Rendle-Crichton, Hillingdon League 2011-12

Martin Crichton sends in several games for the archive. The first, Rendle-Crichton, Hillingdon League 2011-12, has some interesting background. In Martin’s words (slightly modified to fit the blog format):

“I went into semi retirement from chess in mid 2010 (my daughter was born on 11-01-2011) and I hadn’t played a game in the Hillingdon league for my local team Greenford in nearly 2 years. My captain pleaded with me to turn out for a special appearance as the team needed to avoid relegation and were paired against a strong West London team where their board 1 was expected to be about 180 (approx 2075 Elo).

I turned up with my captain to the West London venue which is played in a majestic old room complete with 20 foot high ceilings, 10 foot high portraits decorating the walls and mini throne type chairs. I met an old chess friend whom I had not seen in 10 years. I was surprised to see Jason and after a quick chat learned that he had only recently joined West London chess club. I asked was he playing as I thought he might be playing on one of the lower boards but he explained that he was only here to watch the top board! A few minutes later I recognised Thomas Rendle walking into the venue. I was surprised. Thomas had never played in the Hillingdon league before and has never played since. The Hillingdon league is a local low division type with an average rating in the top division of about 150 or 1800 Elo. As far as I know Thomas was the highest rated player to ever play in the league.

West London won the toss and they chose the white pieces on the odd boards so I had the black pieces. The game didn’t quite go according to the script and after the match was finished we retired for a quick drink to a nearby pub. I went along for a diet coke as I was in a good mood. One of the West London players had a tablet with a chess program on it so they, along with Thomas and myself, went over our game as we input it. I would just like to say that Thomas Rendle is one of the nicest chess players on the tournament circuit. In front of all his new team mates and the Greenford players he was explaining that he was basically being outplayed for most of the game and he didn’t deserve the draw in the end. (I dropped a pawn in time trouble.) Jason got his free master class after all, just not from the player he was expecting to give it.

A funny aspect of the game was that Thomas told me he had been coincidentally studying the Panno variation 3 days before the match and he had gotten his variations mixed up when he played Qd3

Rendle-Crichton, Hillingdon Leaggue 2012

and that he was expecting me to reply with …f5 instead of the natural …Qa5 (when he then had to expend 30 minutes to find a way of avoiding losing a whole piece).”

I should note that after tracking down the league’s final table for 2011-12, I found that far from being relegated, Greenford finished runners-up overall. The captain must have been exaggerating the emergency.

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