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.
At Christmas our Harvey Cup side have a 100% record and are the only team in the competition to not have either lost a match or conceded two draws.
Our side playing against Petts Wood in the first match of the season was rather weak with six players unavailable. When one player could not find the match venue and arrived seven minutes after the default time prospects did not look good, but Janis Elton equalized the score with a fine win against a player graded 32 points above her and Chris Cheeseman won a piece and the game. One of Petts Wood’s good juniors brought the score back level, but then Ian McAllan ground out a win playing against a bad bishop and Lee Brockwell, having turned down a draw offer, won on time to complete a surprising 4 – 2 victory.
In the second match of the season against Charlton seven players were unavailable, but Tony Packham and Greg Edwards won and then Ian McAllan’s opponent got his own king trapped in a drawn position. On seeing this Lee Brockwell agreed a draw in an equal position to win the match 3.5 – 2.5.
The Harvey Cup side has started the season with mixed results.
Lewisham 4 crushed us in the first match with only Ian McAllan and Gary Sharp winning.
In the second match against Petts Wood, who arrived a player short, we were very lucky to win 3.5 – 2.5. A Petts Wood player was about to play mate in 2 moves when his time ran out.
Our third match against Gravesend seemed to be on course for a clear victory. Chris Cheeseman crushed his opponent and Don Chapman turned his game around to win. When IanMcAllan agreed a draw we seemed to have at least another point to come, but it all went horribly wrong and we lost 2.5 – 3.5.
On Friday 24th March the Harvey Cup team played league champions Petts Wood needing a win and a draw from six games to qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament.
The match started badly with the three bottom boards all losing quickly putting the match out of reach Ian McAllan won on board 1, but the other two games were against strong juniors, whose grades at the beginning of the season are over twenty points below their current strength. We lost on board 3, but on board 2 we seemed to be doing well. However, a perpetual check was missed and we lost the match 5 – 1.
On 22nd February the Harvey Cup team hosted Beckenham and won 4.5-1.5
The team got off to a good start when Gary Sharpe picked up an exchange advantage in an English opening and quickly turned it into a win. Rob Pezet’s game turned into a French Exchange variation and he found a neat rook and knight combination to mate his opponent. Chris Cheeseman had a comfortable win on Board 5 emerging from the opening with a 2 pawn advantage and soon completed the win leaving Sidcup 3-0 up. Ian McAllan on Board 1 played white against a Caro-Kann Defence and although the end game arrived with equal material, Ian’s pawns had a superior formation and he forced home the advantage. Don Chapman played against a much stronger-rated opponent and never recovered from losing a piece early in a Sicilian Dragon Defence. Lee Brockwell tried a Reti opening and the game ended up drawn leaving Sidcup with a 4.5-1.5 win.
With the end of the season now in sight, a draw in our last game against unbeaten Petts Wood would guarantee qualification to the knock out stages.
On 25th January the Harvey Cup team played Chislehurst and won 4-2.
Rob Pezet started the match with an excellent win by a direct king’s side attack, mating a player graded 31 points above him. Then Chris Cheeseman, who had only agreed to play on the afternoon of the match after a player dropped out because of family illness, blundered a pawn, sacrificed another one and emerged victorious. After a loss on board six the other games went the distance. Bob Mitchell lost his opening advantage and had to accept a draw offer, while Gary Sharp with no winning prospects also accepted a draw. In the last game to finish Dave Helps found a queen sacrifice which would have won an exchange for a pawn had his opponent not preferred to lose a piece and then lose on time in a lost position.
On 11th January our Harvey Cup team played Dartford and won by 3.5 – 2.0, making the half-point penalty that Dartford conceded for being overgraded irrelevant to the result.
Don Chapman gave us a good start by drawing with a much higher graded player, but all the other games apart from Ian McAllan’s looked bad. However, Gary Sharp held the draw and Dave Helps, who had been a pawn down, equalized and then took advantage of a blunder to win. With Ian McAllan winning the pressure was off Lee Brockwell, who after an up-and-down struggle, accepted a draw offer when both players had less than a minute left.
On Wednesday 16th November the Harvey Cup team played Lewisham. Don Chapman had a quick draw, Ian McAllan and Gary Sharp had solid draws and Ken Smith had a good draw. The other two games swung about wildly. Lee Brockwell after being on top and then being totally lost won when his opponent made the last mistakes. Dave Helps, who had two extra pawns, was mated. So the match was drawn 3-3.
On 25th February the Harvey Cup tam played Beckenham & Bromley and drew 3 – 3.
Don Chapman made a good save to draw after losing the exchange early on. Gary Sharp and Ken Smith had solid draws and Rob Pezet played well, but could not find a way through. With Ian McAllan converting what always seemed a superior position and Sarah Walker-Buckton losing a hopeless ending in the last game to finish, the match was tied.
On 2nd March the Harvey Cup team played Petts Wood and lost 2.5 – 3.5.
We started well with Ken Smith’s poor position becoming a quick win, Gary Sharp having a solid draw and Rob Pezet having one of his quick wins. Things seemed to be going very well as Ian McAllan seemed to have the better position and the bottom two boards were unclear. However, when we lost on the bottom two boards all depended on Ian’s game. Ian reached the first time control a pawn up, but with no obvious way to proceed. Overpressing, he allowed his pieces to go offside and lost.
So a poor end to the season.