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Hampton checkmate Southborough despite shaky start

By Ronit Raj

Hampton’s D Team chess players beat Southborough’s A team 8-4, winning the match by a convincing margin after a close start.

In the first round, Hampton started off shakily on the first three boards. Henry Ayres, who was on Board One, was up against a formidable opponent and was unfortunately defeated after he lost a rook in the end game. Ayres’ opponent took advantage of this and promoted a pawn to win. 

On Board Three, Andrew Blackburn started his game with a Queen’s Gambit – sacrificing a pawn to gain control of the central squares on the board. Blackburn was then able to pin his opponent’s bishop and make a fork with his knight. This won him a bishop and Blackburn secured a checkmate at the end of the game. 

On Board Five, Nico Alfonso played against an evenly matched opponent. Both sides developed their pieces and traded equally until Alfonso moved his knight to check the king and attack the queen. This resulted in his opponent having to move his king, leaving Alfonso to take the queen. This allowed another emphatic checkmate for Hampton. 

At the end of the first round, the score was 3-3 and it was all to play for. 

In the second round, both teams were playing slightly more cautiously by keeping their pieces and not trading. Hampton had won on boards four, five and six, but boards one, two and three were having a tough game. 

Board One witnessed an extremely long match. From 25 minutes each, it came down to under five minutes each. Ayres was equal in material with his opponent in position and material until he managed to win a pawn through the en passant capture move. With only 32 seconds left on his clock, Ayres checkmated his opponent to make the final score 8-4 to Hampton. 

Board Two also witnessed a thrilling game, though it was unfortunately lost on material at the end game when the Southborough player took the tie through promoting pawns. 

Meanwhile, Ryan Budd on Board Three had lost a knight early in the game. His opponent was close to checkmating Budd, but then the Southborough player lost his rook. Budd was able to promote his pawns and win the game. Later, he said “I did not think I would win but a single mistake from my opponent cost him the game.” 

Hampton Chess coach Mr McBay said: “It could have gone either way in that second round but with some good play from Hampton we got a well-deserved win.” 

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