BDCL Handicap KO Final – Poole vs Wimborne

Now I don’t know about you but all this tension in the closing games of this season has not been good for my constitution. If I wasn’t as young, fit and good looking as I am then I might well have not survived intact. Recent matches against the auld enemy, Wimborne, had resulted in one league title apiece. The KO Final had set up the perfect opportunity to gain bragging rights over the summer.

Wimborne were missing their talismanic Ian Clark who had swanned off to an Italian Chess Congress with some other senior members of the BDCL for a week of drunken d4-bauchery. It’s alright for some!

Nevertheless Eddie Barker on B1 with Peter Wilcocks, Alan Tyler, Colin Wilson, Tim Joyce and Sepp Wikramaratna looked no pushover.

Chip, Poole’s answer to Sir Alex, had carefully selected his team of ‘good value’ players (do I mind being ‘good value’? I am not sure. Although, I think that almost everyone at Poole CC must be good value this year as individual results will surely be reflected in an uptick in most member gradings). He had promised no ‘hairdryers’ at this ‘squeeky bum time’, but was available for shoulder massage on request. We all just hoped for a Happy Ending.

The Poole Team jogged out through the tunnel in matching lycra to the roar of the crowd (or did I imagine that?): Duggs, myself, Toby, Simon, Richie, Adam.

The various abacuses showed an average grading difference of three, and so no handicap would be applied.

Eyes down. And skip forward 30 minutes and a scan across the boards seemed positive from a Poole perspective:

B6 Adam (vs Sepp) seemed to be winning an extra piece, which was soon converted without any fuss. Well played Adam, nicely controlled. Not much more to be said really.

B5 Richie (vs Tim) had developed his pieces nicely in a Maroczy Bind set-up, had more space and some initiative. But in these positions Black usually has a solid setup and can be difficult to break down.

B4 Simon (vs Colin) was even. Question: when is a game of Simon’s not even? It’s always even… until someone loses on time.

B3 Toby (vs Andy) was exciting. Question: when does a game of Toby’s not involve a Gambit? Toby would later protest that he was a pawn down for nothing, so what’s new? But seriously, it looked to me that there were plenty opportunities for tactics, so right up Toby’s street.

B2 Myself (vs Peter) was the next installment of our series of London System v Dutch (with g6) experiments. Shades of Karpov-Kasparov as I varied from our game the previous week at move ten (!). Ooh, I felt proper professional I did, playing an improvement I had found (well, Stockwith had found) on the train the morning after the previous game.

B1 Mike (vs Eddie) looked a tough game on paper as Mike and Eddie have both had excellent seasons. With the White pieces against Eddie’s Caro-Kann, Mike seemed to have good play, but Steady Eddie had a solid setup.

Coming up to the first time control and some results came in:

Simon Patterson agreed a draw (No!!?). The word is that an opportunity of a win might have been missed, although it’s never easy with the pressure on (who am I kidding, Simon doesn’t know the meaning of pressure, he is always relaxed).

Toby agreed a draw and it seemed that while Toby was concerned about the material deficit, Andy was concerned about White activity and was happy with half a point. Toby looked the more relieved.

Mike agreed a draw. In the bar afterwards Mike shared that he was concerned about a line in which he would get Q for 2R which looked worse and so was happy with the draw. Eddie also looked happy.

Richie’s game had taken a turn against him and a loss looked very likely.

And so I got ‘clear advice’ from Chip (call it a hairdryer on a lowish setting) that I needed to win as a draw would lose the match on countback. Oh gawd. Luckily, I had managed to develop a promising attack around a blocked up centre but I was low on time. About five minutes for the last seven moves was enough to spot a nice sequence to win the exchange and then swap off down to a Rook v Bishop ending which needed a little care. The trick in these positions is to keep your king on the opposite colour to the Bishop to avoid accidents, and so I did and in due course Peter resigned. Phew.

And so a slender 3.5 – 2.5 victory to Poole, the third time in four years said Chip.

It is always guinuinely enjoyable to play the Wimborne club, all members being most welcoming.

As per protocol, we went to the bar in the next room. I bought a round (that what adrenaline does to you). Mike was doing a Dry Wednesday, but apart from that all was well.

I casually wished Tim best of luck next season and he reminded me…. Of course, I had forgotten that there is the Div 4 decider tonight? Pass the Valium! I am going for a lie down in a dark room.


David Fuller
May 24, 2018