Hackney 3’s hold their nerve against tough opposition

On Wednesday 24th October, in the third fixture of the season, Hackney 3 played Beckenham & Charlton 1.
Beckenham & Charlton 1 are a new side in division 3, having been relegated from division 2 at the end of last year. They typically play with 200+ players on their top 3 or 4 boards, and our match strategy was to try and hold them on the top boards and win on the lower boards.
Not surprisingly, when the team sheets were exchanged, Hackney were out graded on the top 6 boards, and by an average of 9.8 points overall. Beckenham won the toss and Hackney played white on the even boards. It was going to be another tough match!
We made a good start, with Jeff, Peter and Jonny holding their higher rated opponents to draws, keeping the game level and helping to nullify Beckenham’s top board strength.
Then Salim won, and Robin’s opponent overreached, losing on time. Hackney were up 3.5 to 1.5, but with Paul and Rauf defending difficult positions, the match was still wide open.
On board 10, Mark’s lower rated opponent, who had insisted on playing long play, offered a draw. This was refused, and Mark then won a pawn, but his opponent sealed a move at the first opportunity, taking the game into an adjournment.
The remaining games were using quick play. As the clocks ran down, Beckenham pulled back 3 points when Paul, Rauf and James all lost, but Emyr kept Hackney in the match with a stunning win. This meant we ended the night level, with both teams on 4.5 points, and the match result dependent on the result of the adjourned game.
All three results are still possible, with the match now scheduled to continue on 28th November. Mark will resume a pawn up in a complex bishop and pawn ending.
Regardless of the outcome of the match, Hackney have done well to secure at least 4.5 points against a strong Beckenham side. This will make a significant contribution to our tally of ‘games for’ in the event we end the season level with another team on match points.
Well done everybody!
I stood down for this match to allow for some rotation of players on the lower boards, but was there on the night with Frank to support the team. I will complete the match report when we know the result of the adjourned game.
Alistair