Poole B 2.5 – 1.5 Wimborne B

When does a win feel like a loss?

A few weeks ago I looked at the table and we were one from bottom. Looking at the maths I noticed something bizarre. Despite only having 2 draws, due to how close all the teams were and the fact we had a rescheduled match, if we got the right results in all of our matches, we’d win the league.

Sure enough, we put on the afterburners and won 3 in a row. That put us on course going into this match knowing that there were three possibilities.

  1. We lost to the division leaders 4-0 and end up 3rd.
  2. We win 3-0 or better and end up winning the division.
  3. Anything else and end up 2nd.

With the same team as the previous match we took our positions, both teams knowing what needed to be done.

First up was Paul Trowbridge against Phil Holden. Paul exchanged minor pieces causing a Phil a doubled pawn and an open h file, however Paul then castled on that side. Phil took advantage of that by doubling up the Rooks against a vulnerable King, with the g pawn advanced the h pawn was lacking in defense so that started the beginning of the end. The King was chased from that side of the board (g1) over to the other side of the board (a7) where it was part of a daring raid which had all sorts of interesting threats from perpetuals to picking up loose pieces. Phil was however up to the challenge and swapped off enough pieces to ensure there were no shocks and took the first point. 0-1 to Wimborne and only a single draw needed to win the league.

Dragi waltzed in about 10 minutes late with his clock running for that time. We all knew what would then happen. I looked over at the clocks slightly later and Dragi had 50 minutes and his opponent, Steve Culleton, about 25 minutes. The position was interesting but I think there were a couple of mistakes. It had Dragi applying losts of pressure but Steve just about holding firm with a Bishop and Knight against Dragi’s Pawns and Rook. The game was unable to resolve naturally as the flag fell for Steve and the score leveled up at 1-1.

Richie was then against Alan Tyler. A solid player that I wouldn’t want to be forcing a win against. With the Kings castled on opposite sides the Pawns soon started to push. Alan slipped up a Pawn and that was all the asking that Richie needed to try and break down the defense with a swarm on the little soldiers. Firmly into the end game Richie was pushing two Pawns against a King and Knight, with lots of nasty tricks looming the Knight had to be sacrificed for the two Pawns. This left the other side of the board where it was 2v2 but with Richie having an additional Bishop to hold the position together. One of Richie’s Pawns was passed and the King was in support so there wasn’t a great deal that could be done before the match was over. 2-1. All hanging on the final match.

This match was bizarre. Take a look at the following position. A potential Knight fork of King and Rook. A Bishop skewer of Queen to Rook. A hanging Knight. A hanging Rook. Now try to calculate all the opportunities in time trouble. Black to move, Poole was Black.

Whilst the computer comes out with a clear winning position, the next few moves switched the advantage to and fro as we’re clearly not computers able to calculate obscure lines. Somehow this position came out fairly level on material and a relatively normal looking endgame. Knight vs Bishop. There were Pawn advances on both sides, but well played to Wimborne for sacrificing the Bishop for Poole’s last Pawn, and thus rendering the win impossible with minimal time left for either side.

An exciting game and match to end the season, lots of positives but a bitter pill to be so close.

Well done to all 15 Poole players who played this season, 5 of whom had 75% or better success rate. A good achievement to be level on points with first place.

Well done to Wimborne for an excellent season and worthy winners of the league.

May 19, 2019