Sidcup’s David Gilbert travelled with the Kent Under-140s to Coulsdon on Saturday to take on their Surrey rivals. David, playing on Board five, made a winning contribution (game beneath) in a thrilling 8-8 draw. Kent secured their equalizing point when Mark Stone from Petts Wood won the last game to finish, winning on time in a Queen and pawn ending with just one second – yes one second – remaining on his clock! Phew!
Meanwhile the Kent Under-100 team set off for Wanstead to play Essex. Sidcup’s Lee Brockwell and Chris Cheeseman were due to play on boards three and four. While Chris had a fine win, unfortunately Lee’s opponent defaulted. As it was, Kent still went down narrowly 6½ -5½. It is the second time this season Kent have gone down by the smallest possible margin.
Sidcup 2 played Petts Wood 4 on Friday night and secured their first win of the season. The evening started off well with Ian Reeve beating a young Siyang Xu. It is always difficult playing youngsters as they improve so quickly and the ratings they are given at the start of the seasons can leap dramatically during it. However, Ian coped with him well and won in 48 moves (see below).
The next game to finish was my loss against Phil Wheeler. I am having a very bad season with four out of four losses and not a win in sight. I at least had a small advantage in this game and lost in my usual fashion of making a silly blunder in the middle game (see games below).
Ken asked the score and when I said we were drawing at one each, he looked at Ken Smith’s game who was in a very commanding position against Phil Easthope and offered a draw to his opponent Roger Blundell, who accepted his offer. This put us in a very good position as Ken was well up and had plenty of time to make it count. He duly went on to secure the full point for us.
The Kent Under-160 team were back in action against Surrey at the weekend, with Sidcup’s Gary Sharp representing the County. Gary was paired with Michael Gunn. Michael is the closest thing we have to Chess Royalty – he is currently the Non-Executive Chairman and Acting-CEO of the English Chess Federation. But the presence of aristocracy had no effect on Gary who soon had his opponent in trouble and helped Kent to a comfortable victory by 9½ – 6½, leaving them top-of-the-table with a 100% record of three wins from three matches.
In other news, last weekend, Lee Brockwell (captain of the Sidcup 3 side in the Fuller Cup) made his debut for Kent’s Under-100s. Although Lee won his game, it wasn’t quite enough as Kent slid to a narrow 5½ – 6½ defeat at the hands of Surrey.
There is a temptation in games that start 1e4 e5 and with white bringing a bishop to c4 to prevent white playing Ng5 to attack the f7 square by playing h6. This is usually wrong. It is preferable to get the king’s side pieces out and castle. If white wants to waste time swapping his developed bishop and knight for rook and pawn, that should be fine by black.
Here is a drastic example of what can go wrong played recently by myself. After move 8 black has a lost position and even after the better 8 …. c5 white is doing well with 9 Nd7 Ke7; 10 Qc5 Kd7; 11 Qb5 when black has his king in the middle in advance of his whole army. 5 …. Qe7 would have made the best of a bad job.
Our Sidcup 2 team played their third match of the season against Lewisham 6 which ended up in a 2-2 draw, gaining our first point of the season. It was a bit disappointing as we were hoping for a win.
Ken Grist (playing on board 4) was the first to gain a half point in drawing with Martin Stone. Then Leon performed what is becoming a guaranteed act on board 2 and won a point for us. Then, unfortunately, Dennis lost in a hard match against Delroy Bennet.
The last match to finish the evening was the closest and most exciting when Ken Smith (playing against Michael Knight) gained the draw we needed on the night for our first point of the season. Playing black, he was in a winning position but time was running out for him and the flag on his clock was seconds away from falling therefore losing the match but by repeating a position 3 times, the game ended in a draw. I am sure that if the time had not been a factor, he would have gained a full point for us. The game started in an unusual Queen’s Fianchetto opening after move 5 for both players. I can only find 1 other game played out of a 4 million game database which was played in 2002 by Navis as white and Poobalasingam as black, who went on to win in 33 moves.
I attach part of the game between Ken and Mike taken from Ken’s move list but unfortunately because he was in time trouble at the end, the score is not complete and the moves only can go to move 35. After that, he did manage to get the pawn on d4 home to be a queen and rook up at the end with having to swap his other rook for white’s queening pawn on b8. At the end, he was up a queen and rook against a bishop and knight with pawns being equal, but the three white pawns covering white’s king were stopping black from winning.
Sidcup’s Dave Helps, Gary Sharp and David Gilbert were all in action for the Kent Under-160 team who travelled through the Blackwall Tunnel to Wanstead at the weekend. Although Dave Helps lost, Gary Sharp and David Gilbert both managed draws against higher rated opponents as Kent surprisingly overcame a powerful Essex side. The narrow victory by 8.5 – 7.5 takes Kent into pole position in the Southern Counties Chess Union stage for Under-160 teams with two wins from two matches.