First league match for over 18 months….we lost

Over the board league chess ceased in March 2020 and leagues were suspended during lockdown. For some, the various online leagues that were organised have provided continuit. The chance to play competitive matches, with post match discusions on zoom. Others took a prolonged sabbatical from game.

19 July 2021 – Freedom Day – meant weddings, nightclubs and chess could resume without restrictions. Chess tournamemts were held, with suitable precautions. Emails were sent enquiring about club appetites to resume leagues, and fixtures were drawn up. We only had a week to find 5 players for our first fixture. At such short notice, we managed to find 4. The most important thing was to fulful the fixture and start the season.

 Herts CA : Herts League – Division 2B   Monday 8th November 2021         Borehamwood white on odd boards            

           St Albans 3                                     Borehamwood
Board  1 : Hotala, Grzegorz            1710   1-0   Choudhury, Shakeel             1803
Board  2 : Taylor, Stephen A          1750   1/2   Kent, Anthony R                    1750
Board  3 : Cross, Ian K                    1728   1-0   O’Sullivan, Terry J                1510
Board  4 : Ball, Matthew P              1690   0-1   Devan, Matthew                   1495
Board  5 : unlisted player                       –   1-d   default                              –
  Match Score :                                    3.5 – 1.5

The league kindly split Division 2 regionally to cut down on travel. We were last in Division 3, so a handy backdoor promotion. Shakeel was outmanouvered by his opponent on board 1. Terry was under pressure and had to cede the exchange, from which he could never recover.. Matthew played the black side of the Ruy Lopez and secured a fine win. After a Leningtad Dutch, black (to move) on board 2 reached the following position. With a time control of 70 minutes + 10 seconds a move, black needed the righ strategy to win.

28…Qg7 was played won black the b pawn, but but allowed the white to f3 and some counterplay. The computer likes 28…Qe6 which threatens Qe1 and then targetting white’s king f pawn. Black settled for a draw in a fairly level position where it was not easy to make progress.

Every player from each team seemed pleased to see each other. People matter, even if you only see them once a year at a chess match. We are all part of the eccentric chess ecosystem, and it was great to be back pushing wood again.

Elstree & Borehamwood Town Council Civic Festival- Chess Evening 2021

Over the board chess came to a halt in March 2020 with lockdown. With restrictions, and understandable trepidation, games could only realistically be played outdoors till this summer. Elstree & Borehamwood Town Council again kindly offered us a spot in their annual civic festival at Fairway Hall, Borehamwood.

6 sets and clocks were set up, the mayor was present, and the doors opened. 14 people turned up, which was brilliant. 3 Chess club members, strong juniors, families, and the curious. We were asked if we could do this every week. Sadly not! Volunteers are needed, and rooms have to be to be hired and paid for.

Hopefully league chess will return in the coming months. Enjoy the summer!

The mayor opens proceedings.


We are still here – but online as Lonely Herts

Covid-19 stopped all UK over the board chess back in March 2020. Borehamwood Chess Club could not complete its fixtures in the Hertfordshire League and things went quiet for many weeks. Over the Summer, more and more tournaments went on line as existing and new leagues started online versions.

Online team chess is not the same as face to face. It lacks camaraderie, though zoom chats going through games can help restore this to some extent. Borehamwood were invited to join the Herts online league which runs every other Tuesday evening. Only two of us signed-up because online chess is not to everybody’s taste, and there are other Tuesday chess (or non-chess) alternatives. We have joined up with Stevenage to form a Lonely Herts team.

Dan Marcos

Anthony Kent

Dan has had some good games. Here is his win against Andrew
du Boulay (Dubzwang) of Hertford Chess Club.
Dan is worse off worse off with black, and has just played 19..Qb6?! leaving has Knight unprotected on Q7. White sees the ‘free’ knight and takes it….
But 20 QxN check is met with 20…Rf7. The white queen must retreat (back to Q2 in the game), but black has Qg1 check winning the h2 rook. With hindsight, 20. 0-0-0 was strong for white. Dan went on to win.

Anthony’s most recent game on Tuesday 10th November was against Terry Douse (Roysturdee) of St Albans Chess Club. As Black, Anthony was a bit worse off after playing 23….. Ng6-d5?? which allows 24 Bxb5! However white chose to play 24. Nd4 ??

which allowed 24…NxN 25. exN e3! and now white has problems, He cannot take the e pawn, and f4 and Bf5 are threatened. Black went on to win comfortably.

More games and news to follow. New online members welcome.

Herts Division 2: Wins against Welwyn and St Albans

Our record now reads played 6: Won 3 , lost 3. Mid-table is a good place to be in our debut season in Division 2

Herts CA : Herts League – Division 2                                 
                                           Tuesday 14-January-2020                                           

            Welwyn Hatfield 1                               Borehamwood 1
Board  1 : Robinson, Adam                170   0-1   Simmons, Matthew                   202
Board  2 : Brennan, D Ross                 177   1/2   Raoof, Adam N                      185
Board  3 : White, David                        154   0-1   Marcos, Dan                        172
Board  4 : Faulkner, David J               155   1/2   Rubeck, Jonathan                   171
Board  5 : Gordonsmith, Roger H       153   1/2   Kent, Anthony R                    158
  Match Score :                                    1.5 – 3.5

Yet another win for our start player Dan Marcos. Pleasing that nobody lost either.

Herts CA : Herts League – Division 2                                     
                                           Tuesday 21-January-2020                                           

            Borehamwood                                St Albans 2
Board  1 : Simmons, Matthew               202   1-0   Willmott, Neil D           169
Board  2 : Marcos, Dan                          172   1-0   Gemmell, John             167
Board  3 : Rubeck, Jonathan                  171   1/2   Lawrence, Paul            165
Board  4 : Kent, Anthony R                     158   1/2   Freeman, Jon A            166
Board  5 : Gesthuysen, Malcolm           139   0-1   Sommerbauer, Ben     150
 Match Score :                                     3 – 2

Good wins on boards 1 and 2 lead the team to victory

A welcome win against Hemel

Herts League – Division 2         Tuesday 19-November-2019                                           

           Borehamwood                                    Hemel Hempstead 2
Board  1 : Simmons, Matthew            202   1-0   Clarke, Peter C                  183
Board  2 : Marcos, Dan                         172   1-0   Williamson, Kevin J        168
Board  3 : Kent, Anthony R                  158   0-1   Valentine, Brian J             167
Board  4 : Gesthuysen, Malcolm       139   0-1   Matthews, Adrian MS      158
Board  5 : O’Sullivan, Terry J               112   1-d   default                             
  Match Score :                                     3 – 2

At Last. We finally won a Division 2 league match with thanks to Matthew, and Dan on the top 2 boards and a default on board 5. Dan got his trademark attacking win. Matthew trapped his opponent piece. Anthony essayed a hedgehog which started well but was too spiky without proper support. Malcolm’s faced a Benko and got overpowered by his opponents rooks.

White resigns on board 1

No Fireworks against Stevenage

Herts CA : Herts League – Division 2                                 
 Tuesday 05-November-2019                                           

            Borehamwood 1                             Stevenage 1
Board  1 : Simmons, Matthew    202   0-1   Amato, Giampiero           177
Board  2 : Raoof, Adam N             185   1/2   Scarwell, Seb                      172
Board  3 : Rubeck, Jonathan      171   0-1   Robinson, Dominic            157
Board  4 : Marcos, Dan                  172   1-0   Rawlings, Stephen L         149
Board  5 : Kent, Anthony R           158   0-1   Price, Michael K               136
 Match Score :                                   1.5 – 3.5

On paper, Borehamwood were stronger on every board. But paper does not win matches. Only Dan (pictured below) managed a win. 2 defeats out of 2 so far is a disappointing to our maiden season in Division 2. Things can only get better.

Borehamwood start season with win against Welwyn Hatfield

Herts & District League – South (Grades under 160 ECF / 1900 ELO)                                          
                                           Tuesday 15-October-2019                                           

           Borehamwood                                     Welwyn Hatfield
Board  1 : Kent, Anthony R  (B)             158   1-0   Fisher, Jim R  (W)            140
Board  2 : Gesthuysen, Malcolm          139   1/2   Smith, Andrew PE           126
Board  3 : Sear, Kevin                          117   1-0   Read, Matthew                 135
Board  4 : O’Sullivan, Terry J                 112   1/2   Wali, Mir M                        120
Board  5 : Devan, Matthew                      109   0-1   Sims, Tony J                   110
Match Score :                                      3 – 2

Borehamwood Chess club are again fielding 2 teams this season: First team plays in Division 2 of the Hertfordshire league for the first time; Second team plays in the Herts and District League. Last night’s match got off to a good start with Kevin Sear winning against his opponents Polish Opening. Malcolm Gesthuysen handled a Ruy Lopez Schliemann Defense well and got a comfortable draw. Anthony Kent walked into an opening trap and lost the exchange early on. Fighting back to a Bishop and 2 pawns for a Rook, black’s bishop pair were strong. White spurned a draw offer, overstretched, and payed the price. On board 4, Terry draw with Wali on a very locked position that neither side could progress. Board 5 was hard fought, but in the end black could not recover from being 2 pawns down.

Tense pawn-locked position on board 4
Black under pressure

Double completed over Bishops Stortford

We managed to beat Bishops Stortford 3.5 – 1.5 at home last week. This week, we drove up the M11 for the return match, and managed to win again by the same margin. Also means we have won Division 3 of the Herts League!

Herts CA : Herts League – Division 3                                
Thursday 04-April-2019               Away Team white on Odd Boards                            

          Bishops Stortford 2                             Borehamwood
Board  1 : White, Kevin D                   176   0-1   Marcos, Dan                      171
Board  2 : Acton, Tim                          142   0-1   Kent, Anthony R             153
Board  3 : Osiyemi, Lara                     139   1-0   Gesthuysen, Malcolm   142
Board  4 : Heffer, Judith                      140   1/2   Sear, Kevin                       119
Board  5 : Cowlin, Andrew                  120   0-1   O’Sullivan, Terry J         105
Match Score :                                    1.5 – 3.5

Dan Defeated Kevin White on Board 1 with a strong attack in the Londom System. An excellent result.  Anthony won a reversed scicilan in an open tactical game, his opponent running out of time in lost position. Kevin obtained a solid draw in even position. Terry mated his opponent. Malcolm unfortunately played the moved he should have played next (O-O) first, and prompltly lost a piece. Nobody can catch us now in the league – we are champions with 2 matches to go.

Win against Bishops Stortford

Herts CA : Herts League – Division 3
Tuesday 26-March-2019

       Borehamwood 1         Bishops Stortford 2

Board 1 : Raoof, Adam N 179 1-0 Acton, Tim 142
Board 2 : Rubeck, Jonathan 167 1-0 Osiyemi, Lara 139
Board 3 : Marcos, Dan 171 0-1 Heffer, Judith 140
Board 4 : Kent, Anthony R 153 1-0 Heffer, Mark 120
Board 5 : Gesthuysen, Malcolm 142 1/2 Cowlin, Andrew 120
Match Score : 3.5 – 1.5

First – apologies to our legion of fans for not posting for a while. Too busy playing chess. This win gives us 7 wins, a draw and a defeat from 9 matches so far this season. We outgraded Bishops Stortford on all boards, but it wasn’t all plain sailing. Anthony’s opponent played a dubious line of the Pirc Defence which was duly exploited. Dan castled queenside to attack opponents king-side , but lost to a strong attack on f7 which gave his opponent the exchange and control of the 7th rank, leading to a forced mate. His first defeat of this season. Adam won convicingly with the French, and Jonathan also expoited material advantage. Malcolm’s game went to the wire on time until a draw was agreed in a rook and pawn ending. The return away match is next week

Action on Boards 1 and 2

Herts League: Now 5 out of 5 after win at Royston

Having beaten Royston a few weeks ago at home, this trek up the A1 was always going to be tougher without our top 2 graded squad players. The weather was benign, and we arrived in good time. On paper, the teams looked very even.

Herts League – Division 3
Monday 17-December-2018

Royston 2 v Borehamwood

Board 1 : Walton, Paul 161 0-1 Marcos, Dan 158
Board 2 : Strehl, Arek 147 1/2 Kent, Anthony 151
Board 3 : Jackson, Simon C 142 0-1 Gesthuysen, Malcolm 139
Board 4 : Hurricks, Dave 138 1/2 Sear, Kevin 111
Board 5 : Judkins, Brian D 138 1-0 O’Sullivan, Terry J 107
Match Score : 2 – 3

First, Anthony drew after a an exchange of pieces in the Sicilian. Then Malcolm’s opponent played the Slav, and surprisingly castled queen-side. He then lost a piece when his queen could no longer cover it after a tactic.
Dan had a nice win  – see below. After he played 18 Bxg6, black replied Nxd, then 19. cxN BxRh8 follwed by the excellent 20. Be8!, with white threatening mate from N on g5 and the queen. Material was won, and white soon finished the job. Terry’s pieces where too busy defending and his position was breached. Kevin’s opponent was very short of time, living on the 10 second increments.  A draw was agreed in a queen and rooks ending which was the a fair result. So we squeezed a 2-3 victory.

Dan, above, contemplating his next move

Kevin and Terry in deep thought

Have a great Christmas and New year. Back for more in 2019!