Sidcup’s David Gilbert was joint winner of the London Classic Weekday event at Olympia for players with an ECF grade under-135. David finished with four points out of five, tied with Hugh Tassell, another Kent player. In the photograph both are playing with Black pieces in the final round of the event.

Photo courtesy of Brendan O’Gorman
Photo courtesy of Brendan O’Gorman

David won his first two games relatively comfortably, then faced a stiff task against his Sidcup teammate, Bob Mitchell, in the third round. Bob had the better of the game which went for 60 moves, but David defended stoutly and held out for a draw. He was even more fortunate in the fourth round where he came up against Oxford mathematics student Sam Bentham. David found himself a piece down for two pawns, but managed to create counter-play with two passed pawns. The threat was too much for Sam who gave back the piece for two pawns and the game petered out to a draw.

David was now running in a tie for second and faced the leader Peter Rawcliffe in the final round needing a win to finish top. Peter is a seasoned performer at this level and won his section at the Berks and Bucks congress earlier in the year with a convincing 5.5/6.

David Gilbert

All Play All Simul

Seven Sidcup players were nursing their bruises this morning after last night’s time-handicapped all-play-all simul! Seven players each playing their six opponents over 21 boards at the Hurst Community Centre. Several yellow cards were shown as the participants threw their bodies around the playing area. At one point Dave Helps was trapped by a skilful pincer movement by Keith Thompson and Chris Cheeseman before managing to barge himself to freedom.

Slippery Mark Lenette seemed to ghost around his boards capitalising on his time advantage over his rivals and soon built up a good lead as wins on time began to add up. But he was being pegged back as Rob Pezet, Bob Mitchell and Dave Helps played some solid chess, picking-off their rivals one-by-one. David Gilbert faded with exhaustion and was taken away for a psychiatric assessment for organising the event.

After two hours, an unusual evening had been won by Rob Pezet, with Dave Helps taking the silver medal and Mark Lenette a splendid third. The wooden spoon belonged to Chris Cheeseman who managed a win over Keith Thompson after Keith forgot about the game for the first half-an-hour leaving him a long way down on the clock!

The results were captured for posterity on Mark’s iPhone:



David Gilbert


A good few days for two Sidcup players, Robert Pezet and David Gilbert, who finished tied-third in the intermediate section at last weekend’s chess congress at St Albans. They each played four games, Robert winning two and drawing two, while David won three and lost one (to the eventual winner). Both players took half-point byes in the third round to give them scores of 3½/5. They won’t be getting rich though – they share the £70 third prize with four other players!

3 David GilbertDavid Gilbert

Robert Pezet

Robert Pezet

Here’s how David demolished David Grange in the 2nd round.

David Gilbert

[Photos courtesy of Brendan O’Gorman]

County Matches 15.12.13

Sidcup players have been busy representing Kent at various levels this season.

Ian McAllan was in the Kent U-180 team that beat Middlesex at Willesden last month. Gary Sharp has been engaged for both the Under-160 and Under-140 teams, scoring 50 per cent in his two games at the higher level, while winning and drawing in the lower tier. He’s been joined in the Under 140 matches by David Gilbert who has won his only game. Lee Brockwell has been the draw specialist this season, drawing all three of his games for the Under-120s. Chris Cheeseman is playing top board for the Under-100s and is doing well with a commendable win and a draw so far.

Chris Cheeseman, unbeaten for the Kent Under 100s
Chris Cheeseman, unbeaten for the Kent Under 100s

At the halfway point the world is looking pretty good for the Kent teams. The Under-180s have won their only match; the Under-160s have a win and a loss; as do the Under-140s; the Under-120s have two wins and one loss; and the Under-100s have won their two matches. All have realistic expectations of making it to the national stages.

Some news from the recent English Chess Federation Annual General Meeting where it was decided by narrow margin, 89 votes to 88, to retain the national stages of the Under-100 County Championship. That must be good news for all the County’s Under-100s.

David Gilbert

Computers: Love ‘em, hate ‘em!

Most players now do their post-game analysis with a computer in front of them. They are awfully good at showing where we went wrong. Last week David Gilbert was playing a Club match which hadn’t gone to plan. He had reached the position in the diagram as black and it seemed white was winning comfortably. David moved his King to the f8 square to avoid threats from the white Queen and resigned a few moves later in a lost position. Can you spot the move he missed?

Board Position
Board Position

1. ……… Bc3 wins. White can only prevent checkmate by giving up his Queen for nothing.

For example 2. bxc3 dxc3 and there is no way of stopping Qb2 checkmate.
Alternatively 2 b3 is met by Qb4 and white can’t prevent Qa3+, followed by Qb2 checkmate.

Come along to the Hurst Community Centre in Hurst Road on a Wednesday night from 7.30pm if you are interested in finding out more about the local chess scene.

David Gilbert

Why Play Chess?

David is a chess junkie! He knows it and he can’t help it.

David on his way to glory at Imperial College last weekend.
David on his way to glory at Imperial College last weekend.

The last few weeks have been no different. Two weekends ago he was trying to out-psych his opponents in a five round competition in Bury St Edmunds. A weekend during which he didn’t lose, but won only one of his five games, drawing four. One of the interesting people he met on the road was Paul Bennett who is walking from Horton-on-Sea on the east coast to St Michael’s Mount on the west coast, raising money and awareness for homeless charity Shelter. Oh and he’s doing it on stilts!

Last Wednesday, David was playing down at the Hurst Community Centre for Sidcup Chess Club who were matched-up with their rivals from Charlton in the En Passant Cup. Sidcup won the match 3½-2½ with David contributing a full point. In case you’re wondering En passant means ‘in passing’. It’s a special chess move where a pawn takes a opponent’s pawn either on the third or sixth rank. Not many non-players know about this! Why should they?

Talking about non-chess players, David says the question they usually ask is “how far ahead do you calculate?”. Like most things in chess, it’s not a simple answer. David explains that whilst it’s possible to calculate lots of moves ahead when there are only a few bits left on the board there’s not much point at the beginning when there are loads of pieces. “If there’s no forcing move it’s best to think about how to improve the position of your pieces to make them more active” he advises.

Last weekend David was off to Imperial College playing in the Minor event. He’s about the middle rated person in his section. On Friday evening he starts against a junior aged about 8. And the kid can play! He also seems to be a champion noodle-eater, sucking-up strands a foot-long from beneath the table! Chess is probably the only competition where children and adults compete on equal terms.

But David comes through and by the end of Saturday he sits at the top of the section with three wins from three games. On Sunday morning he’s matched up with the tied-second placed player who is half-a-point behind. After three intense hours the game ends in a draw. David goes into the final round to play the other joint leader a wily senior.

“Not my best game” David confesses afterwards. “But I found a trick that he bit, hook, line and sinker. He then missed an opportunity to draw with a perpetual check, but in the end it all fell into place for me.” David won the £120 first prize. “It’s hardly going to make me rich.” It’s David’s second win this year after finishing on top at Worcester in July.


From David’s final round game. In this position White is in check. The game ends with:

1. Ke2 Qe5+
2. Qe3 Nc4+
3. Rd2 Rxd2+

and White resigns he’ll be check mated in three moves. However, from the diagram White could have drawn with:

1. Rxd2 Rxd2
2. Qa5+ b6
3. Qa7+

and Black can’t stop White’s ad infinitum checks.

It doesn’t end there. David’s chess life continues next weekend when he’ll be off to Scarborough. It’s one of the biggest events of the year with some 400 players doing battle over the board in five graded sections, catering for beginners right up to grand masters.

Why play Chess? Well it’s the beautiful game. The adrenaline washes through and winning just feels so good! Get down to the Hurst Community Centre on a Wednesday evening from 7.30pm and find out more.

David Gilbert

County News 4.3.13

Four Sidcup players were involved in County matches at the weekend. At Dartford, Ian Mcallan drew on top board for Kent’s Under-180s, which helped his team to a 10-6 win over Surrey. While at Rochester, the Under-140 team triumphed over Essex by 9½-6½ with wins for Gary Sharp and David Gilbert, and a draw from Lee Brockwell.

The Under-180s, Under-160s, Under-140s and Under-120s have all reached the national stages of the County Championships. Quarter-Final matches are due to take place on Saturday, 18 May 2013 at neutral venues to be decided once our opponents are known.

David Gilbert

Tom Fuller 1.3.13

Petts Wood 4 were always up going to be against it after turning-up with just two players for Wednesday night’s Tom Fuller match with Sidcup 3. With defaults on Boards 1 and 4 Sidcup needed just half-a-point to win the match. On Board 3 Peter Houching soon had his opponent in trouble and had reached a dominating position after just ten moves, which he soon converted into a win. Meanwhile on Board 2, Petts Wood’s Phil Wheeler found a back-rank mate to gain sweet revenue for his recent Harvey Cup loss to Lee Brockwell. But by the end of the evening Sidcup 2 ran out comfortable 3-1 winners, good enough to take them through to the next stage of the competition.

David Gilbert