he repeated the position, he probably had a minute to 30secs but it's always a risk, so another draw. So back to sanity and Philip G's game has been adjourned, with chances for both sides, so a win is still on. All this in a match which means little in terms of the League standings, both teams are safe from the drop but are going nowhere much in the upward direction.

An interested and exasperated specator. Phillip G lost his adjourned game

1. M Dignam (178)        ½ - ½     L D'Costa (228)
2. A Gilfillan (174)     ½ - ½     M Martin (198)
3. P Bonafont (173)      ½ - ½     K Clark (182)
4. P Gregory (171)       0 - 1     R Mycroft (167)
5. H Steen (145)         1 - 0     D Wasik (86)

HH4 vs Letchworth 3 (A) - 22nd March 2004

Rob Johnson reports:

Suspicions that Hemel 4 are punching below their weight were confirmed by a 3-2 victory over the league leaders.

Charles Phillips offered his customary draw after 15 minutes play but the offer was politely declined. It was just as well as Charles went onto win an interesting and tactical game. Charles opened hypermodern, applying pressure from the sides and letting his opponent control the centre. Charles seemed to castle kingside into trouble as the pawn cover in front of his king was soon stripped bare by exchanges, but he was the first to take advantage of the open lines however, and gained Hemel's first point.

Andy started with his favourite Italian game and the opening developed into rather a tactical affair, both players slowly developing their pieces. The catalyst for the game coming to life was an irritating pin on one of Andy's knights by an opposing bishop in front of his castled kingside position. The knight was ultimately taken which severly disrupted Andy's pawn cover, Andy's young opponent immediately took advantage and launched a strong attack. The prolonged pressure ultimately paid off with Andy losing material.

Bob employed a Queen's pawn opening against his opponent who replied with a modern defence. Progressing into a middle game with rooks and queens still on the board, Bob's opponent had swapped a knight for two key pawns. Both players had castled long with Bob's king lacking cover, but no player could gain headway and a draw was agreed.

Rob played a Sicilian and the middle game arrived with the centre locked by pawns. He castled long and forced an opening on the g file with which to attack his opponents castled kingside position. Rob sacrificed the exchange of rook for a key bishop which further disrupted the enemy king's defenses and left his opponents pieces uncoordinated. His opponent was in time trouble and made a succession of weak moves which left a rook hanging so resigned.

Barrie employed his favourite modern defence against d4 and allowed his opponent to advance his aggressive centre pawns. Barrie was never in trouble during the match and the end game arrived with the board locked by pawns, queens and opposite coloured bishops remaining. Despite Letchworth needing a win to draw on the evening, the game was agreed a draw.

A great result for Hemel 4 but with one game of the season remaining, the return to form is a little too late.

1. I Jenkins (112)       ½ - ½     B Saunders (-) (B)
2. D Cox (110)           1 - 0     A Walker (95)
3. H Eva (89)            0 - 1     R Johnson (84)
4. D Batey (87)          ½ - ½     B Forst (86)
5. T Mansford (80)       0 - 1     C Phillips (79)
                         2 - 3

HH2 vs Hoddesdon 1 (H) - 22nd March 2004

Steve Law reports:

Same again, we had chances but another loss. This was always going to be a tough match, but as it turned out we should have done better.

On board 1 I had at least an even position, which as it turned out from the post game analysis was about to get very complicated when I blundered a piece. My excuse was that I thought my opponent was losing a pawn so I might as well take it straight away, only problem was after 2 piece exchanges I lost a third.

Hector gave his excuses before the match, he wasn't feeling too good, so don't expect too much. His position was always very good after his opponent played an offbeat opening (1.d4 b5), which never gave Hector any problems. Hector saw the state of the match (0-3) and decided he was happy with a draw.

I didn't see much of Rod's game, he looked to be worse after the opening. He then got gradually ground down, or so I was told. Steve was playing an old team mate, not an ideal opponent. The game seemed to follow theory for about 10-12 moves, Steve's position seemed fine, and the next time I looked he was the exchange up but had a dangerous knight to deal with. A 'blunder', lost the exchange, but released the tension and although Steve is slightly worse (maybe) at the adjournment the outcome is likely to be a draw.

Paul, thanks for playing, had a solid game and reached a slightly better position from the opening. He then decided on a direct attack against the king, rather than a gradual build up. This had the double disadvantage of allowing a bishop into the game and also, after several exchanges, of losing a pawn. Later in a rook and pawn ending, still a pawn down, Paul could have forced the extra pawn to advance to it's doom, and in the process cutting the opponents king out of the game.

So it looks like the next match will decide our fate.

Steve Weston drew his adjoined game.

1. S Law (166)           0 - 1     W Stirling (181)
2. H Steen (145)         ½ - ½     C Turner (168)
3. R Gibb (135)          0 - 1     T Savanhu (157)
4. S Weston (135)        ½ - ½     D Young (133)
5. P Castledine (98)     0 - 1     B Lane (115)
                         1 - 4

HH3 vs Letchworth 2 (A) - ? 2004

Paul Sargent reports:

1.                       0 - 1     R Gibb
2.                       0 - 1     T Rixon
3.                       ½ - ½     I Hall
4.                       ½ - ½     P Casteldine
5.                       ½ - ½     B Saunders

HH3 vs St Albans 5 (A) - 15th March 2004

Paul Sargent reports:

1. R Claret              1 - 0     T Rixon (129)
2. J Leake               1 - 0     I Hall (109)
3. P Fitzgerald          ½ - ½     P Sargent (102)
4. A Marsh               0 - 1     A Walker (95)
5. Default               0 - 1     B Saunders (-)

HH1 vs St Albans 1 (A) - 15th March 2004

Philip Gregory reports:

It looks as if we are winning this match. Howard Tebbs had some bad luck as he had the much better position but then heard his car had been broken into, so had to leave. His opponent opportunistically offered a draw.

Philip Bonafont outplayed Jeremy and is the exchange up with a probably won position. Andy Gilfillan got a much relished revenge against an opponent who beat him last time round, winning on time in controversial circumstances. I lost, having lost my way in a Najdorf Sicilian. Steve Law ground out a good position but has a tricky queen and pawn ending.

So prospects of a win look good.

Steve agreed a draw since he could not avoid a perpetual. Phil Bonafont's adjudication was won.

1. N Alldritt (190)        ½ - ½     H Tebbs (180)
2. J Fraser-Mitchell (167) 0 - 1     P Bonafont (173)
3. N Wilmot (187)          0 - 1     A Gilfillan (174)
4. M Lexton (160)          1 - 0     P Gregory (171)
5. J Simmons (151)         ½ - ½     S Law (166)
                           2 - 3

HH4 vs Watford 5 (A) - 9th March 2004

Rob Johnson reports:

1. D Ash (117)           1 - 0     B Saunders (-) (B)
2. C Byrne (110)         1 - 0     A Walker (95)
3. R Player (107)        ½ - ½     B Forst (86)
4. R Harrison (102)      1 - 0     Default
5. D Healey (90)         1 - 0     Default
                         4½- ½

HH2 vs Stevenage 1 (A) - 8th March 2004

Steve Law reports:

Yes another 3-2 defeat. Well things didn't start off too well when I was 15 minutes late because I missed the M11, yes I know it's a big enough road but the sign post wasn't, and before you ask I was coming from Cambridge. Fortuneately I had an a stand in who one the toss, thanks Steve.

I had been considering which line of the kings gambit to play and had just decided when I saw my intended opponent sitting on board 3, this meant that we were in for a tough match. As it turned out I soon had recovered my time disadvantage and had a nice position. Hector also seemed to be well in control and Paul also was doing fine although being outgraded by 30-40 points, this was offset by Steve who had his king stuck in the centre and Rod who's usual white opening and kings side pawn storm, looked to have failed against a player who has been 200+.

My game was going well until I spent about 15 minutes on a move, which, after I played it, I thought I would have to reverse it on the next turn. I was lucky that my opponent was just starting to get short of time and he missed a good move (twice), this allowed me to make the position very complex and with no time left it was impossible for him to defend. Finishing just before me was Hector, who from having a nice position, had blundered a pawn and had got into a horrid mess with his king being exposed.

Rod's game was looking dead long before the time control when he eventually resigned, not even Rod could consider making a sealed move. Steve had survived into a rook and pawn endgame a pawn down, and with good drawing chances, his opponent made him seal but later agreed a draw to secure the match. Paul's game looked very even until he made a suicidal pawn exchange which left a very weak long diagonal, with his king sitting on the end of it. Luckily his opponent missed a winning move, which was well spotted by our travelling support, the follow up to which Paul could have resigned. Instead he offered a draw. So we only just lost, although the result was always likely from very early on.

We recevied some more bad news that Stevenage had lost to Royston 2, and even worse news that Hoddesdon had done the same. This leaves us firmly bottom looking up on Royston and Stevenage, and makes the Royston match a must win for any chance to avoid relegation.

More good news in 2 weeks.

1. C Majer (166)         0 - 1     S Law (166)
2. K Maynard (163)       1 - 0     H Steen (145)
3. P Maguire (155)       1 - 0     R Gibb (135)
4. S Rawlings (155)      ½ - ½     S Weston (135)
5. G Amoto (-)           ½ - ½     P Sargent (102)
                         3 - 2

HH1 vs Watford 1 (H) - 1st March 2004

Steve Law reports:

A close disaster was narrowly avoided once again due to the train, I had arranged to pick both Gary and Andrew from the station. Things started to go wrong when I had a phone call from Andrew, saying he had just missed his train and would catch the next. On my way to the station I thought that someone walking down the road looked just like Gary, the train arrived but no Gary, on my way out of the station the same look-a-like was approaching ... it was Gary, he had arrived early and had gone looking for food, 10 seconds later I would have missed him. Andrew duly arrived on the next train but at the next station, only to find he was on board 5 receiving captains 'punishment' for the last match.

So I had just managed to assemble a strong team, against one of the potential title contenders, and our match winning chances semed very good when Watford were fielding 3 second team players. If fact after about an hours play Gary reported that we had 5 very promising positions and that we ought to win the match, although I was less convinced a few minutes later when I could see no dead-certs, Matthews game seemed to be good although he was a pawn down at the time.

About half way throught the evening it was clear that board 1 would end drawn, and that we probably losing on boards 3 and 4 but probably winning on 2 and 5. Soon after Gary agreed a draw. Philip had got his king trapped in the centre and a couple of weak moves had left him in a horrible mess and he had little choice but to resign.

But this was offset by Andrew who had been trying hard to throw away his advantage, but had eventually won and taken his punishment well. Matthew had won the material back and still had a very strong attack and was clearly going to win, the game was concluded when his opponent overlooked a neat trick to win more material.

So this left just Howard who seemed to still be worse but not quite hopeless, the game did reach the time control but it became clear he had to resign. So a draw, on the face of it a good result, but considering we had a large grading advantage not so good.

Hopefully the last match for the stand in captain to arrange ... no more trains please.

1. G Kenworthy (206)     ½ - ½     A Stone (196)
2. M Dignam (178)        1 - 0     C Chakanyuka (173)
3. H Tebbs (180)         0 - 1     S Hamza (161)
4. P Bonafont (173)      0 - 1     M Robertson (-)
5. A Gilfillan (174)     1 - 0     B Morris (152)

HH1 vs Hertford 1 (A) - 17th February 2004

Steve Law reports:

You may ask, as I did, why I'm captain, I was volunteered. Still after some discussion as to who wanted to avoid who in the now constant Hertford top 3, it was decided that Andrew could face Simon Knott, he had a good game last time and had all but won his last 3 games.

This left Matthew on 2 and Howard on 3 and with good chances on the bottom boards the result looked far from certain. So far so good, the match was well underway when it was looking like a no show on board one, this left Simon looking none to happy when I dared to glance in his direction and I felt it was best not to venture down the other end of the line of tables.

The games in play were all looking even and both boards 3 and 5 ended in short time although my opponent was a bit lazy in allowing me to exchange queens after that there was only one result.

Both Matthew and Philip have adjourned positions, Matthews looks a pretty certain winner a very good result, and Philip has a slight plus and has all the chances. So the result is in doubt but we should gain at least a draw.

So you may ask, and I did, what happened to Andrew. It seems he had the 'press office on his back until 6.40' and by the time he reached the station the next train would have seen him arrive some time after 8.30, the thought of 35 moves in 15 minutes against an IM was too much. Not only that he must have had a sore back.

By the way finishing early does has some advantages, the beer was very nice, so nice I can't remember what it was called, but it wasn't McMullens.

... I bit later, Philip agreed a draw and Matthew's opponent resigned. This gave us a drawn match and a very good result for Matthew.

1. S Knott (214)         1 - 0     Default
2. S Swanson (207)       0 - 1     M Dignam (178)
3. P Byway (199)         ½ - ½     H Tebbs (180)
4. P Lane (165)          ½ - ½     P Bonafont (173)
5. P Borman (166)        ½ - ½     S Law (166)

HH2 vs Watford 2 (H) - 16th February 2004

Steve Law reports:

Yet another loss, things got off to a bad start when I recaptured with the wrong piece and allowed an attack on my queen followed by a rook check leaving my king stuck firmly in the centre, and very quick defeat. Tom also made a similar mistake with his king getting caught in the centre 0-2.

Adrian again followed some sharp theory for about 15 moves, this time as White in a Najdorf and seemed to have an even game, but towards the end the position fell apart leaving him looking at a certain defeat. I didn't see much of Rod's game but they all tend to follow a similar pattern, a number of exchanges leaving a rook and pawn ending. This time however he made the 'mistake' of leaving opposite coloured bishops to accoompany the rooks to adjudication, although only a single pawn down he is facing 2 connected passed pawns and another defeat.

This left only Hector's game, as predicted it turned in to a slow manoeuvring game followed by a frantic time scramble, Hector kept his cool and let his opponent make the mistake. The adjourned position looks good for a win, rook for bad bishop and pawn and only a matter of time. Likely outcome 1-4.

Adrian and Rod lost, while Hector managed a draw.

1. S Law (166)           0 - 1     S Hamza (161)
2. A Matthews (145)      0 - 1     M Robertson (-)
3. H Steen (145)         ½ - ½     M Boyce (155)
4. R Gibb (135)          0 - 1     A Hall (145)
5. T Rixon (135)         0 - 1     W Broome (144)
                         ½ -4½

HH4 vs Little Heath 2 (H) - 16th February 2004

Rob Johnson reports:

Lack of players meant Hemel 4 had to default a board for the second game running. In the LH2 HH4 game earlier in the season, Little Heath won on the night but were penalised for playing an inellegible player, the win being awarded to Hemel 4. So Little Heath (contending for promotion) seemed to approach the game in determined manner.

Charles made his second start of the season and came away with half a point. He employed his favourite French defence and came out of the opening well. Later analysis from his opponent suggested Charles could have came away with a piece in the middle game, but instead entered the end game a passed kingside pawn up. Unfortunately he couldn't capitalise on the advantage and a draw was agreed.

Rob faced a nine year old opponent and the game transposed into a Grand prix attack versus the Sicilian Dragon. His young opponent sacrificed the exchange of rook for bishop in order to retain his dragon bishop, but he didn't get enough compensation. Rob traded down and invaded the seventh rank with the additional rook trapping the king on the back rank. Faced with entering the end game a rook down or being checkmated, black resigned.

Barrie also faced a Sicilian and played well against a strong opponent. He countered the Sicilian by fianchettoing his dark squared bishop and developed solidly against his overly aggressive opponent entering the end game a pawn up. Barrie's castled kingside position lacked cover though and it came under sustained pressure. His opponent ("I don't want to play the barrack room lawyer but") was very low on time and did everything possible to inflict a draw by repetition which he ultimately achieved.

Andy also tried the Sicilian and his opponent countered with the Grand prix attack. The middle game arrived with the centre of the board locked by pawns with little room for manoeuvre, Andy's opponent also having pushed the pawns in front of his king into the fray. Andy developed a knight in the centre of the board and went on the attack winning a pawn, but the additional space allowed his opponent's queen to snatch a pawn coming in with check. Andy got his defence a bit tangled up and lost a bishop, then lost the exchange so entered the end game a rook down. With open ranks and files for the sole rook to operate on, Andy resigned.

At the risk of sounding pesimistic, with three games remaining, Division 7 beckons Hemel 4.

1. A Walker (95) (B) 0 - 1     C Cook (109)
2. B Saunders (-)    ½ - ½     D House (118)
3. Default           0 - 1     S Dicks (110)
4. R Johnson (84)    1 - 0     D Fernandez (-)
5. C Philips (79)    ½ - ½     M Cass (-)
                     2 - 3

HH3 vs Hertford 4 (A) - 17th February 2004

Paul Sargent reports:

1. B Judkins (135)       1 - 0     T Rixon (129)
2. S Bailes (118)        ½ - ½     I Hall (109)
3. D Rudd (113)          ½ - ½     P Sargent (102)
4. S Zsibrita (113)      1 - 0     P Castledine (98)
5. D Green (113)         ½ - ½     A Walker (95)

HH4 vs Stevenage 3 (A) - 9th February 2004

Rob Johnson reports:

The 4th team's lack of depth is starting to be a problem after they could only muster four players on Monday night. Marcus has broken an ankle playing football, while Charles has teaching commitments which bar him from away games. So Hemel 4 went into this bottom of the table clash already a point adrift on the night.

Bob opened as white with e4 and came out of the opening with parity. As the middle game progressed though, he found himself in a bit of a tangle when his opponent's queen and knight invaded his castled kingside position. In addition, one of Bob's knights was en prise on the queenside so he resigned.

Rob opened with the slav defence and developed quickly against an opponent who repeatedly moved the same pieces twice in the opening. Some rash queenside pawn pushes left his opponent with a backward c pawn which ultimately fell. A pawn up, Rob missed the opportunity to defend and push the sole queenside pawn on the b file and a draw was agreed with material equal.

Andy had to defend against the Italian game. He sacrificed a bishop for two pawns in front of the white kingside castled position and a cagey middle game ensued with the middle of the board locked by pawns. As the game developed, Andy was in no particular trouble when he left a bishop en prise which was gratefully accepted, Andy resigned.

Barrie had an interesting game after an opening as white of e4. His opponent was overly aggressive too early on and had his queen chased round the board while Barrie developed his pieces. As the dust settled, Barrie had swopped a rook and two pawns for two bishops and a knight and an overwhelming attack. His opponent could have resigned much earlier than he did but chose to battle on, much to the chagrin of the Hemel players who wanted to go home. The inevitable duly arrived though and Barrie's opponent resigned.

After a promising start to the season Hemel 4 now find themselves in the relegation zone.

1. D Cairncross (119)    1 - 0     A Walker (95) (B)
2. H Udin (112)          0 - 1     B Saunders (-)
3. D Skidmore (103)      ½ - ½     R Johnson (84)
4. N Rashbrook (96)      1 - 0     B Forst (86)
5. P Bainger (75)        1 - 0     Default
                         4½- ½

HH1 vs Hertford 2 (H) - 9th February 2004

Philip Gregory reports:

This is a match we needed to win to ensure we stay in division 1 next year. A strong team turned out, so strong that for the first time I didn't have to play. John Sharp finished first, white in a French defence.

Philip Bonafont ground his opponent down as did Howard Tebbs. So that was the three points. Two games remain outstanding. Matthew Dignam has a dangerous attack for the exchange, while Andy Gilfillian has the better position too.

So a good solid win! Well done team.

Andrew won his adjoined game.

1. J Sharp (179)         1 - 0     P Lane (165)
2. M Dignam (178)         ADJ      P Borman (166)
3. H Tebbs (180)         1 - 0     A Du Boulay (153)
4. A Gilfillan (174)     1 - 0     P Paxton-Doggett (154)
5. P Bonafont (173)      1 - 0     S Morris (139)
                         4 - 0

HH1 vs Welwyn & Hatfield 1 (H) - 2nd February 2004

Philip Gregory reports:

This match could have gone either way, but went their way. Gary Kenworthy got into a mess from the opening but heroically managed to draw. I made little headway against Roger Gordon Smith although Gary kindly pointed out a win I had missed at the end.

Howard Tebbs had a miserable game against their highest rated player, Ben Savage. So the match depended on the middle boards. Philip Bonafont ground out an impressively controlled win. Andrew Gilfillian would have won but miscounted. No I don't mean miscalculated! He got into his usual time scramble and his flag fell. On reconstructing the position afterwards he and his opponent agreed he had just failed to make the time control. However when their team had left Andy found he had missed out a move in the reconstruction. So he hadn't lost on time after all! He had just miscounted!

1. G Kenworthy (206)     ½ - ½     J Coleman (197)
2. H Tebbs (180)         0 - 1     B Savage (202)
3. A Gilfillan (174)     0 - 1     A Milovanovic (175)
4. P Bonafont (173)      1 - 0     D Faulkner (172)
5. P Gregory (171)       ½ - ½     R Gordonsmith (143)
                         2 - 3

HH3 vs Watford 4 (H) - 26th January 2004

Paul Sargent reports:

1. R Gibb (135) (W)      1 - 0     A Riley (138)
2. T Rixon (129)         0 - 1     P Littlefair (127)
3. I Hall (109)          ½ - ½     C Russell (125)
4. P Sargent (102)       ½ - ½     A Ash (117)
5. P Castledine (98)     1D- 0     Default
                         3 - 2

HH2 vs St Albans 2 (H) - 19th January 2004

Steve Law reports:

A close match but another defeat. I didn't see a great deal of the other games as I had enough problems of my own creation, but early signs were even games on 2, 4 and 5 and a theoretical duel on 3.

Hector on had a slightly restricted position but had a chance for some exchanges leaving what I thought would have been a reasonable game, but he declined the exchanges and chose a more 'active' route, unfortunately it was his opponent who was active. Both boards 3 and 4 ended drawn, Adrian reported "theory until move 18, sacrificed 2 pawns then a bishop (declined) and bailed out with a draw by repetition".

Steve's game against John Simmons had looked good in the middle game, but had then drifted to an ending in which Steve had rook and good knight for rook, bad bishop and a extra passed rook pawn. Steve had three options: exchange to a rook ending, go for a perpetual check, or win the rook pawn. He choose the pawn win by a 'neat' rook sacrifice and then a knight fork, this was however followed by the bishop trapping the knight on the edge of the board.

In the mean time my game had gone from bad to resignable, my opponent had found a forced combination several moves deep, which left me with two rooks against rook, two bishops and a few extra pawns. The cost to him of finding this sequence was time, and with two moves to make played the 'obvious' pawn capture, I had seen would lose him a bishop and leave me material up and a probable quick mate, so on reaching the time control he resigned.

1. S Law (166)           1 - 0     M Lexton (160)
2. H Steen (145)         0 - 1     D Bower (154)
3. A Matthews (145)      ½ - ½     I Gooding (152)
4. R Gibb (135)          ½ - ½     D Tomson (152)
5. S Weston (135)        0 - 1     J Simmons (151)
                         2 - 3

HH U-100 vs Barnet U-100 (H) - 12th January 2004

Rob Johnson reports:

It started quite well on Monday with a relatively quick win for Andy. His opponent employed a Queen's pawn opening and Andy soon established control in the middle game. Andy managed to create a powerful passed pawn which his opponent could only stop by giving up his queen so he resigned. Everything seemed to go wrong from that point on.

Paul was white and faced the Sicilian against his e4. His counter Sicilian favourite... c3 worked well initially and seemed to prompt some deep thought from his opponent. The game developed into a particularly complex affair and Paul got into time trouble. His opponent on the other hand was playing blitz and had plenty of time left. Paul, in a hurry made some weak moves and with his flag about to fall lost a rook.

Rob as black faced the opening 1. b4. but the game transposed into a sort of Queen's gambit declined. His opponent took the initiative with the c file open but Rob managed to defend reasonably well. After some exchanges, his opponent had a 'good' bishop against Rob's opposite coloured 'bad' bishop which proved decisive. Rob tried a knight for two pawn exchange to promote some counterplay but merely prolonged the inevitable.

Barrie faced the French defence against his e4. In Barrie's own words, his opponent "kept snatching pawns". The game developed into an interesting position of rook and several passed pawns versus Barrie's bishop pair. One of the bishops had to be given up to stop one of passed pawns promoting, and then his opponent swapped his rook for Barrie's remaining bishop to enter an end game of king v king and three connected pawns.

Barnet go on to face the winners of Watford and Allenburys.

1. P Castledine (98) (W) 0 - 1     M Harding (99)
2. A Walker (95)         1 - 0     I Leighton (88)
3. B Saunders (-)        0 - 1     G Nunn (89)
4. R Johnson (84)        0 - 1     B Osland (82)
                         1 - 3

HH2 vs Letchworth 1 (A) - 5th January 2004

Steve Law reports:

Like they say it's a game of two halves, plus extra time.

With Adrian still playing at the Hastings tournament Tom stepped in for another trip up the A1, and with Letchworth missing one player the grades were very similar, and we got off to a promising start when I won the toss. Half way through the evening it looked as though the toss was going to be the only highlight, material down and bad positions on boards 1, 3, 4.

Hector's game was very level and remained so from begining to end, Tom's game was very double edged, attack for material, also from beginning to end. Then we had some luck, Rod's opponent had been the exchange up most of the evening was not making any progress and allowed all the kings side pawns to be swapped leaving drawing chances.

My game had reached a position which although not good was gradually improving, with only one move to make before the time control I managed to force a queen swap leaving me winning chances, but then on his last move Tim made a triple question mark move, which allowed me to win a pawn forcing him to exchange the queens undoubling my pawns, this left me two clears pawns up in a rook and pawn ending.

Having luck in two games meant the inevitable happened on board 4, when you're having a bad season you don't get the breaks, Steve reached the time control, but still down on material, had no option but to resign. So with extra time looming, we are left with what should be a win on 1, a draw on 2 and 3, and who knows what on 5.


Well a bit of a let down, with the prospect of 4 exciting adjourned games going down to the wire, ok only 3, only two of the Letchworth team made an appearence, the others had flat tyre trouble. Rod duly held out for the draw after fighting pratically the whole game the exchange down. But Hector made a mistake allowing his opponent to win comfortably. This leaves us likely losers.

Steve Law won his adjoined game.

1. T Thurstan (165)      0 - 1     S Law (W)
2. J Barnes (145)        1 - 0     H Steen
3. I Mutton (145)        ½ - ½     R Gibb
4. P Gardner (144)       1 - 0     S Weston
5. D Parrott (113)        ADJ      T Rixon

HH4 vs Letchworth 4 (A) - 5th January 2004

Rob Johnson reports:

"There's no such thing as luck in chess"

In early December, Hemel 4 were humbled at home, losing 4.5-0.5 to Letchworth 3. A month ago Hemel 4 were beaten by the patently better team, but this time I'm not so sure.

Rob employed the King's Gambit which was accepted. A couple of pawns up with the attack but behind on the clock, Rob snatched another pawn with his Queen. His opponent promptly pinned the aforementioned monarch to the King with his Bishop. First point to Letchworth and Rob's first loss of the season.

Andy was involved in a closed French and was all over his opponent's castled kingside position, when for some reason left a Bishop en prise. The Bishop was taken, second point to Letchworth.

Marcus was in a Queen's pawn game and he quickly controlled the centre, ultimately winning a pawn. The game continued with Marcus having the initiative but was unable to convert the additional pawn into a decisive advantage so a draw was agreed.

An unusually out of form Barrie employed his favourite opening, the modern defence. His oppenent won a Knight for two pawns fairly early on and then won the exchange of Knight for Rook in the middle game. Barrie defended staunchly but strong pressure was applied to his backward e pawn, his oppenent finally smashing through with a rook sacrifice. Another full point to Letchworth.

Bob was black again in the Ruy Lopez exchange variation. There was at least parity for Bob all the way through, and a watching Steve Law confirmed Bob had the better position in a rook and pawn end game. Unfortunately as the game progressed, his opponent managed to get his rook amongst Bob's unprotected pawns so Bob resigned.

1. T Walsh (88)          1 - 0     A Walker (W)(95)
2. G Williams (81)       1 - 0     B Saunders (-)
3. A Patterson (82)      1 - 0     R Johnson (84)
4. J Pepper (83)         1 - 0     B Forst (86)
5. S Johnson (93)        ½ - ½     M Chidwick (-)
                         4½- ½

HH Sharp vs Hoddesdon (?) - ? 2003

Paul Sargent reports:

1. Rod Gibb              0 - 1
2. Ian Hall              ½ - ½
3. Paul Sargent          0 - 1
4. Barry Saunders        1 - 0
5. Andy Walker           1 - 0
6. Default               0 - 1

HH2 vs Royston 2 (A) - 15th December 2003

Steve Law reports:

A win at last!

Things were looking good as all our team was there on time (in spite of 10 miles of cones on the A1 and not a worker in site), Royston were still phoning around for a 5th board. My opponent played a piece sacrifice on move 4, which does have surprise value, but as I'd seen it it didn't, I then played a bad 6th move which his reply failed to punish, I then had so many good moves to choose from, I possibly missed a quick kill as I chose development instead.

Looking round the other boards, 2, 3 & 4 were all at least even to plus in our favour, on 5 Steve had a material and positional advantage which he never let slip 1-0. Hector's opponent didn't seem to know what to play and a series of aimless moves had given him a difficult game to defend. Adrian had a big space advantage in the opening and his opponent eventually paid the price by getting short of time.

As both Hector and Adrian managed to win their games mine was getting worse as I continued to avoid any positive moves and I was forced to resign. This left us 3-1 up with Rod's game 2 rooks each and opposite colour bishops with a mass of pawns, so he agreed a draw. I blame my loss on Kevin Clark's mince pies, I think a dope test is in order, still another 10 miles of cones didn't seem to bad.

1. R Mycroft (167)       1 - 0     S Law
2. M Pinner (156)        0 - 1     A Matthews
3. N Thompson (116)      0 - 1     H Steen
4. K Woodhouse (116)     ½ - ½     R Gibb
5. S Cage (95)           0 - 1     S Weston

HH3 vs Little Heath 1 (A) - 3rd December 2003

Paul Sargent reports:

1. M Likemann (173)      1 - 0     R Gibb (135)
2. A Hunter (-)          1 - 0     T Rixon (129)
3. M Uniacke (159)       1 - 0     I Hall (109)
4. M Topham (137)        1 - 0     P Sargent (102)
5. P Williams (123)      1 - 0     P Castledine (98)
                         5 - 0

HH4 vs Letchworth 3 (H) - 1st December 2003

Rob Johnson reports:

An evening to forget for the 4th team.

Barrie uncharacteristically got caught whilst barely out of the opening by his opponent. Young Mr Cox brought his queen up into the middle supported by a bishop, simultaneously attacking a rook on a8 and the pawn on f7 whilst Barry was uncastled with his modern defence. The early loss of material was decisive.

Bob lost as black in the Ruy Lopez, losing a pawn and being ground down in the middle game, losing further material. Marcus lost as white in the Colle. Black won a bishop with some powerful doubled rooks on an open file and again, the loss of material was decisive.

Rob was two pawns up and could have forced a pretty mate involving rook, knight and pawn in the centre of the board. Instead of delivering Rf6#, he moved over that square to Rh6, blundered a knight away a few moves later, then made an illegal move a few moves later, so offered a draw which was accepted.

Andy's opponent sealed a move while being up materially after his Caro Kann defence. Andy is still mulling over his position, calculating the probability of his opponent missing the best move as his sealed move.

1. A Walker (95) (W) 0 - 1     I Jenkins (112)
2. B Saunders (-)    0 - 1     D Cox (110)
3. R Johnson (84)    ½ - ½     H Eva (89)
4. B Forst (86)      0 - 1     D Batey (86)
5. M Chidwick (-)    0 - 1     G Williams (81)
                     ½ -4½

HH1 vs Royston 1 (A) - 1st December 2003

Phillip Gregory reports:

This was crush by a team that overgraded us. The only bright spot was Philip Bonafont's win, a really interesting Botvinnik style anti-Meran. Andy Gilfillan had a great attack against Kevin Clark but lost his way in a shortage of time.

1. M Walker (198)        1 - 0     H Tebbs (180)
2. K Clark (182)         1 - 0     A Gilfillan (178)
3. P Kemp (180)          0 - 1     P Bonafont (173)
4. J Denton (178)        1 - 0     P Gregory (171)
5. M Pinner (-)          1 - 0     S Weston (135)
                         4 - 1

HH2 vs Hoddesdon 1 (A) - 27th November 2003

Steve Law reports:

Hemel defaulted the match 0-5.


HH1 vs St Albans 1 (H) - 24th November 2003

Philip Gregory reports:

The first team match against St Albans got off to a bad start when Howard Tebbs was stuck in a traffic jam on the M1. Steve Law substituted and got a creditable draw against Geoff Hollis.

On the other boards Matthew Dignam lost the exchange and is in a dire endgame position although he has not yet given up. Philip Bonafont is in a double bishop ending after a fascinating positional game. I drew in an uneventful game.

However the turning point of the match was Andy Gilfillian's game where Andy embarked on a sacrificial attack and was about to mate him when he lost on time in a mutual time scramble on, what the players laboriously worked out happened to be his 35 th move. His opponent had touched a pawn which had he completed his move would have led to his being mated (and so Andy's fallen flag an irrelevancy.) However, he unfortunately spotted the flag before he did so and, after consulting the rules of chess we conceded. So it looks as if the match is lost.

Philip B lost his adjournment against Fraser-Mitchell.

1. M Dignam (178)        0 - 1     S Roe
2. A Gilfillan (174)     0 - 1     N Wilmot
3. S Law (166)           ½ - ½     G Hollis
4. P Bonafont (173)      0 - 1     J Fraser-Mitchell
5. P Gregory (171)       ½ - ½     M Lexton
                         1 - 4

HH3 vs St Albans 5 (H) - 17th November 2003

Paul Sargent reports:

1. R Gibb (135) (W)      1 - 0     J Palmer (106)
2. T Rixon (129)         ½ - ½     R Claret (106)
3. I Hall (109)          ½ - ½     J Leake (107)
4. P Sargent (102)       ½ - ½     P Fitzgerald (97)
5. P Castledine (98)     ½ - ½     S James (92)
                         3 - 2

HH U-100 vs Royston U-100 (H) - 17th November 2003

Rob Johnson reports:

Andy Walker started with a queens pawn opening and ended up in an interesting position. He had a queen and rook versus two rooks and a bishop with both players having erratic pawn structures. Black had the initiative but Andy forced a perpetual check to force a draw.

Rob opened with a Sicilian and swapped his queen for two rooks and the attack. White brought his King out into the middle prematurely and lost a piece. The two rooks were on white's second rank with the white king trapped and the queen passive, so white resigned.

Bob opened e4 and faced a Sicilian. He won the exchange of rook for bishop but in his own words "got a bit greedy" and allowed his opponent back into the game who forced a perpetual check for a draw.

Barrie opened with a modern defence against d4 and played well, winning a bishop in the middle game. He ground his opponent down into a particularly passive position ultimately forcing him to haemorrhage material in order to stave off checkmate. He belatedly resigned.

Hemel won 3-1 and now face Barnet in the first round to be played before end of January.

1. A Walker (95) (W)     ½ - ½     S Cage (95)
2. B Saunders (-)        1 - 0     A Andrews (-)
3. B Forst (86)          ½ - ½     D Brown (72)
4. R Johnson (84)        1 - 0     R Wright (70)
                         3 - 1

HH4 vs Watford 5 (H) - 10th November 2003

Rob Johnson reports:

Rob's opponent played a Philidor's defence to the Italian game, but soon went wrong and lost a rook relatively quickly. This was converted into a victory and the first point went to Hemel. Andy Walker played a Kings Indian defence and earned a well earned draw against a stronger opponent, never looking troubled.

Bob lost a pawn in the opening as black in the Ruy Lopez exchange variation and the game panned out into a cagey rook and pawn end game. White managed to exploit some powerful connected pawns in the centre, ultimately invading the black defence and won a second pawn. Bob resigned and the honours were even at 1.5 points each. Marcus employed the Sicilian Scheveningen and achieved parity through most of the game until getting his pieces tangled up on the queenside. His opponent managed to exploit Marcus's overworked queen and won a piece. Marcus made life difficult and defended doggedly but the loss of material ultimately proved decisive. Watford pulled into the lead 2.5 to 1.5.

Attention turned to Barrie on board 2 and the last game of the evening. Employing a queens pawn opening, Barrie entered the single rook and pawn end game a pawn up and pressing forward with the initiative. Eventually the game had to finish owing to lack of time, the position looking fairly equal. After a Gade and Goose conference, Barrie returned home and a day or two later concluded it was a draw. Watford stayed ahead and won the match 3-2.

Despite the defeat, an overall very good performance from Hemel 4 against a stronger and unbeaten team (who currently head the division).

1. A Walker (95) (B) ½ - ½     D Ash (117)
2. B Saunders (-)    ½ - ½     C Byrne (110)
3. B Forst (86)      0 - 1     R Player (105)
4. R Johnson (84)    1 - 0     R Harrison (102)
5. M Chidwick (-)    0 - 1     D Healey (90)
                     2 - 3

HH1 vs Watford 1 (A) - 11th November 2003

Phillip Gregory reports:

We played a vastly improve Watford team who heavily outgraded us. Matthew Dignam, under the weather, succumbed as black to Watford's newly acquired IM. Andy Gilfillan drew in an exciting game where he sacrificed a pawn for an attack but was short of time. Howard, managing a solid return to chess after an absence, also drew. Philip Bonafont was offered a draw but, on the advice of your all wise match captain, played on a bit, and got the worst of it. Meanwhile your captain won pawn but came under a heavy attack. The two bottom boards have yet to be finished: the positions are not yet clear.

Report from Watford chess club website - click here

1. R Gwaze (223)         1 - 0     M Dignam (178)
2. A Stone (196)         ½ - ½     A Gilfillan (178)
3. J Rudge (180)         ½ - ½     H Tebbs (180)
4. R Sayers (173)         ADJ      P Bonafont (173)
5. C Chakanyuka (173)    ½ - ½     P Gregory (171)

HH2 vs Stevenage 1 (H) - 10th November 2003

Steve Law reports:

Inspite of outgrading our opponents it looked like a fairly tough match going by out recent efforts, especially with our star player sunning himself in darkest Africa, 33 degrees and nine females for company.

After an early look around I thought all was fine, Rod had white, so no guesses on the opening, by about move 15 the black king was looking in trouble and a bit later, 1-0. I was quite happy playing Phil (although 155 is a joke) as our previous 14 games had been kings gambits, and sure enough the 15th, I got no advantage in the opening and, just as I was beginning to dislike my position, I got a draw offer. After the game we found that I was completely lost, fortuneately I had accepted the draw.

Steve W's game had been looking serious for some time and he gave in when a piece down, appartently he's saving his best form for the next game against Hoddesdon. I had high hopes that Adrian would slaughter Chris to make up for my loss last year, it was looking quite good until ... he managed to let most of his advantage slip in time trouble, and had to accept a draw when his passed pawn was in danger.

So all down to Hector, he had forced what looked like a favourable bishop swap leaving a isolated pawn, but then allowed a pin and had to give up a pawn. All looking lost I thought another defeat was on the cards, but at the last minute Hector set up a nasty mating threat, when his opponent was forced to offer a draw.

So with luck on our side the first point on the season, only to find that the refreshments in the Gade and Goose have a taken a turn for the worse, seems that there's no call for real ale in Gadebridge, so it's back to the John Smiths.

1. S Law (W)             ½ - ½     P Maguire (155)
2. H Steen               ½ - ½     S Rawlings (155)
3. A Matthews            ½ - ½     C Lean (139)
4. S Weston              0 - 1     A Batson (134)
5. R Gibb                1 - 0     D Robinson (121)
                         2½ -2½

HH Russell vs Hertford (H) - Cup - 3rd November 2003

Philip Gregory reports:

1. J Sharp (179 )        ½ - ½     S Knott
2. H Tebbs (180)         0 - 1     S Swanson
3. A Gilfillan (174)     1 - 0     P Byway
4. R Gibb (135)          ½ - ½     B Cheal
5. P Gregory (171)       1 - 0     P Lane
6. S Law (166)           ½ - ½     G Dawes

HH4 vs Barnet Elizabethans 4 (A) - 3rd November 2003

Rob Johnson reports:

A fairly even night down in Barnet last Monday with not too much to report other than the 4th team came away with a 3-2 victory. Andy opened with the Italian game, Barrie with the Modern defence, Bob with a Queens Pawn, Rob with a Sicilian and Marcus with the Colle. Four of the five games were very even and ended in draws, Rob sealing the only victory when his opponent, operating an English attack, sacrificed a knight and a pawn for the initiative but didn't get enough compensation for the material.

To add a footnote, the league secretary has recently advised that the 3-2 defeat to Little Heath 2 for Hemel 4 has been reversed into a 3-1 victory, owing to LH&BP fielding a non-nominated player. Barring any appeals, that makes three victories from three games for the 4th team.

1. H Blank (98)          ½ - ½     A Walker (W)(95)
2. G Nunn (95)           ½ - ½     B Saunders (-)
3. B Osland (68)         ½ - ½     B Forst (86)
4. I Riddoch (61)        0 - 1     R Johnson (84)
5. M Pickering (-)       ½ - ½     M Chidwick (114)
                         2 - 3

HH3 vs Barnet Elizabeths 2 (A) - 27th October 2003

Paul Sargent reports:

1. M N Jones (125)       0 - 1     R Gibb (135)
2. R Teff (112)          ½ - ½     T Rixon (129)
3. S Williams (114)      1 - 0     I Hall (109)
4. J Appoh (-)           1 - 0     P Sargent (102)
5. F Anderson (-)        1 - 0     B Saunders (-)
                         3½ -1½

HH1 vs Hertford 1 (H) - 20th October 2003

Phillip Gregory reports:

A stunning victory against Hertford 1. Hector Steen crushed his higher grade opponent. Philip Bonafont confirmed his present fabulous form - he got in a difficult position with his king stuck in the centre and with Paul Byway having tactical chances. Paul missed a promising line and then blundered in time trouble. I had an indifferent draw and Howard Tebbs, playing his first game for the club, hung in with Steve Swanson.

So we were three up, the match won. In the remaining game, Andy blundered the exchange against Simon Knott and has adjourned in a grim position, which he subsequently lost.

1. A Gilfillan (W)       0 - 1     S Knott (214)
2. H Tebbs               ½ - ½     S Swanson (207)
3. P Bonafont            1 - 0     P Byway (199)
4. P Gregory             ½ - ½     B Cheal (166)
5. H Steen               1 - 0     J Angus (157)
                         3 - 2

HH4 vs Little Heath 2 (A) - 22nd October 2003

Rob Johnson reports:

The first defeat of the season for Hemel 4 last Wednesday. Bob Forst employed a Queens pawn opening for an even game, a relatively quick draw agreed.

Rob opened with a Sicilian and faced the Morra gambit. Despite being the exchange down (rook for bishop), he managed to exploit some poor defending from his opponent. Grabbing some key pawns, Rob then forked the enemy king and an en prise knight with his Queen, his opponent was left with a hopeless position and resigned.

Marcus opened with the Colle, but an untimely Queen side pawn push left a hole in his defenses which his opponent's active knight was able to exploit, trapping a rook. Marcus managed to grab some pawns and he started to push his pieces forward, but the loss of material ultimately proved decisive. His king caught in a mating net, he resigned, and the points were even after three games.

Barrie had an interesting contest. He was a couple of pawns up and had a bishop, knight and rook against two rooks. The enemy king was left unattended and trapped on the first rank but his rooks were both on the seventh rank bearing down on Barrie's fianchettoed kingside castled position. A draw was agreed by repitition but later analysis disclosed a forced checkmate for Barrie which involved the active participation of his latent bishop, leaving his king to fend for itself.

So honours were still even and attention turned to Andy on board one, the remaining game. Andy employed the Italian game and was defending a tense position in the middle game when he left a bishop en prise which was gratefully accepted. Andy's opponent was way behind on the clock and in time trouble though so Andy persevered. The two then engaged in a cagey rook and pawn end game, Andy still a bishop down. With a minute or two left on the clock, Andy's opponent then switched to blitz chess mode, promoted a pawn and delivered a checkmate a few moves later. A tense finish and a close defeat.

1. C Cook (109)          1 - 0     A Walker (w)(95)
2. S Dicks (110)         ½ - ½     B Saunders (-)
3. M Chesworth (99)      ½ - ½     B Forst (86)
4. P Marx (-)            0 - 1     R Johnson (84)
5. C Charalambous (-)    0 - 1D     M Chidwick (114)
                         1 - 3

NB Actual result for Board 5 was C Charalambous 1 - 0 M Chidwick but C Charalambous had
not been nominated and thus a penalty point has been applied.

HH3 vs Hertford 4 (H) - 20th October 2003

Paul Sargent reports:

1. R Gibb (B)            0 - 1     B Judkins (135)
2. T Rixon               0 - 1     L Noble (125)
3. I Hall                1 - 0     D Rudd (113)
4. P Sargent             1 - 0     S Zsibrita (113)
5. P Castledine          1 - 0     D Marshall (93)
                         3 - 2

HH3 vs Barnet Elizabethans (H) - 13th October 2003

Paul Sargent reports:

1. R Gibb (B)            1 - 0     Mike Jones (125)
2. T Rixon               0 - 1     Martin Jones (125)
3. I Hall                ½ - ½     F Anderson (-)
4. P Sargent             1 - 0     D Ben-Nathen (103)
5. P Castledine          1 - 0     Default

HH2 vs Watford 2 (A) - 14th October 2003

Steve Law reports:

Against a very strong Watford 2 side we stuggled to make much progress, it never looked as though the top 3 boards could do more than break even, and with board 4 looking like a likely time scramble the match looked evenly balanced.

My opponent pushed his kings side and center pawns forward until the point I thought I could break them up, but then all my pieces were tied down and I could only usefully force a queen swap, soon after I was offered a draw. Board 4 was the next to finish, with a complicated position and lots of play left, Adrian, behind on the clock but in a good position, offered a draw, which Barry eventually decided to acccept.

The other games all went to the time control, on board 1 Philip looked to have an even position for most of the game, but right near the end his opponent had activiated hs rooks, but he suprising agreed a draw. Hector had been defending R+3 v R+4 all on the same side, by the end of play this had been reduced to R+2 v R+1 with a certain draw the outcome.

Tom stepping in a the last minute, had a very promising attack for his sacrificed pawn for most of the game, but just before the time control Mike managed to swap queens. The adjourned position looks grim, 3 pawns down. So the result is likely to be a 2-3 defeat.

The refreshments at Watford are always good, this year they are serving a nice pint of Youngs, nearly as good as previous seasons London Pride. But a word of warning, don't try and analyse your game in the bar, my grumpy the barman gets upset, appartently the 'members' don't like it, although none were spotted.

The adjourned games against Watford 2 were both lost, Tom conceeded without playing on. Hector looked certain for a draw but following passive defense after the ajournment he then activated his rook, this is almost always the thing to do in rook endings... but in this case it wasn't. So we lost the match 1½-3½

1. P Gregory (B)         ½ - ½     H Syed (161)
2. S Law                 ½ - ½     M Robertson (160e)
3. H Steen               0 - 1     I Khandaker (157)
4. A Matthews            ½ - ½     B Morris (156)
5. T Rixon               0 - 1     M Boyce (154)

HH1 vs Welwyn & Hatfield (A) - 7th October 2003

Phillip Gregory reports:

A good result against a team which outgraded us. We were helped by the fact that their three top boards turned up late so were handicapped by time. Matthew outplayed his redoubtable opponent in time trouble, Andy Gilfillan always had the better of what turned out to be a draw, but your captain lost through a blunder in time trouble. So the match is even but in both the unfinished games we are a pawn up. So we could win the match.

1. N Alfred (198)        0 - 1     M Dignam (178)
2. B Savage (202)        ½ - ½     A Gilfillan (178)
3. J Coleman (197)       ½ - ½     P Bonafont (173)
4. A Malvovanovic (176)  1 - 0     P Gregory (171)
5. D Faulkner (170)      0 - 1     S Law (164)
                         2 - 3

HH2 vs Letchworth 1 (H) - 6th October 2003

Steve Law reports:

The signs looked promising when the top four boards of the Letchworth team turned up late, but inspite of closing the betting earlier on a top board draw, Tim Thurstan turned down Kevin's offer and then produced a Knight sacrifice which effectively sent Kevin home for an early bath.

Against me on board two Ian Mutton chose the sharp the Dragon Sicilian, but then delayed his attack for a couple of moves which was never likely to succeed, one each. Adrian on board three was in trouble, although he had long term winning ideas on the queen side the king was looking lonely facing a barrage of pieces, a neat bishop sacrifice finished the game. Hector had been sitting on a nice advantage for most of the game, although he cut it fine with the clock leaving barely a few seconds for his last move, no change there, he still has the advantage, some say enough to win.

On board five both players entered a time scramble and when Steve's clock fell they had to reconstruct the position to find that they he had made the time control, the adjourned position at first sight looked to have promise, but when the Letchworth players looked at it later in the Gade and Goose it seems a very dismal position.

The pub next door has now been refurbished with a new range of beers, anyone foolish enough to order the Directors on previous occasions will be suprised to find they can now drink it. Better still they serve a nice pint of Abbott and IPA, and I assume the larger still tastes, well like larger.

So the likely outcome is a defeat maybe 2-3 if Hector feels like making Stephen Turner suffer. It was nice to hear, and also not to hear, the singing down stairs had stopped in favour of their AGM, perhaps she has been voted out - we can only hope.

1. K Ellis (B)   0 - 1    T Thurstan
2. S Law         1 - 0    I Mutton
3. A Matthews    0 - 1    M Pateman
4. H Steen       ½ - ½    S Turner
5. S Weston      0 - 1    D Gardner

HH4 vs Stevenage 3 (H) - 6th October 2003

Rob Johnson reports:

A good start to the season for Hemel 4 with a home victory against some worthy opponents. Andy on board one didn't come out of the opening too well against a French defence and was ground down in the middle game against a stronger player. Rob's Scheveningen Sicilian was passive for a long time until he won the exchange of Knight for Rook, having the upper hand in the end game when his opponent's flag fell.

Marcus opened with the Colle but got himself into a cramped position. His German silicon friend Fritz revealed a winning sacrificial continuation against his opponent's queenside castled position, but this was missed and Marcus was ultimately beaten.

New member Barrie and old stalwart Charles both used irregular openings to bamboozle their opponents. Barrie was four pawns up when his opponent gallantly offered a draw, Barrie politely declined and unsurprisingly went on to win easily. Charles had a tough game but his streetfighting qualities ultimately won through and he came away with a point.

1. A Walker (88) (W) 0 - 1     D Cairncross (111)
2. R Johnson (83)    1 - 0     N Rashbrook (-)
3. M Chidwick (-)    0 - 1     D Skidmore (101)
4. B Saunders (-)    1 - 0     A Simm (-)
5. C Phillips (80)   1 - 0     A Foster (-)
                     3 - 2

Individual Results

Hemel Hempstead 1

  Welwyn & Hatfield (A) Hertford 1 (H) Watford 1 (A) St Albans 1 (H) Royston 1 (A) Welwyn & Hatfield (A) Hertford 2 (H) Hertford 1 (A) Watford 1 (H) St Albans 1 (A) Royston 1 (H) Hertford 2 (A)
Gary Kenworthy           ½     ½      
John Sharp             1         1
Matthew Dignam 1   0 0     ADJ 1 1   ½  
Andrew Gilfillan ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 1   1 1 ½ 1
Howard Tebbs   1 ½   0 0 1 ½ 0 ½   ½
Philip Bonafont ½ 1 ADJ 0 1 1 1 ½ 0 1 ½ ½
Philip Gregory 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½       0 0 0
Steve Law 1     ½       ½   ½    
Hector Steen   1                 1  
Steve Weston         0              
                1 Default        
  3-2 3-2 1½-2½ 1-4 1-4 2-3 3-2 2½-2½ 2½-2½ 3-2 2½-2½ 3-2

Hemel Hempstead 2

  Letchworth 1 (H) Watford 2 (A) Stevenage 1 (H) Hoddesdon 1 (A) Royston 2 (A) Letchworth 1 (A) St Albans 2 (H) Watford 2 (H) Stevenage 1 (A) Hoddesdon 1 (H) Royston 2 (H) St Albans 2 (A)
Kevin Ellis 0                      
Phillip Gregory   ½                    
Steve Law 1 ½ ½   0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1
Adrian Matthews 0 ½ ½   1   ½ 0     ½ ADJ
Hector Steen ½ ADJ ½   1 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0
Steve Weston 0   0   1 0 0   ½ ½ 1 ADJ
Tom Rixon   ADJ       ½   0        
Rod Gibb     1   ½ ½ ½ 0 0 0 1 ½
Paul Sargent                 ½      
Paul Castledine                   0    
        5 Defaults                
  1½-3½ 1½-1½ 2½-2½ 0-5 3½-1½ 2-3 2-3 ½-4½ 2-3 ½-3½ 3-2 1½-1½

Hemel Hempstead 3

  Barnet Elizabethans 2 (H) Hertford 4 (H) Barnet Elizabethans 2 (A) St Albans 5 (H) Little Heath 1 (A) Watford 4 (H) Letchworth 2 (A) Hertford 4 (A) St Albans 5 (A) Little Heath (H) Watford 4 (A) Letchworth 2 (H)
Rod Gibb 1 0 1 1 0 1 1          
Tom Rixon 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 1 0 0 0 ½ 1
Ian Hall ½ 1 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 0 1
Paul Sargent 1 1 0 ½ 0 ½   ½ ½ 0 0 ½
Paul Castledine 1 1   ½ 0 1D ½ 0     ½ 0
Barrie Saunders     0       ½   1D 0   0
Andy Walker               ½ 1   0  
Rob Johnson                   0    
  3½-1½ 3-2 1½-3½ 3-2 0-5 3-2 3½-1½ 1½-3½ 2½-2½ 0-5 0-5 1-4

Hemel Hempstead 4

  Stevenage 3 (H) Little Heath 2 (A) Barnet 4 (A) Watford 5 (H) Letchworth 3 (H) Letchworth 4 (A) Stevenage 3 (A) Little Heath 2 (H) Watford 5 (A) Letchworth 3 (H) Letchworth 4 (H)
Andy Walker 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Rob Johnson 1 1 1 1 ½ 0 ½ 1   1 1
Bob Forst   ½ ½ 0 0 0 0   ½ ½ 1
Marcus Chidwick 0 0 (the game was awarded on default since Little Heath player was ineligible) ½ 0 0 ½         1D
Barrie Saunders 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 1 ½ 0 ½ 1
Charles Phillips 1             ½   1  
              1 Default 1 Default 2 Defaults    
  3-2 3-1 3-2 2-3 ½-4½ ½-4½ 2-3 2-3 ½-4½ 3-2 5-0

Cup Matches

  U-100 vs Royston Sharp vs Hoddesdon Russell vs Hertford U-100 vs Barnet
John Sharp     ½  
Howard Tebbs     0  
Andrew Gilfillan     1  
Rod Gibb   0 ½  
Philip Gregory     1  
Steve Law     ½  
Paul Castledine       0
Andy Walker ½ 1   1
Barrie Saunders 1 1   0
Bob Forst ½      
Rob Johnson 1     0
Ian Hall   ½    
Paul Sargent   0    
    1 Default    
  3-1 2½-3½ 3½-2½ 1-3

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