Apr 10, 2024

Luton Chess Mubarak! Luton A v Open University

On Tuesday 9th April, the Open University came to Luton on a day of Eid Celebrations to play against the A team. A win for the home side would keep us on top of the division. But if the margin of victory was big enough, then division title would be theirs. Could they do it? This is how the match unfolded.

Board 5: Default 0 - 1 Aleksandar Juhasz

Team captains Dixon and James had been in contact to exchange notification that the OU were missing a team player this evening and defaulting on board 5. Aleks had merely to turn up to the match, which he did but like me, decided to stay on for the evening to watch the games.

Luton A 1 - 0 Open University

Board 2: Tommy O'Brien v Vincent Edwards

Tommy has a wide opening repertoire and for this match, he wheeled the English Opening from his armoury. Both players moved quickly, indicating that they were in their preparation into the middle game. Vincent launched an attack on the f2 pawn, trading Knight & Bishop for Rook and Pawn. Black then threw pawns towards White's Kingside in an all or nothing attack, creating a passed pawn that got as far as g3. The position looked dangerous for both sides as this left Black's King without any protection. But Tommy had the passer under control, and had aligned both Bishops and Queen at long range on diagonals towards the enemy King. Vincent was able to block the centre with pieces and counter threats. White then switched attack to the Queenside, gaining a pawn, which Black tried to parry by trading pieces. Black was seduced by a Rook fork on Whites Queen and Knight, seemingly protected by a pawn - but that pawn was pinned by Bishop on Black's exposed King. Tommy snapped up the Rook and was clinical in the finish to force mate.

Tommy's game will be fully annoted and posted in the Games section of the website and his notes will be much better than mine.

Luton A 2 - 0 Open University

Board 4: Dixon Jones v Mark Osborn

Dixon and Mark had crossed swords earlier in the season, in which Dixon said Mark gave him a hard game. With colours reversed, Dixon played a Queens Gambit Exchange and the game was common theory up to the eighth move. Mark stacked his Bishops on the d-file, but this missed a tactical continuation which cost him a centre pawn. Black traded pieces and moved his artillery to the Queenside, leaving his King with just pawns as a stockade. Dixon then attacked with Knight and Bishop, shattering Black's Kingside and invaded with his Queen, picking up pawns and Rook and and the win.

Luton A 3 - 0 Open University

Board 1: James Alexander v Julian Hudson

With the match now won, all we needed was one more point to make Luton A uncatchable at the top and win the division. James began with an English Opening and Julian responded with a symmetric Kings Indian Attack. Julian had not played against the English in a rated game this season, tried to find something different against James's solid position by initiating contact and creating a hole on d4. But then Black miscalculated some tactics and got into uncomfortable position, with his Bishop stuck on c8 blocking his Rook. Julian said his indeciveness, and tactics let him down this evening and he couldn't quite do it. Despite his loss, Julian did treat us all by bringing and playing on his stunning 1972 Fischer-Spassky designed chessmen and gorgeous raised board. Why don't we all do this?

Luton A 3 - 1 Open University

Board 3: Nigel Collins v Daman Singh

Nigel opened with the third English opening of the evening's match and pushed his all of his pawns forward for an ambitious attack. The bold maneauver looked like paying off, blocking pawns on both Wings, and Black's position looked cramped. But Daman managed to prise open the e-file and double Rooks for strong counterplay. The game was briefly paused over a league rule violation on the recording of moves, and three minutes added to White's time. Then Nigel stopped the clocks again, this time in error, but Daman didn't want nor need to claim the two minutes back, with plenty of time on his clock and winning position. With all eyes on him, the student of Physics forced the win with Newtonian certainty.

Luton A 4 - 1 Open University

With this result, Luton A now lead the division by a clear margin and will win the division on match points. That's a very impressive achievement for a team of mostly new players to the league on their first season!

We rounded off the evening by celebrating in a coffee bar, whilst Luton Bury Park nearby celebrated the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid. The fireworks felt like they were for us.

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