The 2016/17 league season has now finished with Sidcup’s four teams finishing no lower than 2nd= in their leagues.
In the Stevenson Cup, which this season we entered for the first time for many years, we hoped for no more than a respectable mid-table position. However we came a clear 2nd, qualifying for the all-Kent semi-finals of the competition (the top two in the metropolitan area qualify), where we played Tunbridge Wells. In that match we raced into a 2.5 – 0.5 lead with wins from Rob Pezet and Dave Helps and a draw from Gary Sharp. Unfortunately we lost the other three games and so lost 2.5 – 3.5.
The En Passant Cup side finished 2nd= on match points and game points and failed to progress to the semi-finals having lost our match during the season with the team that we tied with.
The Harvey Cup side also finished 2nd= on match points and game points with a team that we had drawn our match during the season with, but failed to progress to the semi-final on the next tie-break of which boards in the drawn match were won: we won on board 4, but they won on board 3.
The Intro Cup side finished equal top on match points, but were placed second having fewer game points than Petts Wood. In the semi-final we overcame Tunbridge Wells, when a tie-break finally went our way. Don Chapman won and Chris Cheeseman and Gary Sharp drew in a drawn match, where we went through to the final as we had won on board 3 and they had won on board 4. In the final we played Maidstone. Rob Pezet had a smooth win on board 1 while Nigel Threadgold could not quite recover from a poor opening and eventually lost. David Dallakyan found himself in a difficult position, but managed to liquidate down to just three king’s side pawns each and accepted a draw offer. Janis Elton had a very exciting game watched by lots of spectators; when the dust settled there were just pawns left and neither side could make any progress. So it finished 2 – 2, and as we had won on board 1 and lost on board 3 we were champions on tie-break.”
Congratulations to Janis on winning the Intro Cup and Lee Brockwell on his organizational help.
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.
Sidcup hosted Lewisham on 22/03/2017 in the Stevenson, and after getting a draw against leaders Sevenoaks the week before needed to win to qualify for the knockout stages.
Rob Pezet started poorly and found himself in a lot of trouble very early on, however as is often the case with Rob he found another Houdini type escape and went on to register our first win. Tony Packham then converted a tricky rook and pawn end game in which he was a pawn up.
David Gilbert and Ian McAllan then registered hard fought draws taking the score to 3 -1. This left 2 games remaining, and leaving Sidcup needing one draw to win.
Gary Sharp always had a tough ask, being out-graded by 20 points, and although he fought hard he eventually lost. This left David Helps being materially level, but with a slightly inferior position, to get the draw. Which to everybody’s relief he did when his opponent accepted a draw was the best he could achieve, and agreed the draw.
As a result, Sidcup now look forward to the semi-finals and discovering who our opponents will be.
Congratulation to the team on achieving this
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 Wednesday 15th February the Intro Cup team consolidated its position at the top of the league by defeating Gravesend 3-1. Gravesend were the only team to have beaten us this season.
David Dallakyan accepted a draw offer in a heavy piece ending and Chris Cheeseman also agreed a draw. Janis Elton had more than enough compensation for a lost pawn and mated her opponent. Lee Brockwell’s opponent sacrificed a rook for a strong attack, but Lee defended well to win.
The team has won all three of its matches in 2017.
Sidcup’s 1st team continued their strong run with a 4th straight win in the Stevenson league against Gravesend away.
Wins from Ian McAllan, Tony Packham, Rob Pezet, and David Helps resulted in a 4 – 2 score line to Sidcup.
This leaves us in equal 2nd place, with 2 games to play.
Up next we host the leaders Sevenoaks, and then we finish with Lewisham, the team we are tied with.
So an exciting finish beckons and playing the competing teams leaves our progress entirely in our own hands.
When entering a team in the Stevenson Kent league we always knew it would be a tall order. As even with our strongest available side we would be giving 10 grading points. So, when we were unable to field full strength teams it was no surprise we lost our first 2 games. However, they were narrow losses, which was encouraging.
Since then we have been fortunate to gain Greg Edwards to strengthen the team on board 1, in addition to everybody being available since then.
As a result, we had a good win against Lewisham in our next game. Then faced Dartford at home.
This was a very tight affair in which after 5 draws, this left Tony Packham with the fate of the team in his hands. Fortunately, Tony managed to find a way to win and provide our second victory.
Finally, last Wednesday we hosted Gravesend. After an early draw on board 1 for Greg, we went 1 down after David Helps lost on board 6. This was followed by another loss when Rob Pezet lost on board 4 in a very sharp French defence game, which had everyone guessing who was winning for long periods. This left us 2 down with 3 still playing. However, this was soon put to rights when Gary Sharp won an endgame which looked tricky to win, and Ian McAllan converted a winning position with time tight for both players. So once again we were all level and Tony Packham was left contesting the final game. As usual he didn’t disappoint winning an end game in which material was even, but his active pieces eventually managed to dominate after he showed just the right level of patient play.
This has given us 3 wins in a row and a current standing of Won 3 lost 2.
Next game is Gravesend away.
Lee Brockwell Match Captain
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 4th January our Stevenson Cup side played Dartford in the reverse fixture from our 5 – 1 defeat at the beginning of the season and reversed the result, winning 3.5 – 2.5. Greg Edwards, Ian McAllan, Rob Pezet, Gary Sharp and David Gilbert all drew and Tony Packham’s win provided the winning margin.