On Wednesday 10th February the Harvey Cup team played Chislehurst. It was a close match, which we lost 2.5 – 3.5..
After an early loss on board 6, down to a blunder, it looked bad when Rob Pezet lost a rook, but Rob attacked and won the ending. Gary Sharp felt that his position was level for a long time, but that then he threw it away in three moves. Dave Helps just made the first time control and precise defence beat off his opponent’s attack and won the game. The turning point in the match came when Ian McAllan, whose position had been very good for a long time, blundered away a piece. This meant Chris Cheeseman needed to win and his game went to the wire. With both players having less than a minute left to make all their remaining moves in a complicated position, with Chris slightly better on time and position, Chris’s opponent stopped his clock and asked what the match score was. When he restarted the clock he started Chris’s clock instead of his own and, when this was pointed out, offered a draw, which Chris accepted.
On Wednesday 8th December our Harvey Cup team continued our run of drawn matches by drawing 3 – 3 with Charlton.
We got off to a bad start when Rob Pezet blundered in an inferior position, but recovered when Lee Brockwell’s opponent followed up an interesting piece sacrifice incorrectly, leaving Lee a piece up. Gary Sharp and Masud Hoque had solid draws, but Don Chapman lost material and eventually the game. However, Ian McAllan won a knight ending to draw the match.
With half the season gone all our teams between them have lost only one match. Unfortunately they have won only two, leaving everybody except the Tom Fuller Cup team on 50%.
In the last game of the season Dartford came to play our Harvey Cup team. Sidcup won by the strange score for a six board match of 3 – 2. Some of Dartfford’s usual players were unavailable and this resulted in our opponents conceding a penalty point for fielding an overgraded team.
In the match Ian McAllan won easily when his opponent blundered a piece early on and Sarah Walker-Buckton had a solid draw with an opponent graded 30 points above her. When David Gilbert after an up-and-down game found a way to reach a winning pawn ending it looked all over. However, the team’s season of close results looked to be continuing when Lee Brockwell eventually had to resign after losing a piece for two pawns early on and Don Chapman lost on time in a complicated position where he was material down. In the last game to finish Gary Sharp was defending an inferior position and when his opponent found no way through the draw was agreed, which won the match.
This means our Harvey Cup team came third, a full point ahead of fourth, but a full point behind second place in the league.
On Wednesday 4th March our Harvey Cup team continued its run of close results by drawing with Charlton.
The evening started with Don Chapman losing to a much stronger opponent and Sarah Walker-Buckton winning almost as quickly. Then Lee Brockwell’s draw and Dave Helps’ loss left us needing something from the top two boards. Gary Sharp’s game ended in a draw, but Ian McAllan converted a favourable ending in the last game to finish to tie the match.
On Wednesday 19th February, our team Sidcup 3 played Petts Wood 4 in a match which, if they won, would see them into the Semi-Finals as winners of the division with 3 matches left to play winning 5 out of 5.
The evening did not start off too well for Petts Wood when they defaulted on board 4 and the evening gradually got worse for them.
The first match to finish was David Gilbert (132) – stepping in for an unwell Ken Smith – managing a draw against Paul Jones (127). Then Lee Brockwell (109) had a good win against their captain Phil Wheeler (116) and finally Sarah Walker-Buckton (98) won a hard fought game and was up against the clock at the end. With 2 minutes to spare, she managed to queen her 2 past pawns
and checkmated Victor Jamroz (97) to round off a very successful evening.
With 3 matches left to play and our third team winning the Tom Fuller Met Section, we can now look forward to a home tie against the runners up of Mid Kent section.
On Wednesday, Sidcup 3 lost their unbeaten run of 5 matches and lost to Gravesend 3 1 in what seemed an easy win for Gravesend.
I think we were still having a hangover from winning the division and looking forward to a home tie in the semi finals against who is yet to be decided. The Mid East Section of the Fuller league looks very tight and could be decided on the last matches played in the division.
Sidcup (playing White on the odd boards 1 & 3) got off to a good start with Keith Thompson playing his normal Caro Kann defence for Black; he had a good win against Paul Loasby who was left with a weak centre pawn which Keith was able to attack. After his opening, he was left with a weak pawn but Paul was unable to attack this. (See attached game.)
This was the only success of the evening for Sidcup who were struggling to get another win to earn a draw to protect there unbeaten run.
Lee Brockwell playing black lost to Peter Belka in what was a reversal of fortunes for him as he had won the away tie against Peter.
Ken (still suffering from the virus he had last week) lost in a hard fought game against Nav Bansal (120).
Sarah, playing white, was against John Fowers who used a Pirc Defence Classical system which Sarah found very hard to break down. She went down after a very hard struggle and resigned when she could not stop John’s A pawn from going to the eighth rank and becoming a queen.
We have 2 more matches to play in the league and hope to have got over our blip and carry on with our winning ways.
On Wednesday 19th February, our team (Sidcup 3) played Petts Wood 4 in a match which, if they had won, would see them into the Semi-Finals as winners of the division with 3 matches left to play and winning 5 out of 5.
The evening did not start off too well for Petts Wood when they defaulted on board 4 and the evening gradually got worse for them. The first match to finish was David Gilbert (132) stepping in for an unwell Ken Smith and managing a draw against Paul Jones (127). Then Lee Brockwell (109) had a good win against their captain Phil Wheeler (116) and finally Sarah Walker-Buckton (98) won a hard fought game and was up against the clock at the and with 2 minutes to spare. She managed to queen her 2 past pawn’s and checkmated Victor Jamroz (97) to round off a very successful evening .
With 3 matches left to play, we saw our third team winning the Tom Fuller Met Section and can now look forward to a home tie against the runners up of Mid Kent section.
On Wednesday 16th April the Harvey Cup team played Weald of Kent in the semi-final of the Harvey Cup and lost 2.5 – 3.5.
The match started well with Don Chapman winning quickly on material and Ian McAllan mating his opponent early on. Things looked good as we were better in a couple of the other games, but then Chris Cheeseman failed to take his good play to its logical conclusion and dropped a piece which left him no chance. Gary Sharp, who was always worse, lost a rook in time-trouble. If Dave Helps lost we would lose the match, and he had a lost position at the time-control. Meanwhile David Gilbert’s game had fluctuated dramatically. He had had a technically winning position when he blundered a rook, which his opponent failed to win, after which David still had the better of a draw but in trying to win reached a lost position which he drew in time-trouble. This meant that Dave Helps needed to draw the last game to finish to win the on tie-break. After the time control Dave fought back to reach a drawn “opposite bishops” ending, but had left himself four minutes to play it to his opponent’s seven minutes, so he was always likely to lose on time and in fact he lost by blundering in the time-trouble.
Thanks to Alan Hanreck for being the Arbiter for the match.
Dave Helps had a tough season on boards 1 and 2 and showed great resilience. We look forward to the simultaneous exhibition to be given by grandmaster Chris Ward on Wednesday 14th May, which he is arranging.
On Thursday 20th March the Harvey Cup team played its final match of the season against Dartford.
In my last post about the Harvey Cup team I said that we would come second unless the results of other matches went our way. In fact the results of the three key matches were absolutely perfect for us: Dartford and Petts Wood drew with each other and then both Petts Wood and Gravesend lost to teams below them. This left Petts Wood and Gravesend out of it and Dartford needing a big win in their last match against us to equal our match points and overtake us on game points.
Dartford put out a very strong team and for a while it looked as if Dartford might actually succeed in reaching 4.5 points. Ken Smith had to accept the draw offered by his opponent and then Chris Cheeseman and Don Chapman both lost. Gary Sharp, who had been the only Sidcup player with winning chances had to concede the draw, so with Dave Helps having a lost position and Ian McAllan under pressure, disaster was a distinct possibility, but the turning point came when Dave played a combination, which left him a knight for two pawns up. Although his game was eventually drawn, when Ian’s opposite bishops ending was also agreed drawn, Sidcup had lost the match 2 – 4 , but done enough to top the league.
On Monday 3rd March our Harvey Cup team played Gravesend and emphatically lost its 100% record by losing by 4 – 2.
The match started well with Chris Cheeseman winning a piece and converting. Dave Gilbert had some advantage, but in the end could do no better than a drawn opposite bishops ending. It became grim when Ken Smith blundered a piece in a level position after recovering from a bad opening and Lee Brockwell also blundered a piece when he appeared likely to win. Dave Helps was ground down in a game where he was always slightly worse and then Gary Sharp’s advantage fizzled out into a draw after he misassessed a winning move.
If we win or draw the last match of the season we should come second, although if other results go our way a win could be enough to win the league, while a loss would leave us third.