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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With Gravesend postponing their match against us on 16th December the first team has completed its pre-Christmas programme of fixtures in the Stevenson Cup. We have played just one match (!), the 3.5 – 2.5 win over Dartford. So, a 100% base for the second half of the season!
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 Ke7All 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
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.
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.
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
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
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?? Nxd7Salvation! 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
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.