The Kent Under-160 team has won the Southern Counties Cup and qualified for the national stages, after another scintillating Saturday afternoon at the Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford where they drew 8-8 in a thrilling match against Essex.
Kent initially went three points down, but fought back to share the match with Sidcup’s Gary Sharp contributing a win. Gary and his opponent had reached an equal looking end game, each with a Rook, Bishop, Knight and six pawns. Gary first forced off the Bishops and then the Rooks. It looked a draw to most observers but Gary then started to outplay his opponent. First he got his Queenside pawns moving, then exchanged his Knight for three pawns and ended the game with his opponent in zugzwang.
Dartford’s David Orr (pictured above), playing White against Alan Riddoch on Board 16 attracted the attention of on-lookers. He had sacrificed both Bishops for a powerful attack with Queen, Rooks and pawns. But, as David moved to connect his Rooks on the d-file, he inadvertently knocked over his King which had sat on g1, only to replace it on the f1 square. Neither player had noticed and so the game continued. As you’ll see that proved to be important to the outcome of the game.
Black gave back a Bishop for a pawn in an attempt on free-up his position and both sets of Rooks were exchanged. With David about to Queen his h-pawn Alan found the game-saving move (see diagram), Qh5 threatening checkmate on White’s back rank and vacating the f7 square for his Knight. However, you’ll notice that if the White King had been where it should have been on g1, rather than f1, there would have been no defence. The game ended in a draw. Afterwards both players were surprised to discover that the White King had jumped a square during the game!
With one match each to play the Under-160 table looks like this:
Kent’s Under-120 team were also in action against Essex. They travelled across the River to Wanstead for the match and included Sidcup’s Lee Brockwell in their twelve. Lee now plays off a grade of 111 and has moved up to board 6 where drew with the Black pieces against Stephen Woodall. That half-point helped Kent to a 7-5 victory, which leaves them in a very strong position in the Union stages with three wins and two draws. The League table looks like this: