Dorset League: Poole vs Highcliffe

I should start by saying again how great it was to see old friends again after the long enforced OTB break. Highcliffe Chess Club hosted two matches this evening and so it was also nice to see the club full with new starters and old timers alike.

As Richard rightly said, Poole were to be considered the underdogs, but we know that much can happen over a chessboard. A glance at the European Team Championships results, at which JohnW and Allen Pleasants are representing Wales, will show what is possible when outgraded (I am not for one minute suggesting a comparison between us and the Welsh Team… just doing a quick plug for our Dorset boys!!)

From the top… Mike (W) and Christian looked to continue their sequence of tight games, as indeed this one was. A Caro-Kann 3.e5 appeared with a subsequent h4 prompting interesting theoretical play. I couldnt see far enough to see the further developments but it seemed that both parties were happy with a draw.

Chip (B) and Martin both played to type. Martin pushing his d to h pawns as though they were going out of fashion; Chip continuing to forget that it is actually allowed to move a pawn two squares from its starting position. A strange set up resulted, which the subsequent post mortem suggested, looked better for Martin with more space but without a clear way to break through. Again both parties were happy to share the point.

Richie (W) played Bruce on board 3 and seemed to gain a slight initiative (to my un-hypermodern eyesight), although I am sure that Bruce was comfortable. An unusual Nxf7, then Bc7 combination seemed to surprise Bruce (and me watching) and a clear positional advantage transpired. Richie continued to press until Bruce graciously conceded. Well played Richie, bad luck Bruce. Match score 2-1 at this point.

Adam (W) and I made up the numbers on Board 4 and a lively, reversed Closed Sicilian game kicked off with pawns on e4/f4 opposite e5/f5. Clarification ensued with Black having a clear plus (checked on the computer) and also missing a clear win (noted afterwards by Adam). Subsequently a BN+5p vs BB+5p ending arrived.

I have to make a personal statement here in that over the past few years I have felt completely unable to play endings with any reasonable ability and had promised myself that I would try and play more games like Magnus (I mean play down to two Kings of course!). Which is why I felt a bit mean afterwards for pressing with an edge for another seventy moves (all on increment) until converting the point. Mean, as everyone was waiting to pack up and Mike and Richie were waiting in the pub. Thanks Adam, a really tough game.

So a tough match for which 3-1 flattered Poole somewhat I feel. But never fear… I suspect that we might have angered the beast! Gulp.


David Fuller
November 16, 2021