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.
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.
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.
The league season is over with mainly disappointing results.
One of our best players was unavailable for all but one match because of work commitments and another was ill for most of the season, but that does not fully explain why our Stevenson Cup and En Passant Cup sides won only one match each.
Our Harvey Cup side had an average of six players unavailable for each match and did well to be in the running for a semi-final place until losing its last two matches and finishing in mid-table.
However, our Intro Cup side, which was the only team to have a settled side, won their division despite never fielding a team with an average grade of as much as 90 and being out-graded in most of their matches. The semi-final against Medway was drawn 2-2, but we lost on tie-break, Janis Elton having won on bottom board. Janis, with a season’s score of 7/11, will surely be seeing her grade go up substantially.
Sidcup once again competed in the summer quickplay, which is always thoroughly enjoyed by those participating. Each match consists of a team of 4, where each player plays 1 * 30 minute game, against each of the opponents players. As a result, 16 games are played in one night.
We were drawn in a league which consisted of Beckenham, Weald of Kent, Tunbridge Wells, and Eynsford.
We finished with 3 losses and 1 win. beating Eynsford, and only losing to a strong Tunbridge Wells team by the narrowest margin.
Thanks to everyone who played, and contributed to 4 very enjoyable evenings.