On Wednesday 23rd March the En Passant Cup team played its final match of the season against Dartford. The winner of the match would be in the semi-finals with Dartford having the odds of the draw.
It was a close match. Ian McAllan reached the first time control with a completely drawn ending. Bob Mitchell then lost, but Rob Pezet won with a crushing king hunt. Dave Helps then accepted a draw in a very blocked position leaving the match level with two games to finish. Lee Brockwell had been a good pawn up, but chose the wrong path, while Gary Sharp’s opponent’s unintentional piece sacrifice was good enough for a draw. In time-trouble Gary had to choose between two defences and unfortunately chose wrongly, so Dartford were in the semi-finals. Lee then accepted his opponent’s offer of a draw to make the result a 3.5 – 2.5 win for Dartford.
We did get the second highest number of game points in the division so I think we are an established team in the En Passant Cup now.
On 25th February the Harvey Cup tam played Beckenham & Bromley and drew 3 – 3.
Don Chapman made a good save to draw after losing the exchange early on. Gary Sharp and Ken Smith had solid draws and Rob Pezet played well, but could not find a way through. With Ian McAllan converting what always seemed a superior position and Sarah Walker-Buckton losing a hopeless ending in the last game to finish, the match was tied.
On 2nd March the Harvey Cup team played Petts Wood and lost 2.5 – 3.5.
We started well with Ken Smith’s poor position becoming a quick win, Gary Sharp having a solid draw and Rob Pezet having one of his quick wins. Things seemed to be going very well as Ian McAllan seemed to have the better position and the bottom two boards were unclear. However, when we lost on the bottom two boards all depended on Ian’s game. Ian reached the first time control a pawn up, but with no obvious way to proceed. Overpressing, he allowed his pieces to go offside and lost.
The 3rd team played their final Tom Fuller league fixture against league leaders Beckenham, knowing a win was essential to guarantee progression to the semi-final stage.
The teams were evenly matched and grades suggested we should win the top 2 boards, and lose the bottom 2.
However junior David Dallakyan bucked the grading and produced his debut win for the club on board 3, against the experienced Alan Fraser.
David Helps then provided a 2nd win on board 1 after his opponent left his queen en prise.
The final 2 games were quite even until Don Chapman blundered a piece and eventually lost.
This left everything depending on Bob Mitchell, who’s opponent was in time trouble in a very locked up position. They played on for some time keeping the crowd on tender hooks, but eventually the position become completely locked and they agreed a draw.
On Thursday 18th February the Harvey Cup team went to Dartford to play the league leaders, who had won all their matches. The result was a 4.5 – 1.5 victory, which never looked in doubt.
Sarah Walker-Buckton won quickly after her opponent blundered. Don Chapman won a piece for two pawns and his opponent then lost further material. Gary Sharp managed to recover from a horrible opening to draw. Ken Smith was unfortunate enough to come up against a player just returned to competitive chess after a long gap with an estimated grade much lower than his grade in the past and lost fairly quickly. Rob Pezet’s opponent was a substitute who started the game late and lost a pawn, which proved decisive. Ian McAllan always had the initiative and won after his opponent preferred the loss of a piece to the loss of a pawn.
On Wednesday 10th February the Harvey Cup team played Chislehurst. It was a close match, which we lost 2.5 – 3.5..
After an early loss on board 6, down to a blunder, it looked bad when Rob Pezet lost a rook, but Rob attacked and won the ending. Gary Sharp felt that his position was level for a long time, but that then he threw it away in three moves. Dave Helps just made the first time control and precise defence beat off his opponent’s attack and won the game. The turning point in the match came when Ian McAllan, whose position had been very good for a long time, blundered away a piece. This meant Chris Cheeseman needed to win and his game went to the wire. With both players having less than a minute left to make all their remaining moves in a complicated position, with Chris slightly better on time and position, Chris’s opponent stopped his clock and asked what the match score was. When he restarted the clock he started Chris’s clock instead of his own and, when this was pointed out, offered a draw, which Chris accepted.
The Intro Cup team have played two matches recently. In the first against Petts Wood we narrowly avoided a 4 – 0 whitewash when Chris Cheeseman turned his game around in time-trouble to give us a slightly more respectable 3 – 1 defeat.
The second match against Eynsford was also unsatisfactory, although we nominally won. Eynsford advised us in advance that they could only bring three players, so we started with a 1 – 0 lead by default. Sarah Walker-Buckton lost to her stronger opponent and Chris Cheeseman beat a weaker opponent leaving the result dependent on David Dallakyan, playing only his second game for the club. David’s opponent had spent all but ten seconds of his time building up an overwhelming position and had a forced mate, but forgot to press his clock and ran out of time. It then transpired that, instead of the flag falling, the digital clock went on to a third session i.e. the clock had been set up with the wrong setting. The result was annulled, so we had an undeserved victory.
Sidcup’s first team hosted Beckenham for their 3rd En Passant league match of the season on Wednesday. Having so far won 1 and lost 1.
So this was a must win if we were to have any chance of qualifying for the knock out stages.
David Gilbert was the first to finish, agreeing a draw on board 3. Rob Pezet then managed a fine win on board 2 against an opponent graded 13 points above him at 155. Bob Mitchell followed this with an agreed draw in a queen and rook end game which was going around in circles on board 5. I then managed to win a game in which positional advantage seemed to ebb and flow considerably. At one point I though the position lost, yet was surprised to find after that Fritz maintained I was never behind.
This left us 3 – 1 up with 2 games still active. Ian on board 1 and David on board 5. David Helps clinched the win with a fine display, which ended with a combination trapping his opponent’s queen.
Ian eventually lost an end game in which he was well behind on material.
So a great result for the club – Sidcup 4 Beckenham 2.
The below is an interesting position I found myself in towards the end of my game. With little time left and possibly quite a lot of play, I was looking for a quick mate or way to win quickly. Fortunately my opponent blundered and saved the possibility of me losing on time.
However I never found the mate. When I went over the game later I found there was a mate in 3 for white which I missed.
Sidcup hosted Charlton in their 3rd Tom Fuller league match on Wednesday the 6th January, in their first 2016 fixture.
Bob Mitchell led from the front on board 1 and recorded an early win, after his opponent played an debatable knight sacrifice, when underdeveloped. Bob took advantage of this and delivered a convincing attack to win early.
Lee Brockwell, on board 2, was offered a draw shortly after.
At this point board 3 was even and board 4 was looking like a win. Masud was a piece in front and had a strong attack building. Having refused a couple recently in similar situations and going on to lose tricky end games, I was determined to put the team first this time and took the draw.
However one can never be sure at this level, and shortly after, Masud gave back his piece advantage and lost the initiative. There was a noticeable change in body language, with Masud looking like he had given up for a couple of moves, when he lost another pawn. However he regrouped and made it difficult for his opponent, who eventually blundered a piece after leaving a knight defended by a pawn which was pinned and couldn’t be used to take back without losing his queen when the pin was removed. Surprisingly not only did he miss the loss of his knight, he touched the pawn and knight before realising, but was forced to take and lose his queen.
A resignation followed immediately which clinched the match. Sarah played her usual solid game and eventually agreed a draw in a very tight, well matched game.
Final result Sidcup 3 Charlton 1.
League situation: Played 3 Won 2 drawn 1.
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