Our Stevenson Cup side played Lewisham 2 in the last match of the season on 11th March 2020 and the last match for some time since matches in the Kent League have been suspended.

The match seemed to start badly when one of our players had a domestic emergency, which meant he did not arrive. So we started a point down, but thereafter wins by Jim Johnson and Dave Helps and a draw from Tony Packham left the match poised at 2.5 – 2.5 and when Ian McAllan drew one of his long games we had drawn the match.

Ian McAllan


On 4th March our En Passant Cup team played Beckenham. The winner would be the Metropolitan Area champions. Unfortunately Beckenham could only put out a weak team and we won the match comfortably with Jim Johnson, Ian McAllan, Greg Edwards, Dave Helps and David Hackett all winning to give us a 5 – 1 victory.

Congratulations to captain Lee Brockwell.

Ian McAllan

Sidcup 2 V Gravesend 2

Something’s Happening Here

Sidcup’s second team have moved to the top of the En Passant section of the Kent League with a win over their rivals from Gravesend.  The table after the match looks like this:

Sidcup were missing their inspirational captain Lee Brockwell who had deserted the club in favour of the slopes of the Pyrenees.  David Helps stepped into Lee’s snow boots and they seemed to fit immediately.  In recognition the boiler at the Hurst Community Centre was also taking the night off. 

Lee Brockwell missing captain
David Helps taking up the reins

The evening began with a brief discussion on the bottom boards about a League proposal to be discussed at the next AGM to switch to incremental time controls.  Chess leagues in London have taken the lead and others are following suit, but in Kent there are views on both sides.  It could be a long meeting!

Then there was chess.  We got started on time and Jim Johnson agreed an early draw with Gravesend’s David Clear.  It wasn’t long before David Helps had levelled in his game and he also split the point on board four.  Another half-an-hour went by before the next games finished, and they were both wins for Sidcup.  Ken Smith on board six had developed a crushing attack that forced a resignation and David Gilbert on five was two passed pawns ahead when his frost-bitten opponent (Black to play) decided to call it a day.

The match result was sealed when Tony Packham’s opponent offered a draw on board two, despite being a pawn up, which caused an immediate handshake.  Finally, with the tables and chairs being stacked around them and the last of washing-up soap suds being sucked down the sink, Sidcup’s Ian McAllan and Gravesend’s Kerry Kingston agreed a draw on three.  Indeed no other result is possible in an ending with King and Knight versus a lone King.  Sidcup had a 4-2 victory.

Sidcup’s final match in the En Passant section is another crucial one at home to Beckenham & Bromley on Wednesday, 4 March 2020.

David Gilbert

Harvey Cup

The Harvey Cup team finally got off the mark against Charlton on 29th January.

Chris Cheeseman and Bob Mitchell had good wins and although we lost fairly easily on the top two boards we were better throughout in the other two games. 

Lee Brockwell did not manage to convert his position into a win and drew, but David Hackett kept control and won handily giving us a 3.5 – 2.5 win.

Ian McAllan

Stevenson Cup

Well, we finally played another match and are still unbeaten. Chislehurst put out a very strong team against us and after Dave Hackett’s early loss against a very experienced player, we were always on the back foot. However, Ian McAllan won when his opponent played unsoundly and Jim Johnson, Tony Packham, Greg Edwards and David Gilbert all drew.

Ian McAllan

Intro Cup

Last season our Intro Cup side won many matches against stronger opposition in winning the metropolitan section of the Intro Cup, but this season the wheels have come off and we lost all three matches before Christmas. 

It looked like this dismal sequence would continue in our first match of 2020 against Lewisham when we were in losing positions on all four boards, and indeed we lost our games with white, but Janis Elton luckily won on time and Dave Helps turned his game around to win and draw the match.

Ian McAllan

Bob Mitchell’s Crete Games (4/4)

This is the final part of my series. If you haven’t already, please ready parts one, two and three which led up to this.

Round  Seven

Jason Madden Eng 1590 – Bob Mitchell NZL 1527

By this time other players were starting to wish me luck, and I was getting friendly smiles from all sides. I was feeling very confident.

1.e4 d6 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Be3 Ne5 5. Nd2 a6 6.h3 b5

7.Bb3 c5 8.f4 Nc6 9.Nf4 e6 10.a4 Bb7 11.Qe2 Na5 12 ab5 Nxb3 13.Nxb3 ab5 14.00 Be7 15.Rxa8 Bxa8 16.Ra1 00

17. e5 Nd5 18.ed6 Bxd6 19.Ne5 Nxe3 20.Qxe3 Qc7

White seems to prefer Knights to Bishops, but Black was happy to trade them off.  The opening follows a variation from Cyrus Lackdawala’s book on 1….d6  and I seem to have come out of the opening phase reasonably well.  21.d4 cd4 22.Nxd4 Qb7

23.Nef3 Bc5 24.Kh1 Rd8 25.c3 Qb6 26.Qe5 b4 27.Nb3 Bd6 28.Qd4 Qc7 29.Ne5 Bxe5 30.Qxe5 Qxe5 31.fe5 bc3 32.bc3 Bd5 33.Nd4 g6 34.Re1 Rc8 35.Re3 Ra8 36.Rg3 h5 37.Nb5 Bc4 38. Nd6 Ra1+  39. Kh2 Bd5  40. c4 Bc6 41.Nc8 Kf8 42.Nd6 Re1 43.Rg5 Rc1 44.Rg3 Rc2 45.h4 Rd2 46.Rg5 Re2 47.Kg1 Rd2 48.Kf2 Rd4 49.g3 Rd2+ 50.Ke3 Rd1 51.Nc8 Bg2 52.g4 hg4 53.Rxg4 Bh3 54.Rf4 Bf5 55.Nd6 Rd3+56.Ke2 Rc3 57.Kd2 Rc2+ 58 Ke3 Rc3+ 59 Kd4 Rd3+ 60.Kc5 Ke7 All these checks have allowed the White King to find an offside position on c5 where it blocks progress of the pawn and is separated from the main area of play.   61.Kc6 Kf8 62.Nb7 Rd1 63.Nc5 Ke7 64.Ne4 Rd4.  A blunder by White who now loses a piece.

65.Rf2 Bxd4 66.Kc5 Rd7 67.Kb6 Bf5 68.c5 Kd8 69.Ra2 Be5 70.c6 Bxc6 71.Kxc6 Rc7+ 72.Kd6 Rd7+ 73.Kc6 Ke7 74.Rf2 Rd4 75.Rh2 Rd4 76.h5 gh5 77.Rxh5 Rc4+ 78.Kb5 Rd5 79.Kc5 Rd5+ 80.Kc4 Kf8 81.Rg5? f6 82.Rg6 Rxe5 83.Rxf6+ Kd7 and White resigned.   It seemed to me that white was a little tired or perhaps dispirited.  No matter, I was pleased to accept the resignation, as the game was by no means won at that point.

Round Eight

Bob Mitchell NZL 1527 – Joergen Koehner Ger 1545  London

It is not often that one achieves a Royal Fork in a game and even less often that it need not be exploited.   I was very pleased with this game as it ensured that I would at least have a share of first place, no matter what happened in the last round.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Bf4 e6 4.e3 Nbd7 5.c3 Be7 6.Bd3 Nh5

7.Bg3 Nxg3 8.hxg3 Nf6 9.Ne5 Bd7 10.Nd2 Bd6 11.f4 Qe7

12.Qc3 Ba4 13.Kf2 000 14.c4 dc4. White is already opening crucial lines to Black’s King.  Black does not seem to be familiar with the opening.  15. Ndxc4 h6.   This pawn is quite safe because of the Bishop trapping potential of g6.  I was pleased to see this move.  16.Na5 Nd5 17.Rhc1 Bxe5 18.de5 Qb4 19.Nc4 Kb8 20 a3 Qe7 21.Rab1 Bc6 22.Qe2 f6

23.Na5 Bd7 24. Ba6 ba6 25.Qxa6 Bc8 26 Nc6+ 1-0 and there it is.  A Royal Fork but with mate next move also provided.  Black resigned.

Round Nine

A look at the leader board showed that with best results by my opponents I would share first place even if I lost the last round.  I very nearly did just that, but as in Round 7 luck swooped in to save me.

Dr. Andreas Gerlach Ger 1593 – Bob Mitchell NZL 1527

1.Nf3 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 g6 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.e4 e5 6.de5 de5

7 Qxd8+ Kxd8.  Caught between two openings with the worst features of both, I can already hear the rumble of thunder.

8.Bg5 Be7 9.Rd1+ Ke8. 10.a3 Bg4 11.Be2 Bxf3 12.Bxf3 Nd4m13.00 Nxf3 14.gf3 Rd8?   I am playing in a trance.  Better was either h6 or a6.  15.Rxd8 Bxd816. Rd1 Be7. 17.Nb5 h6 18.Nxc7+ Kf8 19 Rd7??  Nxd7   Salvation!  I had done almost enough to lose miserably, but lady luck was driving the car, so I was able to score my best ever result in international competition.  White resigned immediately. 0-1

However luckily obtained, the title of World Champion  Grade E was mine.   Margaret had been waiting nervously outside the playing room and was receiving updates from passing players.  The grim news suddenly turned sunny so she was as thrilled as I was.  The closing ceremony passed in a daze, but my wife took a shot of me and my trophy that I can admire when I get old and grey.  

Here are the players that took part and one final photograph of me. Thanks for reading, Bob.